Austin Brown personality profile

For most 16-year-olds, the highlight of their year is receiving their driver’s license and scoring well on the SAT. But for Austin Brown, it was graduating last May and heading off to the University of Chicago in September.

From an early age, Austin’s brilliance was evident. He was able to skip second and sixth grades and began his studies at Westlake High School at 13 years old. His strengths in school were always math and science. While he didn’t learn differently from his other classmates, his math teacher, Jocelyn Bixler, explained that he wasn’t just satisfied with the answer to a question.

“I did not notice that he learned any differently than other students,” Bixler said. “Although he did seem to kind of “hyper-focus” on the lesson if it was a topic that particularly interested him… He was not satisfied with just getting the correct answer and typically would inquire about where the topics were leading.  I think his natural curiosity about different academic areas helped fuel his academic success.”

That academic success is what led the University of Chicago to admit Austin into their college, and he is ready for the exciting challenge of living in a new state – and climate – so different from his own.

“Chicago is so different from Austin,” Austin said. “We’re living in the South Side of Chicago, which is kind of surrounded by some low income neighborhoods, which will be a welcome change. I grew up in the Westlake area, and it will be good to get outside of that and really just meet people who haven’t had the same background as me, both inside the college and out of it.”

Austin is excited for the social experience that college provides.

“[The part of college I’m most looking forward to is] getting to the point where you know who you are, what you like, what you don’t like and what your flaws and strengths are,” Austin said. “The best part for me will be meeting a bunch of new people and getting to know what they like, what they don’t like and what they want out of life.”

While Austin felt confident about leaving for college, he does have trepidation about leaving home, just like any other college student.

“Leaving home is a big [fear] because I’m worried about the whole independence thing,” Austin said. “It’s liberating, the idea that you won’t have your parents around to make you do all your chores, but you still have to do all your chores. If you forget something … it’s all on you.”

Although he will be the youngest member of his freshman class, Austin is used to being surrounded by older kids.

“It’s an interesting feeling, but I’ve kind of gotten used to it over the years, because once you’ve spent a bunch of time with a certain group of people, you get a handle on how they work and how you can work with them,” Austin said. “Basically, since I spent my whole high school career with the Class of 2013, there wasn’t too huge a transition between, ‘I need to look for colleges’ to ‘I’m going to college.’”

Since he will now be in a new environment, Austin is convinced that his confidence is the key to how people perceive his age.

“I feel prepared, but at the same time, it’s going to be an interesting transition. I don’t know how people I want to date are going to react to it, or how people in general will see it. But I think that as long as I can just take it in stride and not make that big of a deal out of it – because it’s really not a big deal when it comes down to it – then it’ll be fine.”

When deciding which college to attend, Austin explained that he chose University of Chicago over Columbia, Cornell, University of Texas and Carnegie Mellon because of its urban atmosphere.

“Everybody loves their backyard,” Austin said. “But U of Chicago was great because everybody seems very authentic and there’s so much going on. That’s something that I’m really looking forward to in general about living in a city: the constant flow of, ‘You can do things here,’ which is frankly something Cornell didn’t have to offer.”

The ultimate reason Austin chose the University of Chicago was of one of its unique programs for new students.

“U Chicago has this core program which has you take all these different classes on different subjects and look at all the things you might be interested in, all before you choose a major,” Austin said. “You don’t actually have to choose your major until the end of your sophomore year, and this was all very appealing to me because I have no idea what I want to do.”

Despite being different from most students, Austin is comfortable with himself. He looks at college as a place to better himself rather than change who he is.

“I know a lot of people have this urge to reinvent themselves and make a new personality, which I think is really cool, but I’d rather just take what I got here in Austin, who I am right now, and refine that,” Austin said. “I’m going to shove any of the less savory stuff that I feel about my personality under the rug, so to say, stuff that I don’t like about myself or wish that I could change. This is my chance to change that.”