Archived: Speaking up, speaking out: self-advocacy

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Many people may think of an advocate as a lawyer, however we all have the potential to be self-advocates. When you speak up after your roommate leaves a huge mess in the kitchen after cooking dinner, or when you talk to an instructor about a disagreement on your assignment mark, these are opportunities to speak up, speak out, or self-advocate.

Before you march in to confront a situation, consider:

  • Body language & tone of voice: Take your emotional temperature and try toning it down. This means no finger pointing, raised voices, or eyebrows. Keep it neutral- no spices added to this recipe!
  • Work with your strengths: YOU are the expert on YOU! If you know you’re triggered to react with anger -bring with you a strategy to deal with this. This could be: stopping the conversation for a moment, taking a deep breath, or imagining a calm/quiet place in your mind.
  • Negotiate: Think about what you want. Now think about what the other person wants. Where could you both potentially agree? Consider finding a solution somewhere in the middle of what each of you want. Maybe a move from a “B” to an “A” won’t work. What about a B+? Be prepared to demonstrate how your assignment meets the B+ criteria if you choose this route.
  • Be ready to accept when it’s time to step back & re-think your approach: If you feel you’ve reached a wall—it is ok to step back and get some perspective. Don’t let the conversation get to the point of yelling.

Get more help with on-campus advocacy by visiting the Student Advocacy Coordinator: