By Michele Ramsay
Program Director, CIP Brevard
How do you get to know new students?
That’s a wonderful question, and one I’m certain is pondered by many College Internship Program staff when trying to figure out the best approach to communicate with new students. Although, CIP is unique! The population is students with a learning difference, and so often those differences are what make each student so unique and special.
As a director, I accept the challenge of trying to inquire enough information about the student, prior to our first engagement. To ensure that when I first meet with them, I can spark up a conversation on a topic of their interest. From that point forward, the conversation begins to flow, and the stress of a first-time introduction was greatly reduced.
Student Assembly: I started my interactions with the students in a larger group settings. All the students received an email asking for information on their favorite song, favorite movie, and a favorite quote. PowerPoint slides were then created to the beat of their music choice, and these slides were used as a “guess who” icebreaker game. Everyone laughed at the pictures chosen to demonstrate their likes and some even danced in their seats to the sound of the music.
First outing – lunch: everyone loves pizza! During new student orientation staff escorted students to a local pizza gallery full of various pizza topping options. Students enjoyed the pizza variety, and everyone engaged in light conversation.
Second outing – Zoo: who doesn’t laugh at a flying monkey? Students enjoyed all the attractions at our local zoo that included feeding the giraffe and handheld cups of nectar as the beautiful birds flew onto their shoulders.
Third outing – public transportation to the mall: seriously, a bus? Yes! It was interesting to witness our new students reading a bus schedule and navigating their way to an air-conditioned venue (Florida can be a bit hot in August).
Fourth outing – public library and downtown Cocoa: free library cards and shopping — “Yeah!” Students enjoyed walking downtown, browsing the one -of-a-kind shops, and choosing a lunch spot of their choice. Thank you to Michael and Rebecca for joining me at a sushi restaurant.
Outings and outing and outings — that was the flow and theme for the first two weeks of orientation. Students had the opportunity to visit various attractions and events in the local area. Integration into their new surrounds is important to a smooth transition and period of acclimation.
As for Fall of 2015, getting to know your new students at CIP, it was a huge success!