Kurtzhals Encourages Students To Be Open about Accepting Academic Help

Courtney Milzarek

Kurt Kurtzhals, an education professor at Manchester University, struggled during the beginning of his college career for not having self-advocacy to get the help that he required. While graduating high school in the top 10 of his class, he went into college thinking he did not need the assistance that he used to need.

Professor Kurt tried to go along on his own, which caused him to fail a class during his first semester of college, making him want to drop out. After a few inspiring words from his mother, he became a self-advocate and took initiative to follow through on his existing Individualized Education Plan (IEP) which helped him graduate and become a professor at Manchester University teaching the course The Exceptional Learner.

Today, many students are afraid to stand up for themselves and get the help that they need to be successful throughout their college career. They are silently struggling because they are not self-advocates and will not take initiative to get the help that they need. Students at Manchester University are involved in each other’s lives either directly or indirectly. One may be oblivious to the fact that their peer is struggling.

According to Professor Kurt, students should take the class Education 212 throughout their college career to learn more about special education. Everyone has a vital role in special education their entire academic career--either directly or indirectly. That vital role does not change at the university level. We all must find a way to support each other in this special learning environment.

If a student was eligible for special services, accommodations or a full IEP in previous years, he or she may be eligible for similar services at Manchester. It takes courage to reach out and ask for help.

Professor Kurt states: “In EDUC-212 I want all students to understand the principles of special education so they can be successful classmates, colleagues, family members, future parents or caregivers, community members, and citizens.”

When a student is struggling, it may be completely oblivious to everyone else. That is why those who need help should not be afraid to become self-advocates. Getting help when you need it is a step to becoming your best self. As you become a self-advocate you will excel in ways that you may have deemed impossible, but help is out there especially here at Manchester University.

Professor Kurt struggled too during his college experience. Then after a very unsatisfactory outcome from thinking help was not needed, he wanted to drop out. After deciding to come back and get the help he needed, he exceled in his courses and ended up graduating college to become a teacher for special education.

Getting help is a part of life that everyone goes through. It takes courage and strength to admit when you need help, but there is nothing wrong with admitting it. Everyone struggles in their life; it is time to end that struggle and do something about it. Become a self-advocate, prove everyone wrong and reach your goals.