By Alyssa Melendez, Staff Writer

Brandon Pugh sat in the abandoned hallway, huddled in a ball against the wall, rocking back and forth.

“I thought college was supposed to be fun.”

But Brandon wasn’t having fun. In fact, he hadn’t had fun at all in the past five weeks.

Because he had to drive 30 minutes everyday to a campus that everyone else could call home.

Because even when he was on campus, he didn’t have a single moment to spare.

Because he was taking a 17 credit hour workload with tough classes like calculus and chemistry.

Because his grades weren’t as he expected they’d be.

Because his mom said he had to work 12 hours a week at Emporium and he wasn’t allowed to question her decisions.

Because he was an adult now, but he couldn’t make any of his own choices.

Because he felt like everything was piling up on him and what he wished for most was time simply to do nothing.

Because he was seeing people every day, but he had no time to actually see them.

Because he was constantly receiving messages in a group chat about people hanging out, while he was sitting in his bed 30 minutes away.

Because all of the clubs he wanted to join had their meetings when he had to be home.

Because he was lonely.

Because every day, he drove back home after a long day on campus and still felt lost.

Because he had lost himself.

Because having autism made it that much more difficult.

People would look at him and never know what he was going through.