Tag Archives: UT

Is it a RIP-Off?: Drag Edition

Austin is full of things to see, do and experience— and half of them are total rip-offs. So I’m here to tell you what’s best and what’s a mess. This week’s subject: The Drag. 

  1. Torchy’s Tacos 
Courtesy of: Visit Austin

Verdict: Rip-Off

Why: Come on. You knew this was coming. We live in Texas. You can get better tacos for less money at pretty much any food truck. 

  1. Whataburger 
Courtesy of: Unsplash and Tendaishe Gwini

Verdict: Worth It

Why: Say what you want about Whataburger not being as good as it was five years ago, it’s still a Texan staple. From the fun orange color scheme to the iconic Dr.Pepper shake, this is the place to go at 2:00 a.m. with $5 in your pocket. 

  1. Coco’s Cafe 
Courtesy of: Fearless Captivations

Verdict: Rip-Off

Why: To be honest, I’ve never gotten the hype around Coco’s. It has okay drinks, long lines and an expensive price tag. I’d recommend getting your boba fix elsewhere.

  1. Caffe Medici 
Courtesy of: Flickr

Verdict: Worth It

Why: Caffe Medici is a prime study spot. There is something on the menu for everyone, including coffee, matcha and Italian sodas. Plus, the atmosphere is student-friendly and there’s plenty of seating.  

  1. Kerbey Lane
Courtesy of: Kerbey Lane

Verdict: Rip-Off AND Worth It

Why: The food is mediocre but no one really goes to Kerbey for the food. They go for the tradition and for saying they ate chocolate cake with friends at 4:00 a.m. after finishing a final paper (possibly based on a true story). So, yes, it is a rip-off, but I also highly recommend you go sometime in your college career. 

Now that you’re armed with knowledge, go forth and explore the drag with confidence! You are most certainly not getting ripped off today.

6 Tips For Living Off Campus

Off-campus living has been one of the most enriching experiences of my years in college. Not only did I get a taste of being on my own, but I also got to learn a little bit about being an adult— bills, commutes and finally getting to turn the thermostat down when it’s too hot.

It can be overwhelming to try and tackle this experience as an 18 or 19-year-old in the middle of class schedules, job searches and everything else, so here are some tips to live the best off-campus life.

1. Pick a Place You Like

My apartment is 20 minutes off-campus, but I would much rather be here than somewhere close in a cramped sardine can. I knew I would likely be picking an apartment complex I’d spend the rest of my college years at, and wanted to find a place that I wanted to go home to every day. So, find an apartment that makes you smile, and not one that you’re just trying to stick out for a semester or two.

2. Background Check Those Roommates

When it comes to the off-campus apartment life, you’ll be picking your own roommates. If they’re not friends, then definitely meet up beforehand and talk to them. You’re going to be spending so much time with this person, and sleeping across the hall from them at night. Make sure they’re bearable. I have heard an abundance of roommate horror stories and trust me when I say you don’t want to be the one having to tell them.

3. Research Locations

When picking a place, check out the area. Try to find somewhere in a nice area with a grocery store and some of your favorite places nearby. This is your main location so it’s always nice to have everything you need around. Beyond that, it’s good to try and find safer areas to put some roots down in for the next few years.

4. Figure Out Your Budget

The biggest reason I chose not to live in West Campus was affordability. I’d much rather commute to school every morning than spend $1,200 a month for a shoebox. It was outside my budget and even with my student loans, I probably wouldn’t have been able to do it. By figuring out what I could afford I was able to find a nice place within my budget.

5. Don’t Isolate

Living off-campus can feel isolating sometimes because you’re so far away from the action and, a lot of the time, your friends. Don’t let the distance isolate you from campus. Join clubs and make time to see the people you care about. Sometimes it’s a 10 to 20 minute drive, but it’s worth it to get the socialization you need to have an enjoyable college experience.

6. Plan For The Commute

Make sure you know how long the drive to campus is with morning traffic so that you’re not running down Speedway to get to class on time. And even more important, make sure you have a parking plan! Sign up for a parking pass and try to pick a place that’s convenient for you. If all else fails, you can always find room in one of the garages on campus or find some street parking nearby. If you don’t have a car, be sure to check out bus routes or, if you’re close enough, the time it takes to walk to class.

Finding a place to live can be tough, but the place you go home to everyday is supposed to be your escape from the rollercoaster of college, so make sure you’re investing the proper amount of time in finding it. Find a place that makes you feel happy, so when you’re cramming for midterms at three in the morning you’ll at least have some comfort in the fact you’re doing it in a safe, inviting space.

5 Things you (won’t!) be missing During virtual orientation

The University of Texas is holding freshman orientation online this year rather than on campus. So, if you’re an incoming freshman you may be wondering “what am I missing?” Well, I’m here to tell you 5 things you’re NOT missing from in-person orientation.

1. The Heat

Courtesy of: Giphy

Texas heat is absolutely brutal. In-person orientation is basically a sweat-athon of walking in 100-degree Austin weather.

2. Getting Lost

Courtesy of: Giphy and the NFL

There are three things that are certain in life: Death, taxes and getting lost at in-person UT orientation. Don’t worry about not getting lost on campus at orientation, though. You have plenty of time to do it during the rest of the school year.

3. The GPS Taking You the LONGEST Route Ever Created

Courtesy of: Giphy

Technology is great, right? Wrong! At least not during UT orientation. Without fail, your GPS will route you the way that not only takes the most time, but also makes absolutely no sense. Seriously, WHO decided the best way to get from Jester to Moody is Guadalupe Street? I just want to talk.

4. Cramped Elevators

Courtesy of: Giphy and Nickelodeon

During in-person orientation, everyone stays in the Jester dorms. That means everyone is trying to use the same elevators, usually all at the same time. Who needs personal space, right?

5. Being Told Not to Bring a Blanket (And Then Freezing to Death at Night)

Courtesy of: Giphy and Sesame Street

If you didn’t know, the in-person orientation packing list specifically tells you that blankets will be provided so you shouldn’t bother bringing one. What they don’t tell you though is this “blanket” provides about as much warmth as covering yourself with an H-E-B receipt.

No matter if you went to orientation in-person or online, you’re a Longhorn now! So, get your horns up and your burnt orange shirt on. This is going to be a great school year!

Goodbye UT, it’s been real!

This is it. My time at The University of Texas at Austin has come to an end. I must say, clicking “end meeting” at the end of my final undergraduate class was probably the most anti-climactic moment of my life.

As I write this article, graduation is in three days so naturally I’ve been looking back at the past four years. Getting to this point has definitely not been a walk in the park. It was more like a chaotic walk down Speedway in which I was run over by multiple bikes, tripped over several bricks, and fought for my life against an albino squirrel. But I’ve made it. My interactive degree audit says 100%. It’s over and I learned quite a lot. So as my parting gift to you, here are the biggest lessons I’ve learned at UT.

It’s okay if you got a 40 on your first chemistry exam

I went into that exam ready. I knew the material. I was confident. I was relaxed. Then we got the scores back, and I did horribly. I got a 40 on what was supposed to be the easiest exam of the semester. Did I cry in my dorm? Yes, but looking back, I wish I could say to myself: “stop being so dramatic, you’re not even going to be a pre-med major.” 

Yes, it sucked to fail but you just have to keep going. You have to see what you did wrong. What studying methods didn’t work? Which ones did? Talk to your professor, and take your time. I kept calm, continued to work hard and then got an 80 on exam two. You’re going to take a lot of exams and have a lot of assignments, don’t let that one bad grade derail you. As long as in the end you understand that topic to the best of your abilities, that’s all that matters.

As one of my favorite underrated Disney movies says: “keep moving forward.”

Invest in pass/fail

This might’ve just been me, but I wasn’t very knowledgeable about the pass/fail option pre-pandemic. This is why I let a D+ in biology completely tank my GPA when I could’ve just pss/failed the class. I highly suggest talking to your academic advisors about how pass/fail works and what it does to your GPA. Especially since classes are going back to in-person next semester, the unicorn COVID pass/fails will not be making a return.

Always remember. Pass/fail is not an excuse to completely stop trying in your class. You should still try your best, no matter what your best looks like. 

Do not take three major intensive courses at the same time

Now you can obviously do this if you so desire, but just know it’ll be awful. Fall semester 2019, I took Reporting: Words, Reporting: Images and Media Law all at the same time, and I’ve never been more exhausted in my life. It’s hard.

The key to surviving taking multiple intense courses at a time is time management and having a friend who will understand your pain (shoutout to Alyssa Crosby.) But the other key is to not do it. I know it may seem like it’s best to get them out the way, but there really is no rush. You’ll end up over-worked and highly stressed when you could be decently worked and moderately stressed. College isn’t a sprint race; it’s a slow jog with the occasional fast-walking.

Talk to yourself

This one is for my fellow journalism majors. As I’ve been studying journalism, the thing I’ve heard the most is; journalists struggle with finding their conversational voice. My tip for this; talk to yourself. I talk to myself like I’m a YouTube vlogger, documenting every single moment of my day. Do my roommates probably think I’m weird? Yes, but it really helps.

Conversational tone is all about writing as if you’re having a conversation with your readers. That’s a little hard to do since as you’re writing, the only reader listening to you is your Google Docs page. This just means you have to be your own reader. Talk to yourself as you write and it’ll come out naturally. If you don’t talk to yourself (weirdo), how do you talk to your friends? This is the key, then through in some jokes and a little sarcasm (with AP style of course), and you’re good to go!

Hook ‘Em

Here is where I throw in random tips because I couldn’t think of a good one to end the list.

Group projects are the worst thing on this planet, and there’s nothing you can do about them. Best thing to do is close your eyes, breathe and pray for the end. Are you really going to use that $200 textbook? Wait until you have an answer before you buy it because most of the time you can survive off lecture notes. If you’re taking a foreign language class, reverso is your best friend, trust me. Lastly, one you’ve heard many times before, join a club – they’re fun. If you’re in need of suggestions, BurntX is a great place to start.

And now I bid adieu to UT Austin, it truly has been real. Next stop – graduate school, please keep me in your thoughts.

Featured designs courtesy of Kara Fields

“Is your Favorite Character Hot?”: Pretty Privilege in Media

Does being beautiful make your life easier? More interesting? Have a dramatic soundtrack or endless close-up camera angles? Hollywood obviously thinks it does. It doesn’t take watching more than a few movies or TV episodes to realize the entertainment industry is saturated with inhumanly gorgeous actors and actresses. Does this change how we as viewers judge their characters though? Today, we will be examining “pretty privilege” in our media. 

What is pretty privilege? Well, it’s exactly what it sounds like. Characters can get away with more simply because the people who play them are pleasing to look at. They can be cruel, selfish, callous and downright evil. Yet, these qualities seem more acceptable because the actor is just “too cute to really be that bad.”

Let’s look at this stereotype of beauty and its correspondence to goodness through a movie most of us have seen: “Sleeping Beauty.” The main protagonist is kind, talented and innocent. How do we know this? Because she’s beautiful. With her golden hair, pink lips and glittering eyes (plus her being referred to as “Sleeping Beauty”),  it is not up for debate that the character is meant to be seen as lovely. The main antagonist on the other hand is malicious and harsh. How do we know? Because she’s ugly. It was not until the breathtaking Angelina Jolie took over this “antagonistic” role in the 2014 live-action film “Maleficent” that the character was redeemed as loyal and misunderstood. 

There is clearly a conditioned coordination between perceptions of beauty and perceptions of goodness. We have been taught to assume the best of attractive characters and the worst of unattractive ones. How does this idea of pretty privilege apply to less obvious examples of media though? To answer that, I will remind you of the once wildly popular musical TV show, “Glee.” Two characters share a shocking similar backstory: Santana Lopez and David “Dave” Karofsky. Both characters struggle with their sexualities in the show. Due to their insecurities about their sexualities, Santana and Dave lash out and bully many other characters. Despite their similarities, the fanbase tends to treat them considerably differently. Dave is treated with indifference or even hostility by most fans while Santana is widely regarded as a fan favorite. 

One could argue this treatment is because Dave threatened serious physical violence against another character, Kurt, in season two. However, the aversion to Dave by the fanbase predates this threat. In addition, Santana has also threatened physical violence against multiple characters and even made another character bleed by hitting him repeatedly with a dodgeball after the game was over. 

Both characters have the same drive behind their cruelness. Both characters display inclinations towards physical violence. Both characters are bullies. So, why is one loved and the other disliked? It could be because of how they look. 

Max Adler, who plays Dave, is certainly not ugly but he also isn’t depicted as the traditional Hollywood hunk either. Naya Rivera, who plays Santana, is known for her beauty though. Would fans have liked Santana so much and forgiven her so easily if Naya had been average-looking or even unattractive? While there is no way to say for sure, I’m tempted to vote no. 

Let’s look at an entirely different show to further explore pretty privilege in media: The crime comedy-drama series “Bones.” Just like in “Glee,” two characters stick out as having similar personalities that are perceived completely differently. Both characters, Oliver Wells and Rodolfo Fuentes are interns on the show who are incredibly brilliant but also incredibly arrogant. 

Now, what makes these characters different? Rodolfo is portrayed by the handsome Ignacio Serricchio. The show and audience is well aware of Rodolfo’s status as a beautiful man as other characters frequently comment on his attractiveness. He even has a line where he states “I’m handsome.” Oliver Wells, on the other hand, is played by Brian Klugman. Much like Alder, Klugman is not unattractive but is not depicted as extremely handsome the way Serrichho is. 

Despite having similar arrogance and intelligence, fans significantly prefer Rodolfo to Oliver. Even the review website “Screen Rant” ranked Rodolfo two places ahead of Oliver in their “Bones: All of Brennan’s Interns, Ranked” article. Could this fan favoritism be because of pretty privilege?

We have been taught from a young age to think favorably of attractive people so it’s no shocker that we’re often kinder to characters played by attractive actors. Next time you’re watching a show or movie, take a moment to think: Do I really like this character or do I just like the way they look? The answer may surprise you.