Thursday, February 28, 2013

AGHH! Childhood Anxiety

With STAAR testing only a month away, you may start to see changes in your child.  This is normal.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety can be a normal reaction to a tense situation or stress, that causes feelings of worry, fear, uneasiness or apprehension.  In general, anxiety can help one cope.  However, when anxiety becomes an excessive, irrational fear of everyday situations, it can become a disabling disorder (National Institute of Mental Health).

Fears and worries can be common and developmentally appropriate.  For example, infants tend to develop a fear of strangers.  Toddlers may fear darkness and separation from caregivers.  School age children tend to worry about injury, death, and natural disasters.  Older children may worry about school performance, social status and health issues (American Academy of child and Adolescent Psychiatry).

At times, worries can be functional.  For instance, if children did not worry about doing well, perhaps they would not learn or perform as effectively.  Mild worry can serve as a motivator, encouraging children to prepare and work hard.  A certain degree of worry can also serve as protection for children.  Fears of situations help them make good choices that keep them safe.

However, worries that persist, despite parents' efforts to provide reassurance, may lead to the development of an anxiety disorder, which may impair a child's daily functioning.

In understanding anxiety, it is important to consider the relationship between an event, beliefs or thoughts about this event, and feelings.  It's very easy to assume that an event determines one's feelings.  However, it is one's beliefs, or what he/she tells himself about the event that causes the feelings.  Also, it is important to understand that anxious individuals believe that bad things are very likely to happen to them.  For example if a parent is late coming home, an anxious child will tell himself/herself that the parent has definitely been in a car accident.  While yes, this is a possibility, the reality is probably unlikely.  Additionally, anxious individuals perceive the consequences of these feared events as catastrophic or intolerable.  For example, a child who is afraid of making mistakes views mistakes as the "end of the world" and perceives something terrible and unbearable happening as a result of his/her mistake.

Signs and Symptoms of Childhood Anxiety
Parents are usually the first to recognize their child's emotional or behavioral challenges.  As an initial step, it's important for parents to talk with their child about his/her feelings and worries.  A child with anxiety may talk about their worry, but typically, they do not realize the excessiveness or irrationality of the concern.  An anxious child may also complain of physical ailments such as headaches or stomaches.

It is critical for parents to understand that it is not parents' sole responsibility to "fix" their child's anxiety.  It's okay for parents to seek support.  Knowing when to seek professional help, as well as taking the first step to get help, can be a difficult decision for parents.

The American Academy of child and Adolescent Psychiatry encourages parents to seek support if their child exhibits the following:
  • marked decline in school performance;
  • poor grades despite strong effort;
  • increased activity level;
  • refusal to attend school, go to sleep, or participate in activities;
  • persistent disobedience, aggression, or unexplained temper tantrums.
Additionally, the Anxiety Disorders Association of America encourages parents to be vigilant of changes in a child's eating habits, relationships with family and friends, speech and language and other developmental milestones, as well as the appearance of regressive behaviors.

Seeking Professional Help
When seeking help, parents may want to start by consulting the child's pediatrician, since they are likely to be familiar with the child and someone the family trusts.  In seeking treatment, consider finding a specialist, someone who is trained to treat anxiety in children, and someone with whom the family is comfortable working.  There is no single treatment for anxiety.  Clinicians will formulate a specific plan for each child and family.

It's a Family Situation
Successful treatment depends on the investment of time and energy of all family members.  Parents must take an active role in a child's treatment.  Parents and the child together need to share the responsibility of practicing strategies that are learned during sessions.

Ideas to Try at Home
  • Deep Breathing: Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.  Blow away your worries.  Consider practicing deep breathing with bubbles.  This adds a visual component for children and bubbles have a "magical ability" to create smiles!
  • Muscle Relaxation: Tighten up muscle groups and slowly release them...head to toe.  Pretend you are a sponge soaking up water, and then squeezing it out!
  • Journal: Drawing or writing about feelings, thoughts, or worries helps children get their "heavy" feelings out of them and on to the paper.  Journaling may also help parents "tune in" to their children's worries and initiate helpful conversations.
  • Get Active or Exercise: Moving around helps children expend their "heavy" feelings.  Practice "shaking out" worries.
  • Create a Family Worry Box: Have family members write down their worries and "lock them away" in the worry box.  At the end of the week, have a family meeting to review the worries and how they were handled.  Focus on how your child coped with their worries.
 Additional Links

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Being Proactive in 2nd Grade

In second grade we read Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst.  In this story, Alexander blames everything and everyone for anything that goes wrong for him.  He keeps repeating that he wishes he could go to Australia to get away from his problems.

After reading the story, we began a discussion about being proactive vs. being reactive.
  • Was Alexander’s response to waking up, slipping on his skateboard and falling proactive or reactive?  What would’ve been a proactive response?
  • Was Alexander’s response to his friend, Paul deserts him to be his third best friend and there is no dessert in his lunch proactive or reactive?  What would’ve been a proactive response?
  • Was Alexander’s response Nick says he is a crybaby for crying, and Mom punishes him in the act of punching Nick proactive or reactive?  What would’ve been a proactive response?
Each student received a blank handout with two circles drawn on it.  We talked about the things in our lives that we have control over and wrote them in the center circle.  Then we talked about the things in our lives that we do not have control over and wrote them in the outer circle.  Students had many questions and "what-ifs" about this theory.

When we focus on what we can control, ourselves, then we take the steps to PAUSE (breathe and calm down), THINK (what are some way I can respond), and CHOOSE (pick a strategy that might work and see what happens).  When we focus on things we cannot control, everything else in the world, we become reactive and immediately respond - which usually results in a consequence.

We can't control how others respond to us.  We can't control how events unfold.  We can't control that whether a sibling breaks our toy, whether a traffic light turns red, or whether a new day dawns.  If we're honest, we'll admit that we can't control much.  If we're really honest, we'll admit that we enjoy control.  Knowing my limitations allows me to focus on the one thing I can control: my response.  Can I choose kindness?  Understanding?  Patience?  Can I model this for my students?  Can I talk them through the process of making good choices with what they can control? 

For example, let's say someone cuts in front of you in line.  We do not have control over their body.  We did not move them in front of us.  But we can control ourselves and how we respond to this situation.  First, we can pause and take a deep breath.  Then, we can think about ways to respond - ignore it, push them, give an "I Message", etc.  Finally, we decide what is the best choice for us and try it.

Each student received a card to remind them of the problem solving steps with the Australian flag on one side and the proactive steps on the other side.  Classrooms teachers have a small poster hanging in each of their rooms to remind students.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Warm Fuzzies & Cold Pricklies

In kindergarten we read the following story: 
Warm Fuzzies and Cold Pricklies

Once upon a time there was a village.  All of the people in the village got along very well.  There was kindness, love, compassion, and justice.  Every person in the village owned a special bag.  It was given to them by their parents at the age of 3.  Inside this bag were hundreds of warm fuzzies.  Warm fuzzies were soft, cuddly, cottony little puffs.  When you gave someone a warm fuzzy, they felt warm and fuzzy inside.  People in the village gave each other warm fuzzies anytime they wanted to let someone know they were loved.  When someone received a warm fuzzy, they put it in their bag.
One day, an evil sorceress came to town.  She saw that everyone was giving out these warm fuzzies from their bags and she didn’t like it.  She went up to one villager and said, “Why do you keep giving away your warm fuzzies?  Aren’t you afraid you’re going to run out?  Here, take this bag of cold pricklies and give these to the people in your village instead, and keep all your warm fuzzies for yourself.”  The villager took the bag because he believed the sorceress’ tale.  The next time he ran into a friend, he handed him one of the cold pricklies from his new bag.  A cold prickly made someone feel cold and prickly inside, like they were swallowing a pin cushion.  Soon all the villagers went to the sorceress and asked for their own bag of cold pricklies since they didn’t want to be the only people handing out warm fuzzies if everyone else was going to hand out cold pricklies.  Once you had a cold prickly, you wanted to give it away to someone else as fast as possible.
The sorceress was pleased.  Her plan was working perfectly.  Now the village was in a state of fear and panic.  Everyone started avoiding everyone else so they wouldn’t be given a cold prickly.  People hoarded their small supply of warm fuzzies and didn’t give them out to anyone anymore.  But no one was happy anymore either.
One day a prince arrived in town and almost immediately someone handed him a cold prickly from their bag.  The prince, recognizing the cold prickly, refused to take it.  The villager was surprised and tried again.  The prince handed the person a warm fuzzy from his bag.  The villager was surprised, and a little ashamed that he had tried to give this warm prince a cold prickly and instead received a warm fuzzy. 
The prince addressed the crowd and said, “Why do you give each other cold pricklies?”  One villager said, “Why should we give away all of our warm fuzzies?  Shouldn’t we keep them for ourselves?”  Other villagers agreed.  But the prince said, “Every time you give away a warm fuzzy a new one is created in your own bag.  Don’t you see?  The more you give away, the more you will have.”
To demonstrate, the prince had everyone put down their bag of cold pricklies and retrieve their bag of warm fuzzies from their homes.  He asked everyone to take out a warm fuzzy from their bag and hand it to a neighbor.  This they did, but warily.  Then the prince told them to notice that they all still had the same amount of warm fuzzies in their bags as before.  People started giving away more warm fuzzies and noticed their bag was never empty.  There were indeed enough warm fuzzies for everyone.
The sorceress was very upset and tried to interrupt the prince and get everyone to give out cold pricklies again.  But the villagers didn’t want to listen anymore.  They threw all their bags of cold pricklies into a wagon, set the sorceress inside it, and sent her out of town. 
The villagers realized they’d learned a valuable lesson:
“When you give someone a warm fuzzy, they in turn will give it to someone else.  Eventually, it will come back around to you.”

To help them connect to the story, we brainstormed a list of what actions we do that make others feel warm & fuzzy and what actions we do that make others feel cold & prickly.  Then I gave each of them a warm fuzzy to keep in their pocket or their shoe to help remind them how to treat others throughout the day.


Friday, February 22, 2013

Thankful for my Lee Family

I want to thank my students, faculty, and families at Lee for all the ways you made me feel so special and appreciated during Counselor Appreciation Week.  I was surrounded with love and I will cherish these moments forever!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Counselor Appreciation Week

In celebration of Counselor Appreciation Week, I would like to help others gain a greater understanding of a school counselor's role.  Many people are curious about the school counselor's position,  and while each day is diferent, I want to give you an overview of my comprehensive elementary counseling program at Lee Elementary and the services that I offer to both our students and families.

How Do Elementary School Counselor's Help?

My main role is to help each student by serving as a child advocate.  It is during elementary school, when students begin to develop their academic self-concept and their feelings of competence and confidence as learners.  Children at this age are beginning to develop a sense of self and confidence in their abilities.  They are also building decision-making, communication and life skills, as well as acquiring attitudes toward school, work habits, peers, social groups and family.  These different aspects of a child's life begin to develop in the elementary years and serve as the foundation for future success in adulthood.

My goal is to foster this growth by creating and implementing a comprehensive developmental school counseling program which enhances the knowledge, attitudes and skills that your child acquires in the areas of academic, personal, social, and career development.  I offer several services to our students and families in order to reach these various developmental milestones.  I also aid with schoolwide initiatives to foster a sense of school community. 

Are Elementary Counselors in the Classroom?

YES!  I visit each classroom in our school, K-6, every other week.  Throughout the school year I present classroom lessons focusing on some of the following developmental issues: initiating and maintaining friendships, appreciating/celebrating diversity, stress management strategies, conflict resolution strategies, enhancing self-confidence and self-awareness, expressing feelings, empathy development, goal setting, and any other needs that students/teachers have.  Through developmental lessons, students being to comprehend and attain coping, social, problem-solving, and conlict resolution skills.

What Topics/Issues do Elementary Counselors See in Counseling?

I am present for each student in every single classroom and I'm also available to students in a more private setting.  I work with students in individual counseling or in small group counseling.  Individual concerns regarding home, school, or peer issues, may be discussed with the school counselor.  Common topics include: peer issues/conflict, worries, time-management, grief, family changes, transitions, and social skills.  I also offer groups on friendship skills, social skills, grief & loss, etc.  Counseling groups vary and are conducted according to my students needs.

How Can a Child See the Counselor?

I teach students how to self-refer at the start of each school year.  Students often refer themselves to me by completing a form in their classroom or by speaking with me or their teacher.  A concerned parent, peer, or teacher may also refer a student to me if they have a specific concern.  I often meet with students during lunch or recess to not interrupt their academics.  Your child is not in trouble when they come to visit with me, they often enjoy signing up for an informal sharing session.

Do Counselors Work With Families?

One of the most important roles of a school counselor is collaboration.  I believe strongly in working cooperatively with all the key players in our students' lives, specifically, parents and school staff.  I pride myself on the relationships that I develop with both students and their families.  I am available to meet with parents as needed, and I'm often invited to participate in parent/teacher conferences, eCST meetings, 504 meetings, and ARD meetings.  I am also available to meet with you privately regarding any parental concerns.

Additionally, I'm available to you as a resource.  I understand that parents need information and support with the challenging job of raising children.  Therefore, I try to provide our families with information on topics that are pertinent to what they may be experiencing with their child.  I do this via this blog and letters I send home schoolwide.

I encourage you to call me with any questions or concerns you may have and I hope that you have found this information helpful in understanding my role at school.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Staying Safe Online

Depending on how you see it, technology can be amazing and helpful, enhancing our learning and imagination. Or, it can be viewed as potentially dangerous and blamed for robbing society of "good old fashion" family fun and togetherness.  However, if integrated into your family life appropriately and in moderation, technology can be enjoyable and beneficial without hindering your family's time together or the ability to communicate effectively.

Let's face it, you can't shelter your child from the technology of today's world, nor should you want to, for fear of them falling behind the "technological learning curve."  It is possible for you and your family to be technologically savvy AND safe.  Parental awareness, understanding, education, and involvement are critical to your child's technology and online safety.  The following are some tips to help "safeguard" your family:

  • Experience technology as a family so that your children can observe and understand responsible usage.

  • Require all technology and media devices be used in common areas where you are readily able to observe.

  • Be "technology literate" so that you "keep up" with your children and understand the newest gadgets.

  • Bookmark your children's favorite websites for easy online access.

  • If you permit your child to use email, create shared family accounts that are always accessible to you.

  • Forbid your children from sharing personal information and pictures online.  Explain that the internet is not a place to meet new friends.

  • If your child reports anything that makes them uncomfortable, talk with your child about the situation.  If necessary, take the appropriate action.

  • Enforce the rule that media/technology usage is a privilege and if not used responsibly, this privilege will be suspended.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Austin ISD Parent Survey

As the District continues to strive for excellence in preparing our students for academic success, we encourage parents to offer feedback on the 2012-13 school year by completing the AISD Parent Survey .Your opinions are important and will be taken into consideration as we strive to serve our students better.

Within the next few weeks, you will receive a survey about your child’s school. 

As an alternative, the survey also will be available on the district’s website:
Please note that your responses to the survey items are completely anonymous.

Once available, the results of our survey will be distributed to campus principals, district administrators, as well as the Board of Trustees. Our community can also view the results when the reports are posted to the AISD website this spring.

If you have any questions or concerns about the survey, you may contact the AISD Department of Research and Evaluation at 512-414-1724.

Thank you for taking the time to help us understand our strengths and opportunities for improvement. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

101 Ways to Pay for College

College Planning

1.  If you are a high school senior, apply to multiple schools so that you have several financial aid offers to compare.

2.  Take a look at colleges that are close to your home, or close to a relative you can stay with. If you can commute to school, you won’t have to pay for room and board.

3.  Carefully plan your school application and college testing expenses – they can add up!

4.  If able, take Advanced Placement tests while in high school to obtain college credit. Any credits you receive could enable you to graduate early, which would save you money in tuition!

5.  Your high school may have a program with a local community college that will allow you to take “dual credit” classes.

6.  See if your school has a tuition payment plan available.

7.  Consider attending a community college while you decide on your college major and save money to attend a 4-year school.

8.  If you are planning to attend a public school, consider attending one in the state you live in, to take advantage of lower tuition charges available to in-state students.

9.  Select your college dorm carefully. Some dorms may cost more because they are newer, or have additional facility/recreation fees attached.

10. Select your campus meal plan carefully. If you use up your meal credits early, you will have to purchase additional credits. Most plans do not let you roll over unused credits to the next school year.

11. Select your college major carefully. You’ll want to research future career options and salary expectations to make sure you will be able to afford to repay your student loan debt.

12. If you are interested in joining the ROTC or the military, you may be able to have all or part of your college education paid for.

Apply for Financial Aid

13. Fill out the FAFSA (Federal Application for Federal Student Aid) every year at to qualify for financial aid.

14. Once you fill out the FAFSA, your school will send you an award letter with your financial aid package.

15. If your family’s financial situation changes after you’ve already submitted your FAFSA information (i.e. job loss, medical emergency) work with your school’s financial aid office to see if you can obtain increased financial aid.

Get Free College Grants

16. College grants are free – you don’t have to pay them back! Once you fill out the FAFSA, you are automatically in the running for federal and most state grants based on the financial information that you entered.

17. If you are a graduate student, ask your financial aid office if there are non-need based grants available for your field of study (sometimes called fellowships).

Apply for College Scholarships

18. If you are lucky, your school may award you with an athletic or academic scholarship. These types of scholarships often cover all 4 years!

19. Ask your financial aid office if there are college scholarships available for your field of study, heritage, community, or hobbies.

20. Ask your department (i.e. English, Science, Business) if there are scholarships available for your major. Your dean or professor may know about these scholarships, too.

21. Look for college scholarships from your workplace, church, community, and organizations that you are involved with.

22. Start a college scholarship search on the web with sites like Fastweb. Your personal profile that you set up will help you find scholarships that match your profile.

Borrow Student Loans

23. The Federal Stafford Loan is a low-cost student loan, backed by the federal government. Your award letter will show how much you are eligible to borrow every year, or you can do additional research here.

24. Graduate students can use the Federal Grad PLUS Loan , to supplement Stafford Loan funds.

25. If you have maximized free money and federal loan options, consider using a private student loan to pay for college.

Save Money on College Textbooks

26. Purchase used college textbooks at the college bookstore. Just make sure you get in line early – used textbooks get sold quickly.

27. Look for new or used college textbooks online on sites like Ebay or Amazon. If you are able to find the majority of your textbooks with one vendor, you might qualify for free shipping or a volume discount.

28. You can download certain popular textbooks for free from websites like Freeload Press.

29. If you’re strapped for cash, ask your professor if you can use a previous edition of the textbook (older editions are usually less expensive).

30. If you don’t need your textbooks once you’re done with them, sell them back to the bookstore or on sites like Amazon or Ebay.

Make Extra Money

31. If you were awarded federal work-study on your award letter, you can earn extra money by working at your school or in your local community.

32. If you were not awarded federal work-study money, ask your financial aid office if you can get on a waiting list in case there is an opening.

33. Get a paid college internship. Many degree programs now require an internship to fulfill graduation requirements, but you’ll probably have to work harder to find one that pays.

34. Ask your favorite professor if he/she needs an assistant.

35. Look for part-time student jobs in your campus newspaper, on campus bulletin boards or in your college’s student activity office.

36. Apply for part-time work at local businesses or restaurants.

37. Ask friends and family if you can intern at their workplace.

38. Start up a baby-sitting, pet-sitting or house-sitting business that you can run in your spare time.

39. Find a summer job at a camp or local business .

40. Sign up with your school or a local company to become a tutor. You may be able to make even more money by starting your own tutoring business.

41. Creating websites is a lucrative part-time job for many students.

42. Start your own business in your local community or online (just think Michael Dell).

43. If you are majoring in photography, consider working as a wedding or portrait photographer in your free time. Your school may also hire student photographers to work at athletic games and school functions.

44. Your school may hire students to work during athletic events.

45. If you have school spirit, get hired by your school to give tours or allow a prospective high school student to live with you for the weekend.

Reduce your College Expenses

46. Work with a college advisor to make sure that you are taking the appropriate classes to fulfill your major and graduation requirements on time.

47. Look for student travel deals on sites like StudentUniverse or STA Travel.

48. Use student flight deals offered by airlines, like AirTran.

49. If you will be flying extensively, sign up for a frequent flier program to earn free flights.

50. Purchase your computer, software and accessories through a student discount program from Dell, Apple, HP or Microsoft.

51. Use free campus transportation whenever possible.

52. Split your campus parking pass with a friend, and share the cost. If you don’t want to buy a parking pass, consider parking off-campus.

53. Walk, bike or skate to school.

54. Carpool to school or work with a friend or roommate.

Manage Your Living Expenses

55. Rent or dorm fees are generally the second highest education expense, after tuition. Shop around to find college apartment move-in specials for college students.

56. Find roommates to split your living expenses.

57. Consider doing without, or reducing, monthly expenses like cable, telephone and entertainment expenses.

58. Buy used furniture on Craigslist or through campus newspaper ads.

59. Purchase student discount cards, or look for student discounts at local restaurants and businesses.

60. Reduce food expenses by cooking more at home, instead of eating out.

61. You may be able to get free room and board by signing up to be a dorm monitor or resident assistant.

62. Some college apartment complexes provide free or discounted rent for students who refer other tenants to the building.

63. Join your family’s cell phone plan (it’s usually cheaper than getting your own). Check your account frequently online or on your phone to make sure you don’t go over your allotted minutes or text messages.

64. Use free websites like Facebook or Flickr to communicate with friends and family, and share pictures for free.

65. Communicate using inexpensive or free internet calling services, like Skype. You can also talk for free on some instant messengers, like MSN, if both parties use headsets or microphones.

66. Start using coupons at the grocery store, local restaurants or department stores.

67. Bring your own snacks to class, so you won’t be tempted to buy anything from the vending machine or cafeteria.

68. Some campuses have free Wi-Fi. Check to see if it’s in a convenient location to avoid paying for internet.

69. Look for free events happening on campus, like movie screenings, rather than going to the movie theater.

70. Never turn down free food around campus (club meetings, events, etc).

71. Ask about free student checking and savings account at local banks.

Debt Management

72. Use cash or student loans to purchase textbooks, food and other college expenses instead of a credit card.

73. If you need a credit card, make sure you get one with no annual fee and a low interest rate.

74. Save money in interest by paying more than the minimum on your credit card.

75. Save big money by paying the interest on your unsubsidized student loans every month while you are in school, if you are able.

Gift Ideas

76. Send your family and friends your high school graduation invitations, along with a letter explaining your college intentions. They may just send you contributions to your college fund.

77. Ask family and friends to contribute to your 529 College Savings Plan or another type of college saving account in lieu of birthday or holiday gifts.

78. Ask family and friends to donate furniture for your apartment or dorm room.

79. Ask a relative to give you a loan, that you will pay back with interest. Make sure you draw up the appropriate paperwork to protect both parties.

80. If your relatives are about to get a new computer, ask if they will give you their old one!


81. Pay for all or part of college expenses with your personal cash or savings.

82. Create a 529 College Savings Plan for your child’s education.

83. Some states will allow you to lock in today’s tuition prices through a 529 Pre-paid Tuition Plan.

84. Help your student find and apply for college scholarships.

85. Ask your employer if they offer scholarships for employees’ children.

86. Take out a Federal PLUS Loan in your name to help pay for your child’s education.

87. Help your child obtain a private student loan by co-signing.

88. If you have a lot of unnecessary items around the house, consider holding a garage sale or selling items on Ebay and using the funds for your child’s education fund. Also, many household items can be donated to charity, which would save you money on taxes that you can then use to help pay for your child’s education.

89. Help your student create a budget and stick to it.

90. Many parents have to reduce their monthly expenses while their child is in college, in order to have enough left over to pay their child’s food and living expenses while he/she is in college.

91. Purchase airfare for your child to come home well in advance to save money in travel costs.

92. Mail your student care packages with food and study supplies to help reduce spending needs. Weigh the cost of mailing a grocery gift card rather than mailing food items; it’s probably much cheaper to send a gift card than a heavy package.

93. If your student needs a credit card, consider adding him/her to one of your accounts. Chances are your card’s interest rates are better than what he/she could qualify for, and you can keep an eye on college spending.

94. If you are paying for college expenses, make sure you look into all of the tax deductions available to you.

After College

95. Sign up for the Peace Corps, Americorps, or similar volunteer organization after college. In exchange for your service, you may receive money towards your student loan debt.

96. If you work in a public service job for 10 years while making payments on your student loans, the government will forgive the rest of your student loan debt. To receive this benefit, your loans must be consolidated into a Direct Loan held by the Department of Education while you make payments, so consider consolidating as soon as you leave school and your grace period expires.

97. Consider working for an employer in the private field that offers student loan payoff as an employee benefit.

98. See if your occupation has jobs that qualify you for loan forgiveness in exchange for a certain number of years in public service (Ex. teacher, physician, nurse, lawyer).

99. Live at home after college. You can use the money you save in rent and expenses can help pay off your student loans.

100.            Paying more than the minimum on your student loans will reduce the amount you will pay in interest, and pay the loans off faster.

101.            Use your student loan interest as a tax deduction every year, if you qualify.