“How is it February already?” asked my friend on Wednesday. I was fairly incredulous also. In just three months, we will have completed our sophomore year at UT. From this fact, we learn two things – 1) time flies by very quickly, and 2) we must appreciate the time we do have in college. Though February is the shortest month, it also tends to be the most productive one (yes, the theme continues). We perform a full month’s work in 29 days. Does having one or two less days really make your output more efficient? Yes, yes it does. The small difference in numbers would indicate so. Therefore, I will look to maximize my time in this slightly truncated month and continue to strive for success in my classes, my extracurriculars, and my other activities. More on these and other aspects of my life below.
- Classes: My schedule is busy and challenging this semester. My classes are definitely more rigorous, but I have found them to be enjoyable and interesting. I am enrolled in many biology courses this semester, and I love to see how material I learn in one class is related to or connects to the information in another class. To have exposure to many different areas of biology is a dynamic way to learn about the field and its multiple career opportunities. It is especially interesting to observe how the macroscopic specializations of biology overlap with the microscopic and how both inform us with a better understanding of life as whole. Because my schedule is so dense with my favorite subject, this has probably been my most exciting semester and one I continue to feel excited about.
- Professors: Not only do I have interesting courses this semester, I also have excellent professors who are more than willing to help out and ensure that their students understand every fact, every concept of the lesson. Sometimes sitting through lecture may feel tedious, but when the professor is engaging and demonstrates his or her passion for the topic, I generally have a much more positive and beneficial experience in the course, something I have already noticed myself having in the first three weeks of the spring semester.
- Events on campus: We are only a few weeks into the spring, but campus has been nothing short of lively and spirited. From showings or events on Gregory Plaza to concerts at the Bass Concert Hall, there is plenty to see and do on the Forty Acres. There are also additional lectures to attend and exhibits to visit. A lecture series that I am particularly energized about is the new Science for Change speaker series hosted by the College of Natural Sciences. The lectures will bring top minds to UT to speak about how scientists can contribute to advancements in the public sector and the nation’s need for citizen scientists to step outside of research labs or doctors’ offices and into public policy or education, for example. As a student wanting to possibly pursue a career in science policy, I am looking forward to seeing these speakers and learning how they are changing the world.
- Volunteering opportunity: A huge volunteer event coming up in a couple of weeks is Project 2012. The Project is an annual event event that began in 1999 and has since become one of the largest single-day student-run service events in Texas. UT students and the community come together to assist an Austin neighborhood in need. This year the event will take place at the Dove Springs/Onion Creek communities.
- Student organizations: In addition to classes and volunteering, I have been occupied with my student organizations and extracurricular activities, mainly Senate of College Councils and undergraduate research. In Senate, the Undergraduate Research Committee, which I chair, has recently formed the Research Student Advisory Council (RSAC) to serve as the official student advisory group within the Office of Undergraduate Research, and we are administering the $1000 Undergraduate Research Grant, planning for April’s Research Week, finalizing our Research Reception, and following up on legislation calling for the creation of a research certificate program. Nominations for the three elected positions are also taking place this week, and leadership transitions are set to occur in less than a couple of months. Our committee’s motto for this fast and furious semester is “make it count.”
Not only will my committee try to live this out, but I aim to apply the motto to my personal undertakings. So, join me in making February count. Let’s make the shortest month the most memorable. As always, thank you for reading, and hook ‘em horns!