Pursuing My Interests
Honestly, I never thought I’d come to UT Austin. I wanted to go to a conservatory to study acting, but I chose this school because it allowed me to pursue all of my interests at once: fine arts, history, and humanities. I honestly believe that this was the best choice for me; it gives me the special attention I need, as well as a big-atmosphere environment. The school spirit is unbeatable; we are good at just about everything (ranging from academics to athletics), and we have so many resources for the students (scholarships, social activities, etc.).
Also, I love Austin. If you want to get off campus and see a concert or go to the lake with your friends on a Saturday afternoon, you can!
Plan II – A Tremendous Undergraduate Experience
My time in Plan II has enhanced my undergraduate experience tremendously. Our professors hold us to a higher standard and my writing and research skills have improved tremendously in the past three years. Our classes are small and discussion-based, which enables me to hear differing opinions and perspectives on a wide range of issues and literature that I never would’ve been exposed to had I not applied to Plan II.
I would recommend this program to any prospective student because it teaches you to think for yourself and changes your world outlook. Plus, we have amazing resources in the program which provide many students with scholarships and travel opportunities.
Give yourself time to sleep on the information you’ve learned. I used to cram hours before a test which usually meant getting less sleep, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve found that studying the material and then getting a full night of sleep allows me to retain twice as much information. There’s something to be said of the phrase, “Sleep on it, y’all.”
Go to as many events as you can your freshman year. I met my three closest friends at orientation, and we’ve stayed close ever since. You’ll meet your lasting friends probably within the first month of your freshman year-where everyone is nervous and away from home for the first time. So go to as many events as you can and get to know people who have the same interests as you.
Living on campus
I live off campus, which I feel is a good fit for me now that I’m a junior. As a freshman, I would HIGHLY recommend living on campus your first year. It makes it a lot easier to get acclimated to where your classes will be, as well as make friends. Everyone is away from home for the first time, trying to make friends and a little overwhelmed with the changing environment. Being around people that are going through the same change is extremely valuable, and I made all of my long-lasting friends my first two weeks of school.
Balancing studying, friends, work & family
Have a planner. I have always kept a planner since I was in middle school, and I’ve needed it now more than ever. Keeping track of class, homework, meetings, work, rehearsal and even leisurely activities would be impossible without my agenda.
What to wear
Wear sneakers. This campus is large and you’ll do a lot of walking, so make sure you come to school with some comfortable footwear.
Adjusting to College with the Help of Others
Working with other students really paid off my freshman year as I was figuring out how to adjust to collegiate-level work. We all helped each other with study tips, time management and writing style. I have also become really close with my professors in the past three years. Visiting office hours is the best way to get a better handle on material that you feel shaky about. Additionally, going to office hours is a great way to get to know some amazing people.
UT Austin faculty has some of the most established scholars in their respective areas, and I’ve often gone to office hours just to hear what they have done.
UT Austin is an amazing academic institution; a degree from this school means something. Along with the invaluable education that we’re being given, we are making some amazing connections and friends along the way.
College isn’t just about the things you learn from your professors but about the students who are sitting beside you in the lecture hall. These people will be future C.E.O.s, politicians, artists, and Nobel laureates. You’ll carry on the friendships you make in college for the rest of your life, and they start here at UT Austin.
Also, UT Austin has one of the most creative and freeing environments that I’ve been in my whole life. I’ve learned so much about myself in the past three years, and I can’t wait to see where that takes me.
More about Kelli
I had a hard time my freshman year with adjusting to time management. College is a lot different than high school; a majority of the work is done on your own, outside of the classroom. I chose to become heavily involved in a bunch of organizations and the Theatre and Dance Department, along with my schoolwork and part-time job; it caught up with me in the fall of my freshman year. I have learned to manage my time wisely, and to this day, I sit down for an hour each Sunday and plan out my week and how I will get everything done.
I am a financially independent student, so money is of a huge concern to me. I am a full-time student with three majors, a part-time job and I am usually in rehearsals from 6-10 pm every night. I almost came to a point where I was contemplating dropping out of school for a semester so I could work to pay off tuition and rent. I applied for a bunch of individual scholarships within the College of Liberal Arts and College of Fine Arts and have received thousands of dollars in funding from UT Austin donors and alumni. I am so honored and forever thankful for the help these amazing people have provided me in the past three years.