Meet Alpha Omega Academy's October student of the month, Anthony Austin, and discover why the inspiring senior considers Asperger's Syndrome his best and worst characteristic.
My AOA Story
This is my fourth year at Alpha Omega Academy. I first learned about AOA when a former teacher gave my mom a homeschool course catalog to browse. An AOA advertisement caught my attention and I decided to check out the website. I was immediately impressed by the number and variety of courses offered. I liked the concept of having individual teachers for my courses and having an education coordinator to help keep me on track. Perhaps the thing that impressed me most, though, was the number of colleges that welcome AOA graduates.
History has always fascinated me. However, I like to write, so English would have to be a close second choice.
The Perks & Surprises of Distance Learning
I like having "around-the-clock" access to my courses and the opportunity to work at my own pace. I also like having the freedom to be myself, because it allows me to concentrate on learning rather than "fitting in."
The amount of teacher and student interaction at the academy was a big surprise during my first year at AOA. My teachers paid more attention to my studies and progress than most of my public school teachers ever did!
Asperger's Syndrome: My Best and Worst Characteristic
I consider Asperger's my worst characteristic because it makes me a social klutz! Thus, it is difficult for me to make and maintain friendships. I call it my best characteristic because it has helped me develop some very useful talents. For example, when I read or hear interesting information, I can retain it (often word-for-word) for a very long time. In addition, having Asperger's has taught me tenacity. When something seems too difficult, I do not give up-I just find another way!
Hobbies and Activities
I am an avid fan of the Dr. Who television series. As such, I participate in several online discussion groups and write fan fiction. I am also an avid reader and volunteer as a reading mentor for elementary students. In addition, I like to spend my free time reading, writing, and/or playing video games. Many people would be surprised to learn that I can sing
and play the saxophone.
I am very close to my older sister, Tarisa. Tari is a surgical charge nurse at a local hospital, and is studying to become a nurse practitioner. I consider her husband, Jared, my friend as well as my brother-in-law. I enjoy visiting their home as often as possible where the three of us like to play strategy games and watch movies together. Tari and Jared are expecting a baby boy in November, so I will soon become an uncle!
My Greatest Accomplishment
I am proud of my academic grades. However, I am most proud of overcoming a lack of confidence in my abilities. I have learned that my challenges are merely additional lessons I can master, and it is only the choices I make that will define my future.
I hope to attend Cameron University in Lawton, Oklahoma. While there, I will study general psychology. I am not yet sure where I will go from there, but ultimately, I hope to specialize in cognitive psychology. My goal is to participate in research that will help people better understand the connections between brain function and the thought processes that result in reactive behaviors.
Words of Wisdom
If I could offer my classmates some advice, I would tell them to dream big, work hard, and embrace the unique opportunities afforded them at AOA. Additionally, I would tell them to "dare to be different" because that is when they can truly make a difference!