Personal Growth/Life Experience in College and AS

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NeantHumain
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26 Jul 2008, 5:14 pm

It is common wisdom that college is a time for people to gain life experience and to grow as a person; people are thought to develop a more complex, mature perspective on themselves, their friends and family, their community, and the world as a whole.My hypothesis is that people with Asperger's syndrome are significantly less likely to have these kinds of experiences than the general population because:

  • We usually lack sufficient social skills to embroider ourselves into a network of friends and acquaintances
  • The social encounters we do have are still mostly of the rejecting/ostracizing/closing-off kind
  • We retreat into our minds under such duress

For example, college did not offer me these much talked-about opportunities for personal growth or positive life experience (see also this thread for an example of the negative life experiences I had). If I had to repeat those years in my life, I probably would have enrolled exclusively in online classes or just teach myself and find some way to plow into the job market without a college degree. The separation from my family, rather than providing an opportunity for more personal independence, ended up increasing my loneliness and thus reforming and then exacerbating my depression as all my attempts at making new friends at a new place sputtered out and I ended up profoundly isolated.



princesseli
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26 Jul 2008, 7:23 pm

hmm, well I just completed my first year of college. It was very hard especially going to a hard school. All aspies will have different experiances(just like NTs) due to being different people and well different circumstances. For me, college really helped to open my eyes to so many things and it did give me a lot of growth as a person, so far. As for socialization goes, I struggled but I would've struggled a lot more if it hadnt been for one good friend I met in a program before college. After following him around a lot helped to expose me to more people so in a way I was lucky. Yeah I closed myself off from a lot of people but I learned sorta how to improve that. If I hadnt flown 2000 miles away to college my social life wouldve likely been dead and my view of the world wouldve been more narrow mainly becuase all the instate colleges suck and people here are can kinda stuck in the island life aspect(i live in hawaii). So I needed to go away, it wasnt even an option.

I understand how for some, leaving their family can be rather isolating. For me, I never had much connection with my family in the first place, except my mom. I had lost contact with those few friends from highschool so I was very much needed to move onto the next stage of my life and work to establish some friendships and build my social life in another place.



ooOoOoOAnaOoOoOoo
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26 Jul 2008, 7:32 pm

I know what you mean. When I was in college I lived in a dorm for a semester and felt very lost and intimidated so I hid in my dorm a lot. I did not have a room mate because the college I went to wasn't that crowded. I might have been better off with a dorm mate even though at the time the thought of that scared me.

I had a suite mate though but I didn't see her too much plus she was always singing gospel songs with her awful, yowling vocal style and that drove me crazy. This one woman who lived in the dorms told me she sounded like cats mating when she sang. I laughed. Other than that the suite mate (we shared the bathroom, both had our own dormroom) was fine.

I can understand everyone who has had the overload experience with loud rowdy neighbors always making noise and how it practically puts them over the edge. The constant noise left me in a tightly wound, bad, irritable mood all the time so I just shut up, stopped talking, stopped looking at people and moped my way through that semester of college. I dreaded the noise of the dorm so much I drove back home and spent most of my time there, where I could control all noise, instead of in my dorm room.

Next school year, I didn't return. Instead I went to another college elsewhere another disaster worthy of another post in another thread elsewhere.

I think I had a lousy college experience. I didn't do too bad academically though. Just overwhelmed by how many people there were and certain ones trying to get too familiar made me nervous too.



2ukenkerl
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26 Jul 2008, 7:58 pm

princesseli wrote:
hmm, well I just completed my first year of college. It was very hard especially going to a hard school. All aspies will have different experiances(just like NTs) due to being different people and well different circumstances. For me, college really helped to open my eyes to so many things and it did give me a lot of growth as a person, so far. As for socialization goes, I struggled but I would've struggled a lot more if it hadnt been for one good friend I met in a program before college. After following him around a lot helped to expose me to more people so in a way I was lucky. Yeah I closed myself off from a lot of people but I learned sorta how to improve that. If I hadnt flown 2000 miles away to college my social life wouldve likely been dead and my view of the world wouldve been more narrow mainly becuase all the instate colleges suck and people here are can kinda stuck in the island life aspect(i live in hawaii). So I needed to go away, it wasnt even an option.

I understand how for some, leaving their family can be rather isolating. For me, I never had much connection with my family in the first place, except my mom. I had lost contact with those few friends from highschool so I was very much needed to move onto the next stage of my life and work to establish some friendships and build my social life in another place.


WOW! At least one university in Hawaii is advertising on planes, and trys to sound like they are GREAT! From what you say, I am surprised anyone would go. Outside of the island life, and tropical fruits, Hawaii is probably not the best place. It is isolated, expensive, and some stuff is FAR more expensive because of shipping. Of course, outside of THAT, I am sure it is a NICE place. I LIKE pineapple, sugar cane, fish, and pork!



Dart
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26 Jul 2008, 9:15 pm

I just finished my first year of college. I made no attempts whatsoever to make any friends all year, simply because I felt I wouldn't fit in with other people my age. I feel even more isolated and different from mainstream society than ever before at the moment.



ooOoOoOAnaOoOoOoo
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26 Jul 2008, 10:09 pm

Dart wrote:
I just finished my first year of college. I made no attempts whatsoever to make any friends all year, simply because I felt I wouldn't fit in with other people my age. I feel even more isolated and different from mainstream society than ever before at the moment.


Oh wow same thing happened to me. I was so scared I just didn't have the nerve to try and I felt overwhelmed. It's definitely not easy. You just can't give up.



Mw99
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26 Jul 2008, 10:26 pm

College sunk me in a huge depression, and despite what most NTs thought, it wasn't because of the academics. Too bad noone ever understood me; also, too bad I never had the communicational skills to make myself understood.

Most of the things I learned in college, by the way, were wasted, because I ended up with a job where I don't do anything related to anything I learned in college. Oh, and my social skills. They didn't improve; they went down. The main thing I got out of college was a bunch of negative memories of bitter social encounters that I'm still dwelling on.



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26 Jul 2008, 10:43 pm

I can totally relate, had a similar bad eperience. And yet, compared to the rest of the stages of my life, college was the best by far. It's all relative. Marriage, working in offices, extended family relations, friends...all were even worse experiences.


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Mw99
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26 Jul 2008, 10:51 pm

Greentea wrote:
I can totally relate, had a similar bad eperience. And yet, compared to the rest of the stages of my life, college was the best by far. It's all relative. Marriage, working in offices, extended family relations, friends...all were even worse experiences.



I must concede that college at least was not as traumatic as high school.



NeantHumain
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26 Jul 2008, 11:03 pm

Greentea wrote:
working in offices

Yes, working in an office has the additional disadvantage of being numbingly boring and filled with Machiavellian hypocrisy and herd conformity (whereas in college, at least most people make a point of breaking from the crowd).



Dart
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27 Jul 2008, 1:06 am

ooOoOoOAnaOoOoOoo wrote:
Dart wrote:
I just finished my first year of college. I made no attempts whatsoever to make any friends all year, simply because I felt I wouldn't fit in with other people my age. I feel even more isolated and different from mainstream society than ever before at the moment.


Oh wow same thing happened to me. I was so scared I just didn't have the nerve to try and I felt overwhelmed. It's definitely not easy. You just can't give up.

Yeah, I've been stuck in a stage of being too scared to try to make friends due to fear of rejection/humiliation for a few years now and I don't know how to get out of it. It only becomes harder the longer it continues since I continually become even more out of touch with other people. I was truly off in my own little world all last year at college, and I'm really dreading going back in a month. As much as I hated being in high school, I'd gladly go back to those days - I had a routine back then and it's been interrupted by being off on my own in a new environment.



Aurore
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27 Jul 2008, 1:14 am

Crap. And I'm starting in two weeks.
Scared as hell. Any advice?


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GuyTypingOnComputer
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27 Jul 2008, 6:28 am

I lived with my parents while I was in college. I never considered living in a dorm or with someone I didn't know.

I enjoyed college, but I didn't make any friends. I didn't exchange telephone numbers with anyone and had only two occasions where I did something outside of school with people I went to school with (a party and a dance club, both disasters). I did have some acquaintances from my classes I would speak with at school (in the computer lab, in a study area for the math department, etc.) but these conversations usually involved classwork.

I usually ate alone, studied alone and exerted effort trying to look like I wasn't alone.

College was a positive experience because, by my third college, I found academic success which brought a lot of self confidence. Otherwise, I can't say that I had positive life experiences or grew as a person. If you take away the academics, college was an empty experience.



kclark
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28 Jul 2008, 9:09 am

Anyone have any real good college experiences? Please?
If not I should stop reading right now cause it is just depressing me.
I finished my associates degree at a community college and found it to be a pretty empty experience.
I am hoping that living on campus at a 4year uni will be better.