Jamie Thomas Malloy
Hometown: Webster, New York
University/Program: Junior studying Communications at Monroe Community College
Autism Symptoms: Stimming, verbal repetition
On Self Advocacy
I choose to discuss my diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome with everybody I know in all of my classes and throughout my scholastic career. At my high school graduation, I gave a five minute commencement speech in which half of it was about my life with Asperger’s, and the support which was given from all of my friends and the entire Webster Thomas High School Family. Prior to commencement, my speech was published in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, highlighting how I have dealt with my disability.
While studying at MCC, I have many services and accommodations which so far have helped me succeed to the best of my ability. Currently, I have access to class notes and extended test taking time at the college’s SSD office and test center. In addition, I have a counselor who I meet with to discuss my anxiety. This is because of my strong academic achievements and my desire of being perfect. Outside of school, I have great support from my family, friends, and whomever I have an opportunity to chat with, including my primary care physician.
In spite of my accommodations and supports, I still face challenges. My biggest challenge in college is dealing with professors who have different personalities and comprehension of my disability. For example, I had an English professor who was not as accommodating as some of the other professors in my other classes, so I had anxiety and had to discuss it with my counselor.
In addition to talking to somebody when I need to, the most important skill I have developed is learning how to balance my schedule so that I can have enough time for my classes, homework, and social life. I have done great so far, but there is always room for improvement.
The challenges are worth it, though. For me, the best part of college is just going to class everyday and contributing to the daily lessons given by my professors. I also enjoy writing sports articles for the Monroe Doctrine, meeting many wonderful people whom I have lunch with, and playing video games in the game room (it’s a really cool room).
One thing I wish I knew that I didn’t was that not every professor understands my disability, and is not always going to be as supportive. In life, not everybody is understanding of disabilities including Asperger Syndrome. But I will always strive to understand them and try to see things from their perspective too.
I cope with academic stress by seeing a counselor, periodically stepping outside of class for a breather, and stepping away from homework to take short breaks and regroup. I also work out regularly during the week, whether it is with my friends at my old high school, or with my Dad at Gold’s Gym. Either way, I really enjoy working out, and feel this is the best way to relieve academic stress.
I stay organized by using a homework track sheet, which allows me to stay ahead of my deadlines. I usually complete my homework ahead of schedule when I use it.
I maintain a comfortable routine in college by completing my homework first thing every day before doing anything else. To end the week, I complete all of my homework on Friday, which allows me to have the entire weekend to myself.
Campus Life and Relationships
I currently do not live on campus; however I plan on transferring to a four year college, in which case I may be living there. MCC has many buildings and has a population of roughly 13,000 students. I do not think school size matters as much, but when one has to live on his or her own, while attending college without the support of their family, that could be stressful. For me, this will be my biggest adjustment in college moving forward.
Due to the fact that approximately 90% of the students at MCC commute and are of various ages, there are not a lot of social events and parties. I do belong to the Monroe Doctrine Student Newspaper, where I write about different games for various teams. For example, I had a strong relationship with one of the best basketball players. We met in English class. Because of this, I was able to do a personal one-on-one interview with him for my final article after they finished seventh at Nationals.
The two places that I find most relaxing on campus are the lunch room and the game room, where I interact with many friends and of course play games.
Based on my experience, my advice is just be yourself and do not hesitate to ask someone on campus for help! Also if you need any accommodations, please self advocate and use the campus resources available. Use them wisely.