Hello, my name is Bea and welcome to ARCH!

We are designed to make the transition into university easier for you. We are here to help.

I’m not here to make you feel like you are in a room forced to do anything you don’t want to, to speak in an icebreaker, or walk into a room that feels designed to hurt you.

I personally didn’t understand what “being autistic” meant before I came to university. I’m not sure I still do! As a child, I was labelled, “weird”, “strange”, “abnormal”. Special interests mocked and ridiculed. Told off for stimming or not touching certain things. I learned here that they may be the best things about me.

I’m at the end of my second year now, I’m about to start my third. The environment here has been amazing, everyone is really accepting. I learned so much already, I study sociology and I can’t wait to start my third year! It took a little time to get settled, I didn’t really make friends in the first year. I didn’t realise that there are people and groups out there to help. I made friends through chaplaincy, who are wonderful people, who taught me that it is okay to be me.

They don’t mind if I go home early because I feel overwhelmed. They don’t mind if, for example, helping at fresher’s week, I accidently split a drink of orange juice all over my foot because I was distracted. They just helped me clean it up, no judgment 😊 *yes this happened*.

I felt more comfortable joining trips and groups towards the end of my first year. With chaplaincy I even had my first beer! A small group went to a quiet pub and it was amazing to experience something new, especially as the busy atmosphere of most pubs are a little much! I joined a dungeon and dragons’ group, which has been incredible for my self-confidence, a book club and gaming society with some wonderful people and even went on some trips.

ARCH is full of people who, not just understand but want to help. Everyone in this project has been incredible. We are working towards getting things better. Please feel free to ask me any questions using the student change email address about how things were for me.

Email: studentchange@bishopg.ac.uk