Name: Khadija Sheikh
Favorite study spot on campus: Perry-Casteñda Library (PCL) 5th Floor
Change in Game Plan
The best unexpected thing that’s happened to me since I arrived is the fact that I have become so organized. My first month here I lived life as before—being clumsy, lazy, and procrastinating—but it struck me that if I want to succeed, this game plan wouldn’t take me to the end. After practicing time management for my first year, it has now become a habit and allows me to have time for my friends and family while still focusing on school and work.
This is my first year being a Connexus Mentor. The Connexus program gives its freshmen a chance to have a mentor for their first semester at UT. I am assigned to three mentees who are all from Houston but have different majors. Being a mentor has changed the way I look at UT and what it has to offer. Before, UT was a great school which offered the best education to its students. It was not until after that I had to answer my mentees’ questions that I realized that UT has to offer a lot more than just good education. UT has to be a place for everyone, and it makes sure that people who deserve a quality education get one.
I have grown to appreciate UT a lot more than I did before because of the ways it puts students first. I am awed by the efforts of the administration to bring diversity to this school and make it a true Texas school. Being a mentor has opened my eyes to the great offerings UT has and has made me appreciate this school like never before.
More about Kadija
I was born and raised in Lahore, Pakistan. My family moved to Houston in summer of 2005. I belong to a middle class Muslim family who holds its family traditions very close to their hearts.
- Study location on campus or off campus: Perry-Casteñda Library (PCL) 5th Floor
- Place to eat on or near campus: Kerbey Lane
- Class: Gov 310L taught by Dr. M. Jamail
Fill in the blank: I can’t ____ without ____________.
I can’t live without support from family and friends.
Something So Big and Famous
Summer of 2003, I went on a camping trip with cousins to Whidbey Island in Washington. Having breakfast in a little town at 9 in the morning, a guy came up to me, made the horns and said, “Hook ’em, Horns.”
I was taken aback for a bit but then I realized I was wearing a Longhorn cap. The fact that people recognize this school at the other end of the country made me want to be a part of something so big and famous.
Put My Heart into It
Nursing was something that I did not have in mind as a career. However, having parents who wanted me to do something in medicine I decided to become a nurse because it meant less schooling and a good salary.
I started volunteering at a hospital and saw nurses who have life changing impact on people, and this really put my heart into it. There is nothing else that I want to do now because I see how nurses bring a smile to their patient’s faces. Nothing can ever substitute for the respect and honor of this career and I have never regretted my decision, ever.
Kadija’s Advice on…
NOTE CARDS. Having note cards is very convenient because you can take them anywhere you go and look over them while you are on the bus or just killing time before classes.
Talking to your neighbor in class is very effective—of course, not when the professor is saying what is going to be on the test! If you make friends in class you get exposed to many more people and this gives you a chance to get study buddies and also Friday night hang out buddies all in one.
What to wear/not to wear
Do not waste your time dressing up for class. Throw on jeans and a regular t-shirt with some tennis shoes and you are ready for a day at UT. The amount of walking that one has to do on campus is not fit for wearing heels. Just be comfortable!
Parking/transportation around campus
It is best to use the UT shuttles. Bringing a car to campus without having a place to park is not a very wise decision. The shuttles are available all day and they go almost everywhere around Austin. Above all, they are free and even the Metro is free for UT students. Save the car for that trip to HEB and use the shuttles for your day at school.
Being a successful student
Study at least an hour for the class you had that day. It is important to go over the lecture the same day because it is easier to retain information that way. Also, make note cards because they are easier to carry around and can retain a lot more information than one would think they can.
Balance in studying/friends/work/family
It is very important that your friends and family know that you have a responsibility towards your grades. Instead of every day, call your parents every other day if you don’t have time. Make sure your friends realize that when it is time for your studying they should not bother you. Grab lunch with friends before going to the library or get coffee after you are done at the library. Studying is very important and that is the reason you are at UT so try not to jeopardize that.
Work somewhere where they can give you a flexible schedule that doesn’t interfere with classes or study time. Work on campus rather than working at Abercrombie because on campus they are more understanding and realize that you have to study. Do not feel guilty for not having dinner with friends because you had to study or that you didn’t call your parents that day. Be polite and your loved ones will understand that you are not being rude, but you just want to focus on school work.
Living on campus
I have never lived on campus. For me, having a kitchen of my own was a big issue because I like having the leisure of making coffee at 3 in the morning or cooking my own dinner. It was also financially suitable for me because it is much cheaper to share off campus than on campus. However, not being on campus kept me away from social events and I did not make many friends. I see people who get the real college experience their freshmen year and I am still yearning for it. I would only recommend living off campus your first year if finances are an issue. However, if you want to make many friends and be around where the life is then living on campus is the choice you should make—especially your freshmen year.
Someone Who Just Listens
During my time at UT, I have gotten to know my Connexus advisor well. Over the summer I was going through some rough time with family and the first person I emailed was my advisor. He was kind enough to have me sit in his office and talk things out. He helped me come up with ways to deal with the issues at hand. It is due to him that I am still a part of UT and working towards achieving my goal of graduating. I believe that it is very important to have one-on-one contact with faculty, staff, or other students. Life in college has its ups and downs, and it’s always good to have someone who just listens.
Send Kadija an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.