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Life Lessons from Emma and Olivia

I was sitting in my English class senior year of high school wondering what I could possibly write about. College essay? What does that even mean? What do they want me to talk about, myself? Everyone told me that I had it easy because I can write about my sisters because they have autism. I figured they were right, leading me to leaving my essay to the last minute (as per usual), thinking I was going to be able to breeze right through it because of course, I had so much to write about.

As I sat down that night to write the easiest essay of my life, I suddenly began to panic. I had absolutely nothing! How could it be that I had nothing to write about? When I say nothing, I mean less than what I thought was nothing when I went to write about Lord of the Flies. And that was a bad essay.

I sat there for what felt like hours trying to figure out what the heck was going on. I played around with many ideas; maybe I just didn’t want to go to college or maybe it was the fact that my teacher was so annoying she made me want to hide under my bed every morning. I even asked my parents why I couldn’t figure this out and they told me that I just needed to think about it, that I’ve learned so much from my sisters and that there is going to be plenty to write about. It would come to me. I figured this was true, and took a couple days to think on it and took the hit on the late deductions.

Well those days went by fast and I was still thinking. I had come up with a few ideas but they all felt forced, as if I had only read the Spark Notes on the book of my own life. I went on to write my essay about what I thought was what I had learned from Emma and Olivia. It hasn’t been until recent years that I realized that I wasn’t trying to avoid college or my teacher, having nothing to write about was absolutely the case. I hadn’t learned anything from Emma and Olivia, and I never have.

I can’t remember my life without my sisters since I was only two when they were born. Everything I am comes from them. All aspects of my life surround them. I’ve never directly learned anything because there isn’t anything I do that isn’t influenced by my sisters. I eat healthy because I want to be able to keep them healthy and be around for them into late life. I major in psychology because I want my life to have its purpose in finding ways to better theirs and many others lives. I stayed forty minutes from home to go to school because I can’t be away from them for too long without feeling like I’m missing something.

I know this isn’t the case for everyone. Some people haven’t always had his or her sibling around since birth, and there are many amazing things that come with that. Maybe I would have had some serious life lesson business to talk about in my college essay if that was my case. But for me, it’s not like that. For me, I almost feel like I have a sixth sense. Like I was born with something that most others aren’t. It’s not something I can describe, but if you have a similar situation, you know exactly what I mean.

Needless to say, my college essay wasn’t exactly as deep and thoughtful as my previous words. In high school, my brain just didn’t work that way. I didn’t know then that what I felt was my lack of motivation was the pure fact that I haven’t learned from my sisters, I’ve lived through them.

theautismresearchfoundationLife Lessons from Emma and Olivia

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