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

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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.

Originally published: April 5, 2023
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