Self-Advocacy Online Blog

"If You Want to Go to College, You Should Go!"

young woman with long brown hair smiling at camera. She is wearing a bright pink t-shirt and a dark blue jacket with glass studs on the shoulder. She has a hearing aid in her right ear and is standing outside on an over cast day with greenery in the background. The words on the image say Jean Hauff, Self-Advocacy Online, Institute on Community Integration, University of Minnesota.

Tell us about you, Jean

Hi, I’m Jean Hauff. I’m an intern at the Institute on Community Integration at the University of Minnesota.

Where did you go to college?

I went to Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA.

ornate letter d with red background. words duquesne university in blue

What was your major?

Multi-platform journalism.

How did you choose your major?

I chose my major because I liked my graphic design and music classes. I also like social media and video games.

How long did it take you to complete your major?

Two years.

middle age woman with short curly hair smiling. she is wearing tan shorts and a teal and brown pattern shirt. She is standing next to her daughter who has dark brown hair pulled in a pony tail. She is smiling at the camera and is wearing a pack pack and is wearing denim shorts and a whit t-shirts. They are standing next to a smiling man with gray hair and a mustache. He is wearing glasses, a dark suite and a maroon tie.

This is a photo of my mom, Mary Hauff, me, and the president of Duquesne University, Ken Gormley.

mid century college building with 4 stories, tan and gray. multi colored video game controller illustration floating over the building on the left side. Multi colored 8th notes floating on right side of building

This is College Hall, the building where I had my graphic design classes.

Where did you live?

Duquesne Towers dorm. I had a roommate. I liked my roommate.

What did you bring with you for the dorm?

Blanket, towel, water bottle, personal hygiene items, colorful lights, decorations, pillows, lamp, comfort items, and snacks.

two photos of beds with brightly colored quilts, one bed has a Dell computer with a large drink sitting on top of it. A third photo is of three identical tall buildings against a clear blue sky.

Here are photos of my dorm room and the building I lived in.

How was the food?

The food was good to eat. The Duquesne Union has some food for dinner, breakfast, and lunch. Sometimes we ate in our dorm room and sometimes we ate somewhere else. In the Union, they have Starbucks, and any drinks and snacks you might like.

My friends and I would get together and hang out at Millie’s Ice Cream. It was on the 2nd floor of the Student Union Lobby. In this picture I had cookie dough. But on Sundays it is ice cream day that means you can buy ice cream other places on campus or off campus.

Millie's Campus logo circle in pink with ice cream cone in the middle, bowl of cookie dough ice cream in paper bowl with plastic spoon, drawing of ice cream cone painted to look like chocolate
montage of four images, brightly colored football on trophy stand, photo of basketball stadium, photo of football field, words Go Dukes in red and purple

What did you do for fun?

Rachel, Megan, and Alivia are my friends. We went shopping together off campus. We could go to the basketball games or any game on campus too. In college, we could go to parties with lots of friends. We had fun and sang along the whole night long.

What would you tell other people with disabilities if they are thinking about going to college?

If you want to go to college, you should go! It’s important to get a job! Talk to your parents, your guidance counselor or your co-workers.

woman with short brown hair that is slightly curly with little strands of gray. She is smiling at the the cameral.

I interviewed my mom, Mary, about some of the questions SAO had about college

I always wanted to go to college, tell us more about that

You are a lifelong learner. You have always been curious and liked to explore. You grew up reading and going to museums and historical sites. We talked about what you wanted to do after high school. You wanted to continue your education and go to college. You have the same aspirations as your sisters.

How did we pay for college?

We applied for financial aid and scholarships for college. You were awarded two scholarships. You also had funding through Vocational Rehabilitation. The balance of your college expenses was paid through your savings and ABLE account.

Why is college so important?

College is a time for growth and maturation as a young adult. College provides more learning opportunities than in the classroom. Opportunities to learn about yourself, develop new friendships, and gain independence and responsibility. College is a time to learn and explore to find a career path based on personal strengths and interests.

I wanted to live away from home!

You were ready to move on campus and live in the dorm. FREEDOM! You liked the independence and responsibility of a college student.

But why do I need a textbook for college?

Most of your classes had required textbooks. Some were open-sourced textbooks online and other textbooks were purchased at the bookstore on campus. Some of the textbooks were hard to read and understand. You would read some of your textbooks with a peer mentor.

When I left for college how were you feeling?

Oh boy. A whole mix of feelings. Happy, excited, nervous, tears of joy, and a strong belief in your capabilities and desire for you to go to college. I was coaching, advising, and supporting you as you made the transition to college life on campus.