For Students All Sizes of Large
TIPS ON SEATING, SCHEDULING, PARKING, STUDYING, AND INTERACTING WITH OTHER STUDENTS
Traditional classroom seating often presents problems for many larger students, athletes and pregnant women. If you find yourself in this situation, there are alternatives available to you.
Contact the office at your school that makes arrangements for students with access problems. This office helps students who have temporary or permanent disabilities, and they will arrange alternate seating for you. They may also be able to help you with parking if you have difficulty walking long distances.
Seating you may most often encounter is a chair with a fixed, attached desk. If you're unable to fit in these seats, your best option may be to ask that a sturdy armless chair be placed in your classroom, then you can pull it up to the desk and use that for a desktop. An alternative is to ask for a table to accompany the armless chair.
If your classroom has theater-style seating, these seats often vary in width from 16 inches to a more comfortable 21 inches, within the same classroom. Check out your classroom before class starts in order to get the seat that is most comfortable for you. If you're unable to fit into any seat, request alternate seating, or look for another section of the class that has seating that accommodates you. If you're unable to use the desk provided with theater-style seating, use a clipboard or other hard surface to take notes on.
Regardless of your classroom situation, it's important to arrange your schedule so that you may get to class early and check out the seating, rearranging the room to suit your needs. If you're unable to make special accommodations in advance, you may be able to locate an armless chair during this time.
PLANNING YOUR SCHEDULE
As you are planning your preregistration schedule, take into consideration parking, walking distance, time allowed between classes, and obstacles like stairs. Get a schedule booklet (usually available at the bookstore or through the admissions department) and before you register for any classes, go and visit the room where the class is being taught.
If you feel more comfortable with other nontraditional students, evening and night classes may be preferable to you, especially for classes that everyone must take, like English, Chemistry, or Biology 101. These classes are traditionally crowded during the daytime, and an evening or night section may be more desirable.
Upper-level classes, intended for seniors and graduate students, often have fewer students in each class, and may be taught as a seminar class, which usually involve only ten to fifteen students and may be taught in a classroom with a conference table and armless chairs. You may also find your classmates more diverse and accepting of individuality.
If you're able to walk from the student parking lots, it's an excellent way to get your daily exercise in. If longer distances present a problem for you, you might consider public transportation, or even parking off-campus and switching to public or school transportation to get you to class. Medical permits to park on campus are also available. Regardless of your mode of transportation, invest in a good quality backpack. It will more than pay for itself over your academic career. Look for them at your university bookstore, or at a local hiking/camping gear retailer.
Students of all sizes can benefit from a few helpful study tips.
* Attend every class. Getting someone else's notes is no substitute for hearing the lecture firsthand.
* Sit close to the front of the classroom. It's easier to see, hear, and stay alert.
* Invest in a computer or typewriter. Students are expected to have access to these, and handwritten assignments are often not acceptable.
* Make friends in your classes, and invite them over for study groups before tests. This is especially helpful in classes (like history) where you're required to write answers in essay form.
* Use mnemonics and flashcards to help you study.
INTERACTING WITH OTHER STUDENTS
There's no need to dress up for class, but make a point of being clean, well-groomed, and leaving your nerdy clothes at home. Make eye contact with other students and you'll most likely end up with at least one friend in each of your classes.
The most important thing you can do is to bear in mind that YOU are worth whatever space you need in life, and that you are important enough to make sure your needs are met.