7 November 2005
In the first entry of my journals, I mentioned that I am from Pakistan and continue to learn about America and everything here in this new world on a daily basis. Not originally from the U.S., I confronted and continue to confront extremely complicated terms as “y’all” and “howdy” wherever I go. Yes, interestingly, I still do! And one of the most important things I came to learn over the past week was my discovery of the meaning of the invaluable term “shout-out.”
Shout-out: A positive acknowledgment of an entity.
Shout-out: A kind mention of an amigo or a person.
And I should’ve known about this way long ago. I mean, a shout-out is a shout-out and it appears to be obvious and as simple as that. But hey, can’t do anything now. I just did not know what it meant and had no clue at all about this in the past. How I was able to breathe normally and continue with life without this critical piece of information still remains a mystery to me.
Anyway, getting over the complexities of the past and skidding back to the comforting present, I have to acknowledge that all my previous journal entries would probably have been shout-outs about everything here at the university had I known about this important concept!
So with an unparalleled process of clearing my throat, with a constant support of the distant drumbeat, with arresting hum of choir in the background and without any further ado, ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to introduce, bring into the limelight, honor and give huge shout-outs to:
Texas Interdisciplinary Plan (TIP): TIP is an “academic program for freshman students in the colleges of Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences.” The purpose of TIP is to “provide a small college atmosphere at a place of such magnitude as The University of Texas at Austin.” This plan “offers the interdisciplinary academic experience as well as a blend of support services and other opportunities to students.”
In more vibrant words, TIP is very good. I consider myself very lucky to be a part of this program as I almost did not apply. I surely would have been lost at UT, without any doubt, had TIP not been there to help. I have had great opportunities to learn more about university life solely through this organization. The peer mentor program, linked classes, critical thinking seminar and the privileged advising make TIP among the very best and on top of this list. A big shout-out to the Texas Interdisciplinary Plan!
Freshman Leadership Organization (FLO): FLO is an organization that comes under Student Government at UT. The core mission of this organization is to “introduce freshmen to UT, Austin, Student Government, organizations on campus, campus life and procedures through various leadership activities.” In other words, “FLO connects freshmen to UT and Austin community, connects freshmen to other freshmen, connects freshmen with mentors, connects freshmen with current issues on campus and connects freshmen with leadership opportunities.”
In my own words, FLO is very fun! I really have enjoyed being a part of this organization. So many more opportunities at the university have been brought to my attention by FLO. The organization is divided into five committees (for example, community service, fund-raising, leadership advising), where each group performs its delegated function at the weekly meetings. The directors, chairs and all members are really great and very helpful and supportive. I have already become good friends with so many people who are a part of this organization. Basically, FLO is FLOvely! A big shout-out to the Freshman Leadership Organization!
Dean of the College of Liberal Arts: Now, I must acknowledge that I have not had the opportunity to meet Dr. Richard Lariviere for more than a few minutes at a small number of events, such as orientation. But even these introductory and small handshake-and-hello instances have given me a bright and proud feeling that he actually remembers me from orientation day. In a couple other instances, I have come across Dr. Lariviere somewhere on campus and have been bestowed either a big Texas-sized smile or a big wave of the hand.
Dr. Lariviere is a part of this journal because of two great reasons:
A respectful and cordial expression of thanks (or acknowledgment, also known as a shout-out) to the dean of the College of Liberal Arts, Dr. Lariviere!
Mathematics Professor: I just had to include Professor Lamar of my summer semester math class in this list. Now, let me assure you that as I once previously mentioned, I still cannot add 2 and 2 and still am math phobic. However, my class with Professor Lamar over the summer semester did rekindle lost dreams of learning about adding 2 and 2 and learning about simple topics as chaos, fractals and infinities (as well as the feeble Fibonacci Sequence).
Professor Lamar was a great teacher. Not only was a he a great teacher, but also a good friend. Most important, he knew when to be a professor and when to be a friend which, when combined, contributes to the ultimate success in relationships between professors and students. Also, he was my professor during my first semester at UT and quickly was included in my all-star favorites because of his greatness. Professor Lamar is in Ithaca, New York, at Cornell University and I still get e-mails from him, which makes him perfect to be on this list particularly for being a great teacher and for showing interest in the development of intellectual thought among his students. A respectful and cordial expression of thanks (or acknowledgment, also known as a shout-out!) to Professor Lamar as well!
The above-mentioned programs and people have been among the many deserving a shout-out. All of these people have worked and continue to work effortlessly for betterment of the university community or in bringing positive change.
As this momentous journal comes to an end, as the sun disappears beyond the horizon and as the curtains begin to roll back down again, many still remain to be acknowledged. The only element that prohibits me from going on is lack of space and time (as well as the sleep I want to get after finishing this journal).
Still, a big Texas-sized shout-out to Dane (my great friend whose simplicity, straightforwardness and brevity are very big sources of inspiration), Caelie (all credit for this journal goes to Caelie because she introduced me to the term shout-out and so this journal would not even be here without her), Ben (my great academic adviser from TIP, his help all the way until now has been invaluable) and all others.
By the way, as the joyous season approaches, give a shout-out to everyone you know and particularly to anyone you don’t know. If we can just get this shout-out thing (the process of acknowledging and appreciating an entity) going on, I can assure you that we might be able to change quite a few things. And not just change, but change for the positive. Shout-out to everybody as loud as you can!
Y’all are die-hard troopers for reading this entire journal. Thanks a bunch. Any questions? E-mail me, please!
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