What Are The Pharmacist Education Requirements?

Pharmacy is very sought after profession. It is high paying with many perks that other professions don't offer. It is considered to be one of the best health care professions these days. Working as a health care professional can be messy at times, considering the blood or body fluids, and not everybody can handle that. So if you are a person who can't handle the messy part but still want to be in health care, pharmacy can be the right thing for you.

Pharmacist education requirements are not difficult at all. You can join a pharmacy school right after graduating from high school. If you have decided that early, meaning that you made the decision while still in high school, it will be wise to opt for math and science courses while you are still in high school. But even after that, during college or later, you can join a pharmacy school anytime.

The basic pharmacist education requirements to pursue a degree in this filed will be to clear the PCAT (Pharmacy College Admission Test) but all colleges listed by PharmaCAS do not require a test. The interview, application and letter of recommendation are all part of the process.

The prerequisites are an important part of the pharmacist education requirements. If you are joining a pharmacy school right after high school you can join a joint undergraduate and Pharm. D program. This way you will be completing your prerequisite courses in two years and the actual pharmacy education in the next three to four years.

But if you are a bachelor's degree student than the courses you are taking can make a lot of difference. Science and life science subjects will give you a greater advantage over arts subjects. You can always get the most accurate information from the websites of the particular schools you are interested in. By getting that information you can be sure about the pharmacist education requirements and the admission process will become easier for you.

The bachelor's degree for pharmacy has been phased out. You will very rarely hear about a registered pharmacist meaning a pharmacist who is only a BS. It has become essential to obtain a Pharm. D Degree before you become a licensed practicing pharmacist. Another important thing to note is that the doctor in Pharmacy is different than both PhD and MS in pharmacy.

Being in a pharmacy school is as demanding and as hard as being in a medical school. There is extensive study and practical work involved. But once you have completed your years at a pharmacy school the road ahead is comparatively easier. To begin with, you will not have to go through years and years of residency. At the most the residency will be one to two years and that also only if you want to.

You can get straight to practicing without the residency. It is important to get a license from the state before you start practicing. You don't necessarily have to work at a drug store. Pharmacy is exciting and diverse. You can work alongside doctors as part of a medical team or choose to work in the lab for further research. Once you obtain your degree it is up to you to decide what you want to do with it.

How to Turn Your Unhealthy Lifestyle to Healthy

Is an unhealthy lifestyle your responsibility or the health care system's? Well, as an advocate for healthy lifestyles, I believe that each individual must take responsibility for their choices, actions and their overall health. That being said, this simply means that health is a matter of choice. When you are not healthy because of your consumption of fatty foods, high-sugar drinks, smoking, drinking alcoholic beverages (in excess) or not exercising regularly, you are contributing to your unhealthy lifestyle. With the freedom of choice comes the responsibility to choose wisely.

When you choose to turn your unhealthy lifestyle to a healthy one, you reduce your chances of getting sick, you reduce your visits to the doctor and you get a much better chance of preventing future diseases. My equation for turning your unhealthy lifestyle to a healthy one is:


To be successful... it must start with YOU.

Then, we must turn our attention to education. Education is the key to changing the thought patterns of the younger North American population from unhealthy lifestyle choices to healthy lifestyle choices and actions. General health is on a downward spiral and in order to stop it from getting worse, we must educate our children today so that they can attain a level of expertise in the care of their own health.

These suggestions may seem simple but did you know that only 3% of Americans maintain a healthy lifestyle? The research is published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine and the 4 criteria that define a healthy lifestyle are:

Not smoking
Healthy weight
Eating healthy - minimum 5 vegetables and fruit per day
Exercising 30 minutes, 5 times per week

So step up, take responsibility for your choices and those of your children and take appropriate action. Leading a healthy lifestyle should be the necessary expectation of a much larger percentage of our society. There are huge benefits to turning your unhealthy lifestyle to a healthier one such as increased life expectancy, reduced disease risk, reduced medical costs and improved quality of life.

Dentists - Educational Background and Training

Dentists go through a lot of years in college before actually graduating and are able to practice. The amount of time that medical students spend on their education is understandable considering that they are dealing with the health and well being of an individual. Usually, if not always, students who graduate from high school should graduate from a college course with a bachelor's degree before they can apply for a dental school. Many aspiring medical or dental students complete their Bachelor's degree with a course that is somewhat connected to medicine or dentistry. This somehow gives them a background of what they can expect from the dental school. Usually, these degrees take at least four to six years to finish. The goal of dentists all over the world is to promote good oral health. To be able to do this, they need to go through several years of college, dental school and specialty courses if they want to. General practitioners do not need to specialize while specialist can also take on tasks that general practitioners usually do.

Dental College

Before applying for a reputable dental college, the aspiring student should have a Bachelor's degree. Future dentists will benefit more if their Bachelor's degree courses are connected to medicine since these give them a background of thongs to come. Sciences and other related courses are welcomed by most colleges that offer dentistry. There are two basic dental courses, (DDS) Doctor of Dental Surgery and (DMD) Doctor of Dental Medicine. In many cases of accredited colleges, those who take up Bachelor's degrees in sciences and related courses can have some of the subjects credited when they enter dentistry. This helps to lessen their load and the time that they will spend in some courses. Before that, prospective applicants must also present their DAT scores to the colleges of their choice. DAT is the Dental Admissions Test that is a requirement for those who wish to enter dentistry. High scores in this test along with good grades from the Bachelor's degree course related to science can lead to admission.

Courses in general dentistry usually take around four to six years to complete, depending on the performance of aspiring dentists. Included in the course are clinical skills, dental treatment and diagnosis as well as pathology. Externship comes in the fourth year and they are required to do rotation for this. During the fourth year the student can take the National Board Dental Exams to be able to practice this field of medicine. In some places, the exams take place before the fourth year.


Specialization can be taken up after the fourth year of general dentistry or after they graduate and pass their Board Exams. Continuing education is an option that many dentists go for after dental school. There are not a lot of specializations in this field of medicine and they include, but are not limited to, pediatrics, orthodontics, cosmetic dentistry and surgery in the oral and maxillofacial areas.

Is Anorexia an Illness, or Simply a Normal Part of Growing Up in North American Society Today?

Anorexia nervosa has become one of the leading psychiatric conditions among young women today. There is great discussion as to what factors have caused this illness to grow to almost epidemic proportions.

The media has been blamed as being the culprit, as young girls watch stick thin figures modeling the latest and trendy fashions and secretly wish they can be like them.

Although the media can absorb some of the blame, we need to face up to the fact that the food paradox we have today is unlike any before our times.

We are living in a country that celebrates slenderness, yet in this same country food Is so abundant as never before. This paradox is bound to cause problems. And not only is food abundant, but it is also very enticing, high calorie foods, that are low in nutrients.

Beauty ideals are higher than ever, yet we are bombarded with enticing foods constantly. This causes a struggle leading to a nation obsessed with food and weight, anorexics on one side and obesity on the other.

In the Documentary Thin which highlights four young women's struggle in an eating disorder clinic, the girls are given high fat junk foods and taught that "It is unwise to restrict eating in any way, and paying attention to nutritional content is a form of restricting."

Yet many of those same nurses who are directing treatment, are not just overweight, but even obese. Although the girls are told they may not count calories at all, these same nurses are shown discussing their own personal weight loss woes, and their best methods of losing weight.

As one former anorexic wrote, after watching the film;

"All this serves to highlight how truly dysfunctional our collective attitudes toward food has become in our society. The uncomfortable truth is that anyone who eats a diet consisting mostly of the types of processed junk food featured in the film, without regulation, will likely end up struggling with weight issues. We obsess about diet and calories because there really is no other way to remain healthy."

Women with eating disorders have simply taken our universal preoccupation to the extreme, exhibiting their thinness as a sign of discipline, a superior ability to overcome their temptations where others have failed.

Anorexia may not be as irrational as people who have no experience with the disorder may believe. Anorexia is a desperate attempt at gaining some type of control of a situation that seems overwhelming to young girls.

The fact that the illness afflicts young girls to a greater degree than more mature individuals shows us that education may be the key to putting a lid on this epidemic.

The more mature mind has a greater ability to deal with all this confusion regarding food, but the young immature mind without proper education has a much harder time at grasping how to handle the anxiety experienced by this confusion.

Young girls have very little understanding of how they are affecting their bodies with their behaviors. At that time the body still feels so invincible to them, it is difficult for young people to comprehend the care their bodies need to stay strong. Often once the anorexic loses weight and feels the weakness, it comes as a shock to them, and sometimes even assists in recovery.

Special Education Seems to Be Overwhelmed - Discussion

Right now, our schools are overloaded and the classrooms are filling up. Teachers have been laid off and serious budget cuts have been made which will indeed adversely affect this generation of children in their education. That's not very funny, but it is the reality and anyone that works for school district that still has a job that is, realizes this.

Even tougher is special education, and there seems to be a great rift and divide on how money should be spent between special education, and regular classroom education. After all special education often requires one-on-one teacher or teacher's aide assistance. Another problem is the ever-increasing number of children who have been diagnosed with developmental disabilities. The numbers have grown so strong that it is very much impacting school budgets.

There was an interesting article recently in U.S. Health News Online found in the Health Day Section titled "U.S. Study Finds 1 in 6 Kids Now Have a Developmental Disability, Perhaps Due to Better Diagnosis" by Jenifer Goodwin Health Day Reporter - published on May 23, 2011. The article stated that the disorders included such things as: "autism, learning disorders or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to new research from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."

The article also made mention of the apparent drastic increases "1997-1999, about 12.8 percent of kids were diagnosed with a developmental disability, up to 15 percent in 2006-2008 - or an additional 1.8 million U.S. children. Driven by rising rates of autism and ADHD, experts say."

Okay so, I have some comments to add here today. Are all these kids really having developmental disabilities? And what about when we went to school, there were a number of kids that had behavioral issues, and they perhaps were not properly diagnosed, but due to the Discipline factor they were brought into compliance, and the teaching went on, and most all those kids did graduate, and they did so in regular classrooms.

If we are going to be honest with ourselves, and provide an appropriate education for every child, then we need to come to terms with what normality is. What is the definition of a normal child? With so many developmental documented challenges and so many psychologists who are making diagnoses, how can we be sure if any of this is correct. The schools of yesteryear seem to do okay, and one has to ask if there really is a difference, if the problem really is growing.

Sex Education: Its Importance and Need in the Society

Sex Education, as the term clearly indicates, refers to education which is based on human sexual behavior. Parents, schools or caretakers offer it in some parts of the world to educate the children, who are stepping into their adolescence. If formally received, sex education is either taught as a full course at high school or junior high school level or in biology, health, home economics classes. Teaching sex education is rather a controversial issue; debates have been going on for several decades discussing if it should be taught formally in schools or not. Sex education in schools should exist without any doubts and apprehensions as it offers many benefits.

Adolescence is called the "age of storm and stress". The young teenagers, during this phase of life are under deep psychological pressure. Mainly, this psychological pressure is the result of one's growing sexual needs and the biological changes and hormonal effects on the individuals. During this time, most of the children are observed to become easily irritable. They find it difficult in most situations to deal with the family members. They might not want to talk to them about the natural changes taking place in their body and mind. In such circumstances, one highly suitable option is that of the teachers who are able to teach them to control their urges until a proper age. In schools, trained teachers would help the students to know how to deal with their sexual impulses. This role can not be replaced by parents or other entities. A classroom discussion and lesson would make them feel it is natural, and they would also feel that they are being understood by someone. However, taking them individually to psychologists or other trained educators would not help. In such a situation they might consider themselves to be different and misunderstood by family and people around them. Therefore, it becomes crystal clear that the best way to offer sex education is always in school.

It is a psychological phenomenon that children at young age are under an immense peer pressure. Something that they learn in the class with their peer group is what makes a better impression on their minds than otherwise. They are more focused in the lessons that teachers offer and are more eager asking question to clear their ambiguities. They might feel embarrassed and uneasy questioning their parents about it, but it always differs in case of the teacher in the class. This is because everyone in the class is going through the same stage. A class discussion becomes healthy source of learning as it helps in enhancing the knowledge on the subject.

Many people advocate that sex education should only be restricted to families, that is, that parents should personally educate their children. This view is totally illogical and holds complications and questions. The first point is that not all the parents would be willing to do it or would be able to do it. Secondly, this education needs a proper channel through which it should reach its required learners. There could be many possible problems in the families so they might not be able to take the role of a teacher in educating their children regarding sex. The demand of annulment of sex education from the schools is highly conservative.

Most importantly, there are many single parents, how would they take up this challenge of educating their children on their own? Parents can not properly educate their children about sex also because they lack details that qualified sex educators convey in schools. Thus, the stance of abolishing sex education in school is not a favorable thought. In many observed cases where parents or children are embarrassed about talking over sexual matters with each other, it is most likely to be uneasy situation at both the ends. This keeps the children from learning the answers to the questions they might have in their minds. This can be a great flaw of shifting the duty of sexual education from teachers to the parents. It will leave the children only half or less educated about the issue and as they say "Little knowledge is a dangerous thing", this might end up in grave situations.

According to research, most of the parents also feel uneasy because they know that they are not equipped to provide the apt sexual information to their children. They also fail to comprehend what details and information should be concealed and what should be revealed, keeping in mind their children's age. On the other hand, there might also be parents who would feel comfortable talking to their children about sexual matters, but only when the children bring the matter up.

Most parents, around the world, may also lack role models to look up to as they would not have talked over sexual issues with their own parents in their adolescent. This makes them inefficient to trigger their roles of educating their children in an effective way as the assigned teachers are able to do in schools.

Sex education is not limited to only a single branch of knowledge. This education focuses on a number of significant sexual matters that are offered with especially designed courses and programs. Sex education covers the education of relationships, sexual abstinence at a certain level and teaching to practice safe sex to the level of children who are thought to be sexually active. Therefore, its claim for being appropriate and guiding holds strong base.

At a certain age of adolescence, growing children have problems facing relationships and controlling their personal emotions. Conflicts related to such matters persuade many youngsters to commit suicides or take part in other immoral activities. Proper sex education in schools also concentrates in making the youngsters emotionally stronger and in educating ways to cope with relationship problems. This argument strongly shows the immense benefit of sex education in schools.

Sex education is an important health strategy and this cannot be denied. AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases can only be controlled if people are aware of precautions and have a vast knowledge in this case. This knowledge is conveyed through sex education, and if sex education is banned in schools and if parents have to educate their children, then it would not be as beneficial to the individuals and the society on the whole as teaching in school could be.

Sex education does not exist in all parts of the world. Asians are commonly regarded conservative when compared to westerners. It is not a part of their course in schools; this does not in any way mean that their teenage pregnancy rate is any lower if they are not exposed to sexual matters openly. In fact, this is one way how peers can mislead most of the youngsters and persuade them to bask in young age sexual relationships without any attempts for safety. This has resulted in serious problems such as the spread of fatal diseases like AIDS and has also increased rate of illegitimate births.

Researches have shown that the cause for ramification of STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) in the eras of 80s and 90s in the US and the UK is the lack of knowledge and information provided about sex in schools or home. Home and family has never and will never play an integral part in conveying sex education to teenagers, therefore to rely on the option of home, is to deceive your own self from the expected exigency in the future.

Some conservative groups assert that to discuss sexual issues openly is to devalue religion. No religion in the world abstain its followers from spreading the information that is so essential for human lives. Sexual behavior is natural and takes place through biological changes and this cannot be questioned as this is a part of human life. Thus people who take refuge under the religious shelter, to make their arguments strong, are misinterpreting religious ideas and laws.

Modern time is the time of internet and powerful media. Teenagers are exposed to Hollywood, TV and internet. These sources offer demonstration of sex which is highly thoughtless and casual; in this situation it is almost illogical to leave the teenagers on their sexual choices. They are young and fully excited; therefore they can not make a favorable choice. Sex education in school offers the information and knowledge they need to understand to know the responsibility that is accompanied by sexual relationships. The teacher in school helps the students to know the difference between a thoughtless and thoughtful sex. Having an urge for sex is not a problem; it is a natural process showing that the young people are developing to become adults; however the problem is having unsafe sex and hurting people through sexual choices.

People who claim that sex education in schools have more cons than pros, often come up with the statements suggesting that sex education in classroom should be avoided because the most effective tool for offering sex education, according to them is TV, films, magazines and media. Such people fail to understand that trained sex educators under especially designed programs teach sex education to children in schools. They are thus able to handle children's problems and clear their ambiguities in the best possible way, whereas magazines, films, TV and other channels and mediums of providing sex education are be reliable. They are most of the times urging the young people by encouraging their sexual promiscuity rather than effectively teaching and educating them. This wrong approach damages the society and the individuals in disguise of ameliorating them.

People contradicting the notion insist that sex education always makes the learners have sex and experience it personally, once they learn about it in school. The reality is that sexual urge for any human being is a natural occurrence. When children reach to a certain age, whether they find people to educated them about sex or not, they do have natural instincts about it, and therefore if provided a chance they would surely want to satisfy their urge. This natural reaction can not in any way be related to the outcome of sex education in schools. In fact, the best time for letting sex education play its role is when the sexual urge increases and the teenagers want to find a source for its satisfaction. It offers individuals with the required knowledge so that they are careful. It is only then that they understand the consequences of sex leading to child birth as well as sexually transmitted diseases. Thus sex education is basically a warning and a caution for such children who are stepping into the phase of life where they would need to know all this.

Some people who go against the topic also argue that even though sex education exists, it has still not decreased the rate of teenage pregnancies. I would rather not go deep in to the moral issue of the topic, but it is important here to discuss and point out the shortcomings of our society. Social values that insist that being single, pregnant and teenagers is fine, is what has to be changed. Through educating the children and making them aware that it is just not 'cool' to be pregnant when single or teenager, and just because 'others are also doing it' does not in any way justify their actions, this change can be achieved. There are many sexual education programs that teach the learners about the grave consequences that can result in having early sex. This type of sex education in schools is helpful and makes the learners responsible and mature enough to understand the difference between morality and immorality.

People, who are against the notion, repeatedly state the question that why sex education is given so much importance when there are also many other issues connected with juvenile delinquencies such as drugs, drinking and aggressive bullying. No doubt, there are also many other issues to consider important enough to be taught in school for awareness but psychological researches show that behind most of the juvenile behavioral problems, one main reason is always the active sexual urge which drives the young people to indulge themselves in harmful activities like drug abuse and alcoholism. It is also commonly observed that young teenagers who indulge into such activities are unaware of proper sex education. Once they are given a true picture of sex and its consequences their mental status relaxes and they are easily able to cope with other social taboos.

Parents, who believe that sex education pollutes the minds of their children, have in large number taken their children out of schools promoting sex education. In this process of instilling in their minds their religious and family values, they forget that the media, their children are largely exposed to can also lead them astray. Sex education in schools does not in any way offers them an invitation to have open sex by making them aware of the risks; it just educates them about the matter in the best way.

Apart from educating the students about safe sex, sex education in schools is also helpful as it helps students to learn proper terminology for reproductive system, STDs and birth contraceptives rather than the street lingo that is commonly used by laymen. Sex education classes are gender based and that is why the young learners are not embarrassed and are only taught what is related to their gender. Early inclusion of classes also helps the teenagers to either become abstinent for some time or to become responsible if they are already active. Therefore, many sexual problems that occur in adulthood can be controlled if effective and apt sex education is given at the right time.

Having a Healthy College Lifestyle

Plenty of people agree that college was the best period of their lives. While it doesn't really speak well for the majority of their time on this earth, one can certainly say that college is a great experience. Everything changes; it is the period of time where a child learns how to be an adult.

Life can get a little overwhelming when you first start college, and some people can't help but put on a little bit of weight. It's called the freshman 15. You may have heard about it, and it probably worries you.

Don't have a conniption. Just eating right and exercising can ward off the pounds. This applies most to college freshmen, who are the most likely to get caught up in the college lifestyle and completely forget about keeping up their health.

Prevent your schedule from becoming too hectic why you're in college. Make time for friends, make time for your studies, and make time for exercise. This is the first step to assuring that you live a healthy college lifestyle.

Don't take the bus if you don't have to. Walking more and tracking the distance that you walk are great ways to keep your fitness up. And when you eat, avoid fatty foods with a lot of grease. In fact, try to avoid fast food altogether.

The college lifestyle is not the optimum state for the digestive tract. Therefore, you should avoid eating one or two really big meals a day and focus instead on eating smaller meals throughout the day. Try to eat happily, even if it digs a little into your pockets.

The White Man's Education

I don't quite remember when I first heard the phrase or the young black kid who I last heard utter it, but I do remember the shudder that went through my body each time. The kids were questioning why they had to go to school to get the "white man's education." In both cases I never got to give an answer, as they weren't talking to me, though I desperately wanted to. Afterwards I remember thinking that this attitude was probably a growing one among young African Americans. From my own experiences I could see how such nonsense can be attractive, particularly among youngsters mesmerized by street lifestyles and looking for a slick sounding reason to grow up illiterate and parasitical.

Inasmuch as Forty Million And A Tool's primary thrust is to secure our birthright of wealth, it is equally necessary to confront the many other obstacles standing in the way of our comprehensive advancement; one of which is this obvious psychologically crippling notion that the basic literacy public schools offer our children is somehow harmful, evil or irrelevant. Clearly, this misguided rebellion has its roots in the legitimate protest against long-standing bias in educational testing and the virtual absence of African and African American brilliance in textbooks, to say the least. Yet, somehow our children have taken it to a level of lunacy that points our future toward nothing more than defiant self-destruction. Many of them truly believe that they must rebel against the "white man's education."

When I attended elementary school for most of the 1960's the only blacks I remember learning about were Crispus Attucks, Benjamin Banneker, George Washington Carver and Constance Baker Motley. At home I knew about other famous blacks like Willie Mays, Nat King Cole and Lena Horne, but didn't quite get the sense that what they did was very important. It was only the three dead ones and Ms. Motley that the teachers seemed to hold in any esteem. Crispus died for freedom; George did many things with peanuts; Benjamin drew plans for constructing the nation's capitol and made a clock, while Ms. Motley became a federal judge. That was it! Anybody else who did anything great or important was white.

As for reading, writing, arithmetic and regular school subjects it was taught that the Greeks started it all, and that's the way it stood for me until the mid-seventies. It was then that I learned that the Greeks started very little of anything; certainly not reading, writing, mathematics, biology, literature, history, philosophy or mythology. In fact, I learned there was no such thing as the "white man's education." While this is common knowledge now, imagine the mix of emotions I experienced when I learned that the Greeks were educated, among others, by Africans; that Plato, Aristotle and others attested to Greece's indebtedness to Egypt; that Greece's greatest historian, Herodotus, described these Egyptians as people with "burnt skin and woolly hair." It was the most freeing and astonishing feeling I'd ever experienced. It was also the angriest I'd ever felt; the same anger, I suspect, our young people feel as they encounter the debilitating effects of an educational system that assigns to them inferior status, both historically and now.

During my research I came across a passage that sheds light on perhaps why black people in general seem not to know these things. It felt to me both like a back-handed slap in the face and also a sad commentary. The passage goes like this: "If you want to hide something from black people just put it in a book." Finally after digesting hundreds of books and articles I understood that Western Civilization was simply the result of Europe's formal education, primarily by Africans of antiquity. Europeans, having later embarked successfully upon a quest of global domination, re-wrote much of history in their image and after their likeness. This is how we got on the road to what our young people call the "white man's education."

Today, many of our young people are so angry, particularly after learning these things and others, that they've fallen into the trap of self-imposed illiteracy and criminality - all the while reveling in the belief that they have somehow escaped the clutches of the white man's education. The fervor and intensity of the rebellion is such that it has no expressed aim or purpose, yet the understanding seems to be that "anything whites in power promote - don't buy into it, and whatever they condemn - embrace." So when the president and other powerful white politicians extol the virtues of getting a quality education, that message gets translated down to many of our youth as worthless trickery. Not even the multitude of college educated black leaders who preach "get an education" produce the desired results, which begs the question: how can a people re-discover or re-claim their heritage only to have its most precious segment turn their backs on it and believe that it belongs to someone else? I'll tell you how: knowledge not translated into power might as well be a fairy tale story, while fairy tales backed by power becomes believed knowledge.

To counter the negative and debilitating aspects of the Euro-American educational system we need to teach our children how not to throw the baby (fundamental literacy) out with the bath water (lies and mis-education) to avoid being brainwashed and psychologically crippled. Several Afrocentric and urban movements are teaching generations of black youth about the hypocrisy of the American educational system. This cuts like a double-edged sword, causing many to abandon the process altogether, while others negotiate the process with a solid sense of self. However, until we can implement structures that ensure the healthy education of our babies from the cradle to college, we must continue to fill in the gaps where the public schools do not. Whatever approach we eventually endorse the greatest falsehood we absolutely must defeat is this notion of a "white man's education," for it concedes to others what is rightfully and equally ours.

Establishing Healthy Relationships With Graduate School Faculty

Students who are enrolling in a Master's degree program are in for a much different experience than they had in college. Many Master's degree programs are more independently driven, with greater emphasis on individual goals. This means more drive from you, but it also means that often you must actively solicit support from your professors. Building good faculty relationships is key to your success in a graduate degree program. Of course, you must be careful not to overstep your boundaries as a student. Some guidelines can help you to make the most of your interactions with faculty during your program.

For many students, a Master's degree program is an opportunity to find a faculty mentor or advisor. A faculty member who takes an interest in your success can help and advise you in your future plans. He or she can help guide your research and serve as an advisor when you craft your thesis. The value of good student-faculty relationships in a graduate degree program should not be underestimated.

Of course, there are some protocols you must observe. For example, respecting the privacy of your professors is key to establishing a good relationship. Your professors are likely more than willing to spend time addressing your questions and concerns if you respect their office hours or schedule an appointment in advance.

Your professors have families and responsibilities as well. Frequently calling or emailing your professors after hours is inconsiderate, unless you have been given express permission to do so. If possible, restrict your emails and calls to normal working hours. Try not to call or email with questions or concerns over the weekend, as this is their time to get caught up on home and family responsibilities.

Social networking with your professors should be handled with care. It is possible that your professors do not want to establish online relationships with current students, as they may reserve social networking sites for communicating with friends and family. If you invite a professor to be your Facebook friend, for example, and he or she declines your request, do not be offended. It may simply be his or her personal policy for compartmentalizing work life and personal life.

If you do interact with your professors socially on sites such as Facebook, be respectful. Even if you have a great relationship with a professor, it is likely that he or she expects to be treated differently from a close friend. Do not post anything that will harm your professor's opinion of you. For example, excessive profanity or inappropriate subject matter in comments, photos, or videos are likely not a good choice for sharing on a social networking page that your professors can view.

Finally, never attempt to flatter your professor or behave obsequiously. Most professors see through such behavior and do not reward attempts to curry favor. Gifts are generally inappropriate, especially gifts of monetary value. If you would like to show appreciation for your professor during a special occasion, a homemade edible item, a card, or a group gift given by your department is a better idea.

Special Education Instruction

Advocating at school on behalf of children with autism can be so frustrating that it's like hitting your head against a brick wall. In fact, it's a glimpse into what it must be like to have autism...you know what you want to communicate, but you just can't seem to get your message through to the people who need to hear it. It is no wonder that people with autism often hit their heads against brick walls or with their fists out of sheer frustration, since one of their main difficulties is their communication skills.

Advocating is all about communicating for others who can't communicate their needs for themselves. Much of your frustration as an advocate can be alleviated if you gain the skills and the knowledge to be an effective advocate.

Knowledge is Power

First, advocates/parents need to be knowledgeable about the child's disability and how it affects their learning and well-being while they are at school. Since no child with autism is just like another child with autism, parents need to educate the school staff about the specifics of their child's autism.

For example, some children with autism seek out loud noises, while others are unable to tolerate loud noises. Some children may like specific types of noises like music or the sound of the toilet flushing, but can't tolerate loud noises like alarm bells or blenders. If the school staff are told facts like these about the child, they can put accommodations in place to prevent triggers that may cause a meltdown, or they can use sounds that the child likes as a reward for good work. This is just one example of how seemingly insignificant information can make a huge difference for a child with autism while he/she is at school.

Second, advocates need to be knowledgeable about the Education Act, especially the regulations which mandate the provision of special education programs and services. They should learn about their school district's Special Education Plan. They should also educate themselves on what the Human Rights Code has to say about the Duty to Accommodate students with disabilities.

And third, advocates need to learn how to advocate effectively. Verbal and written communication skills, negotiation skills, and documentation skills all come into play.

Prepare a Plan for Advocating

Write a vision statement - describe how you would like to see your child in the future...be realistic: "My child will be a contributing member of society, working and raising a family." or "My child will be living in a community group home where he will be happy and healthy and have the ability to participate in a variety of activities." Always remember that it's all about your child and his/her future. Put aside any personality conflicts that you might encounter along the advocacy journey and stay focused on the needs of your child.

Write a mission statement- your emotional commitment: "My mission is to obtain a good quality education for my child so that he will have a good life. I will master the information and skills required to be an effective advocate." Advocating for your child will be an emotional roller coaster. Sometimes you will feel as if you are making headway, and other times you will feel as if all your efforts are in vain. It is important to stay on course and stay focused.

Set goals for yourself as an advocate - set timelines for yourself to improve your knowledge in the various areas listed above, but don't become so consumed in advocating that you forget to live your life. Maintain a balance.

Prepare a Statement of Needs - write down everything you know about your child. Think about his/her likes, dislikes, strengths, interests, sensory issues, food issues, safety issues, social skills, communications skills, inappropriate behaviour, self-help skills, what causes melt downs, what motivates him/her, etc. This document will be shared with the school and updated by you every year.