Life for a student can accumulate massive amounts of unnecessary stress. For someone on the Spectrum, student life may lead to more frequent breakdowns or meltdowns, onset of other disorders in association with the Spectrum, and a proneness to withdrawal from academia.
However, life for a student is not always stressful. At times, it can be rewarding, presumably after the student has followed through on their investment. The perks of going through college can include intellectual gratification, career satisfaction, and an improvement in quality of life.
For the Aspie (person on the Spectrum), such drawbacks and takeaways potentially amplify according to the current academic and living circumstances that they’re faced with. The Aspie may also carry certain classroom tendencies that are considered both overbearing and insightful to other students.
Specifically negative inclinations that Aspies fall into when in class may include talking too little (i.e. not answering questions when called) or too much (i.e. arguing with the instructor), dissociating from other students as they choose to work alone, and fewer completions of assignments due to the assignments interfering with their daily routine.
Insightful characteristics that Aspies bring to the class are creative solutions, profound analytical and problem solving abilities when needed, and a dedicated mindset to every course of interest.
Before the positives, let’s briefly go over the downsides of student life (this is to end on a high note later on). Students, whether they are on the Spectrum, or Neurotypical (NT), experience breakdowns at some point. For an Aspie, such breakdowns frequent themselves in the form of meltdowns.
Meltdowns, from my account, involve exactly what the word suggests. The Aspie ceases to function for any given period, depending on the severity of their emotional reaction. Solutions to preventing, and dissolving, these meltdowns range from the simplicity of medications, to the serenity of a service animal.
Should the initial coping mechanisms fail, the emotional instabilities may eventually manifest themselves into other disorders, such as certain mood, anxiety, and cognitive anomalies.
For anxiety disorders, they manifest themselves in behavioral tendencies that reflect the specific disorder. Such behaviors may include simple ticks, such as nail biting, or pacing back and forth. A commonly occurring form of anxiety for those on the Spectrum is social anxiety, as social struggles are increasingly prominent among Aspies. Often, social anxiety takes the form of social aversion; whether it’s overt or subtle, it can negatively affect the patient’s attendance.
In mood disorders, the affected person may have a tendency to go between multiple moods and functions, remain at a consistent low, or have on and off scenarios in which they are at, “an all time low.” For an Aspie, there may be more of an inclination toward stooped lows, provided that their emotions are generally leveled out.
Concerning cognitive issues, some Aspies and NT’s develop learning disabilities in association with the learning environments they are placed in. A prime example may be Attention Deficit Disoder (ADD).
In the event that the above disorders overlap, the student, whether Aspie or NT, faces the likelihood of withdrawal from their institution. A combination of the above mentioned disorders likely leads to initially poor performance in school, followed by mirrored frustrations between the Aspie student and their peers.
The everyday student, when faced with obstacles that are undermined by others, sooner feels discouraged, and is prone to quitting. With Aspies, they are less prone to giving up, even with commitments that may damage them mentally and emotionally.
Though both NT’s and Aspies can struggle immensely in the classroom, the benefits of “sticking it out to the end” usually outweigh the original cost of the educational investment.
The first notable feature of a college student that has recently graduated is an intellectual broadening, and an increased awareness for the world around them. When placed through several different disciplines of coursework, the student becomes more aware of reality from an objective point of view, and often brings fresh, plausible solutions to everyday problems.
With an Aspie, the results are considerably amplified, as they already think aside from the conventional comforts when prompted to do so. Aspies, more often than NT’s, beget ideas pertaining to the technical aspects of life (i.e. engineering and technology).
Secondly, career satisfaction is more likely for just about any student that finds the job most fitting to their credentials. For Aspies, career satisfaction is much more likely. Those on the spectrum have a tendency to be content with their jobs, so long as it means that they are able to support themselves and get into a routine.
The third and final perk of being a recent college grad with a fulfilling career is an improvement in the quality of life. For NT’s, quality of life pertains to a vast multitude of factors. Such factors include social life, family time, financial securities, personal achievements, and so forth. For an Aspie, the primary concern would likely be stability.
In brief, Aspies and NT’s have a lot to benefit from in their time at college. Though such a student’s life can be stressful (especially when considering a job in the mix), the end result is rewarding.