College Bound: University Life With Autism

Megan Kirkpatrick

Hi, I’m Megan and I’ve lived with autism most of my life. College is that next step that every high school student dreams about, but the transition is not as easy as simply getting accepted into one. Going to college has always been something I have always wanted to experience, but I never thought that I would actually be experiencing it for myself and at my own pace. Parker University was a college that I had never thought about applying to. I had never heard of it and had been looking at other schools such as Texas Tech or Mountain View College. Applying to Parker University was such a smooth process, and when I was touring the school I was given the opportunity to meet the director of the Occupational Therapy Assistant program. The director gave me so much incredible information that I was completely intrigued by the program and all of the opportunities that Parker University could offer. After the tour, I was positive that I had found the perfect school to pursue my future career as an Occupational Therapy Assistant.

 

Fitting in has always been a struggle for me and integrating into a whole new environment at a new school with new people was quite frightening. Social Skills have always been an area that I struggle in, whether it be in the past or present. Recognizing social cues has been hard for me during my first semester due to being in a class with people who are older than me and who have had experiences that I have yet to experience. I had been looking forward to attending college ever since I received the acceptance letter in the mail. I had always imagined going to college, and how exciting it would be to meet new people and hear about why they chose to go into the profession of Occupational Therapy. Occupational Therapy has always been the career that has been in my future because of how much it has changed my life for the better. It encouraged and helped me do things such as riding a bike and buttoning a button, since I was never able to do those prior to engaging in Occupational Therapy sessions as a child.

 

Transitioning into college has been a tough change of environment, but luckily, I have great support from both of my parents, sisters, friends, and the instructors at the university. All of these wonderful people have helped me adapt to my new career as a college student and have not given up on me since I started school. Whether it is elementary school, middle school, high school, or a college, education ultimately designed to help you become a better person and that is exactly what I am doing. Parents and guardians, please do not fear the bad events that might occur as your child prepares for their transition into college life. College brings about brand new possibilities, and during this transition, parents should help their child focus on all the things that could change for the better or could go right rather than all the things that could go wrong. I was originally scared to go to college; I was so afraid that something bad would happen, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.

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