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Just to introduce myself, my name is Ben. I’m a first year student here at UCS studying Primary Education with QTS. This degree will effectively lead to me becoming a primary school teacher, something which has been a lifelong goal. I also write my own personal blog at: https://autisticreferee.com/ so feel free to have a look!

In this post, I am going to share my thoughts on the first term of studies and how it has been pretty much everything I had hoped for. Before coming to UCS I had huge worries to say the least. I suffer from high functioning autism, so in short, I have severe anxiety and lack social skills. I had been worried about how those on my course and those I met would accept me, but everyone has been brilliant at making me feel settled from the tutors, to the students, to the support staff such as David.

Academically, I have on average four to six sessions a week plus a placement day, and the uni, have been incredibly accommodating to myself personally. As a group we tend to be in one of two rooms which are easy enough to find, but I have to admit due to my complete lack of direction, I find the building a labyrinth at times - but it is all part of the fun finding your way around and the second and third years have always been brilliant in directing me should I ever got lost! From day one, the sense of community at UCS was clear and everyone is made to feel welcome!

Socially, I have enjoyed it far more than I had ever imagined. Meeting new people, making new friends and feeling valued as part of a huge family has been amazing. Due to being from Shrewsbury already it has been easy enough to meet up with other students, and people who were just random strangers on the first day are now real friends and people who I regard incredibly highly.

The big thing about why I chose UCS was that I knew that there wouldn’t be loads of people and because of that the experience would be more personable. Before even starting uni, a lot of us first years had been speaking on Facebook for a while, so it was just a matter of putting names to faces. Luckily, I met some brilliant people that week and it is clearly true when people say that the friends you make at uni will be friends for life! The big draw of UCS is that you become close to people on the course really quickly as you stay with them throughout every lecture, so friendships are quickly formed.

I have achieved so much personally already, simply by not giving in to my worries and anxieties but also academically. With the support from peers and tutors, both myself and fellow course mates are becoming more confident. The tutors have been approachable and offer all the help you could ever imagine. Going forward I just hope to achieve the best I possibly can and to carry on beating the psychologist who told me at my diagnosis when I was 19 that I would never go to uni!

Thanks for reading guys.

Ben

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