Name: Franzi Roesner
Hometown: Austin, Texas
High school: Westwood High School
Expected graduation: May 2008
The Perfect Distance
I chose UT Austin because it offers the best bang for your buck coming from in-state. The fact that it was in the town I grew up in wasn’t a huge plus initially, but I quickly discovered that it was actually perfect. I was able to be out on my own, developing my own life, while still being able to get to my parents’ house in half an hour if I needed or wanted to. It’s the perfect distance, especially when you are really away from home for the first time.
Finding Someone to Mesh With
My freshman year, I had a terrible roommate. The fact that we weren’t too similar wouldn’t have been a problem in and of itself, except that her lifestyle actually interfered with mine. The worst was that no matter what I tried, she talked on the phone when I was trying to sleep. Fortunately, I had a friend who let me sleep over at her apartment once in a while. The next year I made sure to room with someone I had met in a class who I knew I’d mesh with. It was an amazing experience especially by comparison, and we’re still friends. My advice about roommates is whether you knew them already or not, set up rules as soon as you can, before routines develop and you feel too awkward.
Turing Scholars Honors
I joined the Turing Scholars Honors Program in my second year at UT. The class dynamics were so different from the CS classes I was taking before, and I quickly made new friends in my major, which I hadn’t really done before. Some of them I still consider close friends. I also got to gradually know several professors better. It made me feel a lot more at home in the major and the university.
A Wonderful Study Abroad Experience
During the summer of 2006, I studied abroad in Arles, France for six weeks. I had a wonderful time. I lived with a great host family and got to know their friends, many of whom were host parents for other students in the program. I got to see a lot of the area (my favorite day trip was to the Pont du Gard) and my French improved – or at least my willingness to speak it! A year and a half later, I’m still in touch with a number of people from the program, both in France and in the U.S. I definitely recommend that everyone study abroad if possible.
How to be a successful student
I always try to procrastinate as little as possible. I feel calmer when I do my work earlier, because even though I spend the same total amount of time on them, it’s less pressed. (Of course, that doesn’t always work out…) Use a planner; I don’t know how I’d survive without one.
Unless you’re lucky, at the beginning it can seem like it’s impossible to become close friends with anyone. But remember that you didn’t instantly become close with the people you were/are friends with at the end of high school either, so just be a little patient and it will work out soon enough.
Parking/transportation around campus
If you’re living on campus and have a car, get a garage permit if you can afford it. If not (and I never had one), don’t necessarily bother getting a C permit – I only used it to park in front of the dorm on weekends, and during the week I usually parked on Dean Keeton or somewhere on West Campus.
Living on or off campus
I lived on campus (in Andrews in the honors quad) for two years. I would recommend living on campus at the beginning, for a year or two, so that you can meet people and feel more connected to campus. After that, I recommend moving off campus. I’ve lived in apartments for two years now, and I love it. When I was a little older and past the initial college experience, it was really important to me to have some more privacy and a real home with a kitchen and everything. I share the apartment with someone, so it’s not lonely at all, and just the right amount of privacy. It’s also nice to have my school life separated a little from my home life.
Learning through Research
Since the fall of my third year, I’ve been doing computer architecture-related research supervised by Dr. Doug Burger. It was really hard getting started, because I constantly felt completely dumb (and still do sometimes!). But whenever I actually look at what I’ve learned and done since I started, thanks to the patient help of my advisor and many of the grad students in the research group, I’m surprised at how much it is. Whether or not I actually continue in that direction, it’s been an incredible learning experience on various levels and I would do it again.
Not Ready to Go
I’ve met so many wonderful people from whom I’ve learned so much. I know that I’ll stay in touch with many of these people, both friends and professors. I have also had many really great classes, and I’m always surprised at how many connections I find between my two majors. I thought I’d be more ready for graduation to come, but now that I’m in my last semester, I’m actually not ready to go!
Way too many!!!
- Mean Girls by Mark Waters
- Leben der Anderen, Das (The Lives of Others) by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
Thing about Austin
There’s a lot of nature and a lot of city stuff all close together.