Starting university tomorrow

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.

Starting university tomorrow

Postby Perry » Fri Sep 21, 2012 9:33 pm

Hi DhammaWheel people - I'm moving into my university dormitory tomorrow and I must say I am terrified...

I have a very mild case of Asperger's which means I'm "normal" from the outside but socialising and holding conversations is actually extremely difficult for me, to the point that I became a near-hermit in my teenage years.

I've improved but those years in hiding set me back a lot, which is why even though I live a commutable distance from the university, I opted to stay in halls, seeing it as a way of facing my fear head-on and actually improving this side of me.

My main issues going into it are that I feel that maybe I'm too old to be going into a uni dormitory. I'm 22 years old but my aforementioned issues made doing such a thing impossible until now. I'm very shy at first which puts people off, I have no interest in getting wasted listening to awful music in clubs. My height (6'4") and the fact I'm very big-built which means I "stick out" somewhat compared to most people, and it can both make people uneasy and uncomfortable (maybe I'm being paranoid), and also magnifies my social discomfort - trust me "6'4", 18 stone wallflower" is not a great look!

Anyway, I'm biting the bullet and going for it but I cannot deny that I'm not very nervous about tomorrow as there are so many question-marks around it! I've increased my meditation this week in the hope that it calms me down, especially as mindfulness of breathing before bed helps my sleeping considerably.

I suppose I'm posting this to ask if anybody has any ideas to help comfort me, or just perhaps some words to remind me that I'm perhaps doing right the thing?

Thanks :)
User avatar
Perry
 
Posts: 130
Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 4:59 pm
Location: Stevenage, UK

Re: Starting university tomorrow

Postby Ben » Fri Sep 21, 2012 9:46 pm

Greetings Perry,

You won't be the first person with aspergers to join a university dorm - that is for sure. You seem to have a depth of insight into your own condition and that will help you enormously. Its also worth remembering that everyone is a little bit different. The vast majority of people, even those who appear confident, do have things which they are insecure or uncomfortable about. In fact, in my experience, it is the very confident who are the most insecure.
It might be worthwhile identifying and befriending others who appear a little different (shy or not interested in getting plastered at parties, etc) at the same dormitory or university for mutual support and friendship. Don't forget your daily practice which will be a great aid to assist you. Lastly, if you have access to cheap or free student health services it will be beneficial to make a regular appointment with a counsellor. If nothing else - it will give you an objective person to talk to. Which I am sure you already know.
Wishing you the very best for a productive and happy year at uni.
kind regards,

Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Hereclitus


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
User avatar
Ben
Site Admin
 
Posts: 16069
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: Land of the sleeping gods

Re: Starting university tomorrow

Postby Sam Vara » Fri Sep 21, 2012 9:59 pm

Hi Perry,

I can't add anything to Ben's excellent advice, but would just like to say two things. First, that times of transition make everyone anxious, and almost everyone gets things wrong and feels awkward when they are in a new situation. They may not look like they do, but they probably feel it underneath. Think of self-consciousness as a form of self-awareness, and trust in the Dhamma.

The second thing I would like to say is that I wish you all the very best. I really hope you will make a great success, and be happy as you make this new step in your life.

I just noticed that you come from very near my birthplace. Can you say what Uni you are going to?
User avatar
Sam Vara
 
Posts: 964
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:42 pm

Re: Starting university tomorrow

Postby David N. Snyder » Fri Sep 21, 2012 11:21 pm

Hi Perry,

Just want to say best of luck and hope it all works out good. Give it the full shot, but if it becomes too troublesome, better to commute and still finish the university program than to stay at the dorm with studies faltering and then not finishing. I'm not saying that will happen and I hope it doesn't, but just in case. A university education opens up too many opportunities; something not to miss if you can.
User avatar
David N. Snyder
Site Admin
 
Posts: 8041
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Re: Starting university tomorrow

Postby santa100 » Sat Sep 22, 2012 12:00 am

Follow all the excellent advises above and don't forget to greet your new dorm mates and new friends with a warm heart and a friendly smile, you will receive plenty back. Enjoy and good luck..
santa100
 
Posts: 1522
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:55 pm

Re: Starting university tomorrow

Postby Perry » Sat Sep 22, 2012 1:53 am

Thanks very much for the help and advice you've offered. You're right I won't be the only person with AS, and I must admit that behind all my nerves there is a little bit of excitement about what this could do for me potentially.

To be honest, I've not entirely convinced that I ever had Asperger's in the first place. I was diagnosed at the six years old but I've never really felt like I've had any issues apart from being painfully shy. I do sometimes wonder if that was all it was: I was nothing more than a shy, introverted child raised in a culture that feels the need to label those who aren't entirely "normal" - very much a square peg forced into a round hole. This caused me to be lax with regard to improving my social skills and mixing with others because I believed that due to AS my lack of social skills were "irreversible" and I didn't put effort in to improve this side of my personality. I allowed it to get on top of me and I rarely left my bedroom, allowed my grades to decline and failed all but two of my GCSE's. In the four years since I took my GCSE exams I have built up my grades to a level acceptable for university admission and my people skills have improved immensely, even if there is still a lot of improvement needed.

I think if I can socialise well tomorrow and get friendly with people I will immediately be extremely excited about my time there - indeed my nerves are not about going to university per se, but more specifically about tomorrow and Sunday and how I'll do.

Anyway, as I said, thanks very much, reading your responses is helping ease my nerves a lot and also very helpfully guiding how to act and what to do. Hopefully I'll find some Buddhists there as well, however there doesn't appear to an actual Buddhist society.

Thanks again everyone - I'll let you know how tomorrow goes! :anjali:

And to Sam Vara - I'm staying at the local university so I can live in halls but home is only a stone's throw away if I ever feel the need to see family and old friends, so I'm attending the University of Hertfordshire in Hatfield. :smile:
User avatar
Perry
 
Posts: 130
Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 4:59 pm
Location: Stevenage, UK

Re: Starting university tomorrow

Postby Sam Vara » Sat Sep 22, 2012 6:36 pm

And to Sam Vara - I'm staying at the local university so I can live in halls but home is only a stone's throw away if I ever feel the need to see family and old friends, so I'm attending the University of Hertfordshire in Hatfield.


Ah, yes, I knew it when it was Hatfield Poly, so that shows how old I am!

Have a really great time, and don't forget to let us all know how it goes.

Best wishes.
User avatar
Sam Vara
 
Posts: 964
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:42 pm

Re: Starting university tomorrow

Postby Mawkish1983 » Sun Sep 23, 2012 7:42 am

I'm a fellow Aspie and I spent a long time at university. You will have a lot of fun and make a lot of friends and memories. Try not to dwell on the AS; it's a fresh start with all new people and everyone is a bit odd at university, so no-one will even notice :).
Mawkish1983
 
Posts: 1175
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 9:46 am
Location: Essex, UK

Re: Starting university tomorrow

Postby Mal » Sun Sep 30, 2012 3:14 pm

In total I spent about five years in University dorms in the UK, and several years as a member of University staff. So maybe I can give some pointers.

Do you have a single room? That was far the biggest problem for me in my first dorm - I didn't, and I didn't get on with my room mate at all. Eventually I picked up courage, after a term, to ask for a single room. If you find yourself in this impossible situation, see the dean as soon as possible and get a single room. If not, commute!

The other problem area is meal times. How do you get talking to all these strangers? Your mature status might help. In dorms there are usually several people aged 22 or over - foreign students, postgrads, mature students. Being more mature, they are more understanding, and easier to talk to, and more likely to start conversations.

Being more mature yourself, just sit by any of these older students and start a conversation. Even something banal, like "What subject are you doing?" should draw a sensible response from the older ones.

Also be very understanding of the younger ones! Remember what your daftest school mates were like in their late teens, Many will be like that, plus they will not be under parental control, and have free access to alcohol.
Mal
 
Posts: 75
Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2012 12:21 pm

Re: Starting university tomorrow

Postby chownah » Mon Oct 01, 2012 5:48 am

Perry,
You have already made it to the age of 22 and all the way in your education to enter university.....many people never even make it that far. Maybe remembering all the success you have had in your life will help to calm you if you start to worry about the possibility of disappointment.
chownah
chownah
 
Posts: 2665
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:19 pm


Return to Lounge

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 3 guests