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  • Kate Walker

10 Things I Learned My First Semester of College

As many of you know, I just finished my first semester of college. I am home now for winter break and will return soon. I learned a lot this semester and I wanted to share some of the most valuable tips I have for college with a disability.

 

1. You can do it

When I was picking a college, I automatically thought that I wasn't going to be able to do it. There was so much doubt swirling through my head because of my disability. I was afraid I wasn't going to be able to live independently, keep up with my classes, or have the normal college student experience. But guess what? I did.


2. SLEEP

You have to sleep. Especially if you are battling any sort of disability. When I first started college, I was pretty good about getting to bed at a decent time and taking naps whenever I could. But as I got more into the semester, I started going to bed later and later and avoiding naps. Pretty soon my routine was going to sleep at 1 am and waking up at 7:30 am. This might work for some people, but 6.5 hours does NOT work when you have energy deprivation lol.


3. Remember to eat

I know it can be hard to prioritize eating in college. It is super easy to get distracted by classes, homework, or other things going on. I also personally hate eating in a public place alone, so that can stop me sometimes too. If you have a disability, remember that your body is constantly battling itself, so you have to give it the nutrition it needs to do so.


4. It is more than okay to ask for help

I don't know what else to say about this one. If you need help, ask for it. It doesn't make you weak or any less of a person. If you have a disability, I know it can be hard to admit you are struggling. But if we're being honest, so is everyone else in different ways. No one, disability or not, can go through life without needing help with something.


5. You're not going to like everyone

Not everyone you meet is going to be your favorite person. There's still stereotypes like there were in high school. But, it's on a much bigger scale now so you have a better chance of finding your people. This can also go the other way around. Not everyone is going to like you, either. And you have to learn to be okay with that. Everyone has their own preferences and making yourself fit the personality that someone else wants isn't worth losing yourself in the process.


6. Adapt

It doesn't matter how accessible a campus is, there are still going to be bumps in the road (literally and metaphorically). There are things that you are going to struggle with, no matter how independent you are. You are going to have to adapt and/or ask for help. It's just part of it.


7. Everyone in college is worried about themselves

I say that in the best way possible. No one really takes the time to stare at you or worry about what you're doing, because they're just worried about their own classes and drama. This was a super freeing feeling for me.


8. It's okay to say no to things

Saying no to things is not a bad thing. There are going to be days where your body just needs sleep and you can't go to eat with your friends or to a party across campus. There's also going to be nights where you have to prioritize studying instead of being social. And it's okay. I know the feeling of fighting so hard against your disability to go to every social event possible. It's to feel "normal" since you already feel like you stick out. I get it. But not everyone goes to everything. You don't have to do things you're not comfortable with. You don't have to go to late night parties. You don't have to eat out every night. Listen to your body and do what's best for you.


9. Take time for yourself

College is hard for anyone. That is no secret. It is easy to get overwhelmed and stressed. Maybe a little sad sometimes, too. Take the time to prioritize yourself. I found that I will go crazy if I don't have quiet time in the morning and some time to be creative throughout the week. Staring at books and computer screens all day everyday is horrible for your mental health. You have to take time to figure out the things that make you happy and things that will help you feel like a person again.


10. You have to work to maintain a friendship

I know I said it is okay to say no to things. And it is! But, if you want to build friendships, you have to make time for people. In high school, it was easy for me to maintain my friendships because I saw them every single day at school. At a big university like mine, that's not possible. You can go weeks without seeing the same person. So, you have to put in effort to make and keep

friends.

 

Alright, that's ten things I learned this semester! I hope that those of you that do have a disability found this helpful, whether you are in college or thinking about going. Check out my social medias so that you can follow along with my journey there. Thank you all for your support and taking the time to read my blog!




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