Name: Megan Sudderth
Hometown: Dallas, TX
Expected graduation: May 2008
Key to Success: Finding Your Niche
As a high school junior and senior, I really didn’t know where I wanted to go to college. I knew that I wanted to stay in Texas, but I initially had a hard time deciding which schools to apply to. Then, I came to visit UT and Plan II with my dad. I took a tour, sat in on a class, and looked around the dorms. We visited in September, and I knew then that if I got in here, this was where I wanted to be. To me, UT felt like a good fit. Though it was the biggest school I was looking at, I knew (and have since confirmed) that the key to success here was finding your niche.
For me, the adjustment from a small, Catholic, all-female school in Dallas (Ursuline Academy) was very difficult. Though several women from my high school came to UT, I still felt very lonely for the first few weeks I was here. What really helped me meet people and feel better about being here was joining organizations and getting involved. Once I got to know people in my classes and on campus, it started to feel more like home.
Scholarship, Leadership, and Service
My involvement with the Orange Jackets has shown me the importance of service to campus and to the Austin community. Orange Jackets was founded in 1923 as the first women’s service organization at UT. We wear orange vests to symbolize our commitment to the University, and our main tenets are scholarship, leadership, and service. We serve as the official hosts of the University.
One of Orange Jackets’ privileges is leading “The Eyes of Texas” on the field before home football games. The first time I got to wear my vest, face the student section, and sing “The Eyes,” I had tears in my eyes. Seeing a sea of burnt orange, all with horns up, singing proudly, was overwhelming. UT has incredible school spirit, and getting to experience it firsthand at football games nearly every week in the fall is such a privilege.
More about Meggie
Book: The God of Small Things by Arundati Roy
Movie: For Love of the Game, a baseball movie with Kevin Costner
Class: Constitutional Law with Dr. Benjamin Gregg (it made me want to go to law school)
Pastime: Crossword puzzles
The best unexpected thing that’s happened to me since I arrived
I knew that I would meet people when I came to UT, but I didn’t know that I would meet such incredible people who would change my life the way they have. Everyone from my boyfriend to my academic advisor to each of my professors has had a profound effect on me, and I know I am a better person for having known them. I have met all of these people at the university.
To me, that is one of the best things about UT: you never know who you will meet with an amazing story, a kind word, or a challenge that will help you grow.
A Personal, Inviting Place
The College of Liberal Arts is the largest on campus. Despite its size, I have found it to be a very personal, inviting place. Interacting with the faculty in Liberal Arts has been a wonderful experience. Plan II, Government, and English professors (and I’m sure all the others in Liberal Arts) are dedicated to helping their students become interested in the topics of their courses.
Plan II students and staff often say that the program provides an Ivy League education at a state school price. I couldn’t agree more. The professors and classes are some of the best at UT, plus the curriculum combines liberal arts, humanities, and the sciences. Plus, there is a lot of freedom to take courses that I am interested in.
One of my introductory Government courses, required for all students, was on Constitutional Law. The professor, Benjamin Gregg, was so engaging. He made the class so interesting and fun to attend. After taking another Government course, the US Congress, I knew that I wanted to major in Government. I feel like it is a way to learn about how our country is run and about how nations around the world interact with one another.
As long as I can remember, I have loved to read. I never thought that this, combined with my love of writing, would lead me to be an English major, but after my Plan II freshman World Literature course with Dr. Rossman, I was inspired to take more English courses. Five semesters later, I have taken everything from a course on pre-Shakespearean drama to a course on Victorian melodrama and a course on Literary Theory.
Having nearly completed three full years in these majors, I am constantly more excited by them because I see how they are interrelated.
Advice and insight about…
Make a review sheet if you can. Even if it is just a list of concepts to help you organize your thoughts, the process of sitting down and writing or typing the information that you learned from the lectures and the reading is a great way to start studying.
Balancing studying / friends / work / family
Keep a planner! The Co-op sells great planners with all of the important UT dates already printed inside. For me, my planner is the key to staying organized with my classes, my organizations, and even important family events (birthdays, anniversaries, etc.).
Living near campus
I live off campus in the Scottish Rite Dorm. I like living at SRD because it is so close to campus. Because of its proximity, I still feel very connected to campus, and I am close enough to walk to the library to study. If my off campus dorm were further away, I know it would be a different experience.
I would recommend living on or very close to campus, especially freshman year. There is so much that happens on campus outside of classes, and it’s easy to go home and not participate if you live far away. Plus, I love living in a dorm. Through getting to know my neighbors, I have made some of my best friends. To me, it is an important part of the college experience.
Being an orientation advisor
When I tell people that I was an Orientation Advisor, they usually ask about how many freshmen I advised or how many campus tours I gave. One thing people don’t realize is that the experience of being an OA changed me. We learned so much about identifying with people who are different than us. At a school as large as UT, there are so many different opinions, backgrounds, and personal experiences. My training as an OA and the experience of working with over 7,000 incoming students and their parents helped reaffirm my desire to help others and challenged me to understand how I relate to them.
E-mail Meggie at email@example.com.