26 September 2005
What Starts Here Changes the World
“START. LEARN. SUCCEED. FAIL. MIX. ASSOCIATE. INVENT. DISCOVER. CHALLENGE. PURSUE. DARE. DEFY. CONVINCE. RELAX. CHILL. BE MERRY. EMERGE. RISE. ENJOY. EXPLORE. FEEL. EXPRESS. DETERMINE. FIND. QUANTIFY. SEE. HELP. COMPARE. CONTRAST. SHINE. GAUGE. ANALYZE. UNDERSTAND. SLEEP. FALL. EAT. DEVOUR. DISTINGUISH. CLARIFY. RUN. INTERPRET. TRANSLATE. REPRESENT. SOLVE. DECODE. SHARE. PARTICIPATE. TAKE OVER. REALIZE. DEVELOP. MATURE. GROW. JUXTAPOSE. GAIN. WONDER. POLITICK. MEET. STRUGGLE. ACCOMPLISH. SUSTAIN. ENDURE. PROVE. SOLIDIFY. CONTINUE. EXCEL. ENVISION. BUILD. HOOK ’EM. DREAM. HOPE. CHANGE.”
These words changed my world. They also changed the minds of those who read my application for First-Year Student Journals. I wrote that back in June as my simple answer to what I expected to do at the university and what I hoped it would bring to my life. Many months have gone by since I wrote those words. The biggest development and clearest difference between now and then: these words do not connote what they used to anymore, but rather have developed from wishful expectations to strong commitments as I perform my role of a freshman here at The University of Texas at Austin.
A few of the above-mentioned have already been transformed from expectations to commitments (for example, Hook ’Em, Wonder, Sleep) while many still remain to be done so (for example, Understand, See, Dare). And the expectation or commitment of representation or to represent is among those to be thoroughly examined and explored. As a participant in the 2005-06 First-Year Student Journals, I stand in my unique situation, “representing” myself at many levels. Through this project, I have been reminded and delegated the task of representing myself uniquely as a human being, a freshman student and more important, a TEXAS LONGHORN.
And so, whether you are reading this journal as an Aggie or Sooner fan, student or a faculty member, alum or prospective student, graduate or undergraduate, or most important, as my fellow Longhorn (or perhaps not), I welcome you to the First-Year Student Journals. I cannot tell you how much of a thrill it is for me to be at this position and chronicle my experiences as a University of Texas at Austin freshman. It is very exciting to know that the school that has brought me here is going to be or already is an integral part of all of you. This university as well as the city of Austin are truly unbelievable places with an aura of diversity and distinctiveness. These diversified and distinctive characteristics, as well as countless other reasons, will hopefully allow me to shed much light on my life and in turn make the journals as interesting to read as they will be for me to write.
Involvement in this project allows me to write about and report my experiences, stories, challenges, hopes and dreams as a freshman. Throughout the year, I will be writing a personal journal although my unique circumstances will allow these journals to be published online. Accordingly, these will be very distinct and different from a regular journal. As is already noticeable, I have deviated from the original form of a “journal” and have taken it to a different level. And doing this is exactly the goal throughout this project: to be as different as the limitations can allow. Sometimes I will directly write for the readers while at times all the writing is going to involve just my thoughts. Sometimes the journal will be organized and at times my writing is going to be all over the place. In short, I will conform with the norm at times and undoubtedly will do otherwise, and hopefully make our journey as interesting and thought-provoking as possible.
Now, with a clearly defined structure and layout, allow me to shift gears and tell you a little about myself. As mentioned previously and as is already very obvious, my name is Zaid and I am a freshman. I am in the College of Liberal Arts and a Government major. I have been in Austin for the past three years and moved here because of my mother’s employment in UT’s Department of Asian Studies. I am originally from Pakistan and grew up in the vibrant city of Lahore. I am accompanied by my mother, father and a younger brother in Austin. After moving here, I joined McCallum High School in 2002 as a sophomore and graduated this past May. Attending UT Austin was my goal and dream throughout high school, which played a big factor in channeling my life during this time. With the honor of being a student of this great institution, I now have moved on and hope to strive toward new challenges, experiences and dreams. Additionally, I am very adventurous and really like to run long distances. Playing cricket, collecting stamps/coins, listening to my iPod and sleeping/smiling are a few of my best hobbies.
I am very happy and…
Oops! I was supposed to keep all this short. Without further ado, I conclude and leave you with a few things to think about in the following order:
At The University of Texas at Austin I expect to:
START. LEARN. SUCCEED. FAIL. MIX. ASSOCIATE. INVENT. DISCOVER. CHALLENGE. PURSUE. DARE. DEFY. CONVINCE. RELAX. CHILL. BE MERRY. EMERGE. RISE. ENJOY. EXPLORE. FEEL. EXPRESS. DETERMINE. FIND. QUANTIFY. SEE. HELP. COMPARE. CONTRAST. SHINE. GAUGE. ANALYZE. UNDERSTAND. SLEEP. FALL. EAT. DEVOUR. DISTINGUISH. CLARIFY. RUN. INTERPRET. TRANSLATE. REPRESENT. SOLVE. DECODE. SHARE. PARTICIPATE. TAKE OVER. REALIZE. DEVELOP. MATURE. GROW. JUXTAPOSE. GAIN. WONDER. POLITICK. MEET. STRUGGLE. ACCOMPLISH. SUSTAIN. ENDURE. PROVE. SOLIDIFY. CONTINUE. EXCEL. ENVISION. BUILD. HOOK ’EM. DREAM. HOPE. CHANGE.
My favorite poem, by Rainer Maria Rilke:
“What Starts Here Changes the World”
Very excited to be a part of all this (particularly penning down everything about my freshman year at UT) and very much looking forward to criticisms, complaints, concerns, comments or any compliments.
Until next time,
P.S.: Many thanks to Nyleva, Amy, Mark, Charles, Leslie, Marsha and everybody else involved in doing the behind-the-scenes work and putting all of this together. Thanks also to Ricardo of Little City Coffee House for supplying me with great iced mocha lattes when I really needed them in order to complete this journal. Special, or I should say unlimited, amount of thanks for the great work of Christina, the best photographer in the world, who patiently spent hours taking hundreds of pictures and painstakingly narrowing them down to the very best. THANK YOU.
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