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Small handwriting sample of Ashley's First-Year Student Journals, link to journals home page
Ashley




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Ashley's necklace

23 January 2006

Welcome Back, Welcome Back, Welcome Back

I don’t think anyone knows how excited I am to be back in school ready to start another successful semester. I never realized how much I enjoyed this place until I sat at home during winter break in front of the television day in and day out while everyone else productively went to school or work.

Now, I won’t sit here and say I wasn’t grateful for the month-long break that college students are granted before jumping head first into the Wall Street-like, fast-paced setting of school, but to be perfectly honest sometimes I have to question things. Does it really take a whole month to catch up with everyone back at home?

I’ll take a quick minute to dissect this situation. When it comes to family you know you have to see everyone to talk about your first experiences as a college student. You get to eat some home-cooked meals, and see all of your precious cousins and loquacious sisters. Everything is great, then their breaks all of a sudden come to a halt and your break, my friend, continues. So, you reunite with your old friends. With old friends from high school, the majority of them are already on a college break as well, so every day everyone can hang out and have fun.

Obviously, that is a wonderful feeling to see them again and catch up on some things. If you’re from a small town like me you’ll start to notice that the choices of doing things are very much limited. You can go see a movie or two but that gets expensive. You can stay at home and watch movies but the atmosphere gets boring. You can travel miles to the next big city [Houston] and go party but that gets expensive and gas prices are high. Furthermore, you can take part in other extracurricular activities like bowling but…I can’t bowl. OK, OK I know that last one was irrelevant but the moral to the story is catching up is cool but everything turns out to be expensive, and you must remember gas prices are high.

On top of that, most of my friends went back to school earlier than I did, thus leaving me to the dreaded remote control and television. The only time when a person can successfully improvise on having fun, with little or no money, is when the No. 2 college football team in the country stuns a nation and takes home the national title at the Rose Bowl. (I really had to throw that in there.)

Anyway, coming back to school for me was a relief. As soon as I got back to campus I was already getting busy on another mission. The day I returned to school was the day before Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and Innervisions Gospel Choir was invited to perform at the celebration. It was so nice to see everyone’s smiling faces singing, “We Shall Overcome” and “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” Most of all, it was especially great to see my new friends I have made at UT. I think college-made friends are so great. You will find out that every student, no matter what background or lifestyle, is going through the same struggles as each other, such as going to class, making the grades, studying more and experiencing new things (such as a jazz concert I went to with a couple of friends of mine from the infamous 13th floor of Jester dorm). That is why I think college is so worth all the money that goes into it.

After MLK Day, school started and I was going on internship interviews, filling out scholarships and already putting study groups together, even though we really haven’t done much in class yet. The best thing about this semester is that in each of my classes I know at least one person, which probably makes the transition a little smoother from one set of classes from one semester to the next.

One class I already love is my calculus class. The reason why I do is because it hosts practically the whole roster from last semester’s math class. We all already know each other and we’re ready to ace it all together. But wait, there’s more!

In my economics class this semester it’s not just another boring lecture. We actually get involved in real-life situations to really learn economics. For example, we did this “trading fair/auction” in class, which was really and truly an “ice-breaker” where everyone could start communicating effectively among one another. On the second day of class everyone was buying and selling fake products, smiling and laughing at each other, and, oh yeah, learning the foundations of economics in the meantime. Yep, I know I’m pretty weird actually getting excited over school, but I’m not the only student who feels this way, especially at UT. C’mon, what other university you know hosts a big celebration for the Rose Bowl the day you come back from a long winter break. Ah, the beauty of college.

E-mail me at xomosdefxo@yahoo.com.

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