At the time of writing this, the air is hot and humid like the inside of an anime convention, but with a more pleasant smell of barbeques and sunscreen. Sadly, this means that the end of summer is approaching, meaning the return to school.
For some, the return is a welcome change from the sometimes lonely days of summer, but for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), the return to school is something some of us dread. As a person with ASD and a bachelor's degree in Geology from University of California, Riverside, I know some tips and tricks on how to survive the return to school whether you have ASD, or not.
1. Pay attention to your classes and surroundings: Be it high school or college, know where you are and the surrounding areas in order to find out what there is for food, fun and relaxation. More importantly, know how your teachers act. Find out their tics, their personalities and how nice they can be. Some can put up a strong front at first, but once you can tell them your situation, 9 times out of 10, they will totally understand your situation.
2. Friends: OH GOD! When it comes to making friends, there is no easy way to say this, you need to talk to people. Thankfully, there are easier ways to talk to others! Look for a club for any niche interest you have, talk to them and try them out. Don’t always leave at the first sign of trouble, but if you see the club is draining to your mental health, leave ASAP. Your mental health is paramount above all. It is better to be alone than in bad company.
3. Interfacing with your counselor: *Insert picture of electric chair here.* When it comes to talking with your counselor or academic advisor, go in with the mindset that they are there to help. Listen to their advice, but also go with your gut and mental health. I was told once that I needed to study eight hours a day, but I knew that was all just for show and to act tough. Focus on your goal and keep moving forward.
4. Pace yourself: Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Do what you can, but know your limits. You are not here to please everyone and everything and you are worth more than what you give others.
5. Goals: Make one. Try to make a light at the end of the tunnel. When you make it, you make another goal. This is something that I am still working on myself even out of school. Try to pace yourself, but also know that there will be a finish line and another race. Focus on the main quest before going onto side quests. Life isn’t like Skyrim, it is a game buggier and more pay to win than your average mobile game.
Use these tips and you will survive your next year at school!