skip to main content

Ouachita Stories


From the "Ouachitonian": Austin Clements

Austin ClementsApril 26, 2021 - Spencer Benway

Previously published in the 2020 Ouachitonian yearbook

Throughout his teen life, Austin Clements, a senior history and social justice double major from North Little Rock, Ark., suffered from chronic pancreatitis. This is when the pancreas is inflamed and prevents some functions of the body to not perform as well.

“In the seventh grade I developed chronic pancreatitis,” Clements said. “It’s very painful, you really can’t function or do anything else. When people have pancreatitis it ends up going away, but with it being chronic it keeps reoccurring.”

Clements had to be at many doctor appointments to be treated accordingly.

“I would stay in the hospital for three weeks and then be back in about three days,” Clements said. “I would go back because I’d have another pancreatitis attack. I was tied to a hospital for four years. I had surgery my junior year of high school and by the time I had recovered from the surgery I was well enough to come to college.”

Initially Clement wanted to attend Belmont University, but due to the chronic illness he found Ouachita.

“My surgery really influenced my decision to come to Ouachita,” Clements said. “Belmont was at the top of my list, the problem with Belmont was that it was in Nashville, Tennessee. Being at Ouachita, I’d be an hour from home and still able to see the doctors I had been seeing for a long time.”

Having been in the hospital for four years, Clements had developed a liking towards music. Interestingly, this encouraged him to become part of Ouachita's social justice studies major.

“I’ve always been passionate about copyright law for the music industry,” Clements said. “Within that industry is a lot of unfair contracts given. I want to make sure copyright laws are in place to make sure that people are getting paid for the work they produce. When I was so sick, music was the one thing that had made me feel like I was part of the real world. Music has meant a lot to my life and will always mean a lot, and I want to protect music in the way that it protected me.”

Photo by Justin Trostle