[“Parting is such sweet sorrow”.]
When Shakespeare penned this quote in the prominent Romeo and Juliet, I wonder if he knew that it would not only apply to two star-crossed, family feuding lovers, but to an out-of-state freshman who just finished her first year at UT. I, to my own surprise, actually cried as I walked out of my dorm for the last time. Leaving my Austin family was tearful as we all gave each other good-bye letters and hugs, resembling kids leaving summer camp, I guess they impacted me more than I anticipated.
Not only do I miss my family, but I miss the enthusiasm I awoke with every Tuesday and Thursday at 10:00am. No, it wasn’t because I got to leisurely wake up at 10, but because I would then head off to Advertising and Popular Culture, African American Theater History and Broadway Jazz. I loved all three of those classes for specific reasons (you can relax I won’t explain them all here), but the general reason why I loved them so much is because I was learning so much from each one of them. Of course, my hands have already thanked me that they will no longer get abused by highlighters as I furiously annotate articles for Advertising and plays for African American Theater History, but there was an excitement during those classes because I knew I was going to discover something new, push my thinking to another level, and gain confidence and knowledge as a scholar (and dancer). I must give props to my African American Theater History professor — Dr. Omi Osun Joni Jones — (who I gave a shout out to last semester) who once again created a comfortable environment; one in which my classmates have become some of my closest friends, and we have developed a sense of camaraderie as we advanced in to even higher level thinking than last semester. The upper division class was designed so we had several group projects where we had to work together outside of class. One particular night, all the groups ended up in our classroom collaborating on our projects, but also keeping each other entertained and laughing, where the sense of community couldn’t be ignored. As cheesy as it sounds, I love that bonded feeling, especially on a large campus like the 40 acres.
One of the biggest things I’ve learned this year at UT is that we often find ways to study our subjects outside of the classroom. Everyone has an important story to tell, you just have to listen. I learned about so many different cultures, beliefs, and situations, and I wasn’t even in a lecture hall. It’s like you can just hang out with your friends and expand your understanding of the world. Secretly learning while having fun? I can dig it. And as I sit inside, sipping a White Chocolate Mocha, cuddled up in blankets while looking out the window at the infamous rain that could only be expected from the PNW in May, I realize that my pal Willy knew what he was doing and definitely had it right; parting really is such sweet sorrow. I’m happy to reunite with old friends from high school, but I certainly can’t wait to see my Texas friends next fall. I must give infinite gratitude to the Longhorn Confidential team, who allowed me to work on this outstanding project and held my hand during my first timid steps here at UT. It was my stepping stone to feeling at home here, and I can’t thank them enough for all the valuable experience and for allowing me to truly find my voice and express my eye-opening, life-changing freshman year experiences. I am beyond excited to continue to grow here at UT for the next three years. After all, what starts here changes the world, right?