Saturday, September 8, 2012

Reflections on College

In this blog post, I wanted to reflect on the past six years that I have attended college.  When I was eighteen during my freshman year of college, I didn't understand what it meant to have autism.  I tried to explain to a friend that people with autism didn't have emotions, which could not be farther from the truth.  Lucky that friend refused to believe it.  She was the first of many people that told me to start writing about autism.

Fast forward two years to 2008.  This was the year that I transferred from a community college to a much larger university.  My first semester, I was involved in a peer transition program designed for college students with autism.  I worked with a mentor during that semester to adjust to university life.  I was a commuter student, meaning I drove myself to class from my parents' home.  This peer transition program helped me in some small ways.  It gave me a familiar face on campus when I really didn't know anyone.  However, I ended up leaving this program in January 2009. I was a transfer student who had already attended college for two years and just needed a little help getting adjusted to the university.

Fast forward again to January 2011.  This was when I was hired by The Oakland Press as an intern reporter.  I wrote about twenty news stories that were published in the paper.  It was suggested again during this time that I share my insights into autism.  When I ended the internship in April 2011, I received an offer to continue writing for the paper as a community blogger.  I thought about what I could write, realizing this was my big chance to let the world know about autism awareness as I see it.  So, I ended up starting The Voice from the Spectrum in May 2011.

In November 2011, I was first introduced to Blog Talk Radio when I was interviewed about my autism story.  By that time, I was building quite a reputation on Facebook and The Voice from the Spectrum was becoming quite a success.  I was nervous on my show and very self critical, but everyone who listened said that I did very well.  Throughout the next few months, I started to become acquainted with the United Kingdom charity, Positively Autistic.  In February 2012, I first started hosting Junior Positively Autistic: Ryan's Spectrum Talk.  This was a big step for me, since I considered public speaking to be my greatest weakness.  Not only have I excelled with that show, but it has improved my public speaking skills in other areas of my life.

In April of 2012, I started co-hosting the Poet's Interest: with Marilyn and Ryan.  At present, I am 3 months away from graduating from college.  It took me six and a half years, but I never failed a class. Always went full time except my last few semesters.  As long as I get the degree, what does it matter if I took 6.5 years to get it?  Not only do I have a degree but I also have a budding writing career and a handful of paid publications under my belt.  The future awaits.

1 comment:

  1. Great JOB on hard work accomplished (well almost, 3 more months). That takes a lot of determination and talent. I hope you enjoy the field that you have been studying!
    Cheers! To a bright future!