I walked out of a class tonight, angry and frustrated. There is a great deal I could write about how I feel and what annoyed me, but the essential information is that there is a limit to the stresses I can tolerate. Even though I speak on surviving college, the reality is that I still am not equipped to handle some events — or some personalities.
The classroom is of a miserable, hyperactive, media-saturated design with six flat-panel video screens, two LCD projection units, and an unrelenting buzzing from strangely flickering fluorescent lights. (The buzzing is amplified via metal reflectors of some manner.) The entire room buzzed, vibrates, and leaves me shaking in agony.
Even after leaving the room, a persistent, high-pitched tone did not leave me until well after midnight. I was physically shaking, near tears, and wanted nothing more than to have silence. Real silence. But just try explaining such an overload to anyone who does not experience literal pain in some settings.
So, I'm in distress and the professor, instead of asking if something is wrong, laughs. She tells me to relax. When I reach a stage of panic, when even the slightest thing bothers me, she says “Some of us need to take a deep breath and learn to relax.”
How unperceptive can a person be? How cruel to laugh at a student experiencing anxiety?
Instructors don’t know how to deal with me. More importantly, I don’t know how to deal with them. This is especially problematic when I can evaluate their relative intellectual abilities and perceive both a lack of knowledge and a lack of innate intelligence. (That might sound like an exaggeration, but many ASD individuals can quickly evaluate the logical abilities and basic knowledge of others.)Yes, I think this professor was intentionally ignoring my plight. Why? Because it was unusual and disruptive. Even when I wanted to explain I didn’t feel well, there was no opening to explain the stress. I don’t want to hear justifications that she “didn’t understand” because that has been too common a refrain during the last two years.
I am frustrated. I am also disheartened, disillusioned, and feeling rejected by a system that should be willing to understand and even question what causes differences between people.
There is a great deal of “conceit” people detect when in reality I simply know what I know and find no reason to couch my knowledge in artificial politeness. If I do not think someone is paying attention to my needs, I will say so. This professor had already determined I was a conceited know-it-all (another student mentioned this to me). I was in a situation already poisoned by misunderstanding. I was a “problem” already.
In a minor effort at restraint, I’m going to stop writing in an attempt to relax. The reality is, I do not forget, forgive, or tolerate people who annoy me. I have a deep distrust of many academics, and it is only getting worse the more I come in contact with some of them. The great challenge is that I must deal with academics to eventually be one.
Ironic, isn’t it? It is too bad that I didn’t pursue the sciences or math, where attitudes might be closer to my own. But, I am a writer.
The universe has a sense of humor, I suppose.