Tag Archives: UT austin

Mid-semester Madness: A Personal Reflection

Tired and overwhelmed — the two perfect words to describe how I’ve been feeling lately. 

There’s a certain sensation that buzzes around in the October air that looms around for quite a while, almost pulling and tugging at you as you try to live out your day: Midterm season.

It seems like just yesterday you were opening your syllabus for the first (and hopefully not last) time. Then, all of the sudden, we’re mid-semester. While it’s nice to be able to say that you’re halfway through your semester, it’s also scary to think about how much more there is to come. 

Midterm exams, projects, deadlines, registration and literally everything else makes the never-ending to-do list even longer.

While I’m now in my junior year of college, it somehow feels like the hardest one I have experienced thus far. Having spent my first semester completely in-person pre-COVID and my second fall semester completely online, it seems like this weird hybrid semester has been so much worse.

Whether it’s because of the difficulty of my classes as an upperclassman or just having to get used to actually attending my classes in person and not from the comfort of my bed, this semester has been a different beast altogether.

To be frank, I started this semester with such high expectations considering the fact that I registered for five classes, became involved in three organizations, added a second major and even got a job. While I was somehow able to juggle all of that only a few months ago in my spring semester, this became a struggle this school year. 

I’m not too sure if maybe it’s just me feeling this way or if others can relate at all but it hasn’t been very fun. 

On the other hand, there could be much worse things happening. While I’m struggling this semester, there’s still a tomorrow. 

While my professors and peers may not be too thrilled about my performance this semester, there is still in fact more ahead of this. 

Everyone has a hard time at some point in their college career and it just so happens that this is my struggle semester. So, it’s absolutely okay if this is your struggle semester, too. 

We will all get through this weird, difficult period together.

Featured image by Lucero Lopez

Campus Art You Ignore Every Day

With classes back in person, it’s likely that you pass by the many art installations here on campus. Many of us have seen these works, but never stop to learn their name or artists. This is your chance to appreciate the art you ignore every day.

Public art is something we often take for granted. The UT campus is littered with paintings, sculptures and digital pieces that we usually don’t give a second look. The art we ignore every day should be appreciated, so I hope that the small taste I was able to give here inspires you to look a little closer at the pieces you pass on your weekly commutes.

Hugs and Human Connection

Family therapist Virginia Satir says “We need four hugs a day for survival, eight hugs a day for maintenance and 12 hugs a day for growth.” As a freshman on campus this year in the midst of a global pandemic, I have been struggling to navigate the new obstacles to physical and emotional human connection. I find that getting even one hug in on a normal day is difficult, especially because of the added barriers due to the pandemic. I mean, I can’t be the only one seeing all the signs that recommend elbow taps and the hook’em horns hand sign over hugs and handshakes.

After less than two months on the UT campus, I haven’t even known anyone long enough to consider them one of my close friends, let alone long enough to get 12 hugs a day out of them. Besides, in light of our current situation it’s a real struggle to figure out everyone’s physical boundaries.

Unfortunately, especially for those of us that are introverted homebodies, human connection is essential to our existence as people. Connecting with other people has proven benefits: improving mental and physical health. This includes lower rates of depression and anxiety, increased ability to regulate emotions and greater life expectancy. In addition, it helps foster a sense of support, community and purpose.

Even if we’re not all able to meet Virginia Satir’s recommended average of eight hugs a day, I believe there are other ways to fulfill our need for human connection. It is not measured by how many friends you have, how often you go out or the amount of organizations you’re in. 

You can find human connection by sharing a laugh with the person who made your morning coffee or smiling at a stranger on your daily walk to class. Human connection is all about finding meaningful moments with other people that make you feel good on the inside. 

Whether it’s giving yourself a hug every morning, buying your roommate a coffee to put a smile on their face or calling your family every once and a while, the benefits that come from real human connection will never diminish.

UT Colleges as Met Gala Looks

This year’s Met Gala presented us with dazzling red carpet looks. The theme for 2021 was American Independence.  To add a fun UT spin to the event, I put together a list of the Met Gala looks that resembled UT colleges the most.

College of Liberal Arts

Courtesy of @kimkardashian on Instagram

Ms. Kim Kardashian never fails to put on a show. What exactly is this cloak supposed to mean? I can’t be completely sure. However, I do know she was wearing Balenciaga head-to-toe and couldn’t help but be reminded of our liberal arts buddies. So much indecisiveness, yet so secure.

Moody College of Communication

Courtesy of @emmachamberlain on Instagram

Our dear friend Emma Chamberlain. Didn’t she look stunning in Louis Vuitton? I don’t know about you all but I loved the sparkle. She looked classy, sexy and gave the carpet exactly what it needed: a straight-to-the-point look. At Moody, communication is all about being straightforward and doing it with grace. 

Steve Hicks School of Social Work

Courtesy of @Lupitanyongo on Instagram

Lupita Nyong’o always takes my breath away. At first glance, I couldn’t tell that her dress is well… a jean dress? She took the jean jacket to a whole other level. The dress was unique in its own way for the same reason our school of social work is: filled with integrity and passion all at once.

College of Natural Sciences

Courtesy of @kendalljenner on Instagram

Supermodel Kendall Jenner looked fantastic, as usual. She shined with her Givenchy see-through dress and it made me think of the largest college at UT. Ms. Jenner is one of the most well-known supermodels and she delivered the energy of the dress beautifully. The College of Natural Sciences acts in the same manner: a very popular college, but very necessary. 

Cockrell School of Engineering

Courtesy of @anokyai on Instagram

Anok Yai was breathtakingly beautiful. She looked glowy and glamorous with her Oscar de La Renta dress. She gave us a glimpse of the #10 best engineering college according to the Academic Ranking of World Universities. Both Anok and Cockrell do what they do best simply because they are who they are: leaders and record breakers. 

McCombs School of Business

Ben Platt gave us a fun, sparkly cowboy look that automatically made me think of Texas. The McCombs School of Business is just like this rhinestone cowboy look: innovative measures on traditional designs. 

While it may be hard to envision yourself in these pricey looks, remember that you can see a little bit of you in everything! Even if it is just your UT college.  

ATX: A Blast from the Past

The Austin we know today looks nothing like it did back then, or does it? These days, it seems like all anyone in Austin can talk about is rising housing prices, the wave of newcomers to the Austin area and the tech companies transforming the 512 into the next Silicon Valley, or rather Silicon Hills. Austin has seen so many changes lately, and the pandemic has only exacerbated them. With everything that’s been going on, it’s only natural we wonder: what’s to come for Austin? 

In order to make a better step toward our future, it might be a good idea to understand our past. One way to do that is to look at a virtual time capsule of Austin life through the Youtube Channel When We Were Live. The channel posts a collection of highlights of Austin Public Access TV from the 1980s and 1990s. A few of their interesting videos include:

1. Tour of UT Austin from 1988 – Classic Access TV

The Austin Access TV Tour of UT Austin in 1988 is surprising to watch as a UT student in 2021.The Tower, the Union and the variety of classic eateries on Guad have remained the same, but it’s very obvious how dated this video is. One example of this is its portrayal of how students registered for class then and now. Back then, students watched orientation videos on VHS and attended the Frank Erwin Center, not for a concert, but to line up to register for classes like a Disney ride, but with much less amusement. Not to mention, there were hundreds of paper documents in use for a process that now takes minutes with zero paper waste. But it stands to reason that whether you attended UT in 1988 or 2021, what brings us together is being part of the longhorn family.

2. Austin Tourism Promo Video from 1987 – Classic ATX Access TV

Anyone new to Austin between 1988 and 2021 could watch this video and be introduced to the elements of classic Austin living: live music, natural attractions and great food. But the classic Austin living depicted in the video is only a fraction of the modern, upscale and technologically advanced Austin we see today. Watching the video with 2021 eyes— it’s obvious that some aspects of the soul of Austin have changed over the years, but it’s core has remained.

3. Rodney King Rally in Austin, 1992

In this video, footage from protests in 1992 after the Rodney King case was tried in California, was recorded by Austin Access TV. Footage from the protests include large gatherings of people from all corners of Austin who came together to share their beliefs. Austin Access TV interviewed attendees about the reasons they came to protest. The Rodney King Protests happened almost 30 years ago, yet last summer people were still on the streets for Black Lives Matter protests demanding racial justice against police brutality. A trademark of living in Austin, our state’s capital, is the drive and accessibility to exercise our right to protest and speak out on our beliefs.The fight for justice has gone on long before 1992, yet in 2021 we still have a long way to go.

4. Austin Folks Talk About UFO’s in 1992

Austin Access TV took it to the streets to ask bystanders on The Drag what they think about extraterrestrial life. In this segment, a member of Austin Access TV asked random Austinites if they believe in extraterrestrial life, if they’ve seen UFOs and if they had a message for life forms on other planets. The responses interviewees gave were silly, serious, comedic and above all else, embody the energy of “Keep Austin Weird.” 

5. 1986 Commercial for Wheatsville Food Co-op in Austin

Wheatsville Co-op is an Austin staple. Wheatsville Co-op is a quintessential Austin grocer stocked with locally-sourced organic produce and employees financially and personally involved in a variety of community serving organizations. The co-op operates similarly to other organic and eco-friendly grocers and has been one of the only full service, natural foods cooperative grocery stores in Austin for the past 30 years. Whether it’s 1986 or 2021, ethically sourced groceries are available down Guadalupe at Wheatsville Co-op.

6. Bevo (UT Mascot) on Austin Public Access TV – 1990

On Austin Access TV, they had a segment called “Face Your Pet” in which Bevo XIII was showcased. A handler introduces Bevo and shows viewers what Bevo is like in real life. The famous longhorn is a huge animal with large horns and is rather tame until provoked. The video is short, but stands as a reminder of what is uniquely Austin: the University of Texas at Austin and our long line of Bevos. 

Watching some of these videos, it’s striking to see elements of Austin life that have withstood the test of time, and others that have radically changed over the years. In Austin, we love our music, parks and food, but we’re not the laid back city we once were. There’s a lot of pressure that comes with becoming the next major tech hub and when you add a pandemic to the mix, things are sure to be anything but chill. Austin is going to evolve and change, but we’ll be okay as long as we preserve what makes Austin weird: amazing Austinites.