Austin Brewster originally hails from Dallas, Texas and graduated from The George Washington University class of 2013, majoring in International Business with a minor in Jazz Studies. In college Austin was an active member of many different and diverse student organizations like The Black Student Union, Organization of Latin American Students, and The Philippine Cultural Society where he took part by participating in different cultural events such as learning and performing cultural Philippine dances like Tinikling. Austin also mentored his fellow peers and underclassmen as a part of the on campus Rise Mentoring Program meant to connect current and incoming students within the multicultural community to assist with the adaptation to college life. In his junior year Austin was the president of the Black Men’s Initiative, an organization focused on developing a stronger retention of black males at the George Washington University through a means of mentorship and professional development. During this time he managed to organize and head a number of new and creative events and initiatives to help better connect the black males on campus, while simultaneously providing academic support and future curriculum guidance. An avid world traveler, Austin has been to thirteen different countries outside the U.S. and enjoys exploring and experiencing new cultures. Previously Austin worked as one of eight unique long-term interns for the U.S. Federal Reserve Board of Governors as a Co-op Information Systems Student Intern. Following graduation Austin was accepted as a 2013-2014 Fellow for the nonprofit organization Princeton in Asia (PiA) where he taught at his post in Hong Kong as a University English Lecturer. As a drummer Austin was heavily involved in the musical communities of Hong Kong and D.C. He has performed with different musical ensembles, playing a variety of styles ranging from Latin to Big Band. His love of music has allowed him to meet and connect with a variety of professional individuals from around the world no matter what city he is in.
Beyond The Yard
Exposure is an important aspect of life. It helps us to formulate who we are and what we want to be. It helps us to set and achieve major life goals. A person who has never seen or tasted chocolate cannot fathom its infinitely creamy decadency as it melts on the tip of your tongue. It is important to look beyond the fence that surrounds your lawn and wonder what it looks like from the outside.
Growing up, my parents were never ones to withhold opportunity. They allowed my brother and I to explore our surroundings, encouraged us to attend camps and try new things. They shipped us off at every given opportunity to scouting summer camps, band camp, school endorsed spring break Euro-trips with teachers etc. Looking back, I am grateful to them for raising us this way because in retrospect it has been the basis of my character as an explorer and student of the world around me. This freedom of exploration removed the fear of the journey and opened me up to a world of possibilities.
When it came time to apply for college I saw myself simply attending a Texas state school like most other Texans, going to UTD, UT, A&M Texas Tech etc., but that was not the case. My mother had other plans in mind. She urged me to apply to schools out of state, so I did. At first I didn’t understand why she was so intent on me leaving and going to a university so far from home. The idea of it was daunting. I would be away from my friends and all of my family. In my search I came across The George Washington University in Washington D.C., a place unfamiliar to me. I had no friends nor acquainted family in the area. The cultural mannerisms and even the lingo were different along the East Coast. I was the only one from my high school to attend the university, so I was alone in a strange new place. Graduating high school, many of my peers chose to attend the local college just down the road or other fine Texas state institutions. However, this meant that they would be staying at home living with their parents and siblings, or coming home every weekend because they couldn’t stand to be away from home for so long.
College is an important part of ones life because it is a place for you to grow as an individual. It is a chance to explore and discover your own values and principles. Even more, it is a chance for you to stand on your own two feet, independent and away from the security of your parents. After my first semester in D.C. I asked my parents why they were so intent on sending me out of state far away from home and they responded, “We felt that it was important for you leave the house because if you get in trouble doing something stupid we wont be there to bail you out and that teaches you true responsibility for your actions.” This was true. Simply knowing that I was on my own and responsible for my own actions kept me out of a lot of precarious situations in college. I saw so many of my peers fall victim to situations like hard drugs, molestation, laziness, all of which caused many people I knew to have to drop out and never return to finish their degree due to criminal records or general lack of accountability. They continued to add, “We also didn’t want you coming home every weekend eating our food.”
Their reasoning for sending me away for college taught me to stand on my own and be comfortable in obscurity. I was forced to make a whole new set of friends from scratch and adapt to a new cultural environment. It taught me how to be flexible, very important life skills that you won’t learn in the classroom. Don’t be afraid to go beyond your front yard. Take opportunities to travel and live in different places outside the norm, among different cultures, be open to exposure and the abundance of learning experiences around you. The world becomes a smaller place once you go outside.