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Freshman Survival Guide for College Students with AutismHi everyone!! I hope you have been enjoying your summer so far! First off to start: I have some super great news for you all! My new book, “A Freshman Survival Guide for College Students With Autism Spectrum Disorders: The Stuff Nobody Tells You About” is officially available! I could not be more excited to share this with everyone, and I hope you read it and enjoy it.

While we are on the topic of college freshmen and transitioning to adulthood, I want to talk about making the most of what is left of your summer. There are some things I recommend that no matter what, you take the time to learn before you head off to college.  I say this because there will not always be someone telling you what to do, or how to do something. That is part of taking on new responsibilities and learning how to be an adult.

1) Learn to take care of your personal hygiene

I know this sounds weird, but in the real world, there is no one yelling at you to brush your teeth, shave, put on deodorant, take a shower, or take care of personal hygiene. Even if you don’t think you smell funky or look weird, chances are, someone else will notice and negatively judge you if you don’t take care of yourself.

We live in a visual world. If you might not remember which hygiene things to take care of each day, make a list or set reminders, and cross them off as you do them. I recommend the following goes on your list:

  • brush your teeth twice a day,
  • apply deodorant (and cologne/perfume if necessary) each time you get dressed or are sweating,
  • showering or bathing each day,
  • washing your hair every other day (or every day),
  • putting on makeup if you’re a girl, etc.

Eventually, these routine activities should stick like glue in your brain and you’ll have it down pat in no time.

2) Know how to coordinate an outfit

This sounds silly too but please don’t wear socks that are mismatched or mix things up. If you have NO idea how to coordinate an outfit to look clean, professional, nice or proper, I recommend you and a family member lay out some options, style the look, and take some photos.

I actually did this for some outfits before I left for college because I had no idea how to coordinate jewelry to match or know what shoes to wear with what. It helps and it can be our little secret that you have a little library of outfit photos on your computer or phone. This way, you will be dressed right, avoid being made fun of, judged, and be ready to impress at any and every occasion, no matter how big or small. Impressions always matter!

3) Learn how to do some adult chores

Learn how to do laundry. Have one of your parents show you, and begin doing the laundry at home so you know what to do when you are on your own. I brought my laundry home from college, but mainly because I had stuff get stolen and I had a lot of hand wash items as well. Know how to separate the lights from the darks, special washes, using dryers, timing the wash and dry cycles, etc.

Learn how to make a meal you enjoy – even if it’s Easy Mac. I’m not saying you need to be Rachael Ray because I don’t know how to make a LOT of foods. Just know how to make something that doesn’t require calling the local pizza joint to deliver or going to a restaurant. Have someone show you or cook alongside them so you don’t hurt yourself, and of course, write down the instructions as necessary! Know how to keep organized, etc.

4) Set goals for yourself!

Set some goals for the upcoming year or school year. This isn’t mandatory by any means but if there is something you or your parents think is important for you to know how to do, then put it on a list, in the back of your head, or somewhere to remind you what your goals are.

My personal adult transition goals for the year now include learning how to:

  • iron clothing,
  • driving more often to run errands,
  • cooking, and
  • having better organization skills.

I hope this helps you get on the right track to adulthood. Maybe even check out my new book? See you next month!