- Class: Junior
- Major: Biology
- Gender: M
- High School: Health Careers High School
- Transfer Student: N
UT is an amazing place (as far as IÕm concerned). I love the atmosphere. Things are always just a little different. Whether youÕre walking down the street and see a guy dressed in Shakespearean garb (and no it wasnÕt Halloween) or a large group of students (ÒThe Flash MobÓ) bowing in front of the Tower at the stroke of noon as streakers run by, UT and Austin are just a little bit out there. One thing I would change about University would be the large amount of e-mails that I get from the administration, departments, UT Police, etc. I often feel like IÕm getting spammed by the University. E-mail (the official form of communication, no lie) often fills my inbox each day, somewhere between 5-7 from the University alone (not to mention professors, organizations, and other students). The University is large, but it really is as big or small as you make it (I know thatÕs what they all say, but itÕs true). I see friends around campus on my way to pretty much every class (though it can make it hard to be on time when I have to stop and say hi). Getting involved in organizations and simply being more outgoing can really help. Be friendly with the other students in class. Strike up a conversation with the person sitting next to you in class (Texans are known for being nice after all). Just be friendly and get involved and youÕll have no problem shrinking the size of the University considerably. UT (at least in Texas) is often regarded pretty highly. Unless the person went to UT or has a close relative who goes here, I get one of two reactions usually: 1. ÒI heard that is a good school. Do you like it?Ó OR 2. ÒI love your football team. What do you think your prospects are for next seasonÓ (theyÕre always good by the way). There are tons of places to hang out in and around campus. The south mall (a grassy area that looks up that the Tower) is a popular place for people to simply lay down in the sun, read a book, or play ultimate Frisbee. The turtle pond (it is really pretty I think) is a place where youÕll find those students reexamining their lives as they look enviously at the simply lives of the turtles swimming in circles. The ÒdragÓ (the street on the western border of campus) is another popular hangout place. The ÒdragÓ has several local restaurants and coffee shops (ÒKEEP AUSTIN WEIRDÓ, youÕll figure it out when you come to Austin) as well as some cool stores like Urban Outfitters and American Apparel. ItÕs fun to simply sit down in Metro coffee shop and simply watch people walking outside. Austin is what I would consider the PREMIER college town. It really is amazing. There are tons of things to do and downtown is a lot of fun for going out. There are tons of bars/clubs on 6th street and tons of live music all over (weÕre the ÒLive Music Capital of the WorldÓ). Austin City Limits (ACL) is one of the largest music festivals in the nation (this year Bjork, The Killers, Muse, and 150+ others played, look at the list online) and South by Southwest is also amazing. The city seems Òyoung.Ó The city it so much fun! The UT administration is pretty good. They do a descent job of listening to students, but the best way to get things done is to have some way to get a foot in with Student Government. The administration tries to listen, but if there is something they are dead set on doing (like how theyÕre about to institute a +/- grading system), they will do what they want no matter what the student body says. The school does have a lot of pride. We like being Longhorns and take pride in our academics, our city, and our sports (especially football). One of my favorite things on campus is the Tower. I donÕt know what it is about this simple building, but it seems to evoke something in me, and many others, that few others understand. When the Tower is lit orange, I get a chill. The Tower seems to bring us all together, as Longhorns and as future leaders of the country.
Academic difficulty at UT differs greatly from major to major and college to college. If you take the initiative, professors will know who you are. Even in the largest classes I have had (ranging from 400-500 students), my professors have known my name, my major and even what I want to do with my life. The best way to accomplish this is to sit in the front, go the their office hours, and simply let yourself be known. You will need these professors for letters of recommendation for grad/law/med school, so make sure you get to know them (and make sure you make a good impression). My favorite class (it is really hard to choose) would have to be Religion and Sexuality. This was a class of 24 students where we read articles about femininity, women's rights, Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer (LGBTQ) issues, and looked at religious text and scholarly papers on religion to see how the two fit together (if they did at all). The class was mainly dialogue and a few papers. This made the class EXTREMELY engaging. I loved the professor and was greatly intrigued by the topic. My least favorite class would have to be my multivariable calculus class (M 408D). The professor was a little dry (it is math after all) and the TA was difficult to understand. For the most part though ALL of my professors have been GREAT. They really do seem to care about the students and the material they teach. Students study loads vary from person to person. If you want to do really well, you may (depending on your major of course) need to study quite a bit. If youÕre smart about it though, you can usually get by with a little bit of studying and going to class, office hours, and TA sessions (MAKE SURE YOU GO TO CLASS!). In class participation is encouraged. Even in the big classes (300-500) professors ask questions and they donÕt consider them to be rhetorical. I even had one professor in a class of about 300 students who wouldnÕt go on unless SOMEONE answered his class (which can be very intimidating in a class of this size). The smaller classes, like Spanish of other languages, require in class participation. Students tend to be pretty interested in learning. Even when where just hanging out, something that one of us will have learned from class will come up and weÕll talk about it. Things such as how the Garfield posters we all had in elementary/middle/high school that said ÒI learn through osmosisÓ are wrong (osmosis is exclusively used for the movement of water, diffusion would be a more universal and therefore appropriate term) or how baldness is transmitted from generation to generation have come up in conversation lately. Students tend to be very competitive. I remember when I first got to UT and I was ONLY a biology major. I am now a biology/chemistry pre-med double major, minoring in Spanish and government. Most students try to get involved in research (looks good for applications). Extracurricular activities are a must also. Professors are accessible outside of class (especially if you take the time to make an appointment). I had one professor tell me that he wished people came in more often to his office hours because it can get boring and lonely in there all alone.
With the large student body at UT, there are ALL KINDS of people. I am a Catholic (kind of, donÕt really like labels) Latino, gay man from an upper-middle class family. I am involved in the LGBTQ community (Queer Student Alliance, an agency of student government), but most of my close friends (with a few important exceptions of course) are straight people from all different races/ethnicities (there is an important difference), religions, socio-eco classes, and parts of the WORLD (there are quite a few international students at UT). People are really accepting here for the most part. Race is not a huge issue and a vast majority of people at UT (and in Austin) are in favor of LGBTQ rights. People get along great. Both of my roommates (two straight guys) and I will go to civil rights rallies or get involved with local campaign organizations. The only people who would feel out of place at UT are those students who arenÕt willing to try new things and accept people for who they are. Most students dress pretty typically. There is a very wide range though. You have everything from your popped collar, SperryÕs wearing Greek guys/girls to to emo/punk people to the ÒI just rolled out of bed and threw this onÓ people. In Austin you can pretty much get away with wearing whatever you want, anywhere you want without getting more than a second look. Students tend to be more politically active (weÕre not Berkley/Michigan, but weÕre not uninformed bystanders by any means either). Especially with the impending presidential primaries/general election, UT is in full political swing. UT held one of the Democratic primary debates and people went wild. Students were not given many tickets (we were outraged), but my friends and I got together at one of our apartments, ordered food and watched and debated alongside the Obama-Clinton debate. Obama has opened a campaign office on campus and people are rallying (mainly for Obama) all the time around campus. The political climate, like I said earlier, tends to swing left, but you can get anything you want here.
The Best Things
Austin and the atmosphere the campus exudes. I love campus and live for the experiences I get here!
The Worst Things
If I HAD to say something, it would be that there seems to be this sink or swim mentality. Much of what you need to know, you have to find out on your own. This is the REAL WORLD THOUGH so I don't think it is necessarily a bad thing.