Hello, my name is Alyssa Sasport but I go by Aley*. I am a senior in the UT FUTURE Program.
The year I first came to UT FUTURE, I was at first nervous because I really didn’t know anyone nor where my classes were. My second and third years were kinda similar but at those times I knew where my new classes were, knew half the mentors and staff more. The reason why I wanted to come here to UT was because I wanted to become more independent, more active with the Program and to continue to expand my social group of friends. The more time I’ve been here at UT, the FUTURE Program has been like a family to me. When I visited the UT FUTURE Program, I wanted to see if it would be a good fit for me and it turns out it was.
Some of my best experiences while I was here at FUTURE were meeting new students, mentors and staff. What made them the best was the fact that there are so many more students, mentors and staff compared to when I was just a freshman here at UT. I honestly wasn’t as much of a social person when I was in high school as I am now in the UT FUTURE Program.
My favorite class was probably my creative writing classes but with different professors. Why was creative writing my favorite class? Because both professors taught me different styles of writing stories.
My favorite teacher would be my volleyball coach Annie Blanto, because when I started playing volleyball for my freshman year here, she always helped out when she could. I thought I would end my senior year with that class again even though it was only for a half of semester class.
If I could go back in time, I would do my homework then like how I’m working on it now. Because when I was a freshman I had no idea that homework was a responsibility of mine to work on at the time. When I was a freshman, I skipped till the last minute to do my homework to hangout with my friends.
My favorite work experience was working at the YMCA rooftop garden before the garden came down. My other favorite work experience was working with the Daily Beacon. While I was working there I asked other students both in and out of the FUTURE Program to do an interview with them.
Living on My Own
My dorm experience was honestly okay because living on your own can be hard at first but you will get used to it over time. The main thing is if you have an early class say at like 8 in the morning, you would have to wake up around 6 in the morning and set an alarm to wake up at that time for class so you won’t miss it. I would have liked it if I had a room to myself but that is kinda a part of life.
The best part of dorm life was being independent, being responsible to get yourself up in the morning for classes. The hardest part of dorm life was sharing a room with someone that you probably don’t like and waking up early in the morning for your 8:00am class. I now get around campus by bike. I have a normal cruiser bike that I use to get to my classes faster. Over my time being at the FUTURE Program I have developed a mental map of my classes.
Some living skills I learned are how to keep my side of the room clean and waking up on time for classes.
I have had trouble with my time management skills but, I am currently working on my time management. Developing this skill will help me in my life even in the future by arriving at class or work on time.
My typical day is mostly chilling out watching tv. I wake up around 5:50 but snooze my alarm a few times but I mainly wake up around 6ish due to my 8am classes that I have now.
My end of the day routine, I like to go to bed around 10 or 11 at night. I clean the bathroom, clean my dishes and vacuum my side of the room.
I like being independent. To me being independent means being there to help others like my friends, living on my own, going to my classes on my own and managing your own time around your schedule.
I have increased my independence by going to my classes on time without a mentor, getting my homework done by myself and I live by my own rules. But one example of me being independent is mostly finding time to hang out with my friends or to have me time when I have work or homework to do. Each and every day, my independence grows without me realizing till the end of the day.
My friendships with the students and staff of the FUTURE Program were great. The FUTURE Program itself became another family over time.
My memories with my friends would be the trips to get food, hanging out and talking about our lives as they are. Another one is most definitely the fun Friday trips we do. I can’t say I have a favorite (place to eat). There are too many options. Mostly it depends on what I’m hungry for. As an example I would eat Firehouse when I was in the mood for subs or for McDonald’s french fries on Fridays once in a blue moon.
I really hope graduation doesn’t change anything at all. Just because one graduates doesn’t mean that they can always hang out with their friends after school or after work.
Being a senior in college is a lot of responsibility for one thing that’s for sure, but it’s also just helping other students or staff members. It is a blast hanging out with the students and staff and having the availability to hang out with them when you have time. What being a leader in the program means is being well kind of a huge help with others like one example is I am a teacher’s assistant for Life Skills 4. That has a leadership role by helping the main teacher in the class.
After graduation I am going to have a party to celebrate first, gather my summer break as my driving lesson from Justin and if I ace the test I’ll be driving to my job at Sertoma.
I will be living in 303 Flats apartment complex, I will be working at Sertoma and I will probably either go swimming or hang out with my friends in my free time.
There are so many lessons to say, because the program has taught me a lot in all honesty. If I choose one, I’d choose that the program will help you out no matter what because the FUTURE Program is there to help you or anybody with IDD or a physical disability.
I think “Irreplaceable” would be a good song choice because out of all four years of my life in the program, my time was irreplaceable. As much as I don’t want to say goodbye yet to the program, I will always remember the great times and the best memories that I have made with everyone here at the FUTURE Program. Without the FUTURE Program I wouldn’t have my wings to soar.
*Aley uses they/them pronouns.
FUTURE is a comprehensive program that helps young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities make a successful transition from high school to adult life. During the program, we provide students with specially designed FUTURE classes, the opportunity to audit undergraduate courses, and an internship on or off campus. Also available is career and clinical counseling to help develop academic, vocational, social, and decision-making skills. Learn more here.