Note For Anyone Writing About Me

Guide to Writing About Me

I am an Autistic person,not a person with autism. I am also not Aspergers. The diagnosis isn't even in the DSM anymore, and yes, I agree with the consolidation of all autistic spectrum stuff under one umbrella. I have other issues with the DSM.

I don't like Autism Speaks. I'm Disabled, not differently abled, and I am an Autistic activist. Self-advocate is true, but incomplete.

Citing My Posts

MLA: Hillary, Alyssa. "Post Title." Yes, That Too. Day Month Year of post. Web. Day Month Year of retrieval.

APA: Hillary, A. (Year Month Day of post.) Post Title. [Web log post]. Retrieved from

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Rest In Peace

Trigger Warning: Death

I found out that one of my professors passed away the night between September 30th and October 1st. I had known that he was ill, and that he was out on sick leave, but had thought he would be back in the spring. Apparently not. I can't give you his name, because then you could figure out who I am, but I can still say my piece for him. So here goes.

When I first came to college, I had some idea of what I was doing, but not all that much. I wasn't living in the freshman engineering dorms that were meant to help us adjust, and I was only taking one of the "expected" first semester engineering classes. I had two math classes, both of which I wound up tutoring for. He taught one of them. He saw that a freshman was signed up for it and checked in to make sure that I would be able to handle the class. He checked in a couple times to make sure that I understood what was going on, but that stopped after I was the first one done and the top of the class on the same quiz. He kind of figured out that the math was OK for me.
When I somehow concluded that the final was a day later than it really was, he drove an extra forty minutes or so each way to come to campus and let me make it up the day I had thought it was. He wasn't even mad. He wanted to make sure I didn't make that mistake again, but the whole lecture about it went:
Him: This isn't your first semester in college ever, right?
Me: Yes, it is. I just had a LOT of AP credits.
Him: Oh. Well, finals are something you shouldn't mess up. If I hadn't been able to come down today, you would have been sad.
Then he handed me the test. He never said a word about my having missed his final again. Ever. (I still got an A in the class, too!)
The next year, I had him for Real Analysis. He asked me about how my summer had been, and he actually wanted to know. I tried to give the quick "China was cool" story, but he (being one of the few people who could read my body language and hasn't known me my whole life) could tell, so I wound up telling him about the sucky parts of China from that summer too. He kept an eye on me for different reasons, this time- he knew that I was taking a credit overload and wanted to make sure I didn't overstretch myself. And on the way to or from class, we would often talk.
I'd hear a bit about his time at MIT. We'd talk about math. Or science. We both knew that the other had a tendency to be a bit of a lone wolf. (No, I don't think he knew that I'm autistic, but I wouldn't put it past him to have figured it out and not said anything.) He was generally OK with my lone-wolf status, and he only insisted that I work with someone else on an assignment once in the whole year (as opposed to offering the chance to do that practically every week.) He taught so that we understood. He was a great teacher. He really was.
And yes, he did write one of my letters of recommendation when I was applying to the graduate program in math at my school. I couldn't find him on campus, so I asked him by email. I'm guessing that he was already sick, but he didn't say anything about it then. He wrote the letter. He said he was writing a VERY good letter, all caps from him. I believe it. I'm guessing he left out the part about missing his final, though the department chair already knew I'd done that my first semester. Anyways, I will miss him. The funeral is Wednesday, and if I get the chance, I will say a few words there. Shorter than these, but something.

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