This blog post is about transitioning out of the Think College program and opening new doors in your future.  There is something everyone should know letting go is one of the toughest things anyone has to go though as young adults with disabilities.  Think College Vermont is an amazing program and the students, mentors and staff have created an amazing friendships with each other.  As a member of the Think College staff I find the friendships between the students and the mentors very powerful.  This is where the transition out of the Think College Vermont program becomes hard and emotional for the students.  For example, Think College has changed a lot of lives for many of the students, mentors and staff in the program.

Transitioning out of Think college Vermont is not an easy task to do because it was an awesome experience and we all enjoyed it.  Transitioning from one thing to another is very hard for some students, but it can open up new doors for new and exciting opportunities.  For example, by getting my education in the Think College program, another door opened for me and I got a cool job out of it working at CDCI. This became a new door and exciting opportunity for me because I enjoy working.  Life is all about transitioning from to one thing to the next and it can be amazing or it might be sad.  We all have awesome memories from Think College and they will last forever.

It’s very difficult to transition out of Think College Vermont  because we all have created amazing friendships with each other. It’s very important to keep in touch.




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Learning the “Soft Skills To Pay the Bills”

What are the Soft Skills have I learned at Think College and how do I use them at work?

  1. Communication
  2. Enthusiasm and Attitude
  3. Teamwork
  4. Networking
  5. Problem Solving and Critical Thinking
  6. Professionalism

When I was student at Think College I was introduced to the “Soft Skills To Pay The Bills” and this was a part of the Vocational Internship class.   As a student I used to go to the Cyber-Cafe at the Bailey-Howe Library and did three journal entries about my internship at ORCA Media. There would be a video on one of these skills, then I wrote an entry about that video. Last year I got a job as the Think College Dissemination Assistant and I kept referring to these Soft Skills. I thought the Soft Skills were useful in my Internship class, so I thought I could use them at my new job.

I use these Soft Skills while working at Think College and I have seen a huge change.  I’ve started communicating with my co workers and that is great.  Through communicating I totally been giving and receiving  feedback from my co workers on projects.  The other soft skill I’ve been using is teamwork and working with someone is very rewarding.  Working together can be a great way to strengthen your relationship with your co-workers and it can be amazing at the same time.  One thing I have found while working with my co-workers in the Think College office is that we all have something unique to share.

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Applying Job Skills to Real Employment

How did I apply the 30 Ways to shine skills at my Think College job?

I decided to start using this textbook for my job as the Think College Dissemination Assistant.  I found four skills I can apply to my job, so I’m taking notes and observations in a notebook. The four skills were: Clarifying Performance Goals, Choosing to Think Positive, Controlling your Anger and Benefiting from Praise and Criticism-Responding to Feedback. Working through these skills in a notebook got me to examine my work habits. This is how I picked these particular four skills to focus on and what can I improve in those areas.  This got me to think about my employment skills on the job.

As I read the textbook and I wrote annotations in a notebook.  Another thing I did was copy the questions, so I could answer them.  Doing this textbook helped me to figure out where I was in life.  This amazing book opened my eyes to new work experiences and new skills and applying it to my work.  I now find myself loving what I do and 30 Ways to Shine has helped me with that.


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Spread the Word to End the Word

As the Think College Dissemination Assistant I’m hosting a Spread the Word to End the Word table at the Davis Center from 1:00 to 4:00 in the afternoon on March 27, 2015. A few students from the Think College program will help me run this event and we are looking forward to it.   This event is a way to help educate everyone at UVM about the R-word and to help each other to be aware of it.  I hope we have a great turn out at the Davis Center and I hope to see many of you around during the afternoon.


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India and food production

Question 1
The children in the Global South aren’t dying of hunger because there is no food, but because they have no money to buy it. Before foreign aid policies, most Indian people had home gardens to feed their families, but foreign policy made growing your own food more difficult. “The effect of foreign aid was to cause less food to be grown domestically. A food deficit began to loom, and as farmers refused to grow more, India became increasingly dependent on food aid imports” (132). These food aid imports being shipped in from different countries and sold in Indian markets were extremely expensive and more than the Indian people could afford. Though enough food is shipped in to make up the deficit from a lack of native crops, it’s so expensive that a lot of people can’t buy it and go hungry.
Although other countries such as the United States tried to offer assistance, many could argue that it ended up being more harmful. “The seeds brought to India from the U.S. were very difficult to grow and harmed the local environment by using up all the water and removing biodiversity” (134-135). Of course, aid only came from the U.S. during politically favorable times, and when India began to show political differences, the food aid was removed. Patel provides plenty of information to support his argument that famine is caused by distribution problems, not a lack of food.

Question #2:
Patel makes the argument that large corporations made decisions for what was best for the people of South Africa, based on profit. Specifically, he uses the Makhathini farmers as an example. Monsanto, a genetically modified (GM) crop dealer, took advantage of the desperation of the farmers. “The net effect of this, of course, is to offer farmers the following choice: choose GM seed, or don’t grow cotton at all. Since there are no other cash crops with a local market, farmers choose GM cotton” (pg. 164).
Unfortunately, they needed land to grow the GM cotton. “The Makhathini Cotton Company approached local community leaders to ask them to sell their land. Local headmen agreed on behalf of their ‘people’….except… not everyone wanted to move” (165). Besides farmers growing crops they didn’t want to grow, and planting on land that was given up unwillingly, Patel accuses the location of the “zone of engagement of GM crops” particularly in Africa as being a racially motivated decision. “Farmers in Makhathini aren’t being given the choices they really want. Just the ones that are most profitable to those who control the food system” (167). Patel exposes the Makhathini Cotton company and reveals how big money took advantage of farmers in the name of profit.

“In 2001 -2, the company offering the genetically modified seed was offering loans to anyone who promised to used it to buy genetically modified cotton seed people were queuing up at the gate swearing blind that they were cotton farmers and could they have a loan please? As one might expect, as we would have ourselves done if we were in a similar position the crop loan went to pay off existing debt, the cotton farmers disappeared and the cotton crop was significantly lower than the loan data would have led anyone to expect”

The genetically modified plant itself is not good to plant, because people shouldn’t touch it.

The government went overboard they need to stay there, the people need to be able to stand up for themselves, it seems as though they do not have any civil rights, because the cotton seeds do not grow well in Africa. It is not an economically viable crop in Africa. The farmers in Makhathini are desperate to grow something. Sugar cane has a local market, and food. The local Spar supermarket will not buy locally. The farmers are not given the choices they really want or need because of the corporations controlling the food systems.

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Think college s

My name is Matt and I came to UVM and Think College in 2013. How I first got to UVM was with the help of my sister. She helped me to apply to the Think College Program, and ever since I have been so happy to find a place that I belong. I feel like I belong here because of the mentors, students, and the program leaders. I believe that Think College has helped me to learn more about myself. I have become more confident and involved at UVM because of the guidance and support that the mentors, students, and program leaders show.

What I like most about UVM is that it is a very supportive environment. I get my support from Cassidy and Brian Dague. Cassidy and Brian are awesome because they help to get things done and make things happen. I think that Brian and Cassidy are very motivated, kind, and helpful people. These two shape Think College and bring the program together to help us. Cassie and Brian shine bright like sparkling fireworks because they guide and push us to be better people. They are supportive and always think about the students first. Cassie and Brian are very knowledgable about their job and what is necessary to make the program and students successful.

I think that most people in the program, like the mentors and students are very unique in their culture and background. The mentors are great because the are beautiful, strong, and smart and they always do whatever is in the best interest of us as students. All students should have a mentor because they are awesome and have the knowledge to help you find a job and gain experiences to help guide us down a positive and progressive road. Like the Rascal Flatts say “if one door opens to another door closed, I hope that you keep on walking until you find the window”. I think that a lot of students dreams might come true. So make your goals bigger and great things will happen when you have people to help guide you like Bryan and Cassidy.

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The lone survivor

Movie Review

The Lone Survivor
This is a true story that talks about the survivors of the Afghanistan war. There were 4 guys. They were trying to defeat and kill the enemies. They brought guns to survive out there. The 4 guys came out of the woods and started shooting their guns like crazy. Then there were 3 other guys that were pretending to be the enemies but were actually the good guys. So the 4 original good guys tied up the 3 other men because they thought they were enemies. Two of those 3 guys were young. The men that were tied up had donkeys. Eventually, the 3 men were let loose because they had not done anything bad and were actually good. The 4 guys went back to the woods, fields, and mountains and in the mountains, they madly were shooting the bad guys, but more and more bad guys kept coming. Of the original 4 good guys, three died and one was the lone survivor. The lone survivor was Mark Wahlberg. One of the guys lost his legs and it was torn out of his socket. One of the other guys got his head sliced off by one of the bad guys. The other good guy died because a bad guy shot him in the back of the head. Another guy died from suffering from cancer. At the end, Mark Wahlberg heard helicopters that were coming to save him, but one of the bad guys shot the helicopter out of the air. Everyone that was on the helicopter died. Another helicopter had to come save Mark Wahlberg. After Mark was rescued, he had to call the 3 wives of the guys that died to tell them what happened and how they died. At the end of the movie, it shows Mark Wahlberg at his house with his wife and kids.
I liked this movie and I recommend it. All people that like action packed and gory, war movies should watch it.

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First post

I am Matt Saunders, a first year student at UVM. I enjoy taking care of my chickens. I hope to get a job at Best Western and I also like to recycle for money. I hope to have a chicken business, and have a barn. This year, I am enrolled in Intro to Music Cultures. My professor, Alex, tells the class about music history, cultures, and helps the class understand how different types of music came about. This class is about music in different cultures and how people in different areas around the world use music in their everyday life. I enjoy the class very much, and think that everyone at UVM should take this course! I feel strongly about the fact that students all around the world should be able to get an education, because everyone will find out that they belong somewhere. Think college makes me to feel like I belong in the UVM community, and everyone who wants to belong should join!

All around the world how many people in UVM have a right to be on campus. Campus is the best thing to go to. Fun experiments and finding that people have a lot of things to do. Things like meeting your mentors. Think College if you are going into it from UVM or somewhere else it makes it the right fitting. They have great ideas to get in to feeling strong and powerful, challenged and get yourself in to college!

Mentors are great people from UVM and Think College. They help students with homework. Students with homework should work very hard and keep up their own brightness, and the mentors are here to help. The mentors are needed at UVM and Think College. All mentors help you figure out your essay, strengths, courage, and your part of your story in your life. Also, the mentors help the students figure out things for themselves so they become independent. The students are soaking up the information from the professors and mentors. This helps us learn and become independent.
Keep your heads up high and do it with dignity. Confidence is the key but the sky is the limit.

Every student wakes up and goes to their own classes. Every student has a window of opportunity. There is a quote from a song by the Rascal Flatts that says, “And if one door closes, another door opens.
I hope you keep on walking till you find that door!” I love this quote because I thought about it and it gives me hope and faith in everything I do. I thought about a lot of the things about UVM and Think College. This program makes me feel like a star on campus. I want to tell the mentors and students to rock on, and keep being yourselves. You guys are the ones that make it happen. Speak up for yourselves. Your future is going to be bright. Keep it in your heart. Do not break down. Go at your own pace. Do not let anybody tell you that you can’t do something or who you are. Keep strong. Be proud of yourself for everything you do at UVM and what you do. UVM is one of a kind because it’s very accepting and it inspired me. Thank you so much because this program at UVM will help me grow after I leave (when I’m in Hawaii).
-Matt Saunders

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Special Olympics

Blog about special needs and the Special Olympics

Hi, I’m Matt Saunders.
This blog is about special needs and the Special Olympics .The Special Olympics provides opportunities for people with special needs to show their abilities. I think that all people from UVM and Think College should show how excellent they are. They should show who they really are so they can stand out. Millions of people are gaining opportunities from the Special Olympics around the World. I have two best friends who are April and Leah that are in the Special Olympics, and they are able to show their talents. They are leading a lot of people, and opening the doors for other people with special needs to join the Special Olympics. America has their own flag, just like every country around the world has their own flag. The Special Olympics has people that represent countries from all around the World. Many different cultures are in the Special Olympics. Everyone that wins the Special Olympics gets a medal, and gets to celebrate their success. The Bald Eagle is a symbol of the flag of America. It is a symbol of strength and success, so spread your wings and fly!!! Everyone should get a chance in their life to fly and do the things they never thought were possible! Everyone can make their dreams come true, and be great for themselves.In the Special Olympics everyone is beautiful and everybody’s a winner.As Christina Aguilera said, “You are beautiful in every single way!”

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I  love  my  best friends  and  mentors  and this  is my uvm  family.

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