Those who follow this blog will know that I’m a recent high school graduate, which is a particularly big deal given my circumstances. Today I’m here to tell you what’s next for me. I’ve decided that I’m always going to keep looking for taller mountains to climb, and so I am now attending Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado and majoring in biology.
I’m currently living on campus by myself in a dorm room, though a big advantage of me attending CSU is that I’m so close to my home in the northern Denver area that I can fairly easily return home when I want to or need to, and I plan to do so at least every other weekend if not more often to help keep me grounded and less anxious.
I’ve occasionally joked with my mom that “I’m not learning impaired, I’m just existing impaired,” and because of this principle I do not predict that academics will be the most challenging part of college, but rather the most challenging part will be living and functioning independently. The good news is that I have a support network in place and in the past I have tended to function pretty well on my own. This first week I’ve remembered to eat at least one meal every day and I’ve only locked myself out of my room once, which I’m choosing to celebrate as small victories. Unfortunately I’ve also had difficulty with accommodations, and had an anxiety attack so bad one day that I couldn’t leave my room for almost the whole day, even to get food. But I’m still here, and I’ll just keep pushing forward.
I don’t have a room-mate so I can keep my space organized and set up the way I need it and I have a private place to retreat to and recover in. There’s an OT on campus that I’m connecting with as well. Most of my classes are online (labs are in-person), and I don’t think this will be a particularly academically taxing or difficult semester because I managed to avoid classes in my two biggest areas of weakness (advanced mathematics and literature). I am feeling pretty good that this first semester will go well.
Perhaps the most personalized item I brought with me is a board made by my mom and sister that reads “Quincy you are OK! XOXO Mom and Grace.” This is because one of the things I tend to do when I get anxious is script the question “am I ok?” When I repeat this question, it’s not because I’m looking for some piece of information I don’t have, it’s because I seek reassurance. I need to hear that everything is ok, that nothing bad is happening.
About a week back on my Facebook page I shared a graphic that basically said the same thing. So I decided I’ll reiterate that message in a blog post: if someone (particularly an anxious or autistic someone) scripts the same question over and over, even if you think you’ve already answered it, it’s because they’re seeking reassurance and not information. It’s a sign that in that moment you should be there for and with them, to help buoy them in the stormy sea of uncertainty that is the world.
Always wishing the best,