Learning How to Learn in College, Especially After a Brain Injury

The most successful students with TBI in college are those who know their strengths and weaknesses, how to ask for help when they need it, and how to put the focus on how to learn they can rather than how they can't.

See more video clips with Dr. Haarbauer-Krupa.

[Dr. Juliet Haarbauer-Krupa] A few years ago I went to a panel, and it was four college students who have had brain injuries, and it was done at a state association conference. It was the best panel I've ever went to because they were all enrolled in college. One of them had just graduated, and their message was you have to know yourself and go into college knowing yourself and what you need. All of them had access to disability services for that reason because then they felt there was someone who could be an advocate for them in the system. So I think knowing yourself and knowing how to access the services is very important. That's one way that will help you learn to approach because if you are working with a disability office, you actually have paperwork you can carry. So you don't have to necessarily explain it. You can give it to a professor and say, "I have this paperwork, and this is what I need," and then later as the semester progresses. Also, many professors either have teaching assistants or they themselves are open to talking to students about the content of their course. So going to professors and talking about the course content and how you can learn it would also be an avenue that's not so focused on what the challenges are for you but the fact that you want to learn this information. I think professors always appreciate that, so that's a good way to start a relationship— talking about "Oh, I didn't do so good on this quiz." Kids without any medical problems do the same thing, successful students I would say. So if you look at what successful students do, they're very engaged with their material. They attend study groups. They go to the professor when they don't do well on a quiz. Especially in the freshman year, a lot of kids have to learn how to learn in college.
Posted on BrainLine July 2, 2013.

Produced by Victoria Tilney McDonough, Justin Rhodes, and Lara Collins, BrainLine.