The University of Texas at Austin
School of Undergraduate Studies
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Natalie Arevalo

Natalie Arevalo
Fall 2014

Natalie spent four semester in UGS exploring majors and participating in UGS Council, Undergraduate Research, and other student organizations. She declared English as her major and is planning to pursue a teaching certificate through Teach for America.

“Immediately after graduating from high school I was overwhelmed with the prospect of having to decide what I was going to do for the rest of my life. Being accepted to UGS and being given the time to explore and discover what it is I really wanted to study shattered that narrow idea for me.”

Exploring Majors
When I first arrived at UT I wanted to major in a business-related field, but I also wanted the opportunity to explore other options. Since UGS was my first-choice school, I was very happy and relieved that I was accepted.

I decided to declare an English major after taking several courses in the English department. These courses introduced me to multiple kinds of literature and encouraged me to think analytically about the work in new, creative, and interesting ways.

Road Bumps
When I first arrived I felt pressure to apply to transfer into a degree-granting school right away, so I enrolled in courses that I didn’t find interesting. I realized quickly that the study habits I formed in high school wouldn’t give me a competitive advantage at a first-class university. Thanks to the refreshers and tutoring provided by the Sanger Learning Center and Vick Center, I made it through my first semester. Alexia Apollo was my strategic advisor in UGS. She really helped me get over my fear of forging my own path at UT. After that semester I focused on taking courses surrounding topics I enjoy, which gave me a better chance to explore what it is that I really wanted to study for four years.

Studying English
The best thing about being an English major is being exposed to all kinds of literary works and being challenged to think critically about them using different strategies. The most surprising thing about being an English major is the diversity of topics that are offered. The degree plan is created so that students can meet requirements by taking courses that will be of most interest to them.

Most Rewarding Class
The most rewarding class I’ve taken at UT has been Feminism and Creative Non-Fiction (E370W) with Dr. Ann Cvetkovich. Professor Cvetkovich challenged us each class day by encouraging student-led discussions. Our assignments included personal perspectives that paralleled those of the authors we studied, creating a stronger relationship between students and the authors.

Favorite Study Spot
The balcony between Benedict and Mezes facing the inner courtyard. I love being able to enjoy the beautiful Texas weather in a quiet area.

Student Organizations
I was involved with the Senate of College Councils and UGS Council, acting as senate representative my first year and president during my second year. My participation in these organizations helped me overcome my stage fright. Presenting with confidence is a priceless skill and I credit these organizations for allowing me to gain t