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School starts next week Wednesday. I’ve been on vacation most of the time, and haven’t really been preparing for school as much as I should. Now though, I am scrambling to make sure everything is in order in time.

Since this is a new school, it is going to take me a bit more time to adjust, and I am moving into my dormitory tomorrow, which means a bit of extra stress; it’s a pity I cannot stay here with Jaime, but it’s too expensive, and financial aid pays for the university housing, making it essentially free. So it goes.

I was only able to bring one (very overstuffed) suitcase with me to Victoria, so I have to buy a lot of stuff new, because that was cheaper than shipping it here. The only things I really need immediately are sheets, pillows, a blanket, towels, a bathrobe, and some slippers and a bath caddy for the shower. Since I’m one of those people who tries to stick to my values, I’m not going to be going to Wal-Mart to pick these up. Silly stubborn me.

I’m scouring the internet for places where I could find bedding and towels which are the least environmentally objectionable, but still comfortable and acceptable for my autistic skin. Bamboo, bamboo silk/jersey and organic cotton seem like good bets, even if they don’t come cheap, they will last a long time. I had a weighted blanket back in Montana, so I’m either going to wait until November to get that, or find one here I can use, because it makes sleeping considerably easier, since I like the heavy pressure. I also have this compulsion where I can’t use dark-coloured towels and sheets comfortably. I need ones that are a neutral colour, like white. The reason is, I get unaccountably paranoid at the idea of the coloured fibres dyeing my face and body when I touch them or rub my body against them. No matter how silly that sounds, it’s still uncomfortable. Even though light coloured ones mean I do a lot more vacuuming, they end up making life a lot easier.

Sharing a shower with other people is going to be an uncomfortable experience, but I have gotten used to it after four years of doing it. What I do to minimize the discomfort is shower at night, when everyone else is out of the building usually, and that way I get the showers all to myself. These places don’t usually have a bathtub, so I’ll have to go to Jaime’s house on the weekend for a long, hot bath, Japanese style.

As for the actual school stuff, I have a terrible sense of direction, so I am going to approach the next week before Wednesday armed with a pedometer/timer, a day planner with all my classes written in it, and a mini campus map (included in the planner) With this, I intend to walk around the campus with my dormitory as a starting point, and walk to each of my classes, timing myself to see how long it gets to go from A to B. By the time this exercise in timing is done, I’ll be comfortable enough to know I won’t get lost on the first day, or any day after that. It’s like allowing a service dog to walk around the area a few times and sniff around until they’re familiar.

Buying textbooks is going to be a little different this time. I normally order them on Amazon, but my past experiences with Canada Post have told me that this time I’m better off just paying the extra to buy them at the bookstore. Grades are more important than saving money, and there’s no way I could catch up to having my books be four weeks late. That’s also better for my mental health, having the books be in my hands, rather than waiting anxiously for the books to show up day after day.

The final, but crucial, steps to my college preparation for UVic is going to be talking to the Disability Services at UVic about becoming registered as a student with a disability, and talking to Campus Health Services about getting a check-up, talking to a nutritionist, and getting a dental appointment and general physical/vaccination update. My personal health was terrible in Montana, owing to an ongoing battle with an eating disorder, isolation, and health problems with my teeth and adjusting to the dry, cold air. I want to make sure I am prepared this time, because my battles with my health cost me a lot of time in class and money I didn’t have.

I am optimistic though. I feel I did the right thing by coming here, and I now I am going to do great if I prepare, study frequently, dream big and work hard.