It can be a very tiring process to think that there’s hope for you when you hear from so many experts that you can’t do things in your life. My turning point for me, was my sophomore year of High School when our advisors began discussing with us the possibility of going to college.
I will say now that I wasn’t one of the most motivated students in the world. A year before I weighed 230 pounds, never had a girlfriend and was still struggling with making friends. Than, a breakthrough happened when, to make our high school basketball team I lost 60 pounds in one summer and made the Junior Varsity team. This motivation inspired me when college started to come into discussion to face it head on.
A year later the SAT’s happened which worried me greatly because I never found a knack for taking tests. My scores came back and I ended up getting only average scores that worried my entire family. It was my parents and my decision that at that point we wanted to go on the aggressive. Along with boosting my GPA to a 3.9 I also started reaching out to as many universities that I could.
When it was done, I had applied too 15 colleges with Seton Hall, Syracuse University and Stevens Institute of Technology being in my top 3.
The day the letters started coming in we were beyond nervous. My first choice school Seton Hall University came in first to our house. It took us 3 days to open the letter but, when we finally could we realized that I had got in! Later, the next 14 letters would come in and when they did I had got accepted into all 15. Somebody wanted me. I was going to college.
15 schools and over $300,000 worth of scholarship aid later it brought a lot of things into perspective for me. From the hardships of being non-verbal till I was 2.5 to have severe sensory integration difficulties for most of my adolescence, great things were still possible on the other end. This is a goal I wish for so many people with autism. That they can grow up to go after there dreams.
Since getting accepted into Seton Hall University I’ve graduated with both my undergraduate and masters degrees and have been able to travel the country as a national speaker talking about combating bullying, succeeding in college with a learning disability, autism awareness and so much more!
I hope for those out there reading this that you know there’s hope as we learn more about autism everyday. As I get ready to speak at schools this Fall I will share this message in everything I do while providing resources to help parents and educators to help their students with autism succeed.
It takes a village but we can accomplish great things together…