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news • 20 September 2023

Adjusting to Uni Life as an Autistic Student

Written by Kam Pranckunaite

Second Year 'The Art of Computer Animation (2D)

Embarking on the journey to a new campus can be a thrilling yet scary experience, especially if it’s a long daily commute, made even more challenging for those with disabilities such as myself. In this blog, I’ll discuss the ins and outs of travelling in London, including coping strategies that helped with my autism. 

Understanding the transition 

Starting university somewhere new presents the opportunity to make a fresh start and meet like-minded classmates. One of the most significant differences I noticed was the professional style studio workplace, which was very different from the standard classroom teaching I’d experienced for most of my education. Most students had just turned 18, experiencing adulthood and the changes in behaviour towards them, usually receiving more respect and no longer being treated like a child. 

Escape Studios aims to have students studio-ready after graduation and this is embedded in the teaching style, it’s important to start with a mature perspective as you’ll be given opportunities to make new industry connections and work on live briefs. 

What might help with the transition? 

Reviewing the course structure for your first year to understand what to expect is one of the best ways to prepare. Alongside that, having a dabble in some of the software that will be taught by following online tutorials made by tutors on the blog site or YouTube can be helpful. 

Creating a system that helps you manage your time and track your goals is beneficial. I personally enjoy carrying around a physical planner, though other students prefer apps. Maintaining the balance between academics, social life, and hobbies is a very important skill you want to build throughout your time studying. 

Year groups have their own designated discord servers to stay up to date with important announcements and receive help from VPN troubleshooting to project work. I highly recommend students download and familiarise themselves with the Discord app. If you’d like to be prepared, go ahead and create an alternative account with your escape email, ensuring your username and display name include your full name. 

Preparing for the Commute

If you struggle with travel, emotions will likely run high, though breaking the journey down is essential, including planning your routes to eliminate that additional stress factor. I mainly use the TFL app, which shows live tube updates, and the Citymapper app as I travel within London. The train line app and railcard would benefit those commuting from outside London. All of these apps mentioned are free! 

Additionally, I subscribed to the TFL and train line newsletter to stay updated on strike dates and any other tube closures that may affect my future journey so I can plan around them. The Jubilee is the main tube line that runs through North Greenwich so keep up to date with the latest updates. 

During the Commute

Whilst travelling, I like to listen to music, which helps block out the loud tube noises. It’s also a great way to decompress in the morning if you’ve been rushing. Playing portable games or reading a book can help as well.  

When I have multiple projects with many deadlines, I take this extra time to review notes and write retrospectives for each module on my phone as a way to spend my time efficiently. 

Campus life 

You’re not the only one who will be new to this campus; for most second and third-year students, it will also be their first time stepping inside. It’s okay to be confused and unsure of where everything is. Take as long as you need to adjust and navigate the campus; remember there will be help. Students, tutors or student services are friendly and will happily help you with directions or answer your questions. 

Not every coping mechanism or strategy works for everyone, whether that’s for managing travels or projects, so find something that works for you and stick with it. 

Higher education is a continuous journey of learning and growth. Stay curious and open to new knowledge and opportunities throughout your time studying. This includes attending events to utilise networking opportunities and gain insight into the creative industry and future career opportunities.