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Calls to Action


This post is by Gianna Hitsos, a 17 year old Singer/Speaker/Actor/Advocate Bringing Awareness and Changing the Perception of People With Autism. Gianna will be participating in the Greater Boston Walk Now for Autism Speaks. To donate to 'Team Gianna' visit here.

Everything is coming at me at once! I just started school only a couple of weeks ago, and I've already had 6 tests. I feel like I have to go from zero to sixty with no time to process anything. A few days ago, I received the PSAT booklet and practice test. No one at school explained exactly how these tests are used, and at first, I just assumed that they counted exactly like the SAT's. All week, everyone in the halls had been talking about testing and looking at colleges. Then school gave me a website to start preparing to investigate colleges. I was so overloaded with all this info. Thankfully, my mom sat me down and broke all the information into little pieces so I could process it all. I'm not sure that I'm any less stressed, but now I understand how it works. 

From the day that I decided I wanted to pursue music in college, no one could change my mind. I knew that as a person with autism, I was going to have to once again prove that I had abilities too and that I was good enough for people to take me seriously. Sometimes that gets very exhausting and a little old! Right away, I decided which two schools I wanted to apply. I'll tell you their names later. However, my parents said that I need to consider others as a "back-up plan". So this summer, I picked three colleges in MA that had music programs, and I went to visit them. I had no idea what to expect, but I knew there were only two questions I wanted to ask, and the most important one was "are you accepting of students with autism?" My parents explained that colleges can't answer that question any other way but "yes" because otherwise it would be illegal, and I would have to figure out on my own whether I feel comfortable in each school. I knew that was going to be really hard, especially when it's so difficult to read people in the first place. The other question was "how's the music program?" So off we went to our first school, Brandeis University. 

I was really afraid of what to expect and what they do on a tour. Brandeis has a really good reputation and a good music department. As I walked on the tour, which by the way was really fast and you don't get to see inside all the buildings, I noticed that the buildings were arranged in an organized pattern, so it looked very easy to memorize where everything was by the time I finished that tour. I was very impressed with how the college was set up and that they stressed diversity. That was something that was really important because after all, I am diverse! They have a really nice performing arts center too. My favorite part was the living houses or dorms. One of them looked like a castle!!!! Also, there's a bazillion clubs, including several music clubs, a Pokémon club, a Disney club, and even a cheese club. Seriously, there's a club about cheese! How weird is that?!?! I felt comfortable at Brandeis, I can't tell you exactly why, but there was something about it. I'm definitely interested in applying there!!! :) 
More to come !!

The Autism Speaks blog features opinions from people throughout the autism community. Each blog represents the point of view of the author and does not necessarily reflect Autism Speaks' beliefs or point of view.