Tag Archives: UT

8 Tips for Traveling/Flying Solo as A Student

We are all at the age where traveling alone is the desirable and adventurous option, with students venturing on their first solo travels around the world. It all seems overwhelming at first, with no parent or chaperone to hold your hand and guide you through each step of the journey. In order to have the safest and most efficient journey, there are some rookie mistakes that all students traveling alone can avoid. It’s also important to remember that there is a first for everything, and with experience comes confidence for future endeavors! 

  1. Check for student discounts before booking anything, and carry around a school ID just in case! 

You’re paying a lot to be a student, so take advantage of it! There are many venues, transportation services, and even restaurants that give discounts to current university students. Especially when booking a place to stay, do some research on the benefits of choosing a student hostel over a regular hotel. By carrying your UT ID around during travel, you can always ask if student discounts are available before any purchase. 

  1. Have a separate bag/pouch for all important documents (passport, vaccination card, ID, PCR test results, boarding passes, etc.).

Although it might seem tempting to throw all your documents into your backpack or carry-on, take the extra time when packing to set aside all the papers you need in one place so that it is easy to access. During baggage check-in, multiple security checks, and boarding the plane, they will ask for the same documents over and over again. So keep everything in one place to avoid misplacing everything and for quick access. 

  1. Pack a simple carry-on (a compact but spacious bag like a backpack works the best, with separated compartments with zippers).

There is a reason why adults always advise packing lightly. Other than the large baggage that you can check in before your flight, airlines usually allow one to two carry-ons. It can be anything from a small suitcase to a guitar case. I recommend bringing a backpack since it has multiple spacious compartments separated by a zipper. It is easy to stay organized when you know that each pocket holds a different item. 

  1. Wear easy-to-remove shoes and comfortable clothes in general.

When going through security, you have to remove your shoes, hat, belt, watch, and other small items that you might not be conscious of. It is smart to wear easily removable shoes, like sandals or slip-off sneakers, to save time. I know some students might want to dress up for their first trip alone, but trust me when I say value comfort over looks. You’ll have to move around a lot at the airport, so comfortable clothes and shoes are a must. 

  1. Be flexible and open-minded to changing some details, regardless of the original plan. 

Nothing can be planned to perfection. Be prepared for some last-minute changes, and don’t feel discouraged when some things don’t go exactly as you wanted! Always think about different possibilities and have a basic outline of a backup plan. It’s less stressful when you’re open to new ideas and embrace the spontaneity of going with the flow. 

  1. Have anything that makes you feel safe and comfortable (pepper spray, alarm, comfort items, etc.).

Although traveling alone is perfectly safe, it’s always nice to go the extra mile to feel secure. Whether that means stocking up on security items (those approved by airport guidelines) or bringing along a comfort plushie, it’s smart to have a grounding item that makes you calm during your trip. Of course, anything that makes you happy is qualified to tag along. 

  1. When traveling internationally, bring cash to exchange to different currencies instead of using a credit card. 

Many people don’t usually think about this during their first solo trip. However, when traveling internationally, banks charge a certain percentage of whatever you spend with each card swipe. To avoid this, many people opt to use cash and use an ATM or currency exchange booth to withdraw cash from cards. To prevent the heavy taxing and convenience fees, I recommend having cash already to exchange after your flight. 

  1. Don’t be afraid to speak up!

If something goes wrong, if you have questions, if someone does anything to make you doubt anything, make sure to speak up. No one will be there to speak for you, so take the initiative and get things done the right way. The people working at the airport are there to help you have a comfortable traveling experience, so don’t be scared to strike up a conversation!

Keeping these eight tips in mind, I hope that your first solo trip is a bit less hectic than it would have been. Traveling and flying alone is an exciting new adventure that will be forever remembered. So have fun, be safe and go explore the outside world!

Featured Image by Reo Lee

Coming Soon: Cauldron Coffee

I don’t know about y’all, but I’ve been itching for a new coffee place in West Campus. I love Lucky Lab and Starbucks as much as any UT student, but they’re tried and true. I’m ready for something a little different. Lucky for us, Cauldron Coffee is set to open on March 17! 

Cauldron Coffee is a new coffee shop and bar with “the perfect blend of Tulum and Mediterranean vibes,” according to their website. Tulum is a beautiful coastal city in Mexico. The Mediterranean is obviously a huge coastal region, so this should be a great place to hang out and dream of summer vacations as the weather gets warmer. 

I can already see myself pretending to live my Mamma Mia fantasy on the patio! After months of renovations, the shop looks completely different from how it started (check out their Instagram highlights to see their process, @cauldroncoffeeatx)! A total renovation has given it a new life, one I can’t wait to see in person. 

The shop is on San Gabriel, right by Hilltop, which is perfect for people who live a bit farther from campus but want a convenient place to study. It will also be a great place to get some casual drinks or pregame before a night out! They claim to have some of the best coffee in Austin, but honestly, from the pictures, it looks like one of those places that even if they have mediocre coffee, the vibes are so good that you can let it slide. I’m still banking on good coffee, though. They also have a broad menu, so you can try their matcha or other teas if coffee isn’t your thing. If it really does have good vibes, good coffee, and good cocktails, then it will be the triple threat of West Campus!  Try something new and go check out Cauldron Coffee!

Featured Image by Talisa Trevino

8 Stories Behind Tattoos

It comes in all different shapes and sizes, with lines that curve and swirl into intricate designs on smooth skin. No matter the tattoo’s color, price, or location, each symbol etched onto the body has a distinctive designated memory behind it. Here are some UT students sharing their sentiments behind their various unique tattoos. 

  1. Anonymous, 18, English Major

Photo By Matilda Herrera Ramirez

“The first one I got was when my best friend in high school came, and I wanted to do something really cool with her. I knew I wanted a certain place that was not very noticeable so I  got it on my side. It hurt like hell, but it’s worth it. It’s like a little artistic interpretation of a flower, like a green carnation. I’m a big Oscar Wilde fan, and I read somewhere that he was a little amateur botanist, so that was cool.”

“So this semester, I went before class started with my buddies, and I got one on the other side, and it’s a little olive branch. It’s cute, you know, Greek mythology. My friends told me to stop getting plant tattoos because I’m going to turn them into a garden. But I think that’s a great thing to turn into. So I’m not really mad about it.”

2. Anonymous, 19, Business Major

Photo By Matilda Herrera Ramirez

“I have one tattoo that I got at the beginning of the semester. I got it when my best friend came up from Baylor. Lillian and I went to a tattoo shop, and we got matching ones: on the back of her neck and mine on my ribs. The significance behind it is that it’s Lillian’s and another friend of ours and my mom’s favorite flowers altogether in a bouquet.”

3. Jasmine Lu, 19, Biology/Chemistry Major

Photo By Matilda Herrera Ramirez

“I got my fox on a moon tattoo first in remembrance of my dad, who passed away over the summer of 2021, and it’s just a way for me to be reminded that he’s in a better place now. The second tattoo is an abstract representation of an hourglass with an arrow through it, meaning that my time on earth is relatively short, so I should make the most of it.”

4. Anna Yu, 20, Design Major

Photo By Matilda Herrera Ramirez

“I got it because it’s a gardenia flower, and they smell really good. My mom used to have bushes with gardenias in the front lawn, and she would pluck one and put it on the head of my bed when I couldn’t fall asleep.”

5. Katie, 19, Psychology Major

Photo By Matilda Herrera Ramirez

“Right now, I have nine tattoos; some of them are kind of stupid, like three little hearts that match two of my best friends and scissors that I got during a Halloween event. Some of them do have a deeper meaning, though. I have a tattoo of Haku, the dragon from the film Spirited Away since it was one of my favorite movies to watch as a kid. I have a hand holding a skull and a white lily to memorialize my dad, who passed away since he loved Shakespeare, and it’s similar to a scene from Hamlet.”

6. Alyza Saenz, 21, Radio-TV-Film Major

Photo By Matilda Herrera Ramirez

“This was my first tattoo, so I wanted to go big. The rose and dagger was a pretty cool design I found online, so I thought it looked pretty cool and wanted to get it on my arm. There was no meaning behind it, and I just thought it would look nice.”

7. Samantha Ortiz, 20, Biochemistry/English Major

Photo By Matilda Herrera Ramirez

“A Friday the 13th design that has a 13 hidden in it: it was my first tattoo. I couldn’t really afford to get tattoos, but I knew it’d be cheaper on Friday the 13th, so I found a place that did cute designs and waited until then. I want to get three Friday the 13th tattoos over time since my favorite numbers are 13 and three.”

8. Ashley Marie Hernandez, 19, Education Major

Photo By Matilda Herrera Ramirez

“I got my tattoo because I wanted to prove I could. The meaning behind it is that I have always been fascinated by knives and my comfort characters tend to be really skilled with daggers and knives, so it felt natural. It also became an inside joke between me and my brothers who always want me to ‘have a knife on me’.” 

Whether getting a tattoo was a spontaneous decision or a well-thought-out  plan, everyone’s experience in getting one is special. Some hold deeper significance and implications, while others are simply random and meaningless. Tattoos are special in the way they allow anyone to express themselves artistically, and the UT campus is filled with students with a story to tell. 

Featured Image By Matilda Herrera Ramirez

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!

So, You Want to Start Therapy?

At one point or another many of us have dealt with the ups and downs of life. But for some of us, the downs stick around a little longer and can make us feel lost and hopeless. In an article in Forbes magazine, Bryan Robinson said “around 47% of Americans believe seeking therapy is a sign of weakness – which is common yet one of the biggest misconceptions about psychotherapy.” 

The stigma surrounding therapy and mental health can keep us from seeking treatment.

“We wait until we’re basically having the equivalent of an emotional heart attack before somebody will make that call.” Lori Gottlieb, a psychotherapist, said in an article for NPR.

  1. Know the stigma’s around therapy

Most people stray away from reaching out for help because they feel that their problem is not big enough. Remember it’s not selfish to seek help.

  1. You don’t know what type of therapy to try out?

There are several different types of therapy, but of the most famous there are about five.

– Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one of the most well known aimed at mindfulness to keep their patients present.

– Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is for individuals who experience extreme emotional responses to certain situations. 

– Trauma Therapy: often used for post-traumatic stress disorder this type of therapy can help bring subconscious closure to a traumatic event to relieve the patient of constantly reliving the event.

– Psychodynamic Therapy: this looks back at the patient’s past to explore what might be causing current behavior and patterns that individuals are not necessarily aware of.

– Interpersonal Therapy: suited for working through poor or challenging relationships.

Remember not all therapists and therapy are the same, it takes time to find the right fit for you and that is okay.

  1. You’re scared of other people finding out

Therapy is confidential. “HIPPA laws dictate what therapists can and cannot disclose when they can disclose it, and to whom this information can be relayed,” Andrea M. Risi (LPC) said.

  1. You’re scared of getting better or digging through the past

Admitting that there may be a problem is scary. Things can get worse before they get better. 

  1. You’re scared of the cost

At UT CMHC individual counseling appointments are $10 but are fully subsidized by the university — meaning you do not pay the charge. In addition, psychiatry appointments are $15 but students are required to pay $10 of the $15.

If you ever feel you need someone to talk to call UT CMHC at (512) 471-3515 to meet for a brief assessment with a counselor to set up appointments. In crisis situations call (512) 471-2255. The CMHC has several services to take advantage of such as different types of therapies, well-being resources, and psychiatric services. To learn more about what CMHC has to offer to UT students you can visit their website at: cmhc.utexas/edu. There are also several on-campus organizations that advocate for mental illness education and support such as: Nami on Campus at UT and (Un)Jaded.

Featured image by Talisa Trevino