Doubt entered my mind when I decided I’d
be attending The University of Texas at Austin in the fall of 2003.
Questions entered my mind like, “Am I smart enough for UT?” or “Will
I be able to keep up with all of the other smart and talented people
at this university?” Basically, I was worried that I wouldn’t
be able to make it here.
As I sit and write this journal, I don’t
want to deceive you by using the past tense when I refer to those
while not nearly as bad as before, the thought occasionally crosses
my mind. To give you an example of what I mean, one time, I was
around friends who were discussing their SAT scores. The scores
they shared were about 1400 and 1300. I remained quiet, because
mine aren’t nearly that high. I didn’t graduate number
one in my class. Actually I snuck in at the back of the top ten
percent of my class. I don’t have any amazing gifts or talents
that I have been developing since I was a kid, like singing, playing
an instrument, etc. The only thing I had was basketball, and on
top of not being too great at that, my career ended in my junior
year of high school with a severe back injury. Why am I here? I’m
just a regular guy. I’m not good enough for UT.
have been more wrong.
I’ve received e-mails from students
who are interested in coming to UT, but they’ve shared with
me that they’re
intimidated. They’re worried, like I was, if UT is too hard,
of if they’ll get lost in the shuffle among so many other
talented and intelligent people. Believe me, I’ve been there.
Don’t let this university scare you. Turn that fear into
the very thing that fuels you to take on the challenge of conquering
this university. I came up here determined not to let this university
take my joy or separate me from the growing relationship I have
with Jesus Christ. I knew before getting here that this university
would not break me. I took my classes very seriously. I attended
every single one with the exception of maybe a couple due to extraordinary
situations. Basically, I put forth a great amount of effort and
got great results.
I finished my first semester with a 4.0.
now as I reflect on my past, I come to the conclusion that maybe
the fact that I snuck in through the back of the top 10 percent
cutoff at my high school or that my standardized test scores were
average is a testament to the effort I put forth. I put forth a
halfhearted effort and got average results. I am now a firm believer
that there’s no hurdle you can’t leap, if you put forth
the effort to do so. You can’t expect something great if
you’re putting in an average effort to achieve it. Right?
Out of the Box
Fine. So what if I’m not incredibly
talented or incredibly smart? Does that mean I can’t be a
part of incredible things? Of course not. I enjoy college for many
reasons, but what I enjoy most about it is it gives me many opportunities
to do things I’ve never done before.
What’s the point
in staying in the box? In high school, it was easy to be labeled
by something, like being the class clown
or the jock. It was even easier to be defined by the people you
spent most of your time with. It’s very easy to settle into
those roles or labels. You can get to the point where you’re
comfortable being the class clown, for example, and you let that
label define your actions. This is restricting. Instead of growing,
you’re content with staying in the confines of the box.
college, it’s time to step out of the box. Do not be restricted.
Use this time to discover what you’re capable of. I have
to tell this to myself most of the time because I struggle with
being comfortable in the box. This year, I have pushed myself to
expand. I want to know what all I can and can’t do.
always been the type to settle. It’s very easy
for me to stay in the box. I learn what I’m good at, and
I stick with it. I don’t give myself an opportunity to do
anything else. So, this semester especially has blessed me with
a number of different firsts in my life.
year ago, if you told me I’d
be doing this, I’d laugh at you. Stepping? I have no rhythm,
but here I am in a fraternity that steps on the regular. Singing?
I haven’t sung since I was in a choir at my church years
ago and honestly I doubt I was actually singing. Nevertheless,
I’m a member of Innervisions Gospel Choir.
But here I am,
doing exactly what I thought I’d never do
because I figured it just wasn’t me or I wasn’t capable
of doing those things.
What I’ve learned from all of this
is that you cannot limit yourself because by limiting yourself
you prevent yourself from
having the opportunity to reach your full potential. Should many
of you who are still in high school choose to come to The University
of Texas at Austin, you owe it to yourself to take full advantage
of the opportunity you’ll have here because of the time and
the money you’ll put forth. You’re paying for UT, and
I guarantee you every cent you pay is taken advantage of by the
university. Likewise, take advantage of every resource the university
has to offer.
Something you want to know? I’ll address it
in my journal. E-mail me at JaHeeZy689@hotmail.com. I’ll
try and respond to e-mails within five days of receiving them.