6 Things I Have Learned as a College Student on the Autism Spectrum


On December 15, 2017 my mom came to pick me up to take home for Winter Break, which is also the last time I’ll ever be at Franklin Pierce University as a student. Since I’ll be heading to a new school next semester, I thought it would be interesting to share (and honestly, healthy to reflect on) what I have learned so far as a college student who is on the autism spectrum.

1) Do not let anyone crush your energy.

In high school, a huge part of my personal experience was being told by kids and teachers alike that my dreams, energy, personality, and ambition were ridiculous and wouldn’t help me succeed in life. While there may be people like that in college, it is so much easier to pursue your interests. Focus on those instead because in the end, they will help you have a successful journey. Remember that you are enough!

2) Focus on the present and future.

The greatest thing about college is that it is an opportunity to move on from your past and begin a new journey. You can meet new people, learn new things and become the best version of yourself.

3) There are resources if you need them.

Like in high school, most colleges and universities have centers where you can receive therapy and counseling if you need it. From my personal experience, I can tell you the resources really helped. This differs from school to school, but do with the information what you will.

4) Get involved in campus activities.

Expanding upon #1, joining clubs and organizations is a great way to find people who share your interests and you can relate to. When I joined the student theatre company on campus, I not only made a few of my closest friends, but my fantasy of singing along to the entire “Hamilton” cast album while eating McDonald’s came true as well!

5) Your decisions are your decisions.

It is important to trust yourself in doing what is best for you, especially because now you’re an adult, you will be making a ton of tough decisions. Some people may laugh at them in an unsupportive and rude manner*. In the end, their opinions don’t matter, what you want for your future does.

*I seriously hope that doesn’t happen to you

6) Do not be afraid to stand up for yourself or ask for help.

Whether it’s a bad roommate or a professor who graded you unfairly, it is important to be able to speak up for yourself so you can have your best experience. There are people there to help you if you need it, so make sure you find them.

College, like life, is filled with ups and downs. It is not perfect, and it is up to you to make it your own and have a great experience. The newfound freedom can give you a chance to truly be who you want to be. I found a new energy and happiness the moment I arrived for move-in day, and that mentality paid off in having a great college experience and becoming a successful adult.

Getty image by Rawpixel.


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Autism Spectrum Disorder

What Everyone Should Know About Autism

Everyone should know… That autistics are born to be who they are for a reason. We are different; we simply have our own unique operating systems. We are not broken and do not need to be fixed. Autism affects everyone differently. There’s no such thing as being “a little autistic.” Either you are or you [...]
People Waiting At Bus Stop.

When I Step Outside My Door as an Autistic Adult

The world is a scary place for me as an autistic 40-year-old. When I step outside of the door of my house and walk to the bus stop, there are many scary things I have to be aware of. The dog with the bass woof that strains on his leash just close enough for me [...]
Couple with child talking to family counselor.

To the Parent of a Newly Diagnosed Autistic Child

Yup, I’m “that kid.” I’m the one that grew up having meltdowns in classrooms, receiving special services (and still do to this day), going through hours of therapy to try and make me somewhat “normal.” If you’re reading this article, you are probably: An autistic teenager or adult wanting to see someone else’s work A [...]

Why I Said I'm Sorry When You Told Me Your Child Was Diagnosed With Autism

A couple of months ago I was talking with an acquaintance. We hadn’t known each other for very long, but we had common interests and enjoyed each other’s company. She knew my son had an autism diagnosis, and she felt comfortable talking with me. She told me her son was just diagnosed as well. Before [...]