AIM, Merciad have positive impact

Mathew Jury, Staff Writer

I have been writing for The Merciad for about a year, and I have noticed that I have ruffled some feathers with several of my opinion pieces.

I will not apologize for the content as I enjoy writing bluntly about how I see things. However, I will, at most, offer a “trigger warning” for anything I write in the future.

Seeing as this is a college environment, we must be able to cope in a world where not everyone conforms to our standards and be able to participate in healthy debate. College is a time for developing your own beliefs and thoughts.

I should probably explain why I may seem insensitive. It is no secret that people with autism tend to be blunt.

I was diagnosed with Asperger’s as a child and went through rigorous social training. People, like me, are very honest.

For example, if someone asks  if their pants make them look large, a person on the autism spectrum who did not go through social training will not hesitate to say “yes” if that is the case.

I graduated first in my high school class before coming to Mercyhurst,  with mostly accelerated courses. Despite having Asperbger’s, I made several friends.

However, I had to hold my tongue or apologize profusely when I failed to  do so in order to keep my social life.

I came to Mercyhurst for several specific reasons, one of them being the Autism Initiative at Mercyhurst, a program headed by Bradley McGarry which helps students like me survive college.

With our new Career Path program, the AIM staff is now focusing on honing our skills for the workforce or graduate school.

Although I never thought I would need the AIM program, it has worked to my benefit.

I found several people like me to befriend without fear of judgement, and I have managed to maintain a 3.9 grade point average while maintining my sanity because of this program. The AIM program has also been helpful for me to manage my stress and anxiety.

My junior year was especially stressful since I moved on to my upper level courses.

Both semesters consisted of four courses and three labs. On top of this crazy course work, my J-term class was especially rigorous.

In the fall, when I was not memorizing everything in the anatomy lab, I was either learning sousaphone with the athletic band, trying to understand kinematics or writing my CV.

Right now, I am juggling between ridiculously long Criminalistics labs, applying for internships, interviews, physiology and studying for exam after exam.

With my stressful workload and resulting anxiety, I have taken to writing for The Merciad.

Like other Aspies, as we call ourselves, I have serious issues with confrontation. I have had several traumatic experiences in which I confronted others and ended up hurt even more.

As a result, I had taken to just being the punching bag; not fighting back and letting it all build up to the point of meltdown.

Not wanting to continue on this track, I decided I would use The Merciad to vent and bring awareness to important issues.

I have taken inspiration from two famous Catholic journalists. The late foundress of EWTN, Mother Angelica, rose to fame with her rant against the “liberal church in America” for heresy that was ruining the U.S. Church.

I have also taken a liking to Michael Voris, the controversial founder of the apostolate ChurchMilitant.TV.  He tells it as it is without holding back on the problems facing our church today because of the “Church of Nice.”

I do not agree with him 100 percent, but I still try to channel my inner-Voris in my opinion writings.

I am thankful The Merciad has put up with my opinions and I am glad students have the opportunity to express their First Amendment rights.

The AIM program has been very helpful for me as a student and has allowed me to further emerge from my shell. Now, all I need to do is learn how to be more honest in spoken conversation.

I look forward to another year at Mercyhurst with the AIM program and The Merciad.  I hope for even greater self-improvement in my upcoming  senior year.