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Small handwriting sample of C.J.'s First-Year Student Journals, link to journals home page
Sam with her pink sunglasses

Sam's green frog, Snuffulupagus

Sam in her favorite shades

Monday, Jan. 23, 2006: A Narrative

It is 8:53 a.m. Roommate has just left for her math class. My cell phone, sitting next to my bed with the remnants of last night’s Diet Coke, my black plastic glasses and the quintessential yellow accent highlighter, blares the opening strains of Lifehouse’s “Hanging by a Moment.” I reach over, grudgingly, and reset my phone, craving another few minutes of sleep.

It is 9:12 a.m., and I hear the guitars. Bright light peeks through the blinds. I reset my phone once more.

It is 9:14 a.m. I am still awake, snuggled up to my bright pink pillow. I poke my toe out from beneath my covers, and I shiver. Kinsolving dorm’s antiquated heating system fails yet again. My black slippers, complete with silver bunnies, ($5, purchased out of pure necessity) lie temptingly near my bed. I finally turn my phone alarm off, grope for my glasses (nearly knocking over the diet Coke), and scurry out of bed. All I remember for the next five or so minutes is cold. Cold, cold, cold. My reflection taunts me. Unfortunately, I don’t wake up in the morning looking like the Saman Kamal that everyone knows and loves.

I more closely resemble a “Clueless”-era Brittany Murphy, complete with under-eye circles and mismatched flannel clothing.

As I toss clothes around my room, searching for a shirt that will complement the pink shoes I’m determined to wear, I manage to groggily check my and e-mail accounts for last-minute messages. I glance at the diet Coke, sniffing it with trepidation. Deciding that it’s still good, I polish it off.

I sprint to my first class, late. It’s a philosophy class, and we’re in the midst of Confucius. I scan the room for open seats, and awkwardly fall into one on the edge of the front row. My professor is Irish and young. He encourages questions, and I like it. I take notes, and it suddenly occurs to me that I’m in a college lecture hall, not a high school classroom, that everyone sitting here actually wants to be here. I pause. It’s still surreal.

After class, I have a quick lunch with my dear friend Cara, at a restaurant on the Drag called Baja Fresh. We catch up, laugh, chat, and it’s a welcome respite from the monotony of lectures and note-taking.

I succumb to this monotony once more. I find myself in a gigantic auditorium, masquerading as a sponge, as my chemistry professor drones about heterogeneous mixtures. Class lets out, and I walk over to my Western Civilization lecture. We discuss the Renaissance. And, 45 long minutes later, I’m standing outside my French class. The room is eerily reminiscent of high school, with its tacky brown tiling, and plastic desks shiny with perspiration from nail-biting students. As we go over grammar, I’m fidgety, staring at the clock. We’re dismissed, five minutes late. I power-walk like a soccer mom at the mall, complete with my bottomless pit of a tote bag. I stop by the Daily Texan (university’s student newspaper) office, and pick up a columnist application. I make it back to Kinsolving, and buy a bottle of juice. I sit down in my room, with the aforementioned juice, and attempt to write out this journal before my 4 p.m. class.

As expected, I fail miserably. Resigning myself to a late entry, I hurry to my literature class. The UT Tower chimes, and I am in my seat, rapidly pulling today’s reading out of my tote bag. I am surrounded by people who have read far more than me, people who seem infinitely intelligent, seasoned in the art of bloviation and Powerpoint. I, on the other hand, am the awkward freshman who snuck into the course with Advanced Placement credits and a decent grade-point average. I’m scared to speak, and my throat is dry anyways, so as he looks around for someone to call on, I slouch in my seat. As the discussion unfolds, and he does finally call on me, I talk about bias in poetry, and my voice sounds alien to my ears. He smiles at me, and all of a sudden, I feel better. I am not a complete imbecile.

Class runs late, and I race back to my room to change for my sorority meeting. And then, meeting’s over, and I’m at Starbucks, and before I know it, it’s 8:30 p.m., and I’m back to furiously typing away this entry. My room resembles an icebox. I shiver, my body covered in goose bumps. It’s slightly ridiculous. I head over to my friend’s room, too cold to think. As I defrost, more friends come over, and before I know it, it’s an impromptu reunion of some of my favorite people.

I eventually return to my room, planning to devote Tuesday to working out and studying. I only have one class. It’s a feasible goal. Tired, I pop in “Amelie” (my favorite movie), curl up under my covers and fall asleep within the hour.

Ah, the life of the college student. Questions? Concerns? Opinions? E-mail me at

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