Life on campus as an OCT student

Kyla Spaulding, Creative Services Director

Meet Christian, who will be a junior this fall at UNF. Christian is on the autism spectrum and is a part of the OCT program at UNF. The Arc Jacksonville On Campus Transition at UNF (OCT)’s mission is to provide an innovative college experience for young adults with intellectual disabilities or differences while providing transformational learning experiences to university students, college educators, and community leaders. 

He has been living on campus his entire college career. Christian’s major is early childhood education and wants to one day work at a local preschool or Jacksonville School for Autism. Christian said he would especially enjoy teaching math skills to preschoolers using different resources. 

Christian describes himself as social, kind, and respectful. He likes doing yoga and swimming outdoors. His favorite genre of music is 80’s rock bands, and his favorite band is Europe. Around campus, Christian likes taking afternoon walks, hanging out at the green, sitting on the swings near the lake, and hanging out with friends. In his dorm room, Christian enjoys looking about his window and watching the clouds. 

A large benefit of living on campus is being closer to class. Christian said living on campus helps him with being productive and has helped him gain new skills. He is excellent at getting to class on time. Due to the pandemic, Christian had to go home and complete the rest of his classes online. The situation felt awkward, but he didn’t struggle during the transition. He is very thankful to be back on campus this semester.

Christian said the OCT program has been very useful, and the people there are nice and helpful. Being an OCT student and having autism has made being a student easier for Christian. He said he likes knowing his schedule and having autism has helped him succeed as a student. He feels different than everyone else, especially when coming up with perspective ideas and thoughts. He always feels like what he has to say matters and that people listen. Christian said he wants to help others learn more about the OCT program. 

To future OCT students, Christian wants them to feel confident and he wishes them luck. He said being new can be scary, but those new students shouldn’t be afraid. He recommends to other individuals with intellectual differences or disabilities to be an OCT student at UNF. Christian has made a lot of friends at UNF, and he said he will befriend any new students and give them a tour of UNF to show what it’s like here. If you see Christian on campus make sure to say hello!


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