Category Archives: ATX / UT

UT Colleges As Pie Flavors

We all know the holiday season is right around the corner, which practically means it’s the season for pie. Whether you’re staying in Austin or going home for the holiday season, find out which pie you are based on the college you’re in at UT!

Cockrell School of Engineering – Apple Pie

Photo Courtesy Mary Nikitina

What is more classic than apple pie? You love tradition and familiarity. You see the value in what works — like math.

Moody College of Communication – Pecan Pie

Photo Courtesy Roman Odinstov

You’re a classic. Like the pies that drip with sugar, you are sweet to everyone you come across. Your smile and persona can be quite infectious. You’re that one person that people love to see walk into a room.

School of Architecture – Sweet Potato Pie

This pie is characterized by strength. Its constant comparison in looks to pumpkin pie shows that you are different and have something to offer.

College of Liberal Arts – Cherry Pie

Cherries can be sweet or tart. You definitely have a little bit of an attitude but in a good way. You stand up for what you believe in and don’t let other people push you around.

Photo Courtesy Mister Mister

College of Natural Sciences – Lemon Meringue Pie

Photo Courtesy Geraud Pfeiffer

Just like this pie, you’re ambitious. When you set your mind to something you never give up no matter how many times you fail.

College of Fine Arts – Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Photo Courtesy Valeria Boltneva

This pie has bold qualities and its popularity is prided on its uniqueness. You definitely think outside the box and embrace change from modern conformity.

McCombs School of Business – Chocolate Silk

Photo Courtesy Marta Dzedyshko

Chocolate silk is rich and smooth at the same time. You have a knack for looking like a million bucks. You demand nothing but the best, and your friends always look to you as the leader in the group because of your bold nature.

Steve Hicks School of Social WorkBanana Cream Pie

This pie is almost as genuine as you! You always look for the positives in life. And you constantly find yourself putting others’ needs before yours.

College of Education – Key Lime Pie

This pie is full of personality. You’re a natural leader and trust your gut. You love staying busy and keeping yourself on your toes like the bold flavor of this pie.

School of Information – Blackberry Pie

Photo Courtesy Nataliya Vaitkevich

You don’t necessarily stand out in a crowd even though you have so much to offer. You’re a great friend but most people don’t appreciate you the way you should be appreciated.

College of Pharmacy – Sugar Cream Pie

You are constantly slept on. Just like this pie you are filled with sweetness, but are sometimes dismissed for what people see as a lack of creativity.

School of Nursing – Pot Pie

Are you even a pie? Yes, apparently. You’re used to being called a STEM imposter, but you deserve some credit. So own up to the fact you are still considered a pie.

Jackson School of Geosciences – Pumpkin Pie

Photo Courtesy of Karolina Grabowska

You’re a classic..but sometimes considered a homebody. Fall is probably your favorite season and you love sitting at home comfied up in your favorite blanket watching TV.

Regardless of what pie is associated with your major, make sure you treat yourself this holiday season with something sweet because you deserve it!

Picky eater food guide

Austin has many unique restaurants to choose from, but for a picky eater like me, it’s often hard to find food I love. Instead of always just eating fast food, here are some restaurants near campus to try out if you’re a picky eater, too. 

Roppolo’s Pizzeria 

Roppolo’s pizza was one of the first restaurants I ever tried when I came to Austin, and I instantly fell in love. The giant pepperoni pizza or cheese pizza slices are perfect for anyone who is not too adventurous with adding toppings to their pizza. The pizza sauce is also not filled with weird tomato chunks so it doesn’t have a gross texture that most picky eaters hate. 

Moody’s Kitchen and Bar

American food is always a good go-to. Moody’s has a good selection of American food from pizza and burgers, to mozzarella sticks and, of course, chicken tenders. When I visited, the chicken tenders tasted way better than what you get at fast food restaurants. Plus, they have tons of sauces to choose from to dip your fries and tenders in. 

Pizza Press

I know Pizza Press is another pizza location, but this pizzeria is a great choice for those picky eaters who want to choose specific cheese, sauce and toppings on their pizza. 

Taco Joint

Probably not the most friendly picky eater restaurant, but if I eat at the Taco Joint almost every week, then you definitely can too. I always get street tacos, which have sirloin, avocado, cilantro, queso fresco and onion. 

A lot of those toppings on the tacos may not be picky-eater friendly, but you can always take them off. I make sure to order my tacos without the onions. There are also other authentic Mexican options that are more plain, like the cheese quesadilla. 

Kerbey Lane 

When people think of Kerbey Lane, they automatically think of the queso. But, if you’re like me, then you don’t like anything besides besides the actual cheese. 

When I first opened the menu, the only thing I thought I would like would be the pancakes. However, the chicken fried chicken and mashed potatoes was a nice savoury dish that tasted just like normal chicken strips. 

Snarf’s Sandwiches

A sandwich is a great meal for picky eaters. While there’s no subway around campus, Snarf’s has the same concept. You can choose the type of bread, meat, cheese and other toppings you may want. 

Look Noodles and More

Ramen is a hit or miss for a lot of picky eaters because many ingredients included can be intimidating. However, Look Noodles chicken ramen is a good ramen spot because you can easily take out the few toppings included that you may not like. 

Trying new foods can be fun, but also intimidating for picky eaters. Go out and try some of these restaurants and dishes that even a picky eater like myself enjoyed!

Featured Image by Bettina Mateo

The “write” way to stay in touch — penpalling

In an age where our phones are never more than an arms-length away, forms of communication, such as letters, are becoming obsolete. Although putting a pen to paper seems old fashioned, writing to a penpal can expand your worldview past the 40 acres. 

A penpal is someone from a different place who you communicate with through a series of letters. There are many reasons to have a penpal, such as practicing a foreign language, learning more about a different culture or just finding someone to talk to. 

Journalism freshman Arabelle Diedrich found a penpal from Peru through a program that her friend set up. She said that having a penpal from a different country is a good way to learn about new cultures. 

“You have these preconceived notions of what a country is like and how the people there are going to be, but we’re all just kids,” Diedrich said. “So I think the coolest part is to find out that we have all of these shared interests, and it’s cool that you can communicate with someone from that far away.” 


Photo by Vaughn Corson

Although Diedrich found her penpal through a program, there are also digital ways to find a penpal. After seeing “penpal with me” videos on YouTube, Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences sophomore Ryanne Anderson said that she thought penpalling would be a good way to combine her love of stationary and writing letters. She found her penpals through the comments section of a TikTok video. 

“(A TikTok user) made a video that was ‘comment below and find a penpal’,” Anderson said.  “I responded to a couple comments and talked to a bunch of people (but) only two ended up working out. We exchanged Instagrams to play it safe and to make sure that we both felt comfortable before we gave each other our addresses and it just kind of went from there — from a comment, to actually talking, to writing letters.” 

Aside from TikTok, other social media platforms such as Instagram or Reddit have different penpal communities that you can explore. I found my penpal after falling into the “journaling side” of Instagram. However, each platform’s penpal communities will be different, so if you can’t find a suitable penpal on one platform, try looking somewhere else! There may be more people who have similar interests to penpal with. For example, while the Instagram community emphasizes the creative aspect of penpalling, the r/penpals subreddit has people who prioritize the letters themselves. 

Once finding a penpal is out of the way, it’s time for the fun part: writing the letter. Usually you can start with an introductory letter, and that might reveal some shared interests you want to talk about. No matter the content of the correspondence, it’s important to make sure there’s a give and take. You’ll want to ask questions about your penpal, but also make sure you’re being descriptive about your own life to give them something to respond to.

Photo by Ryanne Anderson

Anderson said that she’s developed a formula for writing her penpal letters. 

“I’ll do a life update in the letter and answer some questions they had asked in the (previous) letter,” Anderson said. “Then there’ll be a portion of a bunch of questions and then answers to all of their questions. Those can be anything, just random things you want to know. And then we always send each other playlists to talk about music.” 

Photo by Ryanne Anderson

Along with the letter itself, you can also include small gifts such as stationary or artwork. Anderson exchanges tea bags with one of her pen pals after they discovered a shared love of tea. If penpalling with someone from a different country or place, this can be especially cool, as you can get a piece of their country through the letter. For example, one of my penpals lives in Germany, so after the 2020 election, I sent her an “I voted” sticker. 

While I enjoy writing the letters themselves, I think that decorating the envelopes is just as fun. After all, who doesn’t love opening their mailbox to a beautifully decorated envelope? However, not everyone who wants a penpal will have the same artistic tendencies, so if one of the reasons you’re penpalling is for the decorations, you might be better off looking for someone who feels the same. Anderson said that she tried to find someone who also wanted decorative letters so it wouldn’t put pressure on the other person. 

“I love writing letters and I love reading about people’s lives, but I also love making super cute things and don’t want to make this super cute thing and then have them feel like they also have to do that,” Anderson said. 

There are multiple different ways to decorate your envelopes. I tend to base my decorations off of a central color and use various mediums such as stickers, washi tape and paper that fit the color scheme. I also like to layer materials in a collage style, using color swatches, old book pages and other scraps of paper. If you’re pressed for time or don’t have anything on hand, doodles with a pen also work well. 

Photo by Lauren Park (@journalaur) 

For those looking to start penpalling, Diedrich recommends asking questions to get to know your penpal better, as well as being patient with correspondents who may not speak English as their first language. 

 “Ask as many questions as you can about how their experience is in their own environment  so you can get a sense of what society is like outside of your own,” Diedrich said. “(Also) be patient with your penpal (because) if you’re picking someone from a country where English is probably their second language, they may not know how to communicate in the best way with you.” 

Anderson’s advice to people looking to penpal is to prioritize safety, but also to get to know the person you’re penpalling with. 

“I think it’s important to build that connection by asking questions to someone because then they feel valued and seen and will want to respond and be more inclined to ask you questions, and it’s always fun to talk about yourself,” Anderson said. “And then just have fun, and it doesn’t have to be anything fancy… It’s great stress relief.”

Whether looking to form new connections or to travel without leaving the comforting humidity of Texas, penpalling can be a vacation to a new place, all for the cost of a stamp and an envelope. 

Featured image by Morgan Scruggs

Austin Artist Spotlight

Austin is home to some of the best established and up-and-coming artists in the music scene. With big names like Willie Nelson, Shakey Graves and Janis Joplin, it can be easy to overlook some of the artists who are just starting to make their way into the world. The “Austin Artist Spotlight” playlist features songs from some of the best bands and artists in the scene right now — some of whom you might even catch performing on campus once in a while!

What NOT To Do After Getting a Bad Midterm Grade

So, you didn’t do well on a midterm. Maybe you studied for days in advance and felt super confident in the material. Maybe you didn’t study a bit and went in cold. Regardless of what led up to this grade, unfortunately, there’s not much you can do now… about the grade itself, at least. While I completely understand the urge to switch majors or drop out of college, there are other ways to recover from a bad midterm grade.

Don’t silently wonder what you did wrong. The first thing I like to do after getting a midterm grade back is talk to the professor or TA for the class. You may not be able to change your grade, but you can certainly learn from your past mistakes so that you perform better on the next test. By going to talk to your grader, you’ll also be proving that you truly care about the course, which they’ll definitely appreciate.

Don’t waste too much time dwelling. You can totally buy yourself a pint of ice cream and put on a feel-good movie while you process. We’ve all been there. And you know what, it’s okay to do that for a little while. It’s okay to sit in your disappointment and feel all of your feelings in full. It’s just not okay to get stuck there.

Don’t do anything impulsive. I may or may not have seriously considered getting a tattoo and/or dying my hair pink after I didn’t do as well as I wanted to on my first midterm. That impulse lasted less than 24 hours, and I’m glad I didn’t act on it. As tempting as it may be, there’s definitely no need to drop the class or transfer to A&M. You will recover.

Don’t stagnate your study habits. If you didn’t do well on a midterm, there’s probably something you can change about the way you’re studying. Maybe try forming a study group or starting your review a few days earlier. College is all about learning and growing, so try out new study techniques and find out what works best for you.

Don’t give up! Failing a midterm or not meeting your expectations for a midterm grade doesn’t mean there’s no hope for getting your target overall grade in the class. It also doesn’t mean you’re doomed to fail out of college and not succeed in your future career. One bad midterm grade doesn’t define you as a student or a person. 

We’ve all been there. At one time or another, all of us have experienced failures. Accepting those failures is hard, but they can be taken as an opportunity to grow. It’s important to shift our mindset and view failures for what they are: learning moments.