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Hello everyone, welcome to my blog and today, I share my experiences when I made the life changing decision to go to University, which was the hardest thing I ever chose to do. Having Autism, I worried about it constantly, well I worried about everything because I assumed that because of what I had…I wouldn’t get very far because I wouldn’t talk to many people and would end up depressed and defeated but considering I graduated in 2014…I think it’s safe to say that I made it through and proved everyone wrong which is always a good thing!  I decided to go to University in 2011, just before the UK government raised up tuition fees but I wasn’t wanting to actually go at that time but with things getting more expensive, I made the decision to change plans and go to University now before I wouldn’t be able to afford it in the future.

It takes a lot to move away from home and move miles away, sometimes to other countries but for me…it was about 50 miles! Not that much but it was enough for me! I wanted to go further in all honesty but  It wasn’t all my choice sadly as options like transport were a little difficult but alas, I was happy still with my choice and thankfully, I had just got the marks I needed to get into my second choice University anyway…well I had the marks for my 1st choice one but like I said…transport.

I will write about all of my experiences at University and how they affected me, what I did when a situation came up and what I learned from my experiences. My Autism was a big factor in everything that I did, especially when it came to being social and all of my work. I felt like it was at the center of everything, it was very important but I feel that without it…I might have not wanted to go to University in the first place but I’m not here to speculate on what life would have been like if I didn’t have Autism, this is about my life at University and what my experiences were, maybe you can relate with what I went through.

I met others with Autism along the way and for some, they were fine with University, nothing really got to them and they were just fine which was always comforting to see but I obviously met many people who weren’t autistic and my interactions with them were most interesting.

I also have known people with Autism where University was just too much for them to handle and I can understand this because once or twice, I did consider packing it all in and ‘taking my ball and going home’ it was tempting, of course! Yet I survived 3 long years and got the degree that I craved! But what did I have to do to get through it all? When I was told I had Autism, I thought University was out of my reach, a impossible dream that I would never be able to reach, yet be able to handle… yet I was determined to go, I would have done whatever it took to get to one, to  succeed and prove them all wrong, my doubters… the looks of shock on faces made me keep going, it became a decade long obsession from when I was young that ultimately ended when I was victorious as I would get a 2:1 degree but it took so much out of me.

Along the way, I had many different experiences that changed me, made me become a different person for the better but some experiences were eye widening and made me realise that the world was a real place, not just something that you see on your TV or computer…stories that you read about on a daily basis can happen near you and sometimes, it was terrifying at times and with my Autism, I always found it quite difficult to cope and keep going.

Here are some of the major factors that I found time consuming and very stressful, the ones that took up most of my time and made me question if I should even be at University or not and I’ll probably talk about them all in more detail on separate blogs

  • Essays – These were really the big reason why many people get so stressed at University, because they define what degree you will more than likely walk out of University with so that makes them extremely important, which I was to find out the hard way in Year Two because you only need to pass in Year One the majority of the time but they all count in the second year so it’s a big wake up call and that can be a scary thing once that all starts and I remember feel so tense about it all because I became obsessed with getting a 2:1 on everything, anything bellow that would drive me insane
  • Stress– What doesn’t stress you out at University….making friends, getting good marks, managing your student finance and not spending it all on nights out or takeaways. What if no one wants to be your friend? What if you decide you don’t like night outs? What if University wasn’t what you thought it would be? It’s a lot to take in really because it’s all on your mind all the time. I can’t remember having many days where I was 100% relaxed and thought that everything was going to be ok! For me, a 2:2 was totally unacceptable, I thought my brain would explode if I got that mark, that it would have all been a huge waste of time, to the point that every mark, I got back…I read the feedback and emailed my tutors again and again asking for advice until I knew how to improve myself and gradually, my grades would improve to where I wanted them to be but the amount of stress I went through and obsessiveness was astounding if you ask me, how I didn’t end up in hospital because of it, I don’t know!
  • Being Social– Making friends in a new place isn’t always so straight forward as many people will tell you, sure many people can do this so easily but you will have others that just can’t make friends and prefer to isolate themselves in a room…I should know, I was able to get a short story published because of my experiences in my first year of University
  • Being Far From Home– I found it hard to move out and go to University because I would have to do everything for myself and be miles away from everyone I knew…what if something happened to me and I didn’t know anyone well enough? That played on my mind a lot but thankfully, I did make a few friends during my time at University who I still talk to today

Moving away from home can be very tricky at times, especially if you move a long way from it as well, like across the country. In this situation, it’s hard to always see your loved ones and friends and this can lead you to feel all alone, especially if you struggle to make new friends and prefer your own company.

In Part 2, I talk about Being Social at University.

Have a good day.

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