Healthy self-advocacy: Get your way … politely!

Throughout the semester, Ivy Tech Northeast hosts workshops and seminars geared toward not just educational goals–there’s stuff about self-betterment, too.

I went to one earlier this week, “Healthy Self Advocacy,” put on by TRIO Student Support serves. Because who couldn’t learn how to advocate themselves better?


Here are some of the best tips I pulled from the seminar. I hope they help you, too.

  • What is self-advocacy? Speaking up for your needs.
  • Be assertive but not aggressive. Without being assertive, it’s easy to get run-over by more dominant personalities. The goal is not to be a pushover OR a bulldozer.
  • “I learned a lot from the seminar,” said Felicia Henry-Nailon, a TRIO coordinator who has sat through the seminar before. “I think it’s the non-cognitive skills our students can really struggle with. It’s hard to transfer from the factory to a professional job.”
  • Need to address an issue? Start from the bottom up. Beth Clemons, TRIO director, pointed out that if a student has an issue with, for example, a professor, she shouldn’t immediately go to the top of the food chain; the issue will be brought back down to the professor. Then, if it’s serious enough to move back up the food chain, there’s a lower likelihood the issue will be taken seriously.
  • Use “I” statements when addressing a problem with others–not “When you shout at me, you make me …” but “When I am shouted at, I get …”

Find out about upcoming workshops on the College Calendar. Scroll down to the middle of the page, under “events and news.”

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