By Ben Kesselhaut, CIP Brevard Center student
My name is Ben Kesselhaut and I am glad to say that I am a part of the College Internship Program. This program has given me insight in helping me to become successful in different areas of my life whether it be cooking, budgeting and goal setting, time management/organization skills to reach my academic potential, becoming more healthy and more fit, residential skills, improving my social skills, or getting career advice.
Before I came here I was lacking a little bit in these different areas. I wasn’t familiar with budgeting my money. I didn’t know the proper way of working out. My goals weren’t clear-cut in which I didn’t have any indication of what I wanted to do with my life. I would lose track of time by focusing too much time on the computer and social activities and not enough on schoolwork or on my priorities. I couldn’t cook many things by myself. I didn’t do much laundry and cleaning around the house and at times I had a hard time reading social queue’s from others.
To give you a little bit of a background of myself, I am from New York. I graduated high school in June 2006 and then attended Ithaca College that fall. I was at Ithaca for two years. Most of the things that I said were lacking were present at my time there. I wouldn’t have an organized way of doing my work. I would do my work on more of a spontaneous level in which I would do the work.
When I felt like doing it and when there weren’t any pressing social activities to succumb me. It would be hard for me to find time to use all the support that the college offered. In seeing that it was really hard for me to handle taking the maximum course load for each semester, without getting adequate support, I decided I needed a break from the school and that I needed to attend a place that was more suitable to my needs being that I was learning disabled.
I took a leave from the school and I decided that my next move would be to attend Landmark College in Putney VT, which is a school for students who have learning disabilities, and they provide academic support to them. Like Ithaca, being there was like being at a usual college experience except I could relate to the students more seeing that they had similar learning issues as me.
Everything that I did there was up to me, whether it be deciding when to hang out with friends, when to do the work, and whether or not to seek the academic support services and other services that the college offered. At landmark I struggled with many of the same issues as I did at Ithaca in which I didn’t end up doing so well in my classes and different other areas of my life.
I then decided that if I was going to change the way I did things and the level of success that I was getting, I needed to find a program that was more structured and had more support from professionals in many different areas. I talked to my educational consultant in New York about all this and she suggested that I apply to the College Internship Program.
At the College Internship Program you are required to attend everything that is on your schedule and if you don’t the staff makes sure that they do everything they can to make sure that the individual gets to their appointment. They do this because they know how important it is that you know all these different skill sets and how important it is for the individual’s success in the future.
This really helped to motivate me to attend everything and to really take the time to understand what everyone was saying to me about each of the different subject areas. In being here so far for almost a year, I really got enveloped into the routine and as a result the skills I kept learning each week really grew on me. As a result the more reinforcement I got out of it, the more I learned and the more confident I became in myself with the CIP team cheering me on.
In being in this program, I feel more confident in my abilities to perform many different life skill sets. I also have more reassurance in myself that I really do have the potential to be successful.