College was not easy. One of the hardest things for me was balancing study with free time. I really had to buckle down and get to work on everything. My undergrad was very different because it was done online through Colorado Technical University. They didn’t have finals, you were graded on a point system. So how many points you accumulated through all your courses totaled up at the end and that’s how you wound up with your grade at the end.
Even going away for my Masters was no easy choir for me. I had to learn how to balance classes and fun time. But I made do.
Once I got there, I started to calm down a bit. The first thing I did once I got off the plane was look around and that’s when I found where all the students were going through customs to register their residency. They wanted to know where you were staying and what school you were attending.
To this day I remember the address of my address and room number. I was in Woolf College, which was a living on campus for Post Grads. There were three buildings each labeled (A – K) Where J was suites with either kitchenettes or large rooms where the rest are small rooms. I opted for the large room, so it matched my room back room, I also asked for a room on the top floor with a nice view . The room I got faced the forest and was on the top floor and was one of the larger rooms.
Once I got there, there was someone waiting for Uni. of Kent students and a bus. The bus ride to campus was 2hrs. I just looked out the window and listened to others talking till we got there. To help with jet lag they had us do things to get ready for campus life. Like they had us, register and get all the finical aid and classes settled and get accommodations paid for the first term. Before all that we were told where each of our buildings was where we would be living. So we all went to our places to pick up our keys and drop off our suitcases. After all was said and done, a bunch of us headed over to setup our banking. I opted for a Savings and Debt account this way I can put my accommodations money aside once I got my loan money and put the other half in my savings. After that we went to get our bus pass to town then we went into town grabbed a bite to eat and walked around and headed back.
I had made one friend before I headed there. I did this via society website. I was a member of the SFC (Science Fiction Fantasy Cult) Society in which they show cult movies and SCI-FI movies. I was also a member of the Hogwarts society, this is where I met all my friends. I knew I all ready had meetings setup with my International Disability Advisor starting soon, which was good he got me setup with a few things and help me get settled and had me meet with a Therapist to help me adjust with the dealing with people and how to adjust.As the days went on things started to feel a bit more easier for me. The one thing that took some time though was jet lag, especially with my 2hr class which was from 2pm to 3pm than break from 3pm to 4pm than back to class at 5pm to 5pm, in that hour break I would go back and grab something to eat to get some energy than grab a short nap like 15mins. This way I was refreshed for the 2nd hour. Keep in mine most all of my other classes were only a hour and I didn’t have classes back to back till next term.
What I would do to adjust was, since I had a lot of free time. I would walk around campus, grab a bite to eat or just go into town and walk around and enjoy the sites like a tourist. I would meet up with friends or just chill on my own. My Wednesdays were reserved for my Hogwarts society meetings. I would meet my friends from Hufflepuff which was the house I was sorted into. Hufflepuff was one of the bigger and better houses, they did more things together. Also at the time, the head of Hufflepuff who became a good friends of mine.
University life took a while to get used to. It took almost 4 weeks to adjust to lag and get comfortable with my surroundings. What I would do is, every day morning I would go to class, after class I would drop off my stuff and walk around campus. Maybe do some exploring. One of my favorite things to do is go into town center and walk around.. They have the old brick roads and stores on both sides, there of course is a McDonald’s and a Starbucks, but unfortunately no Canterbury mug just a London and England one which I had to buy and send home to my folks.
I tried to stay out of my room to absorb the atmosphere. I had weekly meetings with my International Advisor, which helped me settle in and get adjusted. I had 1 classes (Mon, Tues, Thur, Fri) with Wednesday being my off day. This was also my Hogwarts meeting day, we would meet. Now each house of the Hogwarts society would meet in a different restaurant. The house which I was in was Hufflepuff met at Mungos and we would meet at 5pm than head over to our meeting to see what activity we were going to do that night.
I felt kinda weird because I was the oldest in the society, and everyone else was a undergrad and I was the only Post Grad in the society. I know what you’re thinking.. Why not join a society for Post Grads or for the older students.. I was part of the Graduate Association but all they planned was a trips.
Now for me, the word routine was foreign. Which meant I needed to write things down to remember or set alarms. Thank God for mobile phones. I used my phone to set alarms for me every morning I so to get up at 9am so I am ready and showered by 930 to head out the door.
The story how I cam about the organization that helped me pick out the school was all just by luck. I just happened to go to the vet with my mom where the girl behind the desk was talking about going away to school for her Masters overseas, and mentioned that a friend went through this organization called Across The Pond. They were super nice.
Now the great thing about this organization is I was assigned a advisor whom I would talk with via email and Skype to help with the process. So i didn’t feel so alone and in the dark with the whole process. I will post the website address under my links page.
Now Uni. of Kent was not my only choose of schools there 5 colleges I had choose and I got expected by 4 out of the 5. After that I went to my advisor for help on choosing. I wanted a school that had a small population, this was so I didn’t feel so lost and I wanted one with a good program that can help with my Asperger’s.
So I gave my advisor the 4 choices I had chosen and she gave me a listing of the number of students in each and a few other details. Than I made my decision on University of Kent, because it had a smaller number of students than the rest. So I accepted their offer and started on the rest of the process.
I contacted the Learning Disability Dept. and told them my history
and soon I was called by my advisor. It was a great experience, because
once a week he would Skype me before I left to help me with anything I
needed help with finance, time and just acceptance (accepting the
realization I was there).
The Trip there
As time got closer I got more and more excited. This was it I was
going to spend a year away from my friends and family. When it was a
week before, I the excitement went away and I started thinking “What am I
doing, am I ready for this?” But everyone I talked to was like “It’s a
learning experience”, “The year will go fast”, “Just enjoy it”. These
were some of the things my family were telling me.
As time got closer I started to working with Across the Pond to get everything I need. The Acceptance letter, the letter from accommodations, my visa and passport and than I than I need to make certain arrangements through the school site like to get me a seat on the bus that takes us to campus. Once I gotten all that I submitted it to Across the Pond and to let them know I was on my way
Once I got my plane ticket, everything began to feel more real, that’s when anxiety began to kick in. The one thing I keep telling myself is “Feelings will feel better once I am on the plane and arrive.”
Once I got on the plane, I began to relax a little bit more. I think at that point I knew I was at the point of no return and I had to endure the 8hr flight to London where I would catch the bus to Canterbury.
Now between Sept 2014 and Nov 2015, it was a balancing act. To where I need to learn how to get my studies in, get good sleep, go to class, and have a some what of a social life.
For my undergrad I deiced it would be easier for me to get my degree online. No stress, easy for me to concentrate. So I signed up for Colorado Technical University Online.
Now don’t get me wrong, it still wasn’t easy, but I had my family to back help me with school work, but 90% of the work I did myself. I did get some help with classes.
Do not let the fact that I went online for my degree make you think it was easy. It was far from easy. Some of the things you have to remember are you need more focus, because there are more distractions, you are also at the mercy of what time the classes are. For example I had one class that was at 8AM and another was at 4PM.
Another thing to remember is that you need a quiet place to listen to the live class. Now if you couldn’t make the classes don’t worry, they are all recorded for you to listen too.
Now going online is not for everyone. It take dedication, good amounts of concentration. Because whats to stop you from opening up a browser window and surfing the web or playing a game.
Now I am not usually the one to ask questions in class. But that is just me. I highly advise online or in person that you ask question if you don’t understand what the professor is explaining. Also in person one important tip I can give you is sit in front this will keep you from falling asleep if you have a early class.