This is very difficult for me to explain both because of my diagnosis and how painful it still feels even three years later.
It was my first time ever away from home and I made sure to contact my university and college about my diagnosis and problems I might face.
I heard nothing from the disability support at all and only received an email from my college to say that I’d not have to share a room.
The whole college experience was horrendous:
My room was in one of the busiest and most noisy parts of the whole college there was constant noise surrounding me I couldn’t sleep, I was stressed all the time. The college did nothing to help I kept asking them to stop the person above me jumping on her floor and partying all night and the college would keep promising to do so but never did. Then there was the extreme anxiety when people would knock on my door asking for donations or to sign up to certain things.
I never made any friends and some people found it very funny to torment me it made leaving my room and going to meals even harder than it was already. I do struggle with some issues with food and having to eat in a canteen with hundreds of other people made me constantly physically and mentally sick. It was made worse by the college occasionally allowing societies and groups to do events and gimmicks at meal time like a week when you could pay to have someone soaked with water balloons or super soakers or when societies would run in screaming, making noise and becoming physically close.
It was such a horrible time I struggled to leave my room in case I’d be bullied or become anxious but even in my room, I felt so lonely and uneasy with the noise and people knocking on my door. I barely slept and ate and felt extremely stressed the entire time. I did speak to the college about the situation but they told me it was too late to change rooms and they kept saying they’d make the person above me quiet but it never changed anything.
As for the course I, really do love my subject but I found the way they did was very hard for me. We’d have small group exercises in which I’d always be put on the spot or made fun of by the other students. It made me so anxious I wasn’t always able to go. Additionally, there just wasn’t the support from the disabled support at the university they kept moving and the one contact I had there stopped answering my emails and when, after two months, I built up the courage to call the office and ask what was going on I was told she left out of the blue. Then there were the note takers I found that all the notes were extremely badly done and when the office agreed they were illegible they typed them up but these were just as bad so it meant I was without notes for my classes.
So, after just about passing my first year after the bullying, academic and college struggles. I was severely underweight, sickly and had started anti-depressants. I should have given up there and then but I felt like I’d be letting down my parents not to continue my degree even though they were concerned with how sick I looked on my return.
I ended up repeating my second year and so after three years I just couldn’t take it anymore and I quit. I was so ashamed that I couldn’t do it because I liked the subject but the other issues were just insurmountable to me. So, I left with huge amounts of student debt, in a deep depression that I am only now just about beating and the feeling of having wasted my life.
I know that the university is not responsible for how I reacted to university life or my autism but they failed to provide me any support at all. Do I have any rights to ask them to pay me back at least some of my fees or to ask for an explanation or even an apology?
Thank you for reading