I was a lost child. A lost child afflicted with a disability known as autism. I could not make any friends nor hear nor read or write for the first 7 years of my life. Doctors told my mother that I would be a failure, I would never hear nor would I ever gather any intellect whatsoever. Burdened by the doubters and naysayers of the environment around me, I set myself on a mission at an early age to correct the ship that was to overcome my early academic failings to get into college. Here is the story of the Sunshine State Warrior.
In preschool, I vividly remember separating myself from the other children. I never made any friends and didn`t communicate with anybody. I very much remember almost all of those speech development sessions that I had to endure in order to start talking. They were excruciatingly long and petrifyingly painful. I got through that and spoke my first words at 5 years old. In kindergarten, I didn`t really do well academically, scoring C`s and D`s on my report cards. Socially, I was still doing extremely terrible. I had a lot of trouble making friends and communicating with my peers about classwork and other typical kindergarten stuff. In first grade, this was still going on, except this time, I got suspended for slapping my 1st grade teacher on the leg when she took away a drawing that I did. And on top of that, it was on Mother`s Day when all of the mothers of the other children in the class were watching me get in trouble and sent to the Principal`s office! That was quite the debacle if you ask me! In 2nd- 6th grade, this madness of C`s and D`s was still progressing and I still could not make any friends. In the 7th grade, things started to change. I took my academics extremely seriously and started making A`s and B`s in my classes while creating a good social group that I developed some relationships with. I was able to maintain those grades and progressively expand my social circle during the 8th grade and the 9th grade. In the 10th grade, I started making straight A`s and I began to join many clubs on campus like FBLA, Chorus, National Honor Society, and the golf team. In the 11th grade, I moved up to AP classes and got A`s and B`s in them. In 12th grade, I got A`s in my AP classes, maintained my involvement in my clubs, and I got accepted into many colleges and universities, but I chose Florida International University in my hometown of Miami, Florida to be with my mom and to provide for her whenever she needs it and to avoid those deadly student loans.
I know that my academic sufferings are a foundation of who I am as a student, one who has the courage and the audacity to respond to anything that is thrown at his way. However, I must recognize that the real world is a totally different animal than academia. College has equipped me with a solid base for going into the real world with an emphasis on learning for myself without someone holding my hand along the way, joining many clubs like ASCE, SHPE, EWB, and SAE that reflect what I see the real world looking like. I encourage you to discuss with any youth that is going through an academic suffering or any suffering that if you don`t quit, and persevere with your goals, you will be the champion.
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