Saturday, June 1, 2013

My Personal Statements for College


Personal Statement #1
            Every kid loves something. Whether it is dinosaurs, books or a game, they will be so into it that it will be hard to get their attention. I loved dinosaurs so much that I started memorizing random facts like wildfire. It was ten years ago when my mom had given me a cool toy for Christmas. It was an interactive toy that taught you about nine dinosaurs. I memorized every single fact about every single dinosaur in only a few weeks. After that, I started sharing my knowledge with my stunned family. Ever since then, my ability to learn and memorize information, as well as retain it for a long time, has grown and become my most vital asset when it comes to doing great in school.
            When I was little, I started taking an interest in all things around me, from dinosaurs to books. I went to the library every day and checked out as many books as I could. For every single birthday, all I wanted were books. After a while, I became curious about other things. I took up violin and I learned at a fast pace. It became clear that I had potential and this skill helped me excel in my high school electives. Things that I will be able to contribute to my future college are my individuality, intelligence, passion and caring heart.
            One thing I love about my ability to learn and focus is that I retain information more easily than my other friends, which have to study for tests and quizzes. When I learn new concepts and topics, I catch on quickly and my focus is a more intense than most students. Not even the incessant talking of my classmates can hinder my focus on what I am taught.
When I was young, I was bullied, from first to tenth grade. I did get picked on, but I never let it interfere with my schoolwork. Sure, I have a social disorder (Asperger’s Syndrome), but I didn’t let it interfere with my learning, along with my natural curiosity about everything. Furthermore, I do not let my disorder cloud my vision of who I am. I have been blocked by tough obstacles in life, but I learn from my mistakes and I work hard to be the best I can be, both inside and outside school.
My friends may consist of a small handful, but I like friends of quality. They let me know when I have said something rude that I didn’t intend to be. They like that I am a superb listener and that I am sensitive to them if they’re feeling sad or angry. They also enjoyed my company because I have a cool and eccentric sense of humor. It doesn’t matter if I am busy or not busy at all; I always try to find time for my family and best friends.  My mother, grandmother, godfather and cousins loves these traits I have as well. It’s my caring and passionate heart that makes me a strong woman and focused student.
            All in all, this natural curiosity and learning ability has aided me where most students have struggled. It has never faltered or went away and it never will. I’m still a bright student and at the top of my class. It makes me proud because schools these days have changed drastically and I am blessed to be able to keep up with these new and complicating concepts that leave most others clueless. This learning ability is what I am best known for and it has helped shaped me due to the fact that I literally do absorb information like a big sponge.

Personal Statement #2
            I was only four years old when my mom took me to Sea World. I have always been a curious girl. It does not matter if it is about dinosaur or how the universe was made. I will retain that information and keep it in until it is no longer needed.
            I grew up in an animal and writing-oriented world. My life has revolved around living things and writing, mostly books. Early on, I was taught how to draw animals in kindergarten. I drew tigers, birds, dogs, you name it. My natural curiosity has helped me to have and retain knowledge on just about everything. I learned about dinosaurs when I was seven with a Christmas toy. I memorized the entire thing in two weeks. Even then, I was memorizing movies down to the little lines that most do not even notice at first glance.
            One thing that I have always loved was animals. I had a lot of pets growing up. I had a lot of goldfish, two parakeets, a hamster, a puppy, a kitten and much more. I also helped to take care of other pets. I remembered how to take care of them and I did it…with a deep passion. I grew much attached to my puppy, Bear, and my kitten, Princess. When I had to give them up, I got very emotional and cried a lot after parting ways with both of them. My love of animals has also helped me to go to zoos, museums and aquariums, so that I could learn more and expand my knowledge of these beautiful creatures.
            It doesn’t matter what kind of animal it is. I will learn about it and memorize the bare facts. This love of animals will never go away. It’s been my passion that I will always cherish and it will definitely aid me in my job as a zoologist or animal biologist. My family has always supported me and have always loved that I love learning because it has helped me in school.  The only thing that I’ll miss is when the world comes to an end is all those amazing creatures that live on this planet will perish and vanish from this world.

MY BOOKS I HAVE PUBLISHED THUS FAR...!!!

THESE ARE MY THREE BOOKS I HAVE PUBLISHED OVER THE COURSE OF THESE LAST FEW YEARS.

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SO FAR, I HAVE GOTTEN 100% POSITIVE FEEDBACK FROM MY FRIENDS AND TEACHERS THAT HAVE READ IT, AND THEY LOVED MY BOOKS!!!

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Project: Solitude

Time Finished Book in: 11 months

LINK: http://www.lulu.com/shop/florrie-crowe/project-solitude-a-novel/paperback/product-20983906.html

A reserved college student goes to a mental rehab place and becomes part of an experiment so that she can learn to trust and love someone again...all the while, an old flame and a jealous counselor intend on hunting her down just when her life seems to take a turn for the better...

The Lost Alien (MOST RECENT BOOK) 
Time Finished Book in: two months

LINK: http://www.lulu.com/shop/florrie-crowe/the-lost-alien-a-novel/paperback/product-21042454.html

A stressed out, henpecked veterinarian and part-time lifeguard rescues a stranded woman on the beach and take her under his wing. Only thing about this woman is that she's an alien that has come to study planet Earth, and she has also come to search for a mate...With his ex, growing more and more suspicious of the alien in disguise, she must carefully use all of her otherwordly assets to blend in with mankind as her love for the veterinarian that rescued her grows more and more as the days go by.

But she has broken the most scared rule: observe and go unseen. When she learns that her people have come to take her back, she must come up with a plan to secure her place on Earth. Will she make Earth her permanent home...or will her first love be ripped from her hands forever...?

Dimming Fire, Blooming Rose
Time Finished Poetry in: I'm not sure, but my oldest poem was from at least five years ago or more...

LINK: http://www.lulu.com/shop/bryanna-m-akins-and-calvin-c-clark-poems-selected-by-florrie-crowe/dimming-fire-blooming-rose-a-poetry-collection/paperback/product-21042568.html

This is a poetry collection of my work as well as my godfather's. His is leagues better than mine...The Wedding Ring, one of my poems, is going to be published in an official anthology.

I always dream of the perfect man that’ll come along and meet me.

And I don’t care if I wait forever to hear say, “Marry me?”


I’ll dreams seeing a wedding ring,

He’ll slide it onto my finger.

The joy that ring would bring

Makes me ever so eager.


But until then, I’ll have to wait,
The Wedding Ring by Bryanna Michelle Akins

I hope to meet him in highschool,

I hope to go on another date,

I hope that he’ll be sensitive and cool.


I don’t want to change for him,

That’s not what love’s about.

I don’t want him to be dim,

And I don’t want him to drop out.


Good men are always so hard to find.

I know I have to wait.

I’ll always have that wedding ring, stuck in my mind.

I hope my husband will become my soul mate.


I can’t imagine the joy the day would hopefully bring,

When I hear him propose, “Will you marry me?” with a diamond wedding ring.

Short Story (Genre: Children) - Precious: A Short Story by Florrie Crowe (Me, it's my pen name...)

Every little kid asks for a pet at some point in their lives. Whether it's a dog, fish or hamster or turtle, the parents are usually the ones that end up taking care of the pet for them. Then later, when the kid is at his/her happiest, for some reason, they have to get rid of their pet (reason being death or otherwise).

Sam wanted a dog. She'd been asking for it for years and when she finally gets the chance, she surprises both her brother and her parents by doing something very odd and bizarre...what is this odd and bizarre thing that she does...? READ THE STORY BELOW AND FIND OUT!

Precious: A Short Story
By Florrie Crowe
A.K.A. Bryanna Michelle Akins

           It was something I had been wanting for years and years. Now is the perfect time for me to ask my parents for it. This time, they have to say, “Yes.”
          
           I wanted…a dog.
          
           But it was nothing they weren’t used to; at some point, every kid asks their mom or dad for some kind of pet they can care for. They may say, “Sure, we’ll get you a pet.” Some say, “No. Not now.” I asked my mom and dad four times and they said, “No” every single time I brought it up. I became more and more discouraged and I almost gave up. I was going to ask them one more time; if they gave me the answer I was expecting, I would never ask again.
          
          The first time I brought it up was when I was five. Of course I was too young to care for it myself. They said that I couldn’t have a pet. I cried that day, but a few years later, I understood why they said what they said.

Two other times I asked them was when we moved two, separate times. One time was when they got an apartment. I was about nine when this happened. They said “No” because it was too small and they couldn’t afford it at that time.

I was expecting them to change their mind when we moved into our house five years later. But they said, “No.” Again. I had a hunch about why they declined my proposal; they both worked and I had school; they didn’t want some rotten, misbehaved mutt, tearing up and destroying their place while we were away.

But I kept asking them. I had to. All of my friends had pets.

My friend, Abby, has a cat named Chocolate.

My friend, Josh, had a snake named Grassy.

My identical twin friends, Dillan and Millan, had two dogs, Amber and Copper. They just got them last month.

Now I am in my freshmen year of high school and my mom works from home now and my brother just graduated. Now there were people that could keep an eye on my pet at home, if I ever do get one.

That, and open space, were the two obstacles that stopped me from having a pet of my own that I can love and care for myself. Now they’ve been removed; there’s no way they can say, “No” to me this time.

I was now sixteen years old. It was a nice, mildly warm summer day in June, and I was in the living room, watching TV. I was on the animal channel, watching a dog show. It had been on my mind all day this morning. I was thinking of how I wanted to ask them this time. Since I know they get mad when I beat around the bush, I decided I was just going to be direct and ask them straight out.

Suddenly, I heard the sound of my mom and dad from another room.

“Sam, honey!” Mom called to me.

“Could you come in the kitchen for a minute?” I heard my dad say in his usual, deep and booming voice.

“I’m coming,” I replied as I turned off the TV and set the remote down. I walked into the kitchen and saw my mom and dad, sitting in chairs at the dinner table. My mom’s auburn, red hair was in a side ponytail and her lips were a bright, rosy red color. My dad, being six feet tall with short, dark hair and a big, oval head, had on a blue t-shirt with black pants. My mom was wearing a plain, dark green dress with black pumps.

“What is it, guys?” I asked, sitting down in one of the wooden chairs.

“Well, Sam,” my dad said, “Your mom and I have been talking for a while now and we’ve decided…”

At this point, my interest was piqued.

“We are going to get you a dog!” My mom cried.

My eyes lit up like fireworks on the Fourth of July. I have been waiting for this my entire life! I’m getting my own pet dog!

I jumped up with glee and screamed so loud the shriek reverberated off the walls and turned the whole house into a loudspeaker. I hugged my mom and dad tightly as they wrapped their arms around me. I told my older brother the good news; he was equally overjoyed. Now it’s time to go find that one dog I’ll spend fifteen to twenty years of my life with.

The animal shelter was fifteen minutes from our house and nearby my school. They had a lot of dogs and cats, but not much of anything else as far as other pets goes.

We all got out of our SUV and walked through the doors of the shelter. All I heard were barks, meows and people’s cheerfully loud voices as they walked around, looking for a dog or cat to take home.

I didn’t want just any dog. I didn’t want a Labrador, or a Golden Retriever, or any of those typical dogs that people had. I wanted a dog that was unique, one that was unlike the others. I wanted one that stood out from the pack.

As I walked around the kennels, the dogs I saw were various and diverse. I saw Labrador, Chihuahuas, Jack Russells, German Shepherds and much more. But none that I wanted. I walked all around the kennels, trying to pick one, but none of them stood out to me. I was getting more and more discouraged as each minute passed by like hours.

Then suddenly, I saw a cage in the corner that everyone else around me was overlooking and skipping without giving the creature inside a passing glance. Was there a monster in the cage? Was there a dog in there? Or was the cage just empty?

“I wonder…”

I got up from my bench and walked slowly to the corner kennel. There was barely any light that could show the creature inside in any way. As I got closer, I saw a darker, four-legged figure, sitting curled up in the corner of the dismal cage.

I looked into the kennel and my eyes gazed into the ones of a dog with most unusual features. It was a small dog, about the size of a cat, but it didn’t have any fur. Instead, it was all hairless, with its dark skin exposed to the light above. The only hair on its body was hair on and around it head and hair around its paws. There was a tuft of straight, white hair on its tail that laid flat on the concrete.

Its hair was white and the hair on its small, apple-shaped head made it look like the dog was wearing a wig. The hair around its feet looked the hair you’d see around a Clydesdale horse’s big hooves. The hair around this dog’s feet flared out like bell bottom jeans. The dog’s face was hidden in shame by the “wig” the dog bared. It looked as if the dog was embarrassed and sad…and alone.

I tapped my hand on the cage, making the metal jiggle and make noise. The dog’s head snapped up as it stared at me in the darkness. Its eyes were very dark in color, and the dim light made two, little, twinkling stars shine in its eyes.

“Hi there,” I mumbled in a high pitch as it tilted its head to the side and panted with excitement.

“Come here.” I called to it. I didn’t know if it was a he or she. But nonetheless, the dog got up and trotted happily towards the cage and sat in front of me, with only the cage separating us.

There were dog treat dispensaries for the customers to feed the dogs as they pleased. I got out my corn kernel-sized pieces of food and put it through the wire.

The dog stretched its head towards the food, sniffed it and happily ate the pellets of food. After that, the little cheery dog got up on two legs and leaned its front paws on the cage, trying to reach for me.

I put my fingers through the slits in the cage, being wary and cautious if it decided to bite me. But instead, it did quite the contrary. It licked my fingers eagerly, sticking its small head through to try and reach my face.

“You just want some love, don’t you?”

The dog just kept licking my hand. This dog was different, unique, weird and a little ugly. But I liked it. She was nice—the dog was a girl—and she was waiting for someone to come along and take her home.

I liked this dog a lot. It was different; it was well-behaved; and it stuck out like a sore thumb compared to all the other furry dogs in the kennel.

“You want to go home with me?”

The dog tilted it head and started yipping and barking with glee and immense joy. It wanted out and it wanted out now.

The dog’s tail was flapping back and forth like a person, waving a flag. The dog turned its head around and started chasing its tail in a tight circle until it fell to the ground, panting tiredly as it focused its dark eyes on my face.

“You’re the one.” I tried to imagine if the dog had a small tiara on her head. In my head, she looked like as princess. I knew right from the moment I saw her that she was going to be MINE…ALL MINE.

She was my dog. My first dog. She was a treasure to me now. She was precious to me. She was a milestone in my life: she was going to be my first pet.

“Sam?”

I turned around and my parents and brother were standing over me.

“This is the dog you want?” My brother, Daniel, asked.

“Yeah. Why?”

“It’s ugly, though.”

“She’s not ugly; don’t say that,” I scolded. “She’s just different.”

Then one of the animal shelter workers knelt down next to me.

“Is this the one you want?”

“Yes, it is.” I said. “What kind of dog is she?”

“A Chinese Crested dog.”

“She’s beautiful.”

He unlocked the cage and the dog leapt into my arms and licked my face until I was slobbery and wet with dog saliva.

After getting her chipped and fitted for her collar, we shopped for all of her supplies and went to the front desk to get her I.D. tag made.

The machine that made the dog tags was made into the counter and incorporated into it. I looked at all the different shapes: hearts, squares, triangle, diamonds, bones, stars and tiaras. Of course, I chose the tiara for my little princess.

And finally, when the tag was chosen and the worker put it into the machine to be engraved into, he asked me a very, very important question. One that every dog owner had to answer at some point in their life.

I already knew what it was.

“So, Sam…” The worker had his hands ready to type up a word on the machine’s little keyboard. “What are you going to name her?”

“What will I name her?” I picked her up and lifted her up over my head so I look right into her eyes with elation and happiness that I had been longing for my whole life. I cradled her in my arms as I answered his question with confidence and pride and bliss.

“I will name her…Precious…”

School Essay #3: Food Politics/Obesity Epidemic Essay

THE BUTTERBALL COUNTRY
THE UGLY TRUTH
ABOUT THE OBESITY EPIDEMIC

Bryanna Michelle Akins

Teacher: Croft

ERWC, Period 3

29 May 2013
Food Politics Research Paper

          It is amazing, surprising and, worst of all, scary as hell…in 1972, the United States spent 3 billion dollars in fast food-related funds. Now it’s 2013, and we’re spending 110 billion on fast food-related funds (Fast Food Facts, 1). By now, most of us are very aware that fast food is high in calories, but contains little to no nutritional value. What people also don’t realize is how much energy is needed to exercise and burn off all those excess calories you take in every time you eat at a fast food joint, such as McDonald’s, Burger King or Jack in the Box. To burn off all the calories from a Super Coke, Super Fry and a Big Mac (McDonald’s meal), you would need to walk for seven, straight, non-stop hours (Fast Food Facts, 1). People also know to some extent that obesity—like other conditions, such as lung cancer—are preventable deaths. There is a cure for obesity and lung cancer. Don’t smoke. Don’t overeat and gain too much weight. If left alone over the course of several years, obesity will be the #1 leading cause of preventable death (Fast Food Facts, 1). It’ll be at the top, beating lung cancer (smoking, which is, right now, the #1 leading cause of preventable death). With our lousy economy, sluggishly recovering from a recession, fast food joints will always be the place to go for those that are nearly broke and can’t afford to buy food from the supermarket (or don’t know how to make dinner for themselves).
            I have had experiences in my 10th grade English class that involved writing an essay about the topic in question. The question we had to answer, and back up, was this: who is really to blame for the horrible obesity epidemic? I originally said the media and the people. They are both at fault for it. But my recent research claims that the media (magazines, TV, movies, websites, etc.) are the REAL culprit. We have all seen hot, skinny, bony supermodels that star in commercials for fast food, alcohol products and other related items (Freeman 1). Over the course of a few decades, people are truly convinced that “thin is in”. This subjective advertising has been ingrained in people’s brains (mostly younger men and women), so much that today, overweight and obese people are targets for bullies and figures of ridicule. I myself have been bullied since kindergarten, and it made my school years hell on earth for me. But it has completely stopped, and I am very thankful for it. But there is a valid reason for why the media should be the ones to blame for making the United States the fattest country in the world. “…Psychologists say the images promote eating disorders by giving young women a wildly unrealistic view of the female form” (Freeman, 1). Not only does it make young women self-conscious about their physical appearance, but it also gives men a subjective portrayal of what a beautiful woman is supposed to look like. “By showing pictures of fat people stuffing themselves with food, they exacerbate the problem by making already fat people fatter” (Freeman, 1). For the people that are already big and obese, the images of obese individuals cause them to feel guilty and look to unhealthy food for emotional comfort (Freeman, 1). You don’t necessarily get fat from eating fast food. You can eat it and not become overweight; it’s the portion of your fast food meals that really determine if you’re headed down the road of obesity.
            There are several reasons why there are nutritional food labels on almost everything. It gives you nutritional facts, what fats it has and, more importantly, how many calories ONE PORTION of that food item has. Portion sizes were figuratively anorexic if you traveled back in time nearly 20 years. Let’s look at pizza, for example. 20 years ago, 2 slices of pepperoni pizza contained 500 calories; today, they contain 850 calories (Caroline, 2). What about yummy, buttery, sumptuous popcorn? 20 years ago, a small, striped rectangular container of popcorn (5 cups) contained 270 calories. Not too bad, right? Today, a large tub of the stuff contains a whopping 630 calories, nearly triple that of the popcorn portion just two decades prior (Caroline, 2). Lastly, let’s look at that hot, warm beverage you have two or three of every day to kick-start your brain and get through the morning without dozing off on the job. You guessed it; it’s coffee! Technically, an 8 oz. cup of coffee with sugar and creamer has 45 calories. Today, Grande cafĂ© mocha at Starbucks is 16 oz. and contains 330 calories (Caroline, 2). Due to fierce and heavy competition between fast food restaurants, they’ve had to lower the prices and blow the meal portions completely out of proportion! Now that portions are so humongous and the prices are so ridiculously low, I don’t think the fast food joints are going to be closing down anytime soon. But that’s not the worst of it…
            The worst and most sickening part of this horrifying reality is that the fast food joints and their advertisements target young and innocent children, so that they, too, can become a part of the growing problem of obesity. Why do they intend on targeting children for their subjective ads? Well, part of it is because children are little balls of wet clay. The reason why I give this analogy is that nothing will cause a ball of clay to take shape without outside influences. In this case, the ads are the foreign, outside influences that are molding the little, innocent kiddies into becoming little eating machines that want nothing, but McDonald’s (or Burger King or whatever restaurant they prefer). It’s no surprise, then, that “one-third of all children in the United States are overweight” (Gottesdiener 1). That’s not all. When I watch TV channels, such as Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network or Disney Channel, almost every commercial I see is about a fast food restaurant. “Kids experience at least $1.6 billion worth of food advertising a year” Gottesdiener 1). These influential, subjective commercials cause children to want fast food more and more when they get hungry.
            If you don’t believe me, I have done more research on what happens when there are none of these subjective commercials at all. In Quebec, Canada, all child-targeting ads have been banned and have been banned for 32 years now. Not just on the web and TV, but in print, too. Now, the end result is shocking and stunning: they have the least child obesity of anywhere in Canada (Gottesdiener 3). Also, the fast food places know that if you cater to the children, the parents will follow, bringing more customers along with them. It just goes to show you that if the media would be less subjective and not target our kids at all, the United States would be a much healthier place for children everywhere.
            I have tried to find just one fast-food place (or something close to it) that had nothing, but healthy food. All my searches have been in vain…almost all of them. I only found and know of two places that are close to being fast-food restaurants and contain healthy food. Subway is a good example. There’s no fried chicken or French fries here. Subway’s restaurant style means that you can choose what your sandwich will have, from the bread used to the condiments to the meat and veggies on your sub. Unlike other places like McDonald’s, you have the pleasure of watching your own sub being made on the spot. Personally, this is my favorite restaurant that serves both affordable and delicious food. Flame Broiler is another healthy restaurant that I love to dine at. They specialize in bowls, filled to the rim with white/brown rice, beef/chicken and vegetables. The plates have the same contents, along with an orange and a small salad. Not only are they healthy and affordable, they promote healthy eating choices by putting up posters, advertising their products. They use no MSG, no added preservatives, nothing extra and unnecessary. It’s all fresh and organic food. It’s hot, it’s delicious, it’s cheap and it’s healthier than any McDonald’s or Burger King could ever be. You can’t beat that, right?
            On the other hand, McDonald’s is not only unhealthy, but it also lures in unsuspecting and innocent children to eat their food by including free toys in their so-called Happy Meals. “McDonald’s distributes more toys in its meals than Toys-R-Us” (Fast Food Facts, 1). But there is a miniscule diamond in the unhealthy and disgusting rubble that is the fast-food industry. “Only 7 items on McDonald’s menu have no sugar” (Fast Food Facts, 1). And now, McDonald’s is stepping up to its own plate of critics and adding milk and apple slices to their Happy Meals. Just goes to show you that even the restaurant chains are trying to make a difference in the world when no one else will step up and do anything to stop the epidemic of obesity.
            In conclusion, the fast food industry uses uses three tactics to lure in customers young and old and big and small. They use child-targeting ads to lure them and their family to the restaurants to make more money. They blow their portions up and lower the prices, so that they get more for their money. As long as our recovery from our recession drags on, the  fast food joints will always be the easy option when it comes to spending less.
Works Cited
  1. Caroline, Divine. "Portion Size, Then vs. Now." Divine Caroline. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Apr.             2013. <http://www.divinecaroline.com/self/wellness/portion-size-then-vs-now>.
  2. "Fast Food Facts from the Super Size Me Web Site." Fast Food Facts from the Super        Size Me Web Site. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Apr. 2013.             <http://www.vivavegie.org/101book/text/nolink/social/supersizeme.htm>.
  3. Freeman. "Are Media to Blame for Obesity Epidemic?" CBSNews. CBS Interactive, n.d. Web. 29 Apr. 2013. <http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-20067704-      10391704.html>.
  4. Gottesdiener. "7 Highly Disturbing Trends in Junk Food Advertising to Children."            Alternet. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Apr. 2013. <http://www.alternet.org/food/7-highly-           disturbing-trends-junk-food-advertising-children>.
Word Count: 1,711 words



School Essay #2: What is Wrong With Me (Health Extra Credit Essay on Asperger's Syndrome)

Bryanna Michelle Akins

Period 6 – Health class          

Teacher: Mrs. Bennett

October 4, 2011

What is Wrong with Me: an Essay on Asperger’s Syndrome
          
It was about a year or so ago…I was up at my grandma’s former apartment in Arcata, California, and my mom called me about a few things: 1) I was going to a whole new school to get a fresh start, 2) She was checking up on me to see how I was doing because I was going up there every summer for a few years until she moved down to Huntington Beach with my aunt Melissa, and 3) She told me to look up a mental disorder called Asperger’s Syndrome. After I questioned what this was, she gave me a list of symptoms and signs associated with AS, and, all of a sudden, it clicked! 

I had all those symptoms, almost all of them. I thought about it; when I looked at website after website after website of this, I burst into tears and think to myself “Oh, so this is what’s wrong with me…” Asperger’s Syndrome has affected me, my childhood, my social life, and how I view myself as an overall individual, and yet, to this day, only a tiny handful of my friends and teachers knew what this disorder was, or at least had a clue of what it was. In this essay, I will tell you a lot more about AS and how it affects people, like myself.
           
The one thing that really got my attention when I first heard of this mental disorder were the signs and symptoms that went along with AS. People with AS find it very hard to change their daily routine, making them appear as inflexible and rigid in nature. Repeating body movements and behavior patterns means that Asperger individuals like to do the same thing, over and over again, without getting bored. Some Asperger people don’t use their imagination a lot and they may not socially play with their peers. For example, a young kindergartner with AS may prefer to play alone, or isolated, from the other kids, playing with their friends. Some of the most prominent symptoms of AS include the inability to make and keep friends, lack of social skills, and lack of eye contact. 

I have lost a lot of friends over the years, especially when I moved to Santiago High School, and sometimes I don’t know how to react to a new situation, so my first approach to a new event may startle, frighten, or anger someone I know. The reason why I don’t like to look at people is they stare at me too much and it makes me more likely to stutter, or repeat certain sounds, mostly vowels (a, e, i, o, and u), which is another AS symptom. Sometimes I don’t look at someone because I feel like they are judging me and assuming who I am as a person. Some other signs include not being able to maintain a conversation, limited interests, inability to pick up social cues, lack of “common sense,” and odd/eccentric behavior. People who have AS may not seem to have it at first glance, but when you interact with them, that’s when you can usually tell that they are different from other people.
             
I suppose you are wondering where this disorder came from or how it was discovered? Actually, it was named after a man named Hans Asperger. In Austria, he found a unique  group of children that possessed normal or above-average intelligence, but they had very poorly-developed social skills, such as relating to people. Asperger’s Syndrome is actually a disorder associated with Autism. AS is a mild form of this other mental disorder. It was a Level Two Autism, in other words. Even though Hans identified AS in the 1940’s, it wasn’t officially defined and recognized until 1994 and added to the DSM-IV (the Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual). This Asperger’s Syndrome is often confused with schizophrenia and Tourette’s syndrome, Tourette’s syndrome’s most famous sign is numerous muscular twitches and tics or spontaneous vocal grunts and obscene speech. In one episode of South Park (a rated R tv series, in my opinion), a fourth grader said the s-word and f-word at inappropriate times, along with a few twitches here and there. An adult with TS also did this. 

Asperger’s Syndrome affects more boys than girls; in 1966, AS affected 4 or 5 infants out of every 10,000 born, but, in 2003, it increased to 14-39 per 10,000. AS runs in families with histories of depression and bi-polar disorder. Hans Asperger’s group of kids revealed that they all had fathers with Asperger’s symptoms. Also, half of his group had history of oxygen deprivation (not getting enough oxygen) during pregnancy and birth, which might suggest that babies with AS may have brain tissue damage before or while their mother was giving birth.  Most psychologists and therapists wait a little longer to diagnose someone, so that they can get an idea of what their behavior is and how they interacted with their friends and family. Therefore, they can correctly identify what symptoms of AS they have before making assumptions and incorrectly diagnosing someone’s child. But fortunately, people with AS have a much better life as they mature and become responsible adults (at least that’s what I’ve read in the many books about my disorder at the library)…
            
Treating Asperger’s Syndrome takes patience and a lot of therapy sessions. Sadly, it can’t be cured or get rid of like a cold or flu can. But, for some people like me, they can go to a therapist and cope with their symptoms, improve their social skills, and learn how to deal with problems they may have at school, at home, or anywhere they might have a problem. For AS people with speech problems, they can go to a speech therapist and work on their speech imperfections. Some people are given prescription drugs, or psychostimulants, to calm down people that are hyperactive and fidgety. Some drugs can treat anger and depression in AS people, lower their rituals and make them more flexible, and some treat those with anxiety. With a lot of work and therapy, people with Asperger’s syndrome can live their life like their peers do and not worry about people, judging them.
           
I have gone to speech classes since first grade and I was always really nervous and shy as a kid because people always teased me. I couldn’t even say hello to some people because they would run away from me or say something mean to me. I would come home almost every day, crying about what happened in school. In fifth grade, I almost missed the bus and when I got on the bus, everyone was chanting, “Leave her! Leave her! Leave her!” My speech improved when I went to a brand-new high school because I would be able to make a good first impression on people and make a bunch of friends. I started going to a therapist a few months ago, and my therapist, Yisun (ee-SUN), has helped me to improve my social skills and deal with my problems. Now that I am in eleventh grade, everyone around me is focused on their work and not teasing me and it just takes a whole bunch of weight off my shoulders. I’m glad this year got off to a great start. But I still can’t be myself around my peers because my friends still think I am abnormal. Another person that has also helped me with accepting myself for who I am is a friend of mine named Bryan Palomino. He respects me and treats me like a person and not some sort of a parasite you want to get rid of ASAP. He listens to me, he likes me, he thinks I am a good friend, and I fell in love with his laidback, down-to-earth, respectful personality and his kindheartedness. I like him…A LOT. I would actually go so far as to say that I LOVE HIM…as a close friend, of course. He is a unique friend to me because 1) I can be myself when I am around him, and 2) He is the ONLY ONE that I have EVER told my secret (I have Asperger’s Syndrome). I explained to him what the symptoms were, what it was, and did he notice them when I am around him. He figured that was why I acted the way I did. We are still friends to this day, and I hope, with all my heart, that we can make this relationship go somewhere…
           
In conclusion, Asperger’s syndrome is an autistic disorder that affects more boys than girls and it can interfere with their everyday lives. With the inability to make and keep friends, lack of empathy, lack of eye contact, and difficulty in changing their routine, people with AS are just unique individuals that don’t know how to socialize with their peers that well. But, on the bright side, “An Asperger child may be very open to all people, regardless of age, or size, or species, and he may choose friends others wouldn’t have thought he would like…/…and he feels as if he belongs on a different planet… (pages 49-62).” I have a normal life , I have normal problems, and I am just like everyone else, I just have a hard time, getting along with my friends. But speech therapy and counseling have changed my life, and for the better. There are just a few things that people with AS need: “He needs love and encouragement, the occasional bit of advice, space to be himself, and then everyone can sit back and enjoy the unique individual he becomes (pages 62-65).” In the end, I will COME OUT ON TOP!!!





          

School Essay #1: What is Wrong With Me? An Essay of my Disorder

What is Wrong with Me? An Essay of My Disorder 

It was confusing. It was helpful. It was the moment that would forever change my family’s lives, my friends’ lives, and, more importantly, mine. It would also change the way that I viewed myself as a person. I knew for some time now that I was different from my other shallower friends, and not in the good way, either. I knew that my more sensitive, girlier friends thought that I was weird. I read more than any of my friends. I hang out alone and with my teachers. I have a stutter. It’s hard for me to make friends with my, at times, indifferent nature. Then, I come off as mean or stingy when I don’t mean.

I suppose you’re wondering where my awakening started. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was spending the summer with my loving grandmother, Beverly Jean Bird. She may be old, but she stays hip and in-the-now; she’s a real modern granny. Anyways, I was watching TV in her old apartment out in the beautiful countryside, in a town called Arcata. Out in the mountains, where it was perfect weather during the day, but freezing cold at night, I spent altogether three to five summers with my grandmother before she moved to Huntington Beach. As I was watching her TV, the phone rang in its repetitively monotonous ringtone. My grandmother answered the phone and talked to my mom for about 10 minutes until she gave the phone to me. My mom called me about a few things: 1) I was going to a whole new school to get a fresh start, 2) She was checking up on me to see how I was doing because I was going up there every summer for a few years until she moved down to Huntington Beach with my aunt Melissa, and 3) she  had told me to look up a mental disorder called Asperger’s Syndrome. Reasons being because Tracy, my uncle, said that I might be able to get social security and there could be a possibility that I have this mental handicap. After I questioned what this was, she gave me a list of symptoms and signs associated with AS, and, all of a sudden, it clicked! I had all those symptoms, almost all of them. I thought about it; when I looked at website after website after website of this, I burst into tears and think to myself “Oh, so this is what’s wrong with me…” Asperger’s Syndrome has affected me, my childhood, my social life, and how I view myself as an overall individual, and yet, to this day, only a tiny handful of my friends and teachers knew what this disorder was, or at least had a clue of what it was. In this essay, I will tell you a lot more about AS and how it affects people, like myself.  It shocked me, flabbergasted me, scared me, but on top of it all, I got a feeling…an unexplainable feeling. It was as if the final puzzle piece fell into place. It was as if I found the light at the end of the dark tunnel that symbolized my horrible childhood. 

The one, single, enlightening thought that went through my mind was, “Oh, so that’s what’s wrong with me…” I had all of the mental disorder’s symptoms, which included the following: Inability to make and keep friends, communication problems (stuttering and cluttering), lack of ability to pick up social cues, inability to empathize with other’s feelings, not being able to understand humor, dislike of routine change, and heightened sensitivity to loud noises, strong smells, etc. People with AS find it very hard to change their daily routine, making them appear as inflexible and rigid in nature. Repeating body movements and behavior patterns means that Asperger individuals like to do the same thing, over and over again, without getting bored. Some Asperger people don’t use their imagination a lot and they may not socially play with their peers. For example, a young kindergartner with AS may prefer to play alone, or isolated, from the other kids, playing with their friends. Some of the most prominent symptoms of AS include the inability to make and keep friends, lack of social skills, and lack of eye contact. My mother wanted to ascertain whether I really had this disorder or not, so I made regular visits to my therapist, Yisun, and after a while, she toldmy mom and I that I definitely had Asperger’s Syndrome. Some other signs include not being able to maintain a conversation, limited interests, inability to pick up social cues, lack of “common sense,” and odd/eccentric behavior. People who have AS may not seem to have it at first glance, but when you interact with them, that’s when you can usually tell that they are different from other people.  I didn’t stutter as much when I talked to her and when I didn’t stutter, I could communicate better and I made a greater impression on her. I had to make a few changes to my life since I technically had the “developmental skills of an 11 year-old.” So, I started to do things that normal teens my age do. I have chores every day now, I’m trying to get over my fear of driving, and I’m trying to loosen up and be kinder to people.   

I have lost a lot of friends over the years, especially when I moved to Santiago High School, and sometimes I don’t know how to react to a new situation, so my first approach to a new event may startle, frighten, or anger someone I know. The reason why I don’t like to look at people is they stare at me too much and it makes me more likely to stutter, or repeat certain sounds, mostly vowels (a, e, i, o, and u), which is another AS symptom. Sometimes I don’t look at someone because I feel like they are judging me and assuming who I am as a person. It’s not as easy as it may seem to you. I don’t like meeting new people because this is whenmy symptoms get enhanced or “amplified”, so to speak. I stutter more, I tend to look down and not at people, and I run out of things to talk about after awhile, partly because I only spend like a minute or so on each subject I talk about. These “symptoms” that I may seem to have are explainable. I don’t like looking at people because I feel like they’re judging me. I tend to not be very helpful because there are certain things that teens my age should be prepared for. They should come prepared to class without asking me for paper or a pencil. This is partly why my friends think I’m mean or stingy. And I don’t let people copy off me because I don’t want to get myself in trouble. The reason I may not cry at a funeral or relate to someone that’s going through a bad breakup is because I haven’t experienced these kinds of things yet. The only reason I come off as mean is because I like it quiet when I am in my classes. It’s hard for me to think when people are talking all at once, even if they’re using their “indoor voice.” And finally, I get along better with older people because they are more accepting and more understanding of me when I spend time with them. Plus, I don’t stutter as much. I don’t choose to be alone or to be mean. I just don’t feel comfortable when I’m around teens my age.

My awakening has shown some light on the things that have left me confused or stuck. The only good thing about my awakening is that I am obsessed with reading books of all varieties, unlike some of my other friends who have never read a real book in their whole lives, and this gives me an advantage when reading books like “The Scarlet Letter”, “Rip Van Winkle”, and “The Awakening”. I’ve only told a handful of myfriends that would understand me best because not a lot of people know about this mental handicap that I possess. I haven’t really changed that much, physically, but I have changed more mentally. It’s clear to me that I’m going to be alone for most of my life due to my disorder.

I suppose you are wondering where this disorder came from or how it was discovered? Actually, it was named after a man named Hans Asperger. In Austria, he found a unique  group of children that possessed normal or above-average intelligence, but they had very poorly-developed social skills, such as relating to people. Asperger’s Syndrome is actually a disorder associated with Autism. AS is a mild form of this other mental disorder. It was a Level Two Autism, in other words. Even though Hans identified AS in the 1940’s, it wasn’t officially defined and recognized until 1994 and added to the DSM-IV (the Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual). This Asperger’s Syndrome is often confused with schizophrenia and Tourette’s syndrome. Asperger’s Syndrome affects more boys than girls; in 1966, AS affected 4 or 5 infants out of every 10,000 born, but, in 2003, it increased to 14-39 per 10,000. AS runs in families with histories of depression and bi-polar disorder. Hans Asperger’s group of kids revealed that they all had fathers with Asperger’s symptoms. Also, half of his group had history of oxygen deprivation (not getting enough oxygen) during pregnancy and birth, which might suggest that babies with AS may have brain tissue damage before or while their mother was giving birth.  Most psychologists and therapists wait a little longer to diagnose someone, so that they can get an idea of what their behavior is and how they interacted with their friends and family. Therefore, they can correctly identify what symptoms of AS they have before making assumptions and incorrectly diagnosing someone’s child. But fortunately, people with AS have a much better life as they mature and become responsible adults (at least that’s what I’ve read)…

Treating Asperger’s Syndrome takes patience and a lot of therapy sessions. Sadly, it can’t be cured or get rid of like a cold or flu can. But, for some people like me, they can go to a therapist and cope with their symptoms, improve their social skills, and learn how to deal with problems they may have at school, at home, or anywhere they might have a problem. For AS people with speech problems, they can go to a speech therapist and work on their speech imperfections. Some people are given prescription drugs, or psychostimulants, to calm down people that are hyperactive and fidgety. Some drugs can treat anger and depression in AS people, lower their rituals and make them more flexible, and some treat those with anxiety. With a lot of work and therapy, people with Asperger’s syndrome can live their life like their peers do and not worry about people, judging them. I have gone to speech classes since first grade and I was always really nervous and shy as a kid because people always teased me. I couldn’t even say hello to some people because they would run away from me or say something mean to me. I would come home almost every day, crying about what happened in school. In fifth grade, I almost missed the bus and when I got on the bus, everyone was chanting, “Leave her! Leave her! Leave her!” My speech improved when I went to a brand-new high school because I would be able to make a good first impression on people and make a bunch of friends. I started going to a therapist a few months ago, and my therapist, Yisun (ee-SUN), has helped me to improve my social skills and deal with my problems. Now that I am in eleventh grade, everyone around me is focused on their work and not teasing me and it just takes a whole bunch of weight off my shoulders. I’m glad this year got off to a great start. But I still can’t be myself around my peers because my friends still think I am abnormal. 

In conclusion, Asperger’s syndrome is an autistic disorder that affects more boys than girls and it can interfere with their everyday lives. With the inability to make and keep friends, lack of empathy, lack of eye contact, and difficulty in changing their routine, people with AS are just unique individuals that don’t know how to socialize with their peers that well. But, on the bright side, “An Asperger child may be very open to all people, regardless of age, or size, or species, and he may choose friends others wouldn’t have thought he would like…/…and he feels as if he belongs on a different planet… (pages 49-62).” I have a normal life , I have normal problems, and I am just like everyone else, I just have a hard time, getting along with my friends. But speech therapy and counseling have changed my life, and for the better. There are just a few things that people with AS need: “He needs love and encouragement, the occasional bit of advice, space to be himself, and then everyone can sit back and enjoy the unique individual he becomes (pages 62-65).” One of these days, I will become a famous author and people will remember my name for many more years to come. Withmy intelligence and inner beauty, I will go on and become successful. Only time will tell of where I’ll be 10 years from now…In the end, I will COME OUT ON TOP!!!