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Small handwriting sample of C.J.'s First-Year Student Journals, link to journals home page
C.J. sits outside on campus

C.J. writes in his notebook

C.J. reads magazines at Tower Records

18 May 2004

It’s no mistake that I ended up attending The University of Texas at Austin.

God has placed me here for a reason. I think if ever you may not be sure whether or not you’re in line with God’s purpose for your life, He may send you a sign, just to assure you. Well, calling how God assured me UT was the place for me a sign is an understatement. Ladies and gentlemen of the Web journal audience, it was more like a billboard of reassurance.

The Billboard

College is so expensive. An understatement, right? I’ve written about my concern with financing my education. I actually questioned if I’d be here all four years because I didn’t want to be such a financial burden on my family. Then I questioned if I was supposed to be at the university in the first place. Maybe I made a mistake.

As the Bible states, the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. My family and I prayed for a blessing in finance. I specifically prayed that the Lord increase my faith. I wanted to get to a point in which there was no second guessing when I went before the Father in prayer, that provided I was being about His business on this Earth, he would sustain my needs. And then God stepped in, and all of this came to pass.

In April I was awarded the Rapoport Service Scholarship. Through it, I was awarded more than $20,000 and a laptop computer. This, in conjunction with the scholarship I already have, is enough to basically cover my undergraduate education. The financial burden of financing my education has been lifted off my family. We are truly blessed.

I learned a great deal from this experience. Don’t stop. Don’t quit. I came to college thinking my family and I would be up to our necks in debt. I felt bad because while I was in high school, I didn’t come away with enough scholarship money to pay for my education. But I didn’t quit. I didn’t stop applying for scholarships. I put forth the effort, and leaned on God for the rest, all while seeking to strengthen my relationship with Christ and be about His business on this campus. And then, like I said before, He stepped in.

The Sophomore Year

I’ve learned something else from receiving this scholarship. I have a lot of work to do. I’ve been blessed tremendously throughout my first year in college. There have been faculty and upperclassmen who’ve looked out for me this year, making my first year a lot easier than what could have very well been. I am very thankful for them, but I also understand that next year it’s only right that I return the favor.

After all, the only reason I found out about the scholarship was because I was told by an upperclassman, now close friend and frat brother, who was previously awarded the scholarship in his freshman year and felt the need to return the favor to those coming behind him by telling them about it. There will be many first-year students here next year with the same doubts, concerns, fears, uncertainties, etc. that I had when I initially got here. In everything I’m doing from a social standpoint next year, my energies will be geared toward selflessness.

The scholarship I was awarded gives me an opportunity to do a great deal of community service. My job is to be a mentor to the incoming first-year students and my positions in the organizations I’m a part of require me to reach out to the incoming first-year students as well as to the rest of the campus. I don’t mind. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I look forward to giving back.

And the Confusion Has Ceased…

In the first semester, I wasn’t sure about what I wanted to do with my life. I had difficulty figuring out exactly why I was at this university. Now, things have changed. Confusion is no longer an issue. My mind is made up. This year has provided clarity in terms of what I want to do with my life after college. I want to go to law school. Over the course of the year, I needed to check my motive. I had to ask myself why exactly I wanted to practice law. Was it the money? Was it the prestige? I’ve realized it’s neither. I want to practice law because it’s genuinely something I’m interested in doing.

With this new, more specific focus, it’s no longer about what I want to do, but rather about doing it. This is one of the biggest changes for me in the jump from my freshman year to my sophomore year. I look forward to next year. I look back at myself this time last year and the level of maturity has risen dramatically. I wonder where I’ll be this time next year.

It’s not too big of a concern though. I’m going to enjoy where I am now. I’m preparing for the future, but not dwelling on it. It’s not even promised to me. Like I said in a previous journal, when I was reflecting on the loss of a dear friend, every day you live is precious. No two days are alike, nor will they ever be. So why be in a hurry to get today over with? I’m just so thankful I’ve come this far.

So, I guess this is a happy ending to my tenure as a first-year journalist. God has sustained and blessed me tremendously throughout this year. I know what I want to do with my life, financing my undergraduate education is no longer an issue and I’ve avoided all distractions to bring my first year to a close on a highly successful note. I’ve built my foundation at The University of Texas at Austin. I’m ready for the next level.

Questions? Concerns? Comments? E-mail me at

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