Rie y Llora-by Celia Cruz definitely describes this semester. I can firmly say that there was more laughter than crying. I worked the hardest I’ve ever worked in my ENTIRE college career. I enjoyed my self too. Here are the best moments of my FALL 2011 Semester.
So this semester I:
Missed one of my favorite actors in the entire world. Johnny Depp came to speak to a group of RTF majors. I tried so hard to buy a ticket from anyone, but no one would sell it. Needless to say, missing my five-year crush and acting role model made me cry. However, I guess I can relish in the fact that he was on my campus. (All photos taken by Andy and Erick.)
Saw Austin City Limits Acts, the Script and Taylor Swift in concert. Music is one of my pasttimes. This semester I got the chance to go to Austin City Limits with my friend Lydia. I saw one of my favorite bands the Script with my friends Polly, Rosa, Tiffany, and I even ended up seeing my friend Ugeo. Taylor Swift surprised me. She gave a great show full of theatrics and dances.
Went to an Afro-Latino Event
The annual Somos Latinos Event was full of cool events like volunteering and a talent show. My favorite part was the Afro-Latino presentation where Dr.Edmund T. Gordon from the Department of African and African Diaspora studies discussed African roots in Latino culture.
Gave Back. With the Share Volunteer org, I got the chance to talk to Black high school students and their parents about what it means to be a UT student. Afterwards, we had barbeque at the Black Alumni tailgate put on by Black Student Association.
Highlight of the morning: When a high school senior asked me, “I am kinda of shy. Do you think I will come out of my shell in college?”
“Oh yes! I was shy in high school too. College is place where you learn who you are and become more confident in your goals.” , I said. I saw myself years ago in her and it was nice to reassure her that she would began to find out who she is and what she wants to do in college.
I also volunteered at Orange Santa for the first time where I saw my friend Jasmine who volunteered at the Panel as well.
Performed at the Tower. I performed poetry in front of the UT Tower for the Black Homecoming Talent Show. I won second place overall and met some of UT’s most talented students.
Learned that studying for finals can be fun. I’m guilty of catching up with friends on study breaks. Finals was no different. I spent one night jammin’ to Beyonce and 90s music and eating Wendys in the Union with my bud Ja’Michael and the other taking a two hour study break to dance to “Moves Like Jagger” with Polly and Ira. Who says study breaks can’t be fun?
Oh life. You’ve showered me with laughter, lessons, and people to share those things with. I’m trying to make the most of you because I realize you are short. Minutes pass like seconds. Months like days. I remember when that hour in between the news and my favorite show felt like forever. Now, it passes swiftly. When I’m thirty, I want to look back and see that I did everything in my power to make my life the best one. Because you only get one. Fall Semester 2011 was the best. Let’s make Spring 2012 even better.
“I cheated on my fears, broke up with my doubts, got engaged to my faith and now I’m marrying my dreams.”
Being the first in my immediate family to attend a four-year university, I knew that I had to perform well. I graduated number three in my high school, was blessed with scholarship offerings, and I had my whole future ahead of me. Everyone was rooting for me. My parents, my friends and my relatives. When I came to UT I didn’t do so well my first semester, because I had a horrible time adjusting to the academics and the environment. I started to doubt my intelligence. Was I able to handle college courses? Or were the people who invested so much into my future telling a lie?
The truth was that UT academics can be challenging, but I wasn’t pushing myself hard enough.
Last summer, that all changed. I pushed harder than I ever did while working a job. I obtained the highest grades ever. This semester was nothing short of FABULOUS…I got the highest fall semester gpa I’ve had since starting college AND the second highest semester grade point average!
How did I do it?
God, my family and friends supported me. I also had to make some sacrifices. Sometimes that meant I couldn’t go out on a friday night with friends. Sometimes that meant waking up early to study. Sometimes it meant not taking on an extracurricular project when I already had enough on my plate. I had to have faith in myself and my ability to succeed. The weird thing is: this semester I had more fun than I’ve had in all my semesters here. I enjoyed more laughs with the friends that make UT amazing. I guess you can have a balance.
I learned to:
-Reach out and ask for help. I know you’ve heard it before, but take this one. Never be too proud to ask for help.
-Set goals and priorities.
-Believe in myself. It may sound like the easiest one on this list, but maintaining a positive outlook on your progress can be hard. Surround yourself with loving people, and follow your passions. That makes it a lot easier.
Most Important Lesson#__: Never ever, ever, ever, ever, give up.
Kat Williams called it being in touch with “your star player.” Rascal Flats called it being “unstoppable”. Luis Fonsi said “No Me Doy Por Vencido.” Me…I call it perseverance. You have to believe in YOUR dreams, and no matter what…Don’t give up. Be grateful for the people in your life, and the blessings.
I can say that I am fully living the college life. In midst of everything, school comes first and that is what is important. This entry is the closest to my heart. I am so blessed to be involved in UT life, and to everyone who has helped me so far…THANK YOU.
The first week of final exams have passed by. My first semester here at UT is almost over. And yet, most people have completed all their finals last week. On the other hand, I had one final on Thursday. My second final is on Tuesday. Such an injustice! What did I do to deserve this? I suffer by waking up earlier than others (for my 8 AM calculus class). Now I must cry in agony as my other peers, who did NOT sign up for early classes, leave campus for the holidays as I waste away until Wednesday morning when I finally get to leave.
What else is there to do between now and then? Everyone has already left…
For those of you who do not know what Hell Week is, I will give you a brief definition/description type thing. Hell Week occurs on a personal level whenever you are bombarded with tests/projects in a very limited amount of time, hence the week part of “Hell Week.” The general definition is very similar, however, instead of one person… It applies to 50,000 students and occurs the final week of school!
My personal Hell Week consisted of:
Monday – Gather myself back from Thanksgiving
Tuesday – Italian Commercial Project
Wednesday – Try not to have a nervous Breakdown
Thursday – Global Governance Final; Severe and Unusual Weather Final; Italian Play Project
Friday – Turn in Italian Play Review
So overall, not too bad. Sadly, some students were not as lucky as me. You could cut the tension in the air with a knife. This is the week that it all comes together. This is the week when the party-goers realize that maybe attending class once a month wasn’t the best idea and the week that the PCL goes from being a library to a large home. It is a time when you do not mess with college students. I know in previous blogs I have mentioned the danger of waking up a college student. Well, I would say messing with a college student during Hell Week could be equally as dangerous. This is the week when coffee stocks skyrocket, energy drinks become more precious than oil, and don’t even think about buying flash cards… they sold out a week ago.
Some professors understand Hell Week and will give you a break. For example, I have had professors that did not have an in class exam the last week of school and instead gave it during Finals time. I have also had a professor that instead of giving a final gave us an essay that was due on the Tuesday of the last week of school. Which, you might look at this and say that there was an assignment due the Tuesday after Thanksgiving but I failed to mention that she gave us the prompt in mid-October. So some professors are willing to work with you during Hell Week.
Other professors, they just remind me of some kind of 90’s Nickelodeon show, where you see the kid in class and the professor just keeps dropping packets of paper on his desk, then the screen gets blurry and it all starts spinning. Okay, maybe that is a little dramatic but you get the picture. There are those professors out there. Those professors that make everything cumulative. Those professors that say, “everything that I have mentioned is important.” Those professors that don’t email you back when you have a question about a reading.
Oh, I just thought of my favorite part of Hell Week. (previous sentence oozing with sarcasm)
An interesting fact to note is that the final week of school is when you are allowed to give your Professor Review, Course Instructor Survey, etc. I am not sure of the technical name but it is where you get to review your professor with the highs and lows of the class, your expected grade, the course load, and then at the bottom you get to hand write a little blurb if you wish. Well, some of my professors that have the system figured out will give the course instructor survey on the Tuesday and then have their final on Thursday. Then when you get the final, it is the worst thing you have ever seen. It is asking for specific information from one article you read in one book that was discussed for five minutes in class for just one day. Or the final is so difficult that the “what is your expected grade in this course?” bubble that you filled out on the survey, you need to subtract about 20 points from it. The best part, there is nothing you can do. They have already gotten their surveys back and you wrote a wonderful review of how understanding they were or how balanced the exams were, etc.
Okay, I am off my soapbox. That has only happened to me once, where the professor gave a final that was a complete opposite to how the class had been the entire semester. I should assure you that most final exams are balanced and that if you attended class and put forth the necessary work you will do fine. Just manage your time wisely. Give yourself short breaks so your head doesn’t explode and remember that it is just a class, you can always recover from it.
Well, I have to study for one last final before break!
Ciao and Hok’em!
Questa settimana è stata la mia ultima lezione italiana che sono tenuti ad avere alle U.T. Ho emozioni constrastanti. Sono molto contento che sia finita e che non ho sottolineato più. Sono triste che non avtà più classe con le persone che divennero i miei amici e divertirsi con i nostri errori grammaticali. È stata una intensa tre semestri, ma ho imparato molto. Mi mancherà italiana.
To the world readers of this blog, I bid farewell to Italian this week. So I felt it only appropriate that I begin this blog with some words of Italian. For all of you native Italians out there, my Italian professors, my classmates who made higher grades than me (there were many); I apologize for any and all spelling and grammar mistakes. It took me quite some time to do just that, my original plan was the whole blog in Italian. Sheesh. You would have been reading this next spring.
Italian and I have had a very rollercoaster-esque relationship. I will now flashback to the early 2000’s and describe the relationship further. So I was at Disney with my family and friend Melis. Right off of the bat we got in line for The Rock’n Roller Coaster (you see what they did there, clever) and I was scared to death. Then we actually got on the ride and it immediately blasts off. It was a very intense and quick experience and I was just hanging on for dear life. We had some extreme ups, some crashing falls, and some of those flip/corkscrew moments where I didn’t know which way was up, down, or if I was getting close to meeting my maker. However, before I knew it, we were done! I loved it. I was addicted. (Now is where I say that I have ridden that ride with Melis over 30 times… I know, its shameful… but if you go to Disney, you better ride it!)
So, the selling points. I was scared to death. I was hanging on for dear life because we were moving so fast. I was completely lost and confused. I thought I was going to die. It was over and I loved it.
Seeing that when I first stepped into my Italian class, the only Italian words I knew were: spaghetti, wine, Olive Garden, mafia (most of which are not even Italian); I feel like I have grown and learned a lot. Heck, I can now make entire Italian sentences with only minor spelling and grammar mistakes. I call that success!
Arrivederci italiana! Grazie per i ricordi! Io ti ricorderò per sempre!
Ciao and Hook’em!
Nothing sets off the end of the semester like exams, events, probates, and banquets. But this ending was different than all the other endings, I’ve experienced. This ending I felt fulfilled, as if I had worked hard, played hard, and learned about who Jelisa was and what she wants to do.
-Wednesday: I met a few of my fellow UT Bloggers, Khang, and Vikki. Needless to say, they are wonderful people whose drive and dedication to their passions left me in AWE. Khang is a bio-chem major, and Vikki is an architecture major who is doing a volunteer project in Honduras. Check out their adventures at UT.
-Thursday: I said goodbye to ABSOLUTE best class I’ve taken at the University of Texas at Austin, Dr. Moore’s Black Power Movement class. It was there I read about the movement in the 60s and 70s where Black Americans became the makers of their own destinies. Each class I left inspired, and determined to make a difference in my community. Now, I’m minoring in African American and African Diaspora studies. If you get the opportunity to take this class…DO IT!
I also said goodbye to the Costume Shop crew. Hope, my crew chief, and Ashley, my friend, and I were the trio to be messed with on crew. Sewing labels on costumes, learning how to manipulate fabric, and laughing all the way. BEST PRODUCTION LAB ever.
-Friday: My last Theatre History class. After all the comments I heard about that class, I never thought I’d enjoy it so much. Professor Cassidy and TA Beliza worked their butts off to make it an environment where we felt comfortable sharing ideas.
Hooray for Acing the Audio, and Oral parts of my Spanish exam! This is my last lower-level Spanish class this semester, and Professor Omar Vargas was really sweet, and helpful. Although I hate learning languages in a classroom setting, I could honestly say I am going to miss SPANISH 611D. Plus, I was voted 1st place winner for my Presentation by our class. The only regret is NOT talking to the guy I had a crush on for an entire semester.
Lesson#___: Surround yourself with AWESOME people.
“The night is sparkling/Don’t you let it go.”—Taylor Swift
The UT Service Scholars Banquet this Wednesday was where we honored the new UT Service Scholars for completing 50 service hours this semester and being officially inducted into the program. When I’m at a banquet, I cheer the LOUDEST. I congratulate almost everyone even people I don’t know. I take way too many pictures. My friend Ira was inducted and honored for her service, and now she is apart of the UT Service Scholars family.
What was really cool about this night is this was my first induction ceremony since I didn’t get to attend my own last semester. I got to see 15 students including my friends Jesse , Roger, Farhana, Nhi, and Brenda walk up to the podium and receive certificates. What’s cool about UT Service Scholars is that this students would gladly continue to serve without getting any certificate. It’s their nature, it’s a part of them. Seeing that is what make me realize that Jesse is right “We have something special in UTSS”.
*By the way applications are still being accepted until Dec. 16th.
Highlight of the night: Meeting President Powers. I am so weird when it comes to talking to people who are “celebrities”. I get tongue tied. That’s exactly what happened when I tried to talk to him.
Lesson#__: Celebrate others accomplishments.
My LULAC mentee Luz, and friend Marissa became a member of Delta Alpha Sigma Multicultural Sorority. I went to her probate which was the organizations first probate at UT. Luz means light in Spanish, and she’s one of the most positive people in the world.
My friend Ashley Corona graduated this semester. She was one of the people who encouraged me to Study aboard, and major in Latin American Studies. I am so proud of her for walking across that stage.
Lesson#__: End on a good note.
After chatting with my good friend/ex-LEAP Mentor Eduardo about my college progress, I realized I’ve come a long way. From a student that faced academic challenges, to a student doing well in her classes. I know now that that I can do anything I set my mind to.
Thank my mom for stressing this all semester: No matter how hard something is…YOU CAN DO IT. Nothing worth anything is easy to obtain. You are the master of your own destiny, and it doesn’t matter where you came from, all that matters is where you are going.
This coming January, the Occupy Movement is coming to the University of Texas at Austin! Yes, I have heard of its existence downtown (http://occupyaustin.org/). And I have always been an avid supporter of the worldwide movement since its inception at Wall Street. But now, the movement will soon be real, in front of my eyes, at the footsteps of our beloved tower. I no longer have to think about traveling to New York or Oakland or any other place out of my reach. The time has come for us to stand united in solidarity against those who have taken our money, effectively leaving the poor and middle class in worse conditions than they were before. As UT students who make little to no money, who have no time to get a decent job, who have to pay for their education, none of us can sincerely appreciate those with the most power who make a secondary education even more difficult to obtain. Despite what the media has done in an attempt to misrepresent or even smear the movement, we should all be informed of the truth behind the solidarity before we make any sensible judgments. And as students, we should all be in full support of the Occupy Movement.
As most of us have felt the consequent pain, the recent budget cuts in the national and state level have caused the most pain in the middle and lower classes. And I would assume that UT is comprised of mostly middle and lower class people. (In other words, we do not have millions of dollars in our bank account). Just earlier this year, and even more crushing if you witnessed in high school, many teachers were laid off as a result of this financial mess. In my high school alone, around 16 teachers of a staff of over 100 got the axe swung at their blossoming careers, all because the school district lacked the money to fund our education.
To those who accuse that this movement is an uprising of lazy liberals, I wholeheartedly disagree with your notion that this is an issue of left versus right. Rather, it is a movement that seeks to change the power structure in which we live: the rich and powerful hoard all our money, while the powerless suffer the consequences. In the midst of my teachers’ job crisis, many of us, regardless of our political beliefs, openly criticized our superintendent of receiving bonuses and car allowances while lowly teachers received much more unjust treatment. Our superintendent completely refused to take a pay cut, a sacrifice that would have saved the jobs of a handful of teachers, not to mention the education of future generations.
The same applies to our budget. A practical example of our budget problems can be found in the oil industry. A study conducted by the Congressional Budget Office shows that capital investments on oil field leases and drilling equipment are taxed at an effective rate of 9%, significantly lower than that of most other businesses (and most Americans). And because of the existence of numerous other loopholes, some oil companies are able to pay virtually nothing in taxes. While these big companies make millions of dollars in profits each year (their CEO’s have made millions in bonuses) and share almost none of their income with other Americans, families with modest salaries, like my own, pay a hefty part of their incomes on taxes. But somehow, our representatives are either oblivious to this disparity, or they simply do not care. In May of 2011, a proposed bill to eliminate some subsidies for oil companies, the Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act, failed to gain the necessary amount of votes for debate. The 48 Senators who voted for cloture received $370,664 on average in campaign donations from employees and political action committees representing oil. Those who voted to consider the Act were paid a measly $72,145 (Kretzmann). In subsidies, this cost the federal government $43.6 billion over the next 10 years (Taylor).
So that’s what happened to our budget. We have the ability to tax the wealthiest Americans, asking them to pay their fair share in taxes. But alas, the power struggle that exists in our country allow the rich to pay less taxes as a percentage of their income than do the rest of Americans. Money that could be used to fund the education of many hardworking Americans who cannot afford a post-secondary education. Money that could be pumped into the pocketbooks of citizens who otherwise cannot pay for goods. And without customers, big businesses do not produce anything. And the economy slows to a halt!!
So we have all complained about the hikes in tuition in the past few years. This is why we should all be charged to participate in this Occupy movement. We deserve a right to education. And we must fight so that all people, regardless of their income, have the same opportunity to learn the skills they need for work and for life.
And to those of you who may still disagree with me, I urge you to do a lot of in-depth research rather than just listen to what the mainstream media tells you. Before you make any rebuttals against me, look up the facts and analyze the reasons and passions that have surfaced among the Occupiers rather than make baseless, shallow assumptions.
Occupy the Tower!
Kretzmann, Steve. “Senators Opposing End of Oil Subsidies Received Five Times More in Big Oil Campaign Cash.” The Price of Oil. Oil Change International, 17 May 2011. Web. 23 Oct. 2011.
Taylor, Jerry, and Peter Van Doren. “Eliminating Oil Subsidies: Two Cheers For President Obama – Forbes.com.” Forbes.com. Forbes.com LLC, 3 May 2011. Web. 24 Oct. 2011.
United States. Congress of the United States. Congressional Budget Office. Taxing Capital Income: Effective Rates and Approaches to Reform. 2005. Web.
UT kicked butt this year beating A&M. I couldn’t help but smile. There is really something about being apart of the Longhorn community that gets to me. This semester I finally went to a UT game (not this one but the one vs. Texas Tech)!
- Burnt Orange…gotta love it.
Tuesday before leaving was a crazy morning with my fellow UT Service Scholar Roger taping flyers around campus. We walked around campus taping flyers on walls, in hallways, and on bulletin boards. I’m so blessed to have found such a great org that is becoming like another family.
Lesson#_: Speaking positively usually works.
When I got home for on Tuesday after belting out pop songs for a 3 hour drive home with Jorge, and my friend Jarie, I was greeted by hugs. My family was so happy to see me, and I was super delighted to see them. I told my dad about the really cool blessing I received that day.
Blessing:Two weeks ago I took a my Black Power Movement Exam that I didn’t really study too hard for. Yes, sometimes not studying enough happens. Don’t fret. I knew that I didn’t get the best grade, but anytime a friend would ask me how my semester was going I’d tell them “It’s hard, but this semester will be the best grades I’ve ever made in my college career.” I rattled off that sentence so many times I believed it. So, Tuesday I get my exam paper back expecting the worst, but when I looked at it. I got a B! My Dad beamed. He’s a big believer in positivity, and God, a trait that is passed on to me.
Even when it seems tough, always be positive.
THE FOOD, THE FUN, THE FAMILY:
For my family, thanksgiving means turkey, potato salad, dressing, dirty rice, ham, greens, and all-day-punch. For those of you who don’t know what that is: All day punch is tea, punch, and lemons mixed together making tasty goodness. Best part: you can drink all day. It also means movie nights with the family, and me catching up on my favorite telenovela Mi Corazon Insiste.
My brothers Nathan and Jonathan had grown so much from the last time I was home (July), and they had cell phones. It seems like just yesterday they were babies, and now my brother Nathan is a teenager (and way taller than me!), and Jonathan, pre-teen. I diffidently see the growth. They work like little grown ups, handling school work, and social lives. And I guess I’m just anxious to see then grow up into intelligent, creative, and successful young men.
enjoyed Thanksgiving. Even though I spent part of my break doing my paper due the following Monday, and studying, I still managed to have some fun. My mom, dad, and uncle made me laugh by telling me stories of their childhood. I felt real cool being at the grown-up table with them. It did make me think that I am growing up, and as much as I want to keep the child alive I must accept the fact that one day I’ll be an adult.It was nice having talks with my mom. Even though we talk on the phone everyday I enjoy the face to face. Joking with my dad is more fun in person as well. He is the funniest person in the world. I also got a chance to see my grandma. I call her frequently, but seeing her was long-over due and she always brightens my day. All this family time made me not want to come back to “wonderful” week ahead. I didn’t realize how much I missed my family.
Lesson #_: I see life pass by so quick. I wonder, Where did the year go?! So no matter how much you grow, and change during the course of your college years…never forget the people who were there for you and those people are family. Cherish them, enjoy them, and embrace them.
Looking forward to…or not…
-I’m not looking forward to saying “bye” to my family.
- Final Exams for Spanish, Black Power Movement, and a project presentation for Theatre History. All in one week? Oh, yeah bring it on.
-My friend Ashley graduating. Ashley is awesome, and she inspired me to go abroad after she spent a semester in Peru.
-My friend Lisa’s Women’s Chorus concert, and I finally get to meet my fellow Longhorn bloggers.
-Last lunches, dinners, and hang outs with buds before spending time with my family for the break.
-Responses from the UT Lab Theatre regarding my application.
-all A’s and B’s on my grade report.
-Not having to wake up early!
-My friend Paulina coming back from her study aboard in Ireland. You all haven’t met Paulina, but she is one of the most magnificent people ever. Her passion for her goals stands as an example for me. I can’t wait to see her next semester.
Well, I’m going to enjoy the rest of this week with my family before I go back to UT. I just have to keep my positive outlook on life, and continue to be grateful for the family, friends, and opportunities available to me.
Last Note: I can’t begin to tell you all how grateful I am to be a longhorn blogger, because I’ve been following bloggers since my junior year in high school. I challenge you to think about what you have to be grateful for? I hope you all have had wonderful holidays full of great food, family, and ALL DAY PUNCH. Speaking of all day punch…I’m going to get some right now.
The last week of school is almost over, and it seems as if some of my friends are just recovering from a week packed with finals. Fortunately for me, I have not many things to worry about. For I am here to boldly declare (and to poke some fun at my friends) that I have no tests this week! And for the past week or so, things have been quickly winding down. Aside from Thanksgiving, we just held our last orchestra concert for the semester, which means no more rehearsals (more on this later). We finished our prosthetic arms in BME 102L class last week and just returned our beloved Lego kits in today. And I no longer have to attend Organic Chemistry class because I have a high enough grade to waive my final. Yes, many of my friends are drooling at the pleasure of strangling me right now.
But at times, I wish this semester had been a lot more difficult. I mean I find myself during many instances throughout the semester with not even half the workload I had in high school. The lackadaisical nature of this first semester has kept me fairly bored, especially since I don’t recall staying up late to do anything productive. My overall apathy has sucked me into a pitfall of sorts. I have strayed far from my energy, my zen, which had driven me to succeed in school. Not to say that I have grown apathetic to my studies; rather, I feel as if I have not doing my best to keep up my productivity (which I believe is my strongest contribution to society as a student).
However, will next semester make me eat my own words? Of course not. It will eat me instead. Others will be making a mockery out of me this time around. After all, I am taking EE 319K, a programming class in which, my older peers tell me, will consume at least 20 hours every week. Not to mention Biochemistry and Multivariable Calculus. Please, let me enjoy my Christmas Break before I have to subject myself to sleepless nights and torturous exams!
Thanksgiving break was full of much needed relaxation and sanity, and wonderful hugs and smiles from my family. As wonderful as it is to be with my family on thanksgiving day, it sometimes can be very stressful. You see, I have three homes to visit on one day, oh the perils of having a “modern family”.