This guest post is by Marri Vega, a young woman on the autism spectrum who was accepted into Stephen F. Austin State University. Marri is applying for the Spring 2021 Making a Difference Autism Scholarship via the nonprofit KFM Making a Difference started by me, Kerry Magro. I was nonverbal till 2.5 and diagnosed with autism at 4 and you can read more about my organization here.
Can I ask for a favor? I’m trying to make this nonprofit self-sufficient so I can make this my full-time job supporting the special needs community and would appreciate you taking a minute before reading on to watch this video below and subscribing to our Youtube page here to get to learn more about the work we do in the community.
I hope you can support my nonprofit like I’m trying to support these students with scholarship aid for college. Learn more on how you can help our cause with a small donation (just asking for $3 today, equal to your daily cup of coffee) here.
Growing up, I always knew I was different. I didn’t act like other kids. I had trouble making friends, trouble fitting in socially and I acted out. For me, noise was my trigger so typically I would always get in trouble on the school bus or in the cafeteria. School was always difficult for me and making friends even harder. My whole life I have been defined by my autism, by my teachers, my peers, and employers too. As a child I was so wrapped up in my own world, that the fact that I was autistic rarely occurred to me. At one point in my childhood, it got really bad.
Things were different when I was a child, simpler at least in my head. Now that I am an adult, as I look back on my childhood, I realize how lucky I am, lucky to be able to go to college, have a job and have a career. Because if you had met me as a child, you never would have imagined me being where I am today. But I find myself realizing that I am still defined by my autism in looks I get from my classmates, strangers I pass on the way to class and even by my friends.
The fact of the matter is that I will have some challenges across my life. The only thing I can do is show people what I can do and show that I will not be defined by my autism. Autism isn’t a curse or a burden but rather a gift, I now realize. There is nobody that will ever be able to see the world in the exact same way I do. And that’s ok. Just because I have had to overcome some obstacles doesn’t mean it’s not worth it. I’d like to think that autism gives me an advantage over everyone else.
People like to say that “I am unforgettable” Well, they’re right about that. If I could describe myself, I guess I would say I’m a geek, I’m a writer and I am the craziest person you will ever meet when it comes to wolves. My friends like to call me “wolf girl” because I guess I am the wolf girl. To be honest, I don’t think a day goes by when I don’t think about wolves. Why am I telling you this? Because it matters.
Despite what Hollywood portrays, wolves are amazing and I plan to make my career out of them. To put it simply; I want to be a wolf conservationist. Being autistic I gravitate to one thing and don’t let go. That one thing is wolves. If I could look into the future and see what I would be doing 10 years from now, I’d like to think I was lobbying for endangered species of wolves such as the Mexican Grey Wolf and setting up protected habitats all around the world for other species of wolves.
I want to do something with my life. I don’t want to be defined by my autism because the truth is that having autism and even other disabilities doesn’t mean you can’t have a life. It just means that you will have to work a little bit harder than everyone else. And that’s a good thing because it will show determination. I’d like to think I have that. I feel somewhat of a reasonability to show people how far someone like me can go. To pave the way for others like me, so that they can have an easier time pursuing the career they want. Now this entire essay has been about what I faced; my autism. It doesn’t matter if I’m autistic because as you have read, I have overcome and will continue to overcome any challenges I may face in the future. I will not give up. Because at this point, the future is anything I can make it to be.
My name is Kerry Magro, a professional speaker and best-selling author who is also on the autism spectrum that started the nonprofit KFM Making a Difference in 2011 to help students with autism receive scholarship aid to pursue a post-secondary education. Help support me so I can continue to help students with autism go to college by making a tax-deductible donation to our nonprofit here.