The Student Newspaper of Highline College

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

  Apr 21, 2022
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The Achieve Program helps people with learning challenges. 

I know this because I am one of the students. 

My struggles are not being super confident talking to new people, for example, students from my class, or not being super confident in general.

I have another struggle and it is turning to the person I am talking to, especially if I don’t know them that well. It makes me nervous, like if the person asks me a question that I don’t know the answer to or I only know bits and pieces of the answer. 

I went to a high school in Burien for three years, from freshman year to junior year. Then I went to another school. When I was at my first high school I was in a program called the Saint Teresa Program. It is basically the same type of program as Achieve, for people with learning disabilities. 

It is a great school plus it’s gorgeous inside, but it wasn’t the best for me. The teachers in the program ignored me. There were a few teachers outside of that program I liked and they didn’t ignore me. Like my former swim coach, Coach Carlos. He always made me feel really included in swim and with my teammates. He was the best swim coach I had. 

These are some of the differences between the Achieve Program and Mother Teresa Program. 

This is a quote from the Mother Teresa Program website:  “Our differentiated curriculum offers suitable academic challenges for every student, including those with a wide range of abilities and learning styles.” 

This is one of the main things that the teachers didn’t do. They never gave someone a different assignment depending on how difficult the subject was for them or helped them in that hardest subject. I didn’t like that. It really wasn’t fair.  My mom really didn’t like that at all too. She went to multiple meetings with the teachers and staff to ask them to differentiate instruction, but they never did. 

For example, my English class. The teacher gave all the students the same assignment and then went to his desk and worked on his computer for the rest of the class. He became the St. Teresa department chair, which is the main reason I left. 

I had severe anxiety when I went to high school because of how the program was run. I felt sick every morning. Some days I didn’t even want to get out of bed. Even now, I still have anxiety at Highline, thinking of high school. I always feel like something bad is going to happen when I get there, although nothing bad happens. 

Achieve, on the other hand, is doing a much better job. This is a quote from their website: “All Achieve students work with an intensive adviser and career specialist to draft and implement a comprehensive, individual plan for college and career.” 

They are doing this for sure. It is great that they are doing what the website says they are supposed to do. 

For example, my adviser is very helpful, talking to me about my classes and if I need any help with them. If I do need help with something, like my classes or anything else, she tries her best to help with it. Like I need help getting to my classes so she gave me a peer navigator to help me get there. 

I had a few friends in high school, but I was mostly just by myself during my time there. Which was nice and not at the same time. For example, if there was a project where you needed a partner, everyone picked their partners before I could even stand up to talk to someone. 

A challenge for me in the academic section is math. During my freshman and sophomore years, I took pre-algebra. It was fine but it made me feel bad since I had to take it two years in a row. I felt like I was stupid to redo it. 

I have another challenge. It is a challenge I still have. It is hard for me to go to the teacher and ask for help. 

I came to Achieve because it seemed like a good place and it was close to home. Although if I had a choice I would’ve gone straight to WSU. Especially since all my family on my dad’s side went there. 

My twin brother is there and I wanted to be with him. I realized though that it is just time for us to take different paths. 

My plan after the two years here is to go to WSU. They have a similar program there called ROAR (Responsibility, Opportunity, Advocacy and Respect). I am not ready to go there yet. 

I have some struggles and challenges that make the Achieve Program a good fit for now. 

The Achieve Program has been helping me slowly come out of my shell, and everyone is really nice and doesn’t push me to talk if don’t want to. My Achieve class doesn’t have much homework, so I am not that anxious about getting a lot of schoolwork. We usually do the work in class.

My Achieve adviser, Laneeka Hall, has been making me feel comfortable and talkative. She is super nice and easy to talk to.  

“I love working with the students,” she told me, “they really inspire me.” 

Other Achieve students also say they appreciate the program. 

“I like it because the peer navigators and teachers help us when we need it,” said one, Elliot Skeen, “I wanted to go to college and this program seemed like the best choice.” 

People may think asking for help makes them seem that they’re not as smart as others. It doesn’t.

If you need help and are afraid of asking, ask anyway, because if you overcome the fear and do it anyway you are the brave one and it will pay off. Nobody should be afraid to ask for help. 

Kelsey Ahlf is a Thunderword staff reporter.