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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

20 February 2006

Where Has All the Orange Gone?

Seems like just yesterday I returned from Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium after hearing our football team boast about their national championship, and no quicker did I wake the next day to find that every one of my fellow student body members had acquired a National Championship T-shirt, complete with emblazed score on the back reading “Texas 41–USC 38.”

But I’ve seen none of that lately, and though I haven’t even been seen in orange at times, it makes me sad that such is a widespread affliction. Each day when I grab a shirt to wear, somehow I glance over the stack of about eight burnt orange T-shirts and go right for the nondescript solid one that says nothing about me or my university.

I don’t mean to make a big deal, but it’s a testament to the changing times and spirits shadowing over the student body each season.

Granted, there are still those ironclad students who wouldn’t be caught dead in anything but burnt orange, but it made me proud to step out onto campus and see about 86 percent of every person wearing a title shirt.

But when did winning our first national title in 35 years become something not to celebrate? I can only hope that our future success with other athletics such as track, basketball and baseball can enliven our school spirit. After all, this is the great University of Texas at Austin.

The problem may stem from the spring semester. I know that when I think of this time, I think of how close I am to the summer, and consequently I begin to worry more about next year than I do focus on what’s happened recently.

What has happened recently is the changing of classes, and the further I get as a student down my degree track the closer I get toward entering classes that directly involve my career. It’s hard to maintain the excitement that comes with success in classes and I begin to look down that track toward graduation, ready and prepared by the university to embark on life.

I hear all the things about the constricting job field, I hear all the troubles about being an entering and aspiring journalist, and I know that I don’t have a thing to worry about if I have ambition and maybe a degree from Texas. And when that day comes I’ll stroll proudly into any office sporting my burnt orange.

And maybe that is just the problem—looking too far ahead. As students preparing for our next steps, maybe we’ve become zealous as a university, our conversations being more of “Who’s going to lead us to another title?” these days than “I was there the day we won our championship!” It’s something we need to watch as people and as students because we might miss the small details that are important today.

Take a look around, enjoy the off-season. Things couldn’t be better for Texas football, professional, collegiate or prep. We’re making a name for ourselves and putting our mark on the map.

I believe that is the essential characteristic of college and growing up. I need to find out what I need to do to be successful and put my stamp on a life that I can enjoy. Go out and be bold! And quite frankly, I hope that everyone here does that in orange.

These are the times that sculpt our character. I hope that during those times I may be seen in burnt orange.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments at

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