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Longhorn Confidential

Graduate Lesson #3: Taught by Winston

Winston and I at work

*Each week’s post is about a life lesson– in school or out- and the person who “taught” it. If it strikes your fancy, you can read more about the idea HERE.*


~


“The only true currency we have in this bankrupt world is what we share with someone else when we are uncool.”

~ Lester Bangs, Almost Famous



Last Spring I was hired into a job I hadn’t even applied for– as a Trio server in the Four Seasons Hotel. It was a bit a lot over my head. Maybe they hadn’t looked at my resume. Maybe they thought I would be a quick learner. Maybe it was my lucky teal purse. Whatever it was, I decided to put my intimidation on the shelf and welcome an adventure. In spite of this optimism, it is nothing short of a miracle I didn’t end up a casualty.

I started working in Trio at an outrageous, topsy-turvy time. I was wrapping up a one year sabbatical I had taken from an Ohio teaching job in order to attend UT. I was paralyzed with indecision. Who lets go of a stable job in a down economy to remain a poor college student? Even romancing this thought made me feel like a sad, broken adult in a hamster wheel, which in and of itself was seriously depressing.

I was trying to find a thesis topic. I was trying to find my bliss. I was slowly splitting from a long-distance relationship– which as anyone almost everyone who has gone through this knows — can sap more energy than all other responsibilities combined. I was immersed in schoolwork: pedagogy and postmodernism, WHILE learning about wine regions, proper pronunciation of French terms (why yes, how would you like your Cote de Boeuf cooked?), as well as memorizing ingredients in a ponzu sauce.



Yeah, I felt wrecking ball-ish. I squeezed through the ninety day probation… barely. There were a handful of pointed conversations with management (get your act together Borrelli), and one gentler conversation with a co-worker (do you really want to be here?) It was a tough pill to swallow. School at UT was going so well… did I really need a serving job that was the equivalent to another college course? Should I subject myself to looking uncool naive and clumsy when I could look competent and confident doing art programming? Did I care about a serving job?


As it turned out, I cared quite a bit.

***


It was during this time of serious un-coolness I got to know Winston.


Designer Stefan Sagmeister has said:

“Everyone who is honest, is interesting.”


This is Winston — dreadfully, painfully, honest and therefore interesting.

How to summarize Winston? For starters he curses… all the time. He tells inappropriate jokes, and is openly jaded by the state of the modern world. He once told me my degree was the dumbest he had ever heard, only he didn’t use the word ‘dumb,’ and no, I can’t print what he actually said here. He bemoans technology and people who whine. He can talk intelligently on a myriad of topics— from partying in the 80’s to global economics. He keeps a bottle of 151 in his work locker to cook impromptu tableside Bananas Foster for regulars. He’s waited on Jimmy Carter, both Bushes, quite a few Congressmen, and I’m sure a significant portion of Hollywood. He is requested more than any other server in the restaurant. In spite of all this, the best description comes from our boss:

“They just don’t make them like Winston anymore.”


***


While folding napkins with Winston one afternoon, I confessed I was worried about losing my job.

“Really? I don’t have a single problem with you,” he replied. “What are you struggling with?”


I almost blurted: “Everything!” but fortunately restrained.


“Recently, the biggest problem is my expressions. They’re bugging me to smile and look natural at all times. I try, but sheesh when I’m weeded it shows you know…?”


I once read a quote by Jeffrey Zeldman who said: “Young practitioners often argue passionately about theory while older practitioners tell stories and draw pictures.” There was no diatribe, didactic speeches, or confusing monologues from Winston. Instead, he shared wisdom with a metaphor.



“Listen, it’s like folding these napkins, okay? I never fold a second one until I’ve finished the first. I never walk away until the whole pile is finished. If you think of something else to do – set it aside. One thing at a time. Just remember that and you’ll be fine — fold one napkin at a time and smile.”


This simple bit of advice changed everything. Maybe it was because energy between management and I was downright awful, maybe it was because I was desperate for advice, maybe it was because I secretly loved folding napkins. I suspect however, I was simply grateful to learn this crass, honest, sixty-three year old server everyone adored — seemed to think I was going to be all right.

***

The next night two parties arrived at once in my section — a party of ten with an airplane to catch, and a party of four who worked at the next door restaurant, Shoreline Grill.

<Fold the napkins and smile…>


I asked the Shoreline table:

“So are you all servers?”


*Awkward pause*


“Um no… I’m the general manager. This is our Executive chef, Sous chef, and our Assistant manager.”


There’s a scene from the 90’s show Ally McBeal with a huge barefoot inserting itself into her mouth after  she commits a serious faux pas. That was me. I smiled and apologized, continuing to pour waters while I died a slow, embarrassing death.

Halfway through service Winston approached the table:

“So I hear y’all became servers?”


It was during their rounds of laughter I relaxed. Winston was looking out.

The Shoreline guys passed on some pretty wonderful compliments to my boss. My boss passed them on to me.

“Look Borrelli, you’re coming into your own. I don’t know what you did differently the other night, but you’re a new person. Keep up the good work kiddo. Plus… Winston thinks highly of you and that says a lot.”

I tried to thank him for what our manager said later that day, and he dismissed me with a “harumph” and scowl. It reminded me of the kid’s show Sesame Street — Oscar the Grouch has a tremendous heart — just don’t try to tell him so.

***


In August I let go of my teaching job to stay in Austin. Winston showed up to help a friend and I move furniture. I took him to 24 Diner as a thank you. Over some fabulous veggie sausage patties, I told him I wasn’t sure leaving my teaching job was the right thing to do.


“Well, you know my feelings about religion — but if there is a God, he puts us exactly where we’re supposed to be.”


This touching moment was enhanced by expletives a few minutes later, as I made the mistake of checking a text message while he was talking.

Another day I mentioned I was on the market for a juicer. The next shift he showed up with a juicer he didn’t use anymore. I jumped for joy and promptly made a breakfast date to IHOP as repayment. So it went… Winston helped me, I took him out for a meal. This also allowed me precious access to more of his stories… owning a restaurant in Clarksville, singing in a band, playing football for Purdue.


Last weekend, a co-worker and I went for a three-mile walk with Winston around Town Lake and hit Freddie’s for lunch after.

“I’m paying since you paid the last two times,” he told me.


“Yeah, but I paid the last two times because you helped me move and gave me a juicer” (and saved my job, I couldn’t help thinking).


“You’re right, son of *$%… give that back,” he grimaced dramatically as the server took his cash.

I laughed and thanked him.

He frowned, pulled out a cigarette, and finished with a signature “hmmmm” that sounded like a grumble…

…Which I’ve come to realize means he’s thankful too.

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November 28, 2011 | | By Rebecca | 5 Comments

Five Semesters Down

After one Tuesday and one Thursday of classes, I’ll be done with my fifth semester of college. It’s my first semester without any finals, and I’m going to do something special to commemorate it (but mostly so I don’t feel lazy while my friends are studying): random acts of cookies.

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November 28, 2011 | | By Natalie | Comments Off

Campus in the Fall

Am I the only one who finds utter and complete comfort in cold weather? Something about it keeps me in a zen state of sorts – nothing bothers me and almost anything incites me. It’s a bit euphoric.

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November 25, 2011 | | By Ricardo | Comments Off

Study Break

At Spider House tonight. Portishead, a warm Fall breeze, christmas lights, and an extra spicy bloody mary are making school work downright enjoyable. I might just work until they close. My next post should be up by the weekend, but in the meantime here’s a short film by a college student that inspired me for the upcoming holiday. You’ll have to watch it twice to appreciate it:

What is most important to you this Thanksgiving?

Tick Tock

Love and artsiness,

Rebecca

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November 22, 2011 | | By Rebecca | Comments Off

Hoy Me Decidi

Hoy me decidi is a song by on of my favorite bands Reik. The title means “Today I Decided.”

You know…We really don’t know what the future holds.  All we know about is the present, and if we do as much as we can with that…then it’s all good.

Once Upon A Weekend play cast and team

Once Upon A Weekend play cast and team

Today I woke up at 9:19 am for my 10:00 o’clock class.  For those of you that think that’s enough time to get to the Winship (Theatre and Dance) building, consider the fact that I live about a 15 minute walk from the Union.  My class is about ten extra minutes walking fast from the Union. I also had to shower, get dressed, and grab my back pack.  All I can say is LIVE ON CAMPUS! It’s more convenient.  I lived in Jester for 2 years, and even if I woke up late I made it to class.

I said a small prayer while walking towards the Union, and in a second the West Campus bus came.  It was full, and while I was adjusting my balance I accidentally knocked a tea out of the person standing next to me hand.  I felt horrible.  The bright side is that the person was super nice about it, and so was the bus driver.

I came into my Theatre History class to a great surprise.  FOOD!  Cupcakes, inside-out-oreos, and my favorite orange juice.  My professor Cassidy is amazing.  I thought theatre history would be boring, but she made it fun.

I had a jam-packed weekend.  I volunteered at the high school Directing Young Audience Showcase  (where I got to see amazing high school students act). I studied  all day for my spanish quiz on Saturday and celebrated my friend Ana Laura’s 21st Birthday at her party. Sunday  was spent at a UT REED meeting planning for a volunteer trip to Honduras this May. I’m super excited about this opportunity because I’ve always wanted to do international volunteering in Latin America. Polly and I had lunch at Thai Noodle House.  I don’t know whether I was hungry, or what …but that was the best food ever!  Lastly, I finished my Theatre History paper, UT Lab Theatre application, and slept. Also my friends Ja’Michael and Jorge got casted for next semesters UTNT plays!  I’m so excited to see them perform next semester.

During the course of  this semester I’ve realized a lot of things:

Polly and me at my first game UT vs. Tech

Polly and me at my first game UT vs. Tech

1. The Arts are Important: I was auditioning for The Vagina Monologues in the Gender and Sexuality Center on one of the actors auditioning (who happened to take my Theater History class) asked me if I had heard about an editorial article called “The Questionable Value of Arts Programs” in the Daily Texan.  I told her no, and she gave me the spill.  Basically, this writer ranted about his disdain for arts programs, and how more practical programs deserved more money.  While I believe everyone is entitled to their opinion, I am saying mine.  Seeing those high school students last Friday made me realize that art builds confidence, critical thinking skills, and friendships. I’ve meet some of my best friends working on theatre productions.

2. That God is Important: This semester I started going to Lafe Missionary groups and I met a wonderful friend name Clara, who has encouraged me to seek a relationship with God this semester.  Going to bible study every week has given me spiritual growth.  Plus, I love the girls.  They make me laugh.  I encourage everyone to engage in spiritual activity.  Whatever it is to you.

3. The UT Spirit is Important: Okay, all you die-hard longhorn fans…DON’T judge me.  I went to my first game this semester.  It really helped rejuvenate my UT Spirit.  Seeing a whole crowd decked out in burnt orange is something special.  I can now say that I am a true longhorn, and that I will be spending money on that LASP pass so that I can attend all the games next year.

Ira and me playing Just Dance

Ira and me playing Just Dance

4. That friends and family are important: I talk to my mom everyday.  She is my best best friend.  I can’t wait to go home and see my wonderful family and I am blessed I am to have them in my life.  Without them, I wouldn’t be were I am today. My friends are magnificent as well.  This semester although we all live in different places, I’ve seen my friends more than last year, and freshman year combined.

5. That direction is Important: I am doing the IE Pre-graduate internship with my mentor Professor Rene Carrasco.  I’ve learned so much about Spanish grad school this semester, and I don’t think Spanish literature is what I want to study. I am leaning more towards African American and African Diaspora, or Latin American Studies. I like Rene because he is real about the whole experience. I’ve been able to sit in on grad classes, and talk to graduate students. I encourage anyone who is interested in this experience to do the IE program next semester. Through the program I have been encouraged to study aboard and I am applying to spend a semester in the Dominican Republic next fall.  Rene has not only helped me in my grad school decision, but he has helped ignite even more passion, and determination to learn Spanish fluently.

Lisa and me at Fest Africa show by the African Student Association

Lisa and me at Fest Africa show by the African Student Association

6. That saying NO is important: This semester I diffidently bit off more than I could chew.  I was Parlimentarian of LULAC, and Community Service Chair of UT Service Scholars.  Leadership positions ARE A BIG COMMITMENT.  I realized at the end of the semester that I couldn’t commit to both, and still do well in school.  I also had to cut choir for this semester, but I will return next semester.  Sometimes you have to make tough decisions that will better help you.

Lesson #_:  If you take anything from this post, always remember to work hard, follow your passions, and appreciate your life.  You’ve only got one.  Make it count.

P.S. Scholarship applications for continuing and transfer students are out.  Apply for that free money!

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November 21, 2011 | | By Jelisa | 4 Comments

Week of Work and Rewards

I understand that this is a student blog and I should share some of my student life with the online world, so here is my week from November 13 until today. It has been a week of hard work and great rewards!

My week started on Sunday, which I know some people and places in the world think is the last day of the week, but in my world it is the first. On Sunday night I had my final Liberal Arts Council Leadership Team Meeting of the semester where we reflected and looked forward to the coming one. It is amazing to look back at what all we as a Council have accomplished in one semester, from publishing the first college newsmagazine, to passing the very first college specific piece of legislation, and building the LAASO (Liberal Arts Affiliated Student Organizations) program; this semester has seen great progress in LAC (Liberal Arts Council) and we continue to work towards representing the students and the college the best ways possible.

Monday came to a close with a LACTBAC (Liberal Arts College Tuition and Budget Advisory Committee) meeting where we discussed more ways to assist the college in various issues ranging from budget cuts to retention rates. Though I am certainly partial, I feel as though our CTBAC is paving the way for other colleges and helping to show the leaders of this university where students place their priorities when it comes to their education. I love serving on this committee and working with a great team where each member brings a different idea and strength to the table. In a little over a year, we have helped to shape the ways in which deans in our college make decisions and it is a very rewarding experience knowing that we are making a difference not only today but for many years into the future.

Tuesday was Liberal Arts Council General Assembly where there is never a dull moment. This year our Council has some extraordinary members that are deeply passionate about their college and its success. Though I may serve on the Executive Board, it is our members that are our fuel supply. They are the ones that go out and do so much for so many people not only within our college but throughout our university. Joining Council was one of the greatest decisions I have ever made here at the University and I am very much appreciative for all of the opportunities it has given me and people I have been able to work with. Though I sometimes get frustrated or impatient with various aspects of the Council, I still love it and am so proud of the work that we have done. Our members, our Committee Chairs, and my fellow Executive Officers are some of the most amazing people on this campus and they are constantly coming up with new, innovative and amazing ideas to improve our college.

I was given my ring on Wednesday and I cannot begin to share with you how amazing the night was. Though the ceremony was short, the speaker was wonderful (anybody who can tie together ancient Egypt with “Lord of the Rings” gets an A in my book)! I never thought the moment would come when I would have a ring of my own but on Wednesday, that dream and wish was fulfilled. I must admit though, the greatest part of the night had absolutely nothing to do with me. At the end of the ceremony, when roughly 200-300 students had been given their rings, a special ring was given out. That ring was given to a graduating member of the 1982 class, who was not able to afford a ring of her own at the time. That graduates daughter was getting her ring that night and felt it only right that her mother have a ring of her own. It was very touching to see the surprise on the mothers face and to watch her be presented a ring by her daughter. The moment was surreal and one that I will never forget. Then at the end, when the graduate of 1982, my fellow classmates and I had on our rings, we all put our horns in the air and sang “The Eyes of Texas.”

Italian dominated my day on Thursday. I had my last Italian quiz in my last foreign language class. A weight has now been lifted off my shoulders because I know I will never have to undergo any more of that stress. After spending the past three semesters learning an entirely new language, I tip my hat to those who are bilingual. Congratulations! My experience in a foreign language class has been one of many highs and lows. I want to take this moment and thank Signora (who has a name I will never say or spell correctly) for pushing me to my limits and showing me that fear is an effective teaching method. I would also like to thank my classmates, the ones that sat around me for three semesters and kept me sane. We struggled together and we celebrated together and congrats, we are almost done!

It is now Friday, a day I can finally relax and catch up on the hours of sleep I have been missing; however, if today is like any other in my life, then there will be some form of excitement and adventure. It has been a great week, one where I have been stressed to the max but one where I have continued to learn and grow. I would not change any moment of this week because it will now go into my support system and become a brick that has built me.

To all my fellow classmates, we are almost there! Best of luck on your tests, projects, and papers!

Ciao and Hook’em!

Landon

P.S. It is 3:43 a.m. and ou still SUCKS!

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November 18, 2011 | | By Landon | 1 Comment

Thanksgiving Fries

Below is an excerpt from one of the defining moments in my life. I have told this story to countless people because of its eye-opening effect on me. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, let us remember the real reasons why we are here at the University of Texas. And rather pretend to be thankful for what we have, we should do something about the issues raised below. With that in mind, I wish you a wonderful well-deserved days of rest, remembering what we have done to merit rest.

**********

In recent weeks, it seems Texas Governor Rick Perry, unlike most of our nation’s politicians, has been gloating amidst the job debacle. The Lone Star State, Perry boldly declared, has created 40% of all new jobs in the United States under his reign. On the surface, this looks extremely impressive, given the current conditions of the other forty-nine states. But the one scarring fact that is unfortunately hidden away is the type of job that Perry is responsible for: minimum wage jobs, ones that provide intense labor, dismal medical benefits, and enough money to feed an ant. The creation of these minimum-wage jobs is definitely not something to be overtly proud of. Yes, it is a significant step in decreasing our embarrassingly high unemployment numbers. But what about the welfare of some of our poverty-stricken compatriots?

This summer, I happened to be one of the more fortunate souls to be swept up by this wave of new jobs: I was hired at my local McDonald’s. Naively enthusiastic, I ventured out to the restaurant with a grin on my face and room in my pocket for my first check. But was that big wave a stroke of luck or a heinous act of trickery by the infamous clown Ronald McDonald (and, I suppose, Governor Perry)?

Turns out that clown had a lot of tricks waiting to devour me. Scurrying around the establishment, sometimes for more than eight hours without rest, I was expected to sweep crumbs, mop spills, pick up after disgusting children, deal with rude and utterly stupid customers, concoct drinks with a thousand ingredients, see a guy sucking meat juice from his gloves while handling food, craft the best gourmet sandwiches you have ever eaten…there was always something to amuse myself with at McDonald’s. At all times loomed over me like a thick, oppressive fog the expectation to do everything quickly, efficiently, and accurately. As the clueless newbie, I, of course, failed at all three. And it certainly never helped that I was a guy shorter than most girls, for I often found myself climbing shelves and pulling muscles just to grab some cups in boxes near the ceiling. And during the lunch rush one day, I burned my hand when I accidentally dropped a French fry basket fresh out of the oil. By the end of most days, I was often doused in burger grease and my own sweat. The obnoxious hat did nothing to help my poufy hair. Over the course of the summer, I did steadily find a decent, manageable rhythm, but I always had a great deal of respect and admiration to the people who worked alongside me, the people who I helped hinder. Essentially, I was the lone, rusty, dysfunctional gear in a massive, well-oiled machine. Without mercy from the big clown. Can you hear Ronny laughing now?

The most depressing part is that I wore myself out every day for a measly $7.25 an hour. To me, my wage did not seem all that important. Like many of my other high school friends, I tackled this job without many hesitations. All McDonald’s meant to us, at first, was BIG MONEY!! After all, we all had lovely parents who worked high-paying jobs, who put copious amounts of food on the dinner table every day, whose idea of a vacation included not Galveston, but Florida and Europe. So what if we did get fired? No big deal. Our parents were there to back us up.

For many of my older coworkers, however, the general mentality is “I have essentially sold my life to Ronald McDonald and I have no hope of advancing the career ladder.” What may come as surprising to some is that the minimum wage is far from enough to support oneself, let alone an entire family. One of my shift managers (let’s call her Emily), told my friends about her parents who died from cancer when she was very young. Without them, how could Emily and her siblings have anything to eat? As the oldest of the children, Emily sacrificed her education to find work in an attempt to support her siblings. And when Emily’s siblings reached legal working age, they too dropped out to find employment. How else did they expect to survive? Another bright lady, Betty, who I often worked alongside, told me of her painful endeavors to find a second job. Betty pondered not only the stress from supporting her daughter as a single mom, but also the glaring possibility of working, at both jobs, from 5 in the morning until 2…in the morning. And I cannot even begin to describe the amount of skill and finesse both of these diligent ladies harness as they tackle their jobs at McDonald’s.

It is easy to dismiss the plight of my fellow coworkers as something they justly deserve. But how can I look upon such lovely individuals with scorn when they were denied the opportunities to succeed? Clearly, it is not Emily’s fault for her parents’ deaths and not attending school in order to carry out the most honorable duty of caring for her brothers and sisters. And who can blame Betty for struggling to love and support her kid by working two jobs instead of investing more time hitting the books in hopes of someday finding a higher-paying career. What time does she have to begin with? Turns out, Ronny’s just juggling them menacingly so they have no chance of escaping the vicious cycle while the little kids are gawking at his remarkable illusion of skill and finesse, clueless as to the reactants of such beautiful work.

Perhaps that explains why one or two of my coworkers seemed to have a tinge of jealousy at the fact that I will be leaving to attend college soon. To them, my future is a radiant lighthouse amidst the frozen sea of stagnancy. What I have been exposed to this summer was infinitely more valuable than the few paychecks I received. Rather, I was privileged enough to meet hardworking Americans who always hope to ascend the ladder of success. But instead of basking in the riches, they are always kicked in the teeth and thrown down to the bottom of the ladder. So much for the famed “Rags to Riches.” Should anyone be too giddy about the surge of minimum wage jobs in Texas? How about we fight against these clownish wages and instead advocate for sustainable wages instead. It’d be nice if ALL Americans could work a fair amount of hours unshackled and look towards the possibilities of success. I would love it if Emily and Betty could get enough sleep at night or hope to advance high up because of their incredible merits and work ethic. Thank you, clown, for your patriotic support of the most unfortunate and unlucky of Americans and their welfare.

Untitled

Should this be what defines our society? It is time for us to change the system.

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November 18, 2011 | | By Khang | Comments Off

My Best Friend is Officially Married!

So after the week I had last week, it was really nice to have a reason to go home and be with friends and family. There is nothing like the joy, hope, and love to help you remember there is still good in the world.

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November 15, 2011 | | By Vikki | Comments Off

Graduate Lesson #2: Taught by Robert Duke

2 AM Drawing

2 AM Drawing

A friend and I were at Taza Fresca having a study-buddy session when she showed me a link to Robert Duke — a UT music professor speaking at Cornell.


OK, geek moment… yes I watch speeches for fun, don’t judge.

She and I agreed if it weren’t for graduating this spring we would have been all over a course by this guy next Fall. He’s a great speaker. Here you go Duke, this is your plug from me- a complete stranger.

One of his points has haunted me since:

“What do you value most about your discipline?”


Read: What do I value most about art and education?

***

Talk to this Art Education Grad student/ Blanton Gallery Teacher/ former Elementary Art Instructor who hasn’t made art for nearly four years. Isn’t that illegal or something? To this I say:

“Evaluation takes precedence ya know?”


I’m measured at school… projects, papers, deadlines.

I’m measured at the museum… programming, tours, lessons.

I’m measured at a serving job… wine/ food knowledge, and lovability by strangers.

I’m measured at home… Dust, vacuum, Swiffer wet-jet the kitchen.

Author Seth Godin says in his book “The Big Moo:”

“Just because it’s easy to measure, doesn’t mean it’s important.”


In theory this makes sense, Godin. In practice, I’m unsure if this would fly with professors, bosses, or my roommate.

“Sorry I left food in the sink for a week, roomie. I was thinking the enrichment of my creative soul was more important.”


So yeah, it’s problematic. What I value most, and what others value most collide in this space.

***

The other night as I lay in bed doing my nightly (and wholly unhealthy) ritual of checking email once more before sleep– I felt the urge to draw.

It caught me off guard. It felt familiar and foreign.

“Well hello, I remember you. Nice to see you again.”


R. Duke’s question reverberated:

What do you value the most?”


Well I don’t value checking email before bed. I picked up a pad of Bristol and began doodling. I was rusty- but never mind, I stayed up until 2 in the morning- just me, pandora, and Prismacolor markers. What do I value most Robert Duke?! I’ll tell you what I value most. Power over my time!


That night I shot down the “Man” and did three hours of work involving no discernible reward save my own peace of mind. I woke up after only five hours of sleep… refreshed. I worked out, I sang in the shower, I exuded a dewy glow from my skin. Who needs you Estee Lauder, I have art powers to combat under eye circles!

Then it was off to a meeting. Which I was five minutes late for.

Ah well. Baby steps.

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November 14, 2011 | | By Rebecca | 3 Comments

Auditions, Awards, Akwardness

“Last Friday night” by Katy Perry is a song that talks about the crazy antics she and her friends did on Friday.  Last Friday night was no where close to the craziness that woman described.  I spent Friday in my apartment watching Dave Chapelle’s comedy DVD.  Laughing up a storm.  After a week of tests, papers, and whatever else school entails, spending some quality time with myself  was much needed.

Saturday was a little different.  I studied for my Theatre History exam and my friend Jorge asked me if I wanted to go to see a play.  Dearly Departed, directed by my friend Janet Solis, was hilarious.  I didn’t expect to laugh the whole time.  Especially the character played by one of my classmates Tasha Gorel.  The best part was being with my friends, because life gets really really busy these days.  Watching a play inspires me to act, write, and produce my art.  Speaking of art.  Auditions for UTNT (University of Texas New Theatre), which are plays written by MFA playwrights in the department, were Saturday.  Although I didn’t audition because I want to focus on other goals next semester, my friends Ja’Michael, Dominique, and Jorge auditioned and each of them got called back!  Their talent amazes me.  As for me, I want to focus on writing.  I’m applying for a spot in the UT Lab Theatre for the spring semester.

Jelisa and friends

My friends and I at Jorge's Induction Ceremony.

Sunday was Jorge’s Induction to the Spanish Honor Society (picture above).  It was a tear-jerking moment to see him recognized for his accomplishments.  Not to mention there was free food (a college kid’s dream!)  Afterwards we had dinner (after talking for hours), and then I went to study with my friends Ira, and Polly.  Polly, Ira and I never really get any studying done when we are together!

Lesson #__: Be yourself

I’m watching The Mis-Adventures of the Awkward Black Girl, my favorite youtube web series.  I realized that Issa Rae the lead actress actually came to UT this Wednesday.  I love her awkwardness.  One of the reasons I love her is because I’m a bit awkward myself.  When they called my friend’s name at the induction ceremony, I stated clapping before I was supposed to. Luckily the audience laughed. Like the lead character, I’m comfortable with my awkwardness.  So if I have one piece of advice, it would be to be who you are. Because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter…don’t mind.

Doing "the creep" while studying for an exam.

Doing "the creep" while studying for an exam.

Lesson #__: Give to the world.

Taking Black Power Movement with Dr. Moore has taught me a lot of things.  Most importantly, be yourself, and give back.  We all have an obligation to help others.  I love being apart of UT Service Scholars.  It is a wonderful program that encourages students to serve in areas of their interest.  I’ve got the opportunity to talk to my Black Power Movement class about it, chat with local Non-Profit orgs, and commit to service my community. Anyone that is involved in volunteerism should apply for this  program. It’s one thing to serve, but another to be in a room with many other people who dedicate their lives to helping others.  The deadline is Dec. 16, 2011.  If you need info, hit me up at jrobinson@utexas.edu.

Well, today was my exam.  I think it went well.  Only time will tell. I hope you have a wonderful day!

Jorge and Jelisa enjoying life.

Jorge and I enjoying life.

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November 14, 2011 | | By Jelisa | 4 Comments

your photo here