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Graduate Lesson #1: Taught by Homeless Emeritus

Last Saturday, I sat in bed with some Sumatran roast and started thesis writing. I was excited. I get my best writing done in PJ’s.

Yet from 9 am until 1 pm I battled to get something written that didn’t suck. I shouted at my brain to write something… anything worthwhile. I took a Facebook break. I drank more coffee. I played the Brazilian station on Pandora. Worthwhile didn’t come. My laptop slammed shut at the four-hour mark, I threw on my magical running shoes with lime green laces that always seem to make me feel better.


As I jogged, the internal a** whooping continued. I wasted a WHOLE morning! I didn’t have time to waste a whole morning. I had to go to work now… tomorrow I had lesson planning… Looking back, the self-absorbed litany was embarrassing, yet at the time it seemed like the appropriate thing to do. Maybe productivity wouldn’t extend to thesis writing, but I could definitely procure a productive guilt trip.

Turning north on Hemphill Park- in the middle of this diatribe- the magical shoes caught a root by the toe.

No time to recuperate- I was going down.

It was an ugly fall- one wear hands and arms crumpled uselessly in breaking my descent- shoulder and cheek slamming into the dirt. The fall literally and metaphorically brought me back to earth. Heart pounding and fingers tingling I watched an ant crawl by my face.

“Maybe,” I reasoned, “if I lay here a minute, onlookers will think I’m resting.”

Shaken, I sat up and dusted off.

There not twenty feet away sat a man and woman on a ratty blanket- clearly homeless.

The first thought came in a hurry: “Why didn’t they rush to my aid?!” {Jerks}

Yet as I stood up, a second thought unfolded:

They were smiling. He poured her a drink from a vintage thermos; she opened a brown paper bag to reveal a bag of chips. They looked every bit the portrait of a happy couple on a movie-perfect picnic… sans sitting along a drainage ditch, and not having showered in a long time.

As it turned out, they weren’t jerks after all. I was the jerk.


When I got home, I stumbled onto this quote from a Daily Love email I get each morning:

All is well. You did not come here to fix a broken world. The world is not broken. You came here to live a wonderful life. And if you can learn to relax a little and let it all in, you will begin to see the universe present you with all that you have asked for.”

- Esther Abraham-Hicks

I think there definitely must be something magical about these shoes.


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October 25, 2011 | | Comments are closed for this post

4 Comments to Graduate Lesson #1: Taught by Homeless Emeritus

hey is unveirsty of texas a good only in 8th grade but i really would love to go to unveirsty of texas but im not sure if i want to yet..i know it has the sports i like but theres other colleges that have them to.. i was wondering if u could tell me a little bout unveirsty of texas????

November 11, 2011
— alexus lance


UT is a great school. If you love sports, then I’m sure you know every sport is different. The good things about cycling are different than the good things about football.

College is the same way. The trick is finding which school has the qualities that fit with your personality. Is there anything about UT you would like to know?

I can tell you a few reasons I chose UT:

1. It’s one of the biggest schools in the country- and I love being around large groups of different people, who do different things, and have different interests.

2. UT has a special program in Art Teaching that no other colleges offer.

3. I love Austin! The weather, and the funky people who live here fit really well with my personality. I love “Keep Austin Weird!”

4. I liked that UT was in a different state. My first degree was at a school near my home in Ohio, and I wanted a change. I also have friends in Austin, so moving here to be close to them was exciting.

Ever since First Grade, I loved making art, which helped me choose a school when I grew older.

What things do you love to do?

November 14, 2011
— Rebecca

I just applied to go to college at Texas. I’m so nervous, I have my heart set on going to UT. What was it like moving from Ohio all the way to Austin? I live in Ohio as well:] I was certain I wanted to study dietetics since my freshman year in high school at UT, so I’m really hoping I get accepted. I was just wondering how the transition was.

November 17, 2011
— Shelby


Hey Ohioan! What part of Ohio? I grew up in North Olmsted… a wholesome little ‘burb on the west side of Cleveland.

“What was it like coming from Ohio to Austin?” For me it was ridiculously easy- but my situation was probably different than the one you’re facing.

For starters I had moved far away from the ole OH before, and had been dreaming about grad school for awhile. I also have three very good friends from Ohio who moved to Austin before me– they are the main reason my transition was so seamless. I would have been much more nervous without friends to show me cute places to live, work and eat… not to mention call when I ran out of gas (oh yeah, I did that), or needed a cup of sugar (didn’t do that, I am a silly awful cook, but you get the idea.)

For fun (and also to procrastinate finals) I compiled a list of reasons why you should not worry about moving to Austin :-)

1. Austin is special. I can’t describe it, but there is a lack of competitive striving and one-upmanship here that is really refreshing. Yesterday I went to Wheatsville Co-op for a smoothie and left feeling as if I had known the cashier my whole life. That’s how people are in Austin.

2. The drive here is fantastic. Take a whole week, and see some sites. We went to some caves in WV, stopped at my Aunt’s in Tennessee, spent a day in Hot Springs AK, and hit up the roadside museums all along Hwy 35 once we entered TX.

3. The weather! In Cleveland the forecast varies between clouds, rain and snow. My first few months in TX, I did everything outside except sleep… even in 110 degrees. As I saw it, I had years of vitamin D deficiency to make up for.

4. You are coming as an undergrad, and that is a good thing! In graduate school you kind of show up and they’re like: “Here’s a map and ID… have at it!” Conversely, YOU will get the whole shebang of orientation events, parties with free food, tours, and the conveniences of campus… which is surrounded by awesome things to do in walking or bus distance.

I hope this helps, I really think you’ll like it here. Best wishes on your application!


November 30, 2011
— Rebecca
photo of Rebecca