Matthew Carvajal is young man with Asperger’s syndrome, a condition on the Autism spectrum. Matt, a Sock Wrangler and Sock Scriber at John’s Crazy Socks, is an essential team member working to spread happiness and show every day what is possible when you give a person a chance. Matt is going to college for the first time and sharing his experience in a blog, so others can learn of the challenges someone with Asperger’s faces and inspire others to know that they are not alone.
I always appreciated the idea of college classes being in separate buildings scattered across the campus. It gives off images of independence and responsibility. I loved this idea. Unless it started raining cats and dogs. I was without an umbrella when this happened to me. That so far, that was the biggest challenge I had to face at college so far.
That does not mean that other challenges won’t appear, however. Matter of fact, I think a new problem will rear its head soon for me: sleep depravity. I get only 5 hours of sleep a day since college is so demanding, and I have been slowly feeling more and more tired. Well, the easy solution to that is to get more sleep. But it’s not that simple. Schoolwork and home life might keep me up late, making me unable to get sleep.
Another challenge I have yet to deal with but probably will is midterms and tests. Since the professors don’t really review the material, they expect you to do it by yourself. There are bound to be many other challenges I am bound to face along this path, but I’m not going to be deterred from my goal to become a lawyer. Even though I won’t give up, that does not mean I will not ask for help when I need it. Asking for help does not show weakness, nor does it show that you are not smart; it shows that you are responsible.
While I was in high school, I didn’t think that was the case. I thought asking for help was weak, and it showed that you were not the sharpest knife in the drawer. That all changed when it was near the last days at my time at Lindenhurst High. It was my old aide that used to help me in the first year. I saw her in the hall. We said hello and caught up on things. She suddenly asked me out of the blue to see my notes. I was taken aback, but I complied. I took out my books and placed them on an old wooden table that was in the hallway. She skimmed through the books and said to me that there were very few notes that I took, despite it being the end of the school year. I told her that I thought I didn’t need to take notes, since I was confident in my ability to remember them. She said something I didn’t expect. She said that I don’t like help to the point where I wouldn’t even help myself. I got a little angry when she said that, and kind of scoffed it off, collected my books off the table, said that I had to go somewhere. Before we said goodbye, however, she said to really think about what she said. I did. I realize that she was right. I really couldn’t ask for help, or even accept help from anyone. I know then, that that needed to change.
I am glad to say I realize that I, along with everyone, should ask for help when they need it. I might have not mastered that technique just yet, but I am working it, along with every other challenge I am currently facing at college.