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Small handwriting sample of C.J.'s First-Year Student Journals, link to journals home page
Tom in his Longhorn Band uniform

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Detail of Tom's band uniform

26 September 2005

I remember clearly when I was six years old I was going to be Superman, and although my flying ability and X-ray vision never quite came around, I did know A from Z and was ready to take on the world.

Kindergarten had ended and so began my search for a future as life 12 years removed made its way up the fast lane.

And, maybe by divine intervention, my family, like pilgrims, embarked on various excursions to the city of Austin, Texas. The visits presented me with Austin in all its fervor and left me with one option. It was at this young age with swift wisdom and intrepid valiance that I then declared The University of Texas at Austin to be my home. Grades 1-12 went wayside to the blur of time steering me toward one goal, one destination, one future that I knew not its reason but its importance.

I always said growing up that UT was where I would rest and though I may not be completely grown up, how could I expect this coming year to be anything less than all that I’ve dreamed? Having lived for these days it couldn’t taste any sweeter.

To both fortune and misfortune that same taste of joy that has been brought as an entering freshman has been lost to the seed of time. Now having been on campus for more than a month I cannot clearly recall all the amazing events that I have been blessed to witness and be a part of. All my dreams are being realized, but in the haste of classes and obligations I rarely find time to reflect, all in good and necessary measure though.

I always had the vision of moving into the bustling campus halls greeted by many students all seeking an education from this great university, residence halls rushed with students and families alike looking to move the next Einstein into his room of fate. I had visions of cars lining streets and campus swamped by the incoming traffic both by vehicle and on foot.

These were failed. I moved in a week early and saw maybe three fellow students in my hall throughout the course of the next week. My time, however, was not spent in vain. I had come down early from my wonderful hometown of Lindale, Texas, to audition for the mighty Longhorn Band. This I would come to know as my single greatest decision.

After the course of nearly 16 straight hours a day for six consecutive days fighting for a spot in the band, I found my place: Big Flag. Yes, indeed you can find me on game days leading the band across the field during our pre-game performances ushering in our football team. I am, by trade, a percussionist but did not have the fortune of making the drum line. All quandaries aside, the friends I have made in LHB make me feel welcome regardless of my audition result. Lesson learned, never let one simple thing keep you from what you enjoy.

It is easiest to assess that my time in and out of Longhorn Band is always involving such. With practices three nights of the week, I see the various 365 students frequently and have, therefore, created the strongest friendships that I hold dear in the university. There are other students from my high school who have entered the university, but due to a demanding schedule and various reasons of difference I rarely see them. This is not an abandonment of friendship, but sometimes it clearly becomes difficult to continue contact with many people no matter how close or how far.

It may seem sad to some, but not maintaining a strong contact with friends back home has given me the freedom to cultivate who am I now and who I will become as a Longhorn. It’s been great meeting new faces in class and around campus. These are the days that I’ve been waiting nearly 12 years to be realized. I see not a reason to fail to capitalize on the moment.

But alas there is always a drawback. The quid pro quo to this glory of a new life and living is: studying. All I can and need to say is take care of your business.

But don’t let me scare you. Even through the burdens shines the excitement of my enrollment in the grandest university in the world, nestled cozily in the grandest city of all the earth. I wouldn’t trade anything for where I am right now.

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