I was nervous and my heart was beating fast.
I spent days prior choosing my outfit and making my class binder look decent, just like a middle school girl.
But this wasn’t middle school – this was college.
I just recently graduated from high school after two extra years in the public school system.
High school was hard enough with being autistic and identifying as transgender.
COVID had its challenges the last two years of school. I had online classes, went in only two days a week and lost friends over petty arguments since they were younger than me.
I knew college was going to be different. I always wanted to get a higher education.
As I walked into my class, I was shocked to see that there were no people yelling or acting like teenagers.
Yes there were people chatting and getting to know one another, but they were all acting decent.
My anxiety fell off my shoulders a little bit.
Then it rose again when the professor asked us to introduce ourselves. I have always been horrible at doing introductions and mostly talked too much.
I nervously watched as my classmates went around.
Then it was my turn.
“Say your name, where you’re from and what you are majoring in.”
The name and where I am from wasn’t a problem, only the major part. I took a deep breath and told the truth. “Hello, I’m Adam Shard, I am from Brattleboro, Vermont and I am a College Steps freshman. I don’t have a major yet.”
I was shocked to see that no one blinked an eye. In high school people would have looked at me funny and might have picked on me due to the special program I am in.
But not here.
I felt my anxiety disappear.
I felt accepted.