This week marked the start of my second year of college, and even though I had a year under my belt, I was still anxious. Getting used to a routine is difficult for anyone, but for an autistic person like myself, it’s even harder. Even people without autism struggle with getting used to a new environment, so I thought I’d share some beneficial advice to reassure you that things will be fine.
In reality, I could sit here for hours writing out all the advice I’ve ever had about college. I could have this blog post looking like a college assignment if I really wanted, but that wouldn’t be fun for anyone. So, for the sake of keeping this interesting, I’ve decided to stick to the top five pieces of advice that will help make your introduction to college so much easier.
Take advantage of the cooling off period
I’m not sure whether this is something all college’s offer, but the college I attend have a cooling off period. This gives students a few weeks to get used to their course, and allows them to change their mind if the course they’ve chosen isn’t what they thought it was. Some people put it off, but it’s best to do it as soon as you know something’s wrong, or you’ll forget completely and end up resenting the course because you’re stuck with it.
Besides, further education gives you a chance to study something you enjoy, so don’t stay quiet to keep other people happy. It’s so worth keeping this in mind to make the last few years of free education wisely.
Talk to your tutor or a lecturer if you’re overwhelmed with the workload
As amazing as lecturers and your tutor will be, they can’t read your mind. If you don’t tell them what’s going on, there’s no way they’ll be able to help you with the problems you’re having. This is something I had to learn the hard way during my first year, so please don’t go down the same route I did. Some of the things they might be able to offer include extensions on deadlines or further explanation of the part of your assignment that you don’t understand.
Your tutor is there to help you with anything that might make it difficult for you to access college, which might include time management issues. You could discuss these issues with your tutor, who can help you with organising and prioritising your work. If they feel you are really struggling, they may even refer you onto other services, like learning support, who can offer more support if you need it.
If you’re not the confrontational type, why not give me organisation tips post a read? I also have a revision tips post if you’re doing an exam-based course at college that might be worth checking out.
Use long breaks for studying/starting assignments.
I can’t tell you how many times people gave me this advice last year. I also can’t tell you how many times I ignored it, and spent my breaks with friends instead of working on assignments. The only time I’d realise how much I regretted it was when I had deadlines approaching and a lot of work to do, and I’d easily forget it the next time an assignment rolled around. However, it’s something I’ve gotten better at and will continue with through my second year, as it means I have more free time once at home and feel more relaxed around college in general.
Obviously there are always extremes that can be taken with this, so do remember that you need a break sometimes. If you have a half an hour break and you haven’t eaten, prioritise that. No lecturer wants you fainting halfway through a lesson because you’ve forgotten to eat.
Strike a good work/life balance
While college is important, it’s also important for you to take time for yourself to relax, and put college to the back of your mind. Whether it be for an hour, or an entire day, take some time to engage in self-care activities. Equally, don’t think you can leave college at college, especially when assignments are mounting up. Playing video games and watching Netflix is fun, but realising you’ve missed a deadline and can’t get an extension is not. It’ll be hard to strike a balance at first, but trust me, it’s so worth it. You’ll thank me for this advice eventually.
Most of all, keep at it
A lot of people underestimate how difficult college is. Some people are more resilient than others, but the process of settling in and keeping on top of assignments can be stressful. However, as time goes on and you get used to the routine, the stress will become more manageable and if you love what you’re doing, you won’t regret it. Trust me, seeing the certificates at the end of your courses will make it all worth it.
Is there any more advice you think should be on this list? Have you been at college for a few weeks and find that the advice I’ve given has been beneficial to you? I’d love to hear from you below.
Thank you for reading, and until next time,
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