Today marks the start of the third week of UT’s spring semester. School has been in session for less than two whole weeks, and I already feel stressed, I have scoured through pounds of reading and study materials, and my Google calendar is filled with bright blue commitments, events, meetings, and activities on top of my regular course schedule. To say that this semester is and will be busy could probably be considered a euphemism. However, I am still very optimistic about having a successful second half of my sophomore year. I have entered what I like to call “productivity city.” In the midst of all this work and my productive efforts, I have been able to find some time to have fun in the city that many believe (including U.S. News and World Report who placed Austin on its list of best places to live) to be one of the most exciting, thriving, and culturally diverse scenes in the nation.
As I share my experiences from the past two weeks, I’d like to begin with the more enjoyable, leisure-filled activities before I discuss my courses and organizational involvements in another two-part blog post. I have also provided some pictures of my Austin outings below! Last weekend, I went to the UT men’s basketball game versus Kansas at the Frank Erwin Center. I have been a devoted and passionate basketball fan since I started playing the game when I was six years old. Although Texas lost, it was a great competition as we came close to winning after playing from behind for the majority of the game. J’Covan Brown, a junior guard, played excellently, leading the team to the near victory. I hope to attend more basketball games this season!
My dad came into town this past weekend, and I finally had the opportunity to show him around Austin. His previous visits have been purposed for moving me in and out of the dorms. This time, however, we really explored the city and packed in as many attractions as we possibly could in the two-day/one-night visit. We had a wonderful time! I took him to South Congress, the trendy south Austin area with great food and vintage retail shops. We ran at the Town Lake Hike-and-Bike Trail, one of Austin’s prettiest, most scenic attractions. Unsurprisingly, there were many hikers, bikers, and walkers (with their dogs) there. Town Lake is a popular spot for kayaking and canoeing, too, and with the weather beginning to get warm, we saw quite a few people out on the water. My dad got to witness Austin’s jam-packed and entertaining nightlife, consisting of music venues, restaurants, and a long strip of bars on the famous and eclectic Sixth Street. We ate at one of my favorite restaurants, Truluck’s, down on 4th St.
The following day, we took a walk through West Campus, the heavily populated student neighborhood just west of the UT main campus and where I currently reside. On the drag, the section of Guadalupe St. that runs along the western edge of the campus, we bought some Longhorn gear at the University Co-op and at Tyler’s. (I finally purchased a Longhorn emblem for my car!) We grabbed brunch at the Old Pecan Street Cafe, a delicious place in the heart of downtown, and ended his trip with a tour of the Texas Capitol. The Texas Capitol is definitely one of my favorite parts about Austin and is the largest state capitol in the nation! The building encompasses a long Texas history and boasts some grand architectural elements. Having the privilege of visiting the Capitol Building on a regular basis that is only minutes from UT is yet another reason why I love being a Longhorn!
In between these outings and favorite activities, I have been hard at work with a full, challenging course load and many extracurriculars on my plate. In Part II, I will discuss my classes, professors, student organizations, and some interesting things taking place on and around campus as well as my search for a new apartment for the next school year. There is plenty to look forward to this semester, and I can’t wait to share with you all! Thank you for reading, and hook ‘em horns!