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Small handwriting sample of C.J.'s First-Year Student Journals, link to journals home page


trophies and medals

6 February 2006

I’ve just walked out of my last class of the day. It sounds normal, just like a regular class, nothing special here, right? Wrong. I think otherwise. This class is anything but normal and everything about it is out-of-the-ordinary.

What class will give you the opportunity to learn from a law school professor? What class will let you study in the law school building? What class will let you experience new cutting-edge elements of the legal profession? What class will let you walk among law school students and pretend to be one? What class will give you the opportunity to have great cookies along with a 10-minute break? What class will let you do all of the above in your freshman year?

The answer is American Dispute Resolution with Professor Dzienkowski and Ms. Scher, the teaching assistant (who cheerfully told me today that she saw me on UT’s Web site and read my journals).

Now even though I was supposed to concentrate and listen to Professor Dzienkowski and our guest speaker, who happened to have served as a United States magistrate judge, I could not divert my attention away from what Ms. Scher had mentioned earlier at the beginning of class: my journals!

And I had completely overlooked them yet again. In any case, I walked out of the class (and note the transition here from present to the past as I am obviously not walking now but typing instead) and the Law School’s Townes Hall building with a strong resolution to finish this entry within a few intense hours. (And, yes, it does take me hours and sometimes even days to create a perfect journal, but that in itself is a topic of discussion for another day.)

Still, just to be on the safe side, I looked at my planner to double-check and make sure it was due today and my journal entry certainly was due on Feb. 1, 2006.

“Why? Why? Why today?” is what I grumbled right away. A review for an upcoming exam, preparation for two quizzes and a couple of applications were the things I was initially thinking about. Now, Feb. 1 had brought another surprise activity: the journal.

Regardless, I continued to stare at my planner and wonder why it had to be Feb. 1 today. I kept staring and staring when Feb. 1 brought a genuine smile on my face. Yes, I looked and it really was the big ol’ Feb. 1. I flipped through the calendar in my planner and went back from Feb. 1, 2006 to Feb. 1, 2005. And the revelation I received was simply inspiring and made me smile even more!

“UT application due today at 5 p.m.” were the words written just below Feb. 1, 2005. Yup, it was precisely one year ago when I was scrambling to print my resume, essays and every other thing concerning the application process. It was precisely one year ago (at about 4:35 p.m.) when I finally walked in the admissions office and ultimately handed over what I had been working on for weeks. It was precisely one year ago when I had to let go of everything and start hoping for the best. It was precisely one year ago that this Zaid was a senior in high school and submitting an admissions application for The University of Texas at Austin.

It is amazing to look back now and see how much has happened during this time. A mere time period of one year has brought unbelievable changes for me. One year ago I was rushing to get my application in and a year later I am rushing to get my journal in (although the rushing part does not sound any different). One year ago I was not sure whether I would be at UT or someplace else, and a year later I am very certain of where I am and where I am heading. One year ago I was one among 1,600 students in high school, and a year later I am one among 50,000 students. One year ago I was a senior at McCallum High School, and a year later I am back as a freshman but at The University of Texas. One year ago I was Zaid, and a year later I am Zaid!

Long story short: It has been an incredible experience since Feb. 1, 2005, and since I started college. I was quite concerned before, during and after I turned in my application that day. But it worked out fine and in my favor. It has been a happy story ever since and is still in the making. Who would’ve known, however, that I would be walking out of Townes Hall, UT’s law school building, and grumbling about rushing to get in this journal? At least I did not anticipate that much to happen from Feb. 1, 2005 to Feb. 1, 2006.


Send an e-mail to if there is anything you want to know. I might squeeze the response in my next journal!

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