My first year at UT was definitely a rollercoaster. I had many ups and downs, but, just like any rollercoaster, the ride was overall pretty awesome. It has been fun living in Austin, Texas. The weather is perfect, and the people are great. Austin has become like a second home already.
Before I came to UT, my college counselors told me that one of the hardest things in college would be the classes, as well as learning to study and manage my time wisely. I already suspected the classes would be way tougher than they were in high school, since classes are meant to get tougher as the years progress, and that learning to study would be very difficult to me since I never really had to study in high school. I did, however, believe that I would be able to manage my time wisely because, all throughout high school, I carried a planner with me where I wrote down all of my activities and what I planned to accomplish that day. It wasn’t until after my first round of midterms that I found myself having difficulty. The amount of projects that I had to complete increased as the semester advanced. My classes became more and more difficult, which means I had to set aside more time to go to office hours and study. Yet I prevailed and my GPA reflected my successes and struggles. The cycle repeated itself the second semester, though I got better at organizing my time.
When I first moved to Austin, my parents feared that I would get stuck in my room, because I was scared to do things on my own or needed them to help make decisions. Now, I have learned how the bus system works and easily go all over. I have also gained more confidence around decision making. This is one of my greatest successes! Although I spent most of my first semester alone, scared to meet other people, I joined a service organization my second semester, which has been great! I definitely met a group of people that I would like to keep around me for the next three years. Overall, I believe that I have grown from being a shy, unsure girl to a more confident woman, readier for the real world than before, thanks to my freshman year at UT Austin.
Andrea is an alumna of KIPP Houston High School and just completed her freshman year at the University of Texas in Austin. Andrea's mother wrote a recent OpEd in the Houston Chronicle about fair funding for public charter schools that you can read here.