College can often be quite a difficult transition for those on the autism spectrum and of course for any student going through the same. There are so many new challenges, new people, and a whole new change of lifestyle to get familair with. But when you have autism, the adaption to college can be a full-bown nightmare.
Here, I'll be giving my personal tips and advice which should make your College life a little easier. These tips are great for any student going or specifically those with autism...
Stick to a familiar routine
We're all aware of those struggles when the holidays are over and it's time to get back into that routine. It's a change of getting used to and over a few days you will get back into the swing of things of course. Routine is a very important one for me personally. I dislike change and whenever my routine changes, that's when sparks fly and I get irritable so my mood changes dramatically.
A few days before I return to College after weeks off during the holidays, I make sure I try going bed earlier than usual the few days before it starts. This should help get you familar and back into a structure which you will get used to. You should then feel a lot better in yourself as well.
The past few days recently has been a nightmare for me when I've been getting back into the swing of everything. All of a sudden my attitude towards College changed and I was thinking of giving it all up completely. Then, I realised when things are going smoothly, I feel better agin. The first few days are the toughgest for most of us with autism.
Allow yourself breaks every so often
This is what I need to do more when my brain becomes too jumbled and it's on the near brink of shutting down. I'm always in front of a Computer screen when I'm at college so if I'm starring at the screen for too long, my eyes start to ache and I become irritable.
Ask your tutor or teacher if you can have a 10 minute break from what you're doing if necessary. Go have a wonder around or go grab a drink in the canteen. It really does make a huge difference. You'll come back feeling fresh and ready to get back to work.
Make use of your College planner and stay organised
If you ever feel like your head is about to explode with an overload of information, use your College planner or go buy one from a shop. Organising everything will make hell of a difference. Keeping everything jotted down will help you stay organised and you can refer back to anything whenever you need to if you ever get in a muddle because you've forgotten what your tutor tells you. But try not to overload yourself with major amounts of writing to do. All you need to remember is the most important things.
Make use of the help around you
The worse thing I have ever done when I'm at College is not asking for help when you're stuck with something. Learner support assistants are around you for a reason and you should use the free support offered. Don't leave yoursef in a pickle over something, find help and use it.
I used to be afraid to ask for help because I would get too embarrassed and I'd fear I'll get judged. Starting to ask for help is the best thing I've ever done. Anything big or small, don't be afraid to ask for some help.
Find a quiet room or safe place
If you don't have many friends and find it difficult to socialise or even if you're feeling stress, go find youself a quiet room and free youself from anything that's annoying you.
I like to have a safe place at College, if I want to be on my own, I'll go find an empty classroom to eat much lunch in or catch up with any work I need to do. Eating your lunch in a toilet cubical because you've got nowhere to hide is not healthy nor ideal (That's what I did once when I first started College) Taking yourself away from what's going on around you will make a massive difference. Always make time for youself and if you need to chill, then do it!