Personal Accounts of Being a University Student with HFA/AS

As far back as I can remember, I was always different from my peers and I never had a legitimate reason why, but recently that question was answered. With the help of my parents, I discovered I have symptoms of Asperger's Syndrome and it explains my interests and behavior patterns growing up. I'm going to write my college years because that's where my AS symptoms were at their peak and I had to learn to overcome them.

I entered Marist College in September 1997 and when I started, I assumed it would be a fresh start because my high school years hadn't been the happiest time of my life. From day one, it was a difficult struggle just to hang in there. I wasn't interested in the things that most of my classmates were into such as partying and while I did do some, I couldn't understand what was so fun about it. I tended to be more interested in things such as history, politics, reading, and the internet. I always felt I had more in common with my professors too.

During my first two years of college, I was a very lonely person and had a lot of problems making and keeping friends. I wasn't very close with my roommates either and my telephone never rang. Despite these social problems, I did enjoy my space. During this time, I was very depressed and suicidal too. There were a few people I knew who grew alarmed at my comments and actions and they did report me to the resident director. I did get counseling and was put on anti-depressants and when I look back now, if it hadn't been for my counselor, I don't think I would have gotten through college.

I also had academic problems too from the beginning. I started as an accounting major and since it was so hard, I switched to business, which was an excellent decision on my part. It took me a while to learn how to be a college student because I had difficulty in understanding how my professors wanted things done. During my sophomore year, I was academic probation too, but luckily, I pulled myself together to get off it and for the rest of my college years, I was never on it again.

My final two years in college were my best years and finally, I began to make and keep friends too. I lived in the townhouses on the other side of campus and I didn't feel so lonely anymore, but I still had problems with roommates every now and then. I was pleased to know that I had survived the early days when it looked as if I would make it.

I graduated from college on May 19, 2001 with a B.S. degree in business administration and I remember feeling a sense of accomplishment and a huge burden had been lifted from my shoulders. It's now been almost three years since I graduated and I have to say I've done very well since. I had a chance to be a tour guide at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library and Museum and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. I'm also going to be profiled in an upcoming book on the subject of young people having life crisis and possibly a second book on school bullying. Finally, I've also had the opportunity to pursue other things too such as graduate school and my writing interests.

I think my biggest achievement since my college years ended has been making friends from those years who are still a part of my life to this day. I appreciate what they liked me for me and while I still don't always understand the meaning of friendship, it is very important to me. I hope what I can do is to help others with AS or AS traits to know they can succeed in life and find happiness. I'm always interested in meeting new people and if anyone wants to contact me, my email address is posted right under my name. We can talk about everything from life to world events.

Michael Coviello

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