Sunday, July 8th was our annual HEAR Summer Scholar Event and we were fortunate to be able to hold it at the Chicago Academy for the Arts who very kindly let us use their space. The main focus this year was on our newest, and largest, class of HEAR Scholars. In the fall, 27 new scholars will be heading off to college and, given that many of them are first-generation college goers with no one to turn to for help and advice, we wanted to ensure that they are as prepared as possible.
Vera Pollina (HEAR’s Executive Director) gave an informative presentation with many pieces of advice on how best to get a head-start at college and to set goals to work toward. Tips included:
- Get to know your teaching assistant;
- Always go to class (you never know when the professor will drop a crucial test hint, or give out extra credit for attendance);
- Create and stick to a budget and think outside of the food-rent-textbooks box (overspending in freshman year can have a knock-on effect in future years);
- Plan your “to-and-fro” (is there anyone from your hometown that you could pool resources with?);
- Find out about school resources – recreational/fitness centers, health clinic, dining hall, writing center, tech support centers etc.;
- Seek out, and use, support and counseling centers if needed. These are free on campus;
- Learn how to schedule, don’t procrastinate (or procrasti-bake if you’re Vera!!), have a to-do list, set an alarm;
- Register as early as possible for classes – the more popular ones will fill up fast and you don’t want to have to add on an extra semester because you couldn’t get into a required class;
- Always be professional.
We also discussed some easy do’s and don’ts that may seem obvious but can be easily overlooked:
We were very grateful to have some of our HEAR Volunteers participate during the day; Mary-Sue Smith, who chairs our HEAR Enrichment Committee, gave each scholar their first HEAR Care Package, explaining what was in the box and what it signified. She also shared a few thoughts about keeping healthy. Lynn McCreery, a HEAR Volunteer and expert in the field of training and facilitation, conducted a very popular change and leadership workshop that was not only very informative, but also interactive and fun! Finally, a number of current and graduated HEAR Scholars attended, sharing their experiences and providing another opportunity for our new class to ask questions before they embark on their college journey.
Feedback from the day was incredibly positive and, as our family grows, we feel that these kinds of seminars will really help our scholars prepare more for their college experience. We are very grateful to all our volunteers who gave up their Sunday afternoon to help with the event.
Here are a few photographs taken at the event!