A Life With Autism Is Not A Life Wasted

A Life With Autism Is Not A Life Wasted

Your satisfaction in life is not dependent on the value that society puts on it.
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Autism and other learning/mental disorders are a growing topic in today's society, and while others may believe that it can hurt a family as a whole, I wholeheartedly believe that our experiences in the world of Autism have only made my family stronger. My brother, Tristian, has Autism, and he does not deserve to be labeled as a "failure."

Tristian is one of the main reasons I love my life. I was there when he took his first steps and said his first words and he was there when I needed a shoulder to cry on. I don't think there's been a time where I wasn't thinking about him or the moments we've shared in one way or another. He is the absolute sweetest child you could ever meet, as well as one of the most determined.

There is no measure of the amount of love I have for that little boy, and he just happens to have Autism. In others' eyes, he'll never amount to anything in the "big picture." In our society, he is praised outwardly, yet is limited by the constructs we put up. He'll never have a "normal" or "meaningful" life and will "always need constant care." But what gave everyone the right to rate the happiness and potential of another human being? Why are we not asking the right questions?

Instead of judging or casting off people who suffer from a disability, why are we not collectively pushing to make their lives live up to our own standards? If we're not doing anything to help families suffering, we have no place to comment on the occurrence of disabilities in such families.

In my own experiences, when anyone says that a mental disability, like Autism, is a burden or a "waste of life," I can't help but disagree with that mindset. Of course, every family, in general, goes through their own set of medical problems, but the idea that a ruined life is synonymous with living with a disability is downright cynical and uncaring. Your life does not end when God presents you with new obstacles. Obstacles in life only make you stronger and the absence of said obstacles breeds complacency and discrimination.

My life with my brother and his diagnosis has only made me more grateful for the things I've been given. Whether Tristian had Autism or not, I would still have someone that I would be proud to call my brother. Autism has never and will never impede on his idea of self-worth or confidence. My family's bond may not be the strongest the world has ever seen, but the love surrounding us is undeniable.

No family should be labeled by the disability their child has. Their time is not wasted or thrown away, and their potential shouldn't be demeaned by stigmas that society has a hard time letting go.

Cover Image Credit: Sophia Raquel Garza

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To All The Nurses In The Making

We tell ourselves that one day it'll all pay off, but will it actually?
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I bet you’re taking a break from studying right now just to read this, aren’t you? Either at the library with friends or in your dorm room. Wherever you may be, you never get the chance to put your books down, at least that’s how it feels to most of us. It sucks feeling like you’ve chosen the hardest major in the world, especially when you see other students barely spending any time studying or doing school work. The exclamation “You’re still here!” is an all too frequent expression from fellow students after recognizing that you’ve spent 10-plus hours in the library. At first it didn’t seem so bad and you told yourself, “This isn’t so difficult, I can handle it,” but fast-forward a few months and you’re questioning if this is really what you want to do with your life.

You can’t keep track of the amount of mental breakdowns you’ve had, how much coffee you’ve consumed, or how many times you’ve called your mom to tell her that you’re dropping out. Nursing is no joke. Half the time it makes you want to go back and change your major, and the other half reminds you why you want to do this, and that is what gets you through it. The thing about being a nursing major is that despite all the difficult exams, labs and overwhelming hours of studying you do, you know that someday you might be the reason someone lives, and you can’t give up on that purpose. We all have our own reasons why we chose nursing -- everyone in your family is a nurse, it’s something you’ve always wanted to do, you’re good at it, or like me, you want to give back to what was given to you. Regardless of what your reasoning is, we all take the same classes, deal with the same professors, and we all have our moments.

I’ve found that groups of students in the same nursing program are like a big family who are unconditionally supportive of each other and offer advice when it’s needed the most. We think that every other college student around us has it so easy, but we know that is not necessarily true. Every major can prove difficult; we’re just a little harder on ourselves. Whenever you feel overwhelmed with your school work and you want to give up, give yourself a minute to imagine where you’ll be in five years -- somewhere in a hospital, taking vitals, and explaining to a patient that everything will be OK. Everything will be worth what we are going through to get to that exact moment.

Remember that the stress and worry about not getting at least a B+ on your anatomy exam is just a small blip of time in our journey; the hours and dedication suck, and it’s those moments that weed us out. Even our advisors tell us that it’s not easy, and they remind us to come up with a back-up plan. Well, I say that if you truly want to be a nurse one day, you must put in your dedication and hard work, study your ass off, stay organized, and you WILL become the nurse you’ve always wanted to be. Don’t let someone discourage you when they relent about how hard nursing is. Take it as motivation to show them that yeah, it is hard, but you know what, I made it through.

With everything you do, give 110 percent and never give up on yourself. If nursing is something that you can see yourself doing for the rest of your life, stick with it and remember the lives you will be impacting someday.

SEE ALSO: Why Nursing School Is Different Than Any Other Major

Cover Image Credit: Kaylee O'Neal

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Gambling Is Fun For The Adrenaline Rush It Gives You, But Be Careful Not To Become Addicted

Last week, I had the pleasure of feeding $500 into the greedy slot machines on the Vegas Strip. I now see why gambling is a sin.

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Last week, I had the pleasure of feeding $500 into the greedy slot machines on the Vegas Strip. I now see why gambling is a sin.

Surprisingly, my dignity is still intact and let me tell you why. Even though all my money quenched the thirst of the desperate machines, it was all in good fun. I can't deny that my days in Vegas were beyond amazing, so I don't regret my gambling defeat. But best of all, I got to see the insane nature of serious gamblers which was truly a breathtaking experience. Literally breathtaking... if you inhaled long enough you would be lungs deep in cigarette smoke.

The locals there genuinely believed that they would be paying next month's rent by gambling. My favorite experience had to be at the hotel which we stayed at, the Mirage. It was around midnight when we spotted a half dressed, drunk man in the lobby waiting for help because he lost everything he had in his wallet. Which, unfortunately, was thousands.

But hey, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. And sadly, for many, the only thing that stayed was their money. Myself included.

I do praise the confidence of gamblers, since I too fell into the trap of thinking I was a millionaire after one slot spin. But luckily I had nothing to lose. My family collectively lost about $500, and fortunately, only $50 was mine. Meanwhile, we have people pouring a thousand dollars into those machines hoping for a nonexistent miracle. When in reality the slots are "rigged" to always eat up your money and sanity.

All losses aside, I now understand why people stay on the floor even after they go bankrupt. Gambling is all about the addictive adrenaline that rushes through you when you use those money hungry slot machines. Regardless of the ample losses I took on vacation, it was definitely worth the experience. Gambling on the Vegas Strip was one of the most insane experiences I've ever had, and I am glad I contributed to the Mirage's funds.

Till next time, Vegas... when I'm actually legal.

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