Looking back on my time at SMU, I can vividly remember my first moments as a Mustang. On the first day of classes freshman year, I walked across campus knowing only one thing to be certain: I didn’t know anybody. I bravely entered SMU with one friend, my roommate who I had met on my admitted students tour in the spring. Who should I sit with in class? Should I eat peanut butter pretzels for lunch again? Do I wear Vans or Nikes? Who is Professor Sloan? What’s the difference between the Fondren Science and Dedman Life Sciences buildings anyway? These are the types of questions that ran through my head.
Experiencing Freshman Moments
Each person I met became a contender for my future best friend. As I marched past the Cox Business School, I was confident that I would one day be a Marketing major. I took my semester day by day. I was thriving off of the opportunity to make new friends, but secretly relished the moments I could spend escaping the Texas heat and decompressing in my air conditioned dorm room. My first semester was certainly unsettling and uncomfortable, but I just smiled and enjoyed the chaos of my college campus. “I’m a freshman at SMU,” I proudly told everyone I met.
As it turns out, I have made meaningful friendships in my classes. I don’t like peanut butter pretzels very much. Nikes became my preferred shoes to wear to class. I ended up avoiding both Fondren Science and Dedman Life Sciences as much as possible. Professor Sloan, my DISC professor, is still one of my favorite professors and made me the confident writer that I am today. I ran away from the Marketing program in pursuit of my true passion: CCPA. I am two weeks away from completing three majors.
Achieving Comfort and Confidence
I can’t quite articulate the moment when it happened, but one day I stopped having to make an effort to find familiar faces as I walked to my classes. Older girls took me under their wings. I progressed through the UC curriculum and began to focus on my major. I participated in on-campus activities such as my dorm’s intramural soccer team. Finally, I started to collect a unique set of friends who each enriched my life in different ways.
As I look back on my time as an undergraduate at SMU, I laugh remembering the things that used to stress me out. I smile thinking about the big moments that people assume define a college experience. The first days of classes, game days, freshman year convocation, a formal, Bid Day, a fall break trip, themed fraternity parties, Homecoming weekend, an award ceremony, a final presentation, or move-in day are examples of those shiny moments of college. Although the big events hold a special place in my memory, they are not the defining moments of my SMU experience.
Looking Back on My Time at SMU
For me, the little moments carry even more weight. Ordering Chick-Fil-A milkshakes on a whim and the goofy moments my roommate and I shared in our dorm were highlights of my freshman and sophomore years. The meaningful connections I made with my CCPA professors have shaped my academic experience and life. Sitting on the Dallas Hall lawn with friends as a much-needed break from Fondren is an experience I will most definitely miss. Walking up the boulevard and petting every dog in sight defines many game days for me. The excitement I felt each August upon the start of a new school year is unparalleled. Overlapping with my sister for a year on campus made every day feel like family weekend.
As a senior, I stroll across the very same Dallas Hall lawn with the sense of ease and confidence I saw seniors exude throughout the years, but never thought I would achieve myself. Even though the campus itself has not changed, I have seen tremendous personal and intellectual growth during my time at SMU. SMU encourages its students to be world changers. I truly hope that I can make an impact on society one day. For now, I’m just proud of the lives and people I’ve influenced here on the hilltop. I will always say that I am an SMU alumna with the greatest amount of pride. The gusto with which I told people I was an SMU freshman will never fade. Thank you for everything, SMU.