Austin Barnett is a senior at Foley High School in the graduating class of 2020. He enjoys playing video games, listening to music, playing basketball, and getting on his parent’s nerves whenever he can. He’s worked at Target in Gulf Shores making coffee at Starbucks for a little over half a year now and can confidently say it is the best job he has had. Austin enjoys making people laugh and is a very straightforward person most of the time. He plans to attend The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa in the fall of 2020, majoring in Creative Media. He has yet to decide on a second major or a minor, but you can bet he’s going to work his tail off towards whatever he chooses.
Are you afraid to speak your own opinion to spare the feelings of others?
If there is one thing I’ve learned throughout these years in high school, it’s that your opinion is the only one that matters. Yes, you should be mindful and respectful of others, but you can’t change how other people feel, so why should you conform to what everyone else thinks? Be you, and be the best you that you can be.
What was the moment you felt most grateful?
Although they don’t get enough recognition for it, my parents taking me in and raising me to be the man I am and will continue to grow and become is what I will forever be most grateful for. I was only a year old (and some change) when they decided they’d make dealing with me a permanent thing. They’ve watched me grow right in front of their eyes. I’ve made mistakes, talked back, raised my voice, and done things that I knew were wrong. I’m still learning. I love them with all of my heart, and they have my utmost respect, even if I really suck at showing it most of the time.
If you could fix one problem in the world, what would it be?
The main problem I want solved is something that no one person can fix. I want more kids to be raised to respect their elders and just people in general. The main problem I’ve seen in high school is how rude and hateful people can really be, especially when they’re upset. My parents made sure to teach me right from wrong and how to treat others, no matter how frustrated you may be.
Where do you draw the line between helping people and showing them how to help themselves? How do you strike that balance?
I enjoy helping other students understand a concept, whether that be in math, English, or some other subject. It works the same way in life. To truly teach someone, you have to show them how to do it and the effective ways you’ve learned to overcome something and then watch it run its course. You can’t hold their hand the entire way, or they will never truly learn a thing. I plan to use that same method when I become a father; you have to let your kids make their own decisions at some point, and that point shouldn’t be when they move out.
Would you like to be famous? If so, for what?
I would like to say yes, but I think maybe not. I want to write a book one day, a good one. I’ve never been famous before for anything, but I want my book to be known, and I would like to be known as well. But I also know that being famous or just being known by many people has plenty of downsides, and I like my privacy.
What could you pay more attention to in life?
I could pay better attention to other people’s feelings. For someone who can tend to get hurt easily by the words of others, I’m often not as sensitive with my words or actions as I should be. “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is a dumb saying. Most of the time, words can hurt a person much more than physical harm ever will.
Do the people in your life bring out the best in you?
I do believe the people around me bring out the best in me, yes. I’ve chosen to surround myself with people who I’m comfortable with, and I can be myself around. They push me to do the right thing and never pressure me to make stupid decisions and I respect that; all friends should be like that. They give me advice, and they are there to listen when I need to rant about my day or something that may have just made me upset or angry for a little while. Sometimes just getting things off your chest can change the entire course of your day.
Are you afraid of being your true self around others? Why or why not?
I’ve kind of trained myself to just be who I choose to be when I meet someone. I know many people struggle with that and get shy or nervous, but I’ve found ways to cope with that nervousness, and I’m able to overcome it. If they judge me or don’t like me, that’s 100% okay, because not everyone in this world is bound to like one another. Although, just because you may not like each other, does not mean you should not respect each other.
What’s one of your favorite memories from your young childhood?
As much as I like to say I hated moving from my childhood home to the home I live in now, the move into the house was the best feeling ever. When you first move to a new house, it has that new feeling and you’re all excited to come home from school every day. I finally had my own room after sharing a room with my brother my entire childhood, so I enjoyed the privacy. We would always sit at the dining room table every afternoon and get our homework done, and I’d microwave bread and cheese and call it grilled cheese. Wow, I was a weirdo.
Do you miss being a kid?
Of course I miss being a kid, who doesn’t? I miss waking up and the only thing there was to stress about was if Spongebob was going to be on or when exactly my mom would start making me an egg sandwich. I miss being able to jam out with my dad to classic rock and not feel embarrassed for screaming the lyrics with him. I miss going and climbing trees and having airsoft gun battles with the neighbors and camping out in our front yards on the weekends. I miss not having expectations to live up to and not worrying about disappointment or failure. Being a kid was a much simpler time, and I’d give anything to go back and live it all again.