Can you tell us a bit about living as an adult with Williams Syndrome?
Emily: My parents found out I had Williams Syndrome at a very early age, and they have always educated me about it. A lot of people with WS have heart issues, but I’m fortunate to not have any and I’m grateful for that. One thing that people with Williams Syndrome have is very sensitive hearing; loud noises really bother people with WS. I used to not like fireworks because they were too loud, but now I like them. People with Williams Syndrome are curious about other people and are usually very friendly, easy-going and can be very skilled at music.
You are graduating on Sunday, congratulations! What have you learned at BHMA and enjoyed so far, and what are some things you’re looking forward to in the future?
Emily: When I was a first-year I learned how to live in a dorm with other people and it was interesting to share space. I also learned how to get along with others. I made friends that I’m still in touch with. Friendships are very important for me and I love having friends I can talk to and hang out and laugh with.
What a crazy ride being a second year student has been! I’ve done so many things this year. I’ve really enjoyed cooking and MHS. I’m looking forward to putting on the cap and gown and going thru the rite of passage that is graduation. I want to do some more recording in the future. This year I got to work with Eamon (a former BHMA student) and I learned how to collaborate better. I’m definitely looking forward to coming back next year.
What has been your favorite part about MHS?
Emily: Performing for the older adults and seeing how they react to what we’re doing is one of the most amazing feelings; to be able to make someone’s day better just by performing— I wish the whole world could be like that. Music brings everybody together, it doesn't matter if you’re young or you’re older. It feels good to give back.
I know you're employed at a local grocery store. Can you tell us about the work you do?
Emily: I work at Big Y in the bakery department. My job is to package foods. I put cookies in tins and label them and stock them. My job is to feed other people. I haven’t done cakes yet but I’d like to eventually. I also do the cash register and give change to customers.
What has been your greatest accomplishment this year?
Emily: I put together my own second year recital! I felt really nervous at first but that’s okay because nerves can be good, but then when I started my set list I felt excited because I knew everyone was there to support me and that they want me to do well. When I finished, I felt like I was on a musical high! I felt proud of myself that I could put that together and perform it.
What advice would you have for other people with WS?
Make sure you surround yourself with people who are positive. My family members are the best. My sisters and parents support everything I do and they treat me with respect. Make sure you laugh often and do not take life too seriously… otherwise it can get boring. Mix in light-heartedness whenever you can. Don’t be afraid to take risks, it will make you a better person.