Campus’ nickname, “The Forty Acres,” comes from the original land that was given to the university. If you’ve ever visited, you probably realized it’s expanded well past 40 acres. There’s a lot to see and explore at UT, so I’ll share a few of my favorite spots.
Out of all the great places to study on campus, two stand out for me. The Life Sciences Library, located inside the Tower, is the first that comes to mind. It’s right up the staircase from the Tower’s front doors. The high ceilings are decorated with quotes from famous thinkers and the oak tables look like they’re unchanged since the university’s founding. Similarly, the Architecture Library is everything that a college library should be. Don’t take my word for it, check out a photo. Studying in either of these libraries makes you feel like you are a college student.
The Texas Union is also a special building because of how multifunctional it is. Few other buildings function as a cafeteria, coffee shop, bar, music venue, study lounge, meeting room, ballroom and bowling alley. Because the Union has all of these facilities, it’s one of campus’ main hubs. It’s also a historical building, especially the Cactus Cafe, an acoustic music venue where many Austin artists played their first gigs. The upper floors have a ballroom for large events like guest speakers and plenty of quiet rooms to study in. Be sure to grab a coffee from Starbucks on your way in, so you won’t lose your spot.
As far as classrooms go, Gearing and Waggener have some great ones. I’m not a fan of vandalism, but it’s cool to see someone’s initials followed by ‘64 on your desk.
Two new buildings will be completed next semester and are worth mentioning.
The Student Activity Center (SAC) will really bring the East Mall to life with new student resources. The SAC will have a new assembly room for student government, a new cafeteria, study lounges, meeting rooms, a dance studio and a black box theater. The rooftop reflection area will be epic, for lack of a better word.
On the north side of campus, a new science center is almost completed. It has a great balcony that will overlook Speedway and 24th, one of campus’ busiest intersections. Part of the excitement surrounding these buildings is the end to construction…for now.
Finally, there is no place I’d rather be on a Sunday in the Spring than Disch-Falk baseball field.
The recent engagement of Prince William and Kate Middleton has definitely piqued my Anglophile tendencies—why all the interest in the U.S. media; will the wedding be an opulent spectacle; who will/should foot the bill; does the Royal family still matter? Initially this post was going to explore those questions and many more. Like, why has my brain retained so much random information about the Royals? (In a recent conversation, without missing a beat, I corrected a friend about some incorrect information she had read. Middleton is not the first commoner to marry into the Royal family. There have been many, Sophie Rhys-Jones being one of the most recent. I don’t know why I know that, but I imagine that pocket of trivia has displaced high school calculus.) After thinking about my most recent posts, I’d hate to give the impression that all I do is watch TV and movies. I actually do stuff.
Specifically, graduate school stuff. When I think about my blog posts, I see it as a chance to write about topics that I can’t necessarily bring up in a graduate seminar since they’re not particularly academic. (Believe me, I’ve tried.) But I think it’s good to include a “real-life” post every now and then, just so the folks back home have some proof that I’m actually doing something.
Here’s a snapshot of what I’ve done in the past couple of weeks as a graduate student:
- Applied to the Ford Foundation Diversity Fellowship
- Edited the paper I presented in October at the Art-Archives conference, here at UT, in order for it to be published online
- Edited the final chapter of my M.A. thesis for a UT journal
- Submitted a handful of abstracts for upcoming conferences
- Drafted detailed outlines for the final papers in two seminars
- Kept up with daily homework assignments for my Portuguese course
- Kept up with weekly readings for my graduate seminars
I’m not sure if this is a normal workload for a first-year Ph.D. student since I imagine that there are several students out there who have more on their plate. (How do you do it, James Franco?) But it’s a good workload for me; it keeps me busy and allows me enough free time to blog about a lot of the so-called nonsense that keeps me sane.