We talked to a current undergraduate student with autism about his experiences at Durham University. Studying Maths, he attended the ASC Induction Program and lived in college during his first year. He has these hints and tips to share with you….
How did you feel about going to university before you arrived? What were you excited about and what were you worried about?
“Towards the end of the long summer after college, I was eager to start university. The excitement of going far away to study my favourite subject while getting to know new people felt good. It was only a couple of days prior to leaving home, was when I worried about the possibility of not meeting like minded people and failing to properly organise my work and social life. Fortunately, the worry didn’t linger after I met some nice people at the Autism Induction Programme.
Did you attend the Autism Induction Program (arriving earlier than main Induction Program)? Was this helpful?
“It was refreshing to meet other people with autism, because as diverse of a condition it is, there were many with whom I could relate with, and it certainly put me at ease before freshers properly began.
In terms of the departmental help on the programme, there was lots of very helpful information that I was told about. Whether it was how to access help or who to contact in a particular situation, no stone was left unturned. When the program finished, I came out feeling comfortable with everything and confident about starting.”
What were your experiences of the main Induction Week (Freshers Week) at the beginning of the first term?
“While freshers was good for breaking the ice with people at college, it was the other events after freshers that left their mark more.”
What is your experience of using Disability Support?
“My experience of Disability Support is really good – they are really supportive, and I have benefited hugely from their guidance.”
Did you apply for Disabled Students Allowance (DSA)? Was the process easy? Did you find the support funded by DSA useful?
“I did apply, and the lengthy paperwork was worth it. The support has certainly been useful and it has made university life easier because I am able to be more organised now. Also, the mentoring has been excellent.”
What is your experience of college life? Was it what you expected?
“College is a perfect environment for making friends who are not on your course. Eating together and going to events with others from your college is what makes university life fun.”
Is this anything that continues to be difficult at university?
“”Juggling work and social events continues to be challenging, but I am sure it will get better.”
If you could name just one or two things, what has made your university experience easier?
“Dining with everyone at college has made things easier, because if I have had a tough day, chatting with my friends makes it good.”