The University of Texas at Austin wordmark
Small handwriting sample of C.J.'s First-Year Student Journals, link to journals home page
Zaid




crown




trophies and medals

5 December 2005

And thus my very first and special fall 2005 semester at The University of Texas at Austin comes to an incredible end.

All of my expectations at the beginning of this semester and anticipations of what was to come at UT were encapsulated in about six words.

“What Starts Here Changes the World”

Yes. These six words truly inspired me when I came across them for the first time and were more than enough, of course, to mark the very beginning of my first Web journal entry and my interesting voyage as a freshman student journalist. Detailed below this remarkable phrase in that first entry was a long list of words that hinted at what I expected to do as a freshman at UT: Learn, succeed, fail, explore, clarify, represent, accomplish and hook ’em.

About 107 days after the start of this semester, or about 15 weeks, or a total of 2,568 hours, or 154,080 minutes or even 9,244,800 seconds later, I’m ready to make a revision to that first entry: Those words on that list started as expectations, transitioned into commitments and have turned out as great experiences during this wonderful first fall semester. Additionally, I have a revision for that introductory phrase as well: What Started Here Did Change the World (at least in my case).

I have learned so much. I have succeeded quite a few times. I have failed countless times. I have explored the new university life. I have clarified many concepts. I have represented myself at new levels. I have accomplished a few things. I have hooked ’em. In short, I have had a blast this fall. It really has been an incredible experience overall at this great institution.

How and what have I learned, succeeded, failed, explored, clarified, represented, accomplished and hooked ’em?

Let me explain.

What I have learned: I should say what have I not learned! All of my classes, of course, have taught me so much. Mythology has allowed me to learn about the central concerns of the ancient Greek society. Sociology has allowed me to view the institution of society from a deeper perspective. Arabic has allowed me to learn how hard it is to grasp another language. And the critical thinking seminar has allowed me to really think about my very own thinking process and refine my reasoning and judgments in doing so.

Apart from the education, I have learned that hard work really does pay off (if pointed in the right direction). I have learned that sincere effort can take you from one step to the other. And on a more serious note, I have learned the most important term in the world: a shout-out. I have also come to learn that I have been given a few titles by others, for example “the shout-out guy” and “Zaid: the best import since freedom fries”!

How I have succeeded: Well…this is a tough one! It would be insincere of me to actually say that I have succeeded at things. I hold the belief that others decide if one has truly succeeded or not, instead of the individual himself. Accordingly, I cannot gloat much about success, as I have not seen myself doing something spectacular, yet. I can say however, that I am proud of myself for becoming more punctual and dedicated toward my work. I am also happy for I have grown to really value time and learned to work with it. I have also worked hard to improve and learn from my mistakes.

On a more serious note, I can claim that I once tasted success by moving from row 49 of section 20 to row 6 of section 18 at a Texas football game. I also feel successful for surviving in this right-hand-oriented world even after being that rare left-handed kid. Lastly, I feel myself to be a complete successful and brave man for being able to stand up and protect my lunch from those ever-so-brave squirrels.

How I have failed: I have failed countless times…OK, how about if we skip this section altogether? I can assure you though that I am still coping with the monumental losses of running behind the bus and missing it (at least once a week), doing the homework for the wrong day, getting an 88 in a class (arrggghhh!) and forgetting to get a football ticket for the Texas vs. Colorado home game. I think I have learned my lesson from all of these and, hopefully, will improve on them to become better. Only time will tell!

What I have explored and clarified: In a very literal sense, I have explored quite a lot of this gigantic UT, but many places and things here still remain to be explored and clarified. Overall, I think I have been able to get a clear sense of this place and what it has to offer. I have also been able to get a good sense of the things that are at stake here. But then again, it is just my first year here and I am very optimistic and very excited about the many more things coming my way through The University of Texas. One thing has become pretty clear to me: UT is the precise place for me.

What I have represented and accomplished: I combined these two categories because I personally feel that a fair representation of myself as a freshman student at UT has truly been my accomplishment this semester. I have already represented myself at this institution at many unique levels: as an Ambassador for the Texas Interdisciplinary Plan (TIP), as a Freshman Web Journalist for the Freshman Web Journals Project, as a FLO’er or member of the Freshman Leadership Organization (FLO) and as a Longhorn / student of The University of Texas at Austin. And these duties of representing myself in different forms at different levels are what I consider as my true accomplishments so far.

How I have hooked ’em: Well I must rephrase it and say how “WE” have hooked ’em. This year has been a very special and memorable one. Texas has done so well in football and is on the verge of clinching the national championship this year. The home football games have regularly given me a chance to become a part of the 86,000 Texas Longhorns and support and cheer crazily for the best team. I may forget all other things from this freshman year but the winning football games have undoubtedly been etched in my memories. This is how I have collectively hooked ’em this semester. And the most exciting part of this is that we are still not done. Texas still has one more to go as history is in the making. Hook ’em, Horns!

And thus my very first and special fall 2005 semester at The University of Texas at Austin comes to an incredible end…

I have learned so much. I have succeeded quite a few times. I have failed countless times. I have explored the new university life. I have clarified many concepts. I have represented myself at new levels. I have accomplished a few things. I have hooked ’em.

I am so ready to start the holidays. But I am even more ready to do the precise things mentioned above and get back where I belong: THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN.

“What Starts Here Changes the World”

z.hassan12@gmail.com

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