The Four Quickest Years of My Life: Kevin Card Interviews Himself
Okay Mr. Card, can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Kevin Card and I am a senior who will graduate in December. I have been attending Salem State since 2008, you know, before it was a University. I have Asperger's Syndrome, so adjusting
to social situations has proven tough but rewarding. I am a Communications major with a concentration in journalism, and a former Music major. There are many things I am proud of, but also some things I regret during my life on campus over four years.
Well then, what can you tell us about your beginnings here?
I was told by Theater major Katelyn Beaudoin in my freshman year, "They say college is the four fastest years of your life." Well, many alumni and my other fellow classmen would disagree with what Beaudoin said and claim that SSU is at least a five-year school due to the structure of the flow sheet; but that's beside the point. There are times that I wake and still feel 18 years old because my first year experience on campus was so great, but 2009-11 were so terrible for me that I wish I could do them over again.
Why would you want to relive years that were awful for you?
From the beginning Residence Life has made it clear that they wish to facilitate the best first year experience to students they can provide by getting them involved in as many classes and clubs as possible. The same could be said for commuters, but the true challenge of the college experience is travelling far away from home to be educated. The challenging part of living on campus during a massive recession and a time of high gas prices is a disconnection from the old home life and to the new on campus life.
Visits from my friends and family back home in Marlborough, Mass.,have been sparse, considering the price of travelling 90 miles round-trip and the traffic that goes through Salem, especially in October.
That being said, the friends I made in my freshman year aresome of the greatest friends I have known in my life so far, and making friends for someone with AS is tough. I have many great memories of hanging out with people and feeling pride in my floor B-One of the Freshman Residence HallBowditch. I still have my shirt titled "B1, Bowditch Militia."
My fondest memory thus far has been the meeting of my fiancÃ©e,Annie Charlotte Isaacs. Wemet in the laundry room in Bowditch, and I sang the Italian love Aria "Vaga Luna" by the RomanticComposer Vincenzo Bellini since I myself am a Romanticfool.
I later proposed toher in June 2009 to a happily receivedyes. Bowditch remains myfavorite residence hall, since thiswas before Marsh Hall was built,and Atlantic and Bates lack thesame feel of community that thefreshman residence halls have. Ihave lived in Atlantic since 2009and comparatively the experienceswere much, much worse.
What about living in Atlantic caused you so much misery?
During my sophomore year,Annie and I had suffered much scrutiny for our decision to get engaged, even dealing with constant amounts of drama and attacks from some our roommates whom we believed to be envious of what we had.
It turns out the attacker's past relationships had often gone sour, though our feeling sat the time were nothing short of true agony. I will agree that getting engaged young is tough because people have to deal with raging hormones and emotions,but emotion is not a logical thing; it is desire and passion.
Sophomore year proved to begetting tough academically as the music major began putting higher-level classes
on me, but my heart desired to play rock music, not classical. I do regret not being with my fellow musicians,but I do not miss the work involved with Music Theory.
I made the decision to switch to Communications with a concentration in Journalism.
Fate added insult to injury with the suicide of one of my best friends back home, and the death of my cat Jack a few months later in June solidified 2010 as the worst year of my life so far.
I had known Jack since I was 4 and he had taught me how to love unconditionally, so the loss has affected me to this day; As people have a hard time letting go of things due to our obsessive nature.
What about your last few years at Salem State?
In my junior year I finished my music minor and 2010 closed on a happy note, getting a huge load off of my chest. Throughout 2011-12, academically and socially things have greatly improved.
In 2011, I scored positive grades in all my classes. I signed up with the school paper my senior year and I have covered much ground on writing reviews and feature stories on visiting lecturers.Among my other accomplishments,I have volunteered for WGBH and secured an internship with the Salem Gazette.
Despite that, I wish I could still be a bright-eyed 18-year-old idealist,but don't we all wish to be young again? I am becoming more content with things in life despite having to face an uncertain summer and the debt-filled lifestyle of an alumnus in our nation's worst recession in decades,where jobs and money are extremely scarce
What is your parting advice?
First off I say this to my fellow people with Asperger's Syndrome:Do not be afraid to leave your comfort zone and your ego behind to end your sense of personal isolation. It will open you to the real world to you and bring you back to the "planet of the normal people" as it has for me. To everyone else, I will say that there will always be awful people who do not understand the person they dislike in life, but there will also be people who go out of their way to be friends with you.
I have one final semester to complete here at Salem State, and unlike many of my past bullies, I will be graduating within a healthy time span, as most of them have dropped out of college.With that in mind I say this to all of the underclassmen: Enjoy your time at SSU.
Even though there will be many frustrating experiences and people, if you put in the time to work hard in school and balance other tasks it will pay off.
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