Categories
FAQ Life School

I’m So Excited to Post This, I Don’t Even Have a Title Picked Out Yet…

Okay, so maybe some of you have seen my recent string of tweets alluding to this post. If you haven’t, get on that. This is important. Also, just to provide a quick unrelated update on that WEGO Health Awards nomination, I was not a finalist, but I appreciate the endorsements I received. It means the world to me to have your support on that.

…But’s that’s not why I’ve assembled the Avengers here today.

Yeah… Sorry, Cap… Didn’t mean that literally…

Okay, so remember when I started the Writing Studies program and joked about it being “17th grade?”

Here, we go… What’s he up to, THIS time?

Get ready for this announcement…

I’m officially enrolled in evening classes to study toward my Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Saint Joseph’s University!

That’s nice, Sweetie… Wait! What?!

Oh, yeah! The semester started back on August 27. I should receive my Doctorate of Education in May 2022, only a full 15 years since receiving my high school diploma.

But… WHY? Why now, at the very least…

You see, the day I graduated with my Master’s degree, my mother turned to me and banned me from getting a Doctorate right away… at least until I could pay down some of the student loans I had incurred from my previous educational experiences.

I have been waiting four years to make this post. The least everyone can do is be happy for me…

We are! We definitely are!* We’re just curious what your intentions are with such a program.

*Jon hopes this part is accurate. He’s gotten too excited about good news before…

I know some of you are probably wondering what my intentions are with such a program.

I’ve been thinking a lot, lately, about what my role is in the ASD and Neurodiverse communities at large. What can I do now to make life better for these communities later? How can I achieve my goals while helping others achieve theirs? What’s my part in all this?

I know after working in a corporate environment like SAP, I want to do more good by helping more than just the bottom line. I want my ability to advocate to mean something by the end of my time on Earth.

That’s why I’m saying this here and now:

While going for my doctorate will provide me with a few extra letters at the end of my name and take my education about as far as it can possibly go, this is about more than just me.

This is about us. This is about my role in an expanding, related set of communities interacting with one another.

Why study for an Ed.D.?

Because it can take my advocacy to all new heights I’ve never imagined.

Why now?

Because the longer I wait to do it, the less of an impact I can make on neurodiverse communities.

There’s no better time than right now to get out there and do what we can for each other… All of us. Together as a single web of communities.

The way I see it, we have two options:

  1. Continue to fall off the cliff and pray for miracles that aren’t going to come without people like us stepping up.
  2. Do something – anything within our power – to improve the lives of the neurodiverse.

I hope if you’re like me, you’ll choose the latter of the two options.


In the meantime, I’ve started watching Atypical Season 2. I’m about halfway through the second season, and I have to say, I’m very impressed by the effort Robia Rashid and crew have put into addressing constructive feedback from Season 1.

So, rest assured, I am working toward that particular episode of The Role Star.


While everyone waits for my Atypical review, I’m also working on a webcomic about life on the Autistic Spectrum. Announcing:

Coming Soon!

The Jack of all Tirades:

Jon lays out how he sees his life as an autistic adult in no uncertain terms.

Be sure to catch the webcomic as it debuts later this year.


Okay, I have to save some news for later posts, but I promise I’ll be back. I just can’t promise how soon.

Until then,

May you find peace with yourselves, within yourselves.

Rock on!

Categories
Love School Work

Eh… What’s Up, Doc?

My goodness, it’s been a long while since I last updated the blog with any substantial… well, updates (redundancy be damned).

The biggest update would have to be that I am a fully accepted graduate student now. No more of that silly provisional status.

I didn’t say I’D stop being silly…

My current GPA is a whopping 3.56 in grad school. I haven’t seen a cumulative number that high since high school!

I am now in the third week of my second semester out of five at SJU, and I could never be happier. Well, actually, that’s a bit of a stretch; I could have a job and my own apartment. Never let it be said that I look gift horses in the mouth.

…Most of the time, anyway.

Now that I know I’ve survived a round of graduate study, I’ve begun to think of what I might concentrate on in practical terms. I’ve always tried my hardest to help others. I am a creative writer. That creativity is my greatest asset, so why not combine my writing with my desire to help others (beside this blog)? What could I possibly have in mind for that?

It’s simple, really. I plan on finding out from my advisor how I would go about getting my Level I teaching certification for English at the Secondary Education level (that would be grades 7-12 for those of you playing the home game). I know I’ve said that many times in the past and haven’t followed through on that plan yet, but I’m gaining focus in my life beyond schooling. For the first time since high school, I have a solid plan for the longer term. My life will not lose its purpose after getting my master’s degree. That MA is merely a stepping stone for me. I’ve done some preliminary research on the Praxis requirements, and I’m fairly certain I can pass the Praxis II for 7th-12th grade English. Apparently, I don’t need to take the Praxis I — or rather its replacement test — because I already have my bachelor’s degree. Here’s hoping the best for 2013!

In other news, Valentine’s Day is coming up. Historically, I’d be depressed by now, but for some odd reason, I’m at peace with myself. I don’t know why, but I have more confidence about this year than in years past. I can’t explain the feeling nor can I explain what I’m thinking, but I’m more optimistic that I will be okay, even if I don’t have anything to do on February 14. I’ve been trying in vain to find a relationship for about eight years. Somehow, that doesn’t matter at the present moment. I just know that it will eventually happen. I have more important worries to focus on right now, worries like graduate school and making my goals a reality.

For the first time in a long time, I feel like I am embodying my catchphrase, “Find peace with yourself, within yourself.” That is the power of a stress-free moment of clarity. In case I don’t see you for another while, have a safe, happy Valentine’s Day!

 

P.S. – I realize I’d be committing a crime by not referencing Bugs Bunny in a post that derives its title from his catchphrase.

Categories
FAQ School

What Puzzle Pride Means

It has been over two months since I’ve last posted on this blog.  I swear I have a good reason this time!  Remember how I said I had some projects brewing in the distance?  Well, one of them was applying to SJU’s MA in Writing Studies program for Fall 2012.

HEY!  GUESS WHAT HAPPENED WITH THAT?

I’m only accepted provisionally — that means they will review my progress at the end of the semester and decide whether or not I will be fully accepted and continue on in the program — but I think I’m doing well, so far.  Sadly, though, this means that I can devote much less time to the Aspie Epilogue than I used/want to.  Rest assured, I am still alive and as opinionated as ever.

SPEAKING OF ME BEING AS OPINIONATED AS EVER…

I have a bone to pick with the word “cure” as it relates to ASD.

I have no problem with researching new treatments and methods of bringing everybody affected to the same social page as our NT peers.  Don’t get me wrong; I would LOVE to see a world, in which, the puzzle is completed.  I’d love to see the day ASD isn’t as scary sounding as it once was (and maybe still is, as things stand).

Then there are the people who talk about “curing” Autism.  Stop!  Just, please.  Stop right there!

No, thanks. I think I’m happier without a cure…

To “cure” somebody implies that there is a disease within the subject’s body that should not be there.  It implies there is something WRONG with us.  That we are not “normal.”  That we are unable to function as human beings.

Let me bust that myth right here and now:

1. ASD IS NOT A DISEASE.  IT MEANS SEEING THE WORLD DIFFERENTLY THAN MOST PEOPLE.  A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE IS NOT A DISEASE.

2. THE ONLY THING WRONG HERE IS THE ATTITUDE THAT THERE IS ANYTHING WRONG WITH US.

3. NORMAL IS A SUBJECTIVE WORD.  WHAT IS NORMAL TO SOME MAY NOT BE NORMAL TO OTHERS.  ERGO, THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS NORMALCY.

4. WE ARE ABLE TO FUNCTION.  JUST BECAUSE WE DON’T FUNCTION LIKE YOU OR AS EFFICIENTLY AS YOU DOES NOT MEAN THAT WE CANNOT FUNCTION.  SOME OF US FUNCTION BETTER THAN SOME NT’S OUT THERE.

5. SURE, THERE ARE SYMPTOMS.  IF YOU CATCH THEM SOON ENOUGH, THEY ARE COMPLETELY TREATABLE.  FOR SOME PEOPLE, THAT MAY TAKE LONGER THAN FOR OTHERS.  LIKE WITH ANY SYMPTOM, THERE CAN AND WILL BE SOME RELAPSES IN PROGRESS.

6. WE HAVE THE FULL POTENTIAL TO BE HUMAN BEINGS, AND WE TRY OUR HARDEST TO BE SO.  WE HAVE DIFFICULTY WITH SOCIAL SITUATIONS.  THEREFORE, WE HAVE TROUBLE READING EMOTIONS AND WILL TEND TO MISS SOCIAL CUES FROM TIME TO TIME.

7. WE ENDURE SO MUCH MORE TORMENT FROM YOU GUYS THAN YOU ARE EVEN AWARE YOU ARE SUBJECTING US TO.  YES, WE DO UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU ARE SAYING.  AND YES, IT HURTS US VERY MUCH, EMOTIONALLY.  THINK ABOUT HOW IT’S GOING TO SOUND TO ME VERSUS HOW IT SOUNDS TO YOU BEFORE YOU PUT YOUR FOOT IN YOUR MOUTH.

THIS IS WHO WE ARE.  THIS IS PUZZLE PRIDE.  WE MAY NOT HAVE ACCOMPLISHED THE SAME TYPE OF THINGS AS YOU, BUT WE HAVE ACCOMPLISHED FAR MORE IN QUANTITY AND IN QUALITY.

I’M WEIRD!  I’M LOUD!  IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT, THEN WALK AWAY!  BECAUSE WE ARE THE 1-IN-88, AND WE’RE NOT GOING ANYWHERE ANYTIME SOON!

Categories
Life Preview School Work

The Future is Limitless!

Since I last posted on the Aspie Epilogue, I’ve been busy trying to plot out my next move(s).  Drexel didn’t pan out, getting my old job back didn’t pan out.  Nothing seemed to pan out in the past month.  But that was in the past.

The future is what I have left to preoccupy myself with.  So, just what am I doing in the future, anyway?

There are some more updates I plan to elaborate on in future posts.  The following are some updates I hope to be able to post about later:

1) I’m applying for SJU’s M.A. in Writing Studies program for the Fall 2012 semester.  I’m still working on the application, but I will most definitely let you all know how that turns out in the end.

2) I’m working toward a very special personal project related directly to the Aspie Epilogue.  I hope to have the completed version ready by November 23, 2015.  I’m still working on specifics, but I promise you all will LOVE it when you see it.

3) Still trying to find a job.  You’ll be among the first to know when that happens.  I certainly hope that part comes soon.  Believe me, I really want that to happen.

And there you have it.  The past may be gone, but the future is still out there somewhere, waiting to come to light.

Again, I’m always open to hearing about other people’s Puzzle Pride Awards if anybody has some they would like to share.  You can learn more about that on the Puzzle Pride Campaign page on the Aspie Epilogue.

I’ll see you next time, when I cover some important questions many of you may have had at some point or another concerning diagnoses.

Categories
Life School Work

The (Disappointing) MAJOR Update…

Sometimes, we expect things will work out better than they actually do when the time comes.  And well…

This is one of those times for me.

Disappointed Aspie is Disappointed…

You see, I had applied to Drexel University for a Master’s Degree in Digital Media.  I found out a little while ago that I was not accepted to the program, which is apparently that competitive.  Perhaps that was a blessing in disguise.  If the program is so intense to get into, maybe I would not have done so well in it, after all.  Around the same time, I had expressed to Best Buy that I was interested in coming back.  I got to the second interview (out of 3).  I was told they would contact me if I was selected for the last interview.  They never called.  I then found out that my student loans are due to start repayment in July, and I don’t have a job.

The point is LIFE IS FULL OF DISAPPOINTMENTS.  These disappointments seem to be hitting pretty hard lately.  But here’s the thing about disappointments:  The disappointments don’t define us.  What does define us is how we handle them.  Quite frankly, I could have handled some of them a tad better than I actually did.  And if I was rational, I probably would have.  Which brings us to…

LESSON 2: STAY RATIONAL WHEN DISAPPOINTED/UPSET.

Like I said, how we handle what comes our way in life is what makes us who we are.  I know this isn’t easy for many (if not all) of us to do.  But it’s something we need to keep in mind as much as we can.  Do whatever it takes to stay rational.  Because when we become irrational, we lose all sense of ourselves and make poor life decisions…

…which can lead to more disappointments later on.

Do whatever works for you to stay rational.  Even if it means forcing yourself to stay rational, it can prevent you from making mistakes that will lead to more disappointment later.  For some people, that comes easier than for others.  Different people will have different coping methods for these occasions, so I’m not going to list all the possible things you could try.  Instead I’ll just impart some words of wisdom:

“It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.” – Anonymous

Likewise with life, it’s not whether you get everything you want, it’s how you handle what you get.  In the end, we can’t take everything with us, anyway.  We’ll only be remembered for how we lived.  So live like you’re dying and take the time to enjoy your life.  Even if it’s full of disappointments.  You’ll never know what it will lead to in the future…

Categories
Life Love Preview School

Major Update Coming Soon

Hey, guys!  I know I’ve been gone for a while.  I have something really exciting to post about, but I’m waiting for some more concrete details to come through first.  I’ll give you a hint:

It was briefly mentioned in my last post a month ago.

To those who figure out what I’m talking about, I’m still waiting to hear back.  To those who have no clue what I’m talking about, you’ll find out as soon as I find out.

In the meantime…

I previously gave up trying to find a date.  Well, I’m still at square one, but I may have posted that in sheer depression.  It’s not that I don’t want a relationship, it’s that I just can’t seem to find anyone remotely interested in me.  And that brings me down.  A lot.  My friends have started noticing this, and well, I guess I am a little down about that.  Calling off the moratorium, but the prognosis is not too uplifting right now.  It’ll happen when it happens.  Even though I really want it to happen now.  Now if you’ll excuse me for just a little bit, I’ll be sure to have more details when I get them.

Categories
Life School Work

Find It, Work It, Love It…

“Be who you are, and say how you feel…  Because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” – Dr. Seuss

Yesterday, I happened to walk in as a Hallmark Original Movie was on TV.  It was called The Reading Room, starring James Earl Jones.  It was about a wealthy man who opens a store where kids can sit down and read (or learn to read in some cases) in an inner-city neighborhood filled with gangs and violence.  Through the course of the movie, William Campbell (played by James Earl Jones) wins over the hearts of the members of the community and makes the neighborhood a better place.

What does this have to do with working after college, you ask?  Well, to answer that question bluntly:  It has a LOT to do with working after college.

I had originally started college hoping to be a Special Education teacher.  After a year of soul-searching, I realized I had a different passion and ended up with a B.A. in Fine Art with a concentration in Film/Video and a minor in Communication Studies.  Needless to say, that was a very different ending to the original story.

I am currently working on an M.S. in Instructional Technology, hoping to be a Media Specialist, someday.  What do I want to do with it?  I want to do what William Campbell did in the movie and make other people’s worlds a better place to live in.

How I will do that is by using the skills I have learned and the expertise I have acquired through various experiences to work with others similar to myself, such as the learning impaired, the behaviorally challenged, etc. be all they can be.

What this all boils down to is having that passion, that drive to motivate you to do what you want to do in life.  My passions have evolved along the way.  Even if you have that passion, it always helps to know what you want to do with it.  For me, I didn’t see it until very recently.  …And that’s okay!  Better late than never.

I remember how hard going through school was in the beginning.  Through the years, school became an emotional roller-coaster.  There were ups and there were downs.  But if I hadn’t had that support from teachers, friends, and family, I would not be sitting here typing this blog post right now.

Some of you in college may not know who to turn to for help and resources.  When you are scared, life becomes scary and overwhelmingly more difficult.  My goal is to use what I know to make life less scary and easier for others who may not yet see their full, untapped potential.  I had that support safety net to guide me, and that’s what I want to do for you.

I have a philosophy that if you put more love in your heart and the world around you, there is less room for anger.  This results in a feeling of inner peace and self-confidence, and you find you will not be as spiteful toward other people.  Part of that is knowing what to care about, and when to let go.

I’ve found what I care about.  And there’s a lesson in that:  Whatever you do in life, make it something you want to do with all your heart.  You will have a stronger motivation to improve, to do a better job at what you do.

I have a little assignment for you this week:  Find one area in your life that could use some improvement and make a change that will benefit you and your world.

No matter what your circumstances are, I hope you find peace with yourself, within yourself.  I can’t wait to see how the world changes for the better because of the lives you’ve touched.