I am a 42-year-old daytime student at a smallish University in Southern California. Every semester on the first day of class, the students don't know what to make of me and whisper behind my back and occasionally, snicker rudely. I am going to school to become an elementary school teacher (my lifelong dream) and by the end of every semester I have made several young, very nice new friends.
How do I do this? I am myself! I offer help to everyone - in the form of a pencil, paper, stapler, sharing my book and knowing what the homework is at all times. I am a hardworking, dedicated and prepared student. In group settings I offer my ideas but am also willing to accept others' suggestions. I also have great props from my real life (like a huge Great Dane and chickens that have participated in many group projects with very dramatic effect).
By the end of each semester that I have been back in school, every "kid" who has gotten to know me really ends up respecting and liking me. A few have even confided that initially they didn't care for me (particularly the girls) and they were so wrong to judge me before they knew me. One girl even said "Having you in class is liking having my mom around to help me, but you are much cooler than her!"
I never let anyone's opinions of me affect my confidence and I always smile and offer help to those who need it, whether they ask or not.
I am a huge fan for 20 years. Dr. Laura, you dramatically changed the course of my life and I will forever be grateful to you for that!