Adapting to College Life

As many of you know, I started college in September. I’m not going to lie its been a very tough transition. Before I graduated I had my final review meeting and had a lot of things taken away that I didn’t expect to be taken away.

For a normal college student, the transition is easy. Go to class, make friends get good grades etc. These students seem like they can adjust to the new environment and surroundings quickly. It doesn’t take them much time.

So, how hard do you think it is for a college student with a disability and anxiety to adjust to all these things?

Well, I’ll tell you, it’s very hard. I was so nervous and anxious about going to college I almost backed out. and what made the transition even worse and scarier. like I mentioned earlier, I had a lot of things taken away that I didn’t expect to be taken away such as; a one on one aide, in school PT, and getting used to a new transportation company. Here’s an explanation as for why having these things taken away has made the college transition harder:

One on one aide: I have been getting them through the school system since I was 3 years old, to tell the truth, I had gotten very attached to the recent one I had for four years in high school. During the final weeks before my final review meeting, I think my para might have been thinking” Oh I’m going to be able to follow her to Gateway.” Since I was going to go to the program I’m in now that’s funded through the system. Well, we all thought wrong. When she was told she couldn’t follow me, I think I saw her crying. We all were crying. I also felt bad that she had herself thinking that she was going to be able to follow me.

In School PT: This was the one thing I did not expect to be taken away. In school pt. or any kind of pt. is very important to me because it helps maintain my mobility. I was honestly and truthfully upset that my school team waited to pretty much the last minute to cut it off, I was told that they would have said something to me in advance as I would have talked to my doctor for plans regarding that at my last appointment last April.

New Transportation Company: When I first started in my program, the company and driver were great. But something happened one day when another student and myself were being picked up. Because of the issue the driver and company got kicked out from transporting any students from the Hamden/ New Haven school systems. But we also think he wasn’t a typical driver meaning he was odd in a way. My mom had given him her cell phone number to text back and forth for school-related things only. Well, the day after the issue, he texted my mom apologizing for what happened, and then he said that he really liked me and wanted to visit me. Of course, the first thing in our heads where he was one of those people being inappropriate so of course my mom told him no.  After that, I had to get used to a new transportation company, there great and a lot safer.

On the day of orientation for the program, I was anxious, and I mean anxious before I left my house. I thought my anxiety wasn’t going to cooperate and let me it through, but surprisingly it did. I felt much better about going after we left, I had this feeling in me though that my anxiety was going to be crazy the first few days of school, but it wasn’t. I don’t know what happened that it was so good. Maybe it was all the side visits we had before orientation that helped.

I recently had a meeting with everyone on the team I have now. And It was nice to hear them say they thought I’ve adapted to my new environment greatly. – this was also shocking to hear as I am someone who hates any type of change. The whole meeting from start to finish was positive- it felt good to walk out of an IEP meeting happy and calm for once.

So, to all college students with disabilities, I want you to know the college transition can be hard, but you will be able to do it. Remember, even though a lot of things might take longer to learn and process and get used to it’s going to be ok! Make college the best years of your life- no matter what! Study hard, make friends, get good grades in your classes and most importantly have fun. You can do it!

Juliana Ruggiero

Juliana is 18 and fresh out of High school. She graduated with High honors. Writing is something she really enjoys doing and everyone that knows her tells her she has a gift for it. Juliana is a hopeless Italian food addict, loves meeting new people and making new friends. She is very laid back and easy going. Juliana is here to inspire everyone and give it her all. She doesn't have a bad bone in her body. Her career began in July of 2016 after reaching out and offering to be interviewed for The Abler Blog. Since that interview, after seeing all the positive feedback she was getting from everyone, it pushed her to do more with her writing! Pushing herself to do more has lead Juliana to some of the most kind and supportive people she could ask for! She is grateful that she took that "leap of faith."

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