Set Your World On Fire

3.31.2011

The bad news: I didn't get into my other schools and/or got wait listed.
The good news: It makes my decision significantly simpler! I'm officially UT bound. And yes, I can see you rolling your eyes, thinking "duh, we already knew that!" It just seems more real than ever right now. I've paid the deposit and even found a roommate! Now all that's left is changing my education status on Facebook.

So, in honor of this big day, I'd like to rewind and look back at how I got here. Many a post ago I posted about the Plan II program at UT. After receiving feedback from my other schools, I realized what a competitive year it was for applying to college. Every university reported that it has an overwhelmingly large applicant pool--all of them their biggest in history. Though they may just being making a feeble attempt to console us students who just saw the word rejection flash before our eyes, I do think it's getting harder every year.

Anyway, it made me realize how fortunate I am to have Plan II right in my neighborhood and to have been accepted into this program. Sometimes I get lost in the idea of going to such a large school like UT, but then I'm sweetly reminded that I have a small community awaiting me within this large, diverse campus. I'm oh so perked!

I think the recipe for getting in is a little luck and maybe some creative juices. From my research I found that they put a significant emphasis on your writing and creative ability. I sent in two essays to UT--one being the Emily essay and another about my struggle with maturing too quickly.

For Plan II specifically, however, I had to submit a personal statement. And this was the very, very, very daunting question they asked.

ACADEMIC/PERSONAL STATEMENT
Admissions essay prompts are designed to allow applicants to tell an admissions committee about themselves and to show how and why the applicant is a good fit for the school or program. First, we would like you to write a prompt, designed specifically for Plan II applicants, that accomplishes these tasks.

Then explain how this prompt would help Plan II identify individuals who understand the meaning of a Renaissance education for the 21st century. Also, explain how someone like yourself might employ such an education.

We are interested in seeing your creativity, your analytical ability, and what you might bring to Plan II. Your statement cannot exceed 250 words.

I know. Take that in for a second. After staring at my blank Word document for a while, I came up with this after several editing sessions.
PROMPT: Discuss how a piece of art, literature, music, or film has altered or colored your perspective of the world.

Within the items listed in this prompt lies paint on a canvas, words on a page, synthesized sounds, and images upon a screen. Students who exhibit the ability to recognize the greater meaning behind these ordinary matters are those who have the mind to grasp such complexity and the passion to want to understand it. This is the gift of critical thinkers: to transform fear and simplicity into enthusiasm and complexity.


My passion is in recognizing clothing as something far beyond tailored fabric. I aspire to be part of a fashion publication, and I believe the diversified study Plan II provides will enhance my creative thinking and writing abilities. In the future, I can draw on those moments of inspiration necessary in my career that will trace back to the cross-curricular ideas produced in my comprehensive studies.

Most majors gear a student for a specific study leading them on a predestined, narrow pathway. Plan II offers an education in the art of thinking and the tools to become passionate about learning itself, thus I can deviate from that linear pathway and explore the entirety of the world.


I want to set my world on fire. That is, to discover my passion and ignite that fire over my four years of study to make me a thinker, a writer, a learner, and ultimately, someone who finds meaning in everything I do.



And that is all she wrote. Hook 'em, y'all.

Round Up the Troops

3.29.2011

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My weekend started a day early as I skipped Friday to drive to Austin, Texas--the place I am likely to call home in less than five months. I got the chills as we drove into campus knowing that I would soon be making this drive with my bags packed, leaving Memorial for good. But, enough of the mushy gushy stuff. I had an absolute blast at Round Up. I will admit, though, it was exhausting, and at times extremely overwhelming. Let's call this weekend, um, Greek life on steroids.

Looking back, I think I experienced the perfect balance of excitement and anxiety for next year during my stay. I had a few moments where I missed home, my family, my bed, and a home-cooked meal. It dawned on me that I needed to cherish these treasures during my next few months at home and to take into account the smart decision of staying a two-hour drive away from home. Yet, at the same time I came to embrace this radically new environment and look forward to this journey ahead and being able to start fresh.

I was able to reconnect with girls from my school that I hadn't talked to in so long. If they agreed on one thing it was that this next year is the absolute best time of your life starting from the spring break trip throughout freshman year and if they had the chance, they'd do it all over again. I also met a lot of fresh faces, and there wasn't one girl I met that wasn't anything but bubbly, friendly, and so sweet. The motto of the weekend was "big girl gotta eat" as we all downed tacos, pancakes, hamburgers, Pluckers wings, fried pickles, and other sure-to-clog-your-artery food items. Some girls and I may or may not have made a Jack in the Box run at 4 in the morning...

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Meet Austin Waltmon. We took this picture in dedication to our brothers--Matt and Andy. They are the best of friends and both so happen to have senior siblings that will both be living in Austin next year. I see a blossoming friendship in the works. Speaking of Andy, my mom's favorite story from the weekend was that I got into an SAE foam party (after an hour of waiting and nearly dying of suffocation in a mosh pit from hell on wheels) by mentioning my brother's name and association with a high school rap group he was in--Iced Out Eskimoz. He doesn't like to speak of it now that he's 24, but let me tell you, everyone else I know sees his days as McConvict as his glory days. PS-it's probably my favorite story from the weekend, too.

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Liz came up for the weekend, although she is either Georgia or Louisiana bound. Tough call. I am a little bias for the tigers just so that she's closer to Texas!

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Whitney was one of my Young Life leaders freshman year whom I adore. She showed me around on the first night and was serving up pancakes at that annual Theta Pancake feast. I had heard all the hype about these flapjacks, but I didn't know what to expect considering I've always been team French toast when breakfast time came. I clearly underestimated these heavenly treats. There were several varieties--some filled with breakfast meats, some with fruits like blueberries, the classic chocolate chip, and for those with an even sweeter tooth, you could swing for the M&M or Oreo.

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We walked everywhere. I haven't quite got the Greek 'hood figured out yet, but I'm slowly beginning to form a map in my head and I think I'll be able to master it within a few weeks of living in Austin. Let's hope anyway.

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I rode up with Mary Caroline (right) and here she is pictured with her roommate Allie. They met through a mutual friend--Josephine actually! There was roommate frenzy left and right with all the girls staying at Hardin. Some girls have cousins they're rooming with, some with girls from their school they never got to know, and some are still searching. I fall in the last category for now!

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We took a little detour from the constant moving from house to house routine to snack on some snow cones at Sno Beach. It's just a little cart tucked in a shopping center, but it serves up delicious shaved ice with an overwhelming amount of flavors and is a campus favorite.

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On a normal day, Katie here would stick out like a sore thumb on campus, but during Round Up weekend, this neon sorority-labeled gear is the norm. Round Up is the weekend where all the Greeks rep their sorority or fraternity. They all buy the gear ahead of time and the girls pass out their sorority items for the boys to wear as well.

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So after a long weekend of very little sleep, I came home to Houston with yet another party to gear up for--our first graduation party! The dance floor was packed with boys and girls two-stepping to the music of local band Emory Quinn--a Texas A&M favorite. My brother claims he's buds with the gang, and well, I guess I believe him. I just didn't know rappers and country singers mingled. Learn something new every day I suppose.

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Here's the boys in action.

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So how's that for a busy weekend? A special thanks to Camryn for letting me bunk with her at Hardin! And to all of you who took us baby Longhorns under your wing and showed us the ropes, we love you and couldn't be more grateful!

2 4 6

3.27.2011

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{NYC--the home of NYU, the second college to give me some feedback at last!}

My sleeping habits never cease to amaze me. I got roughly three hours of sleep last night and am blogging at 11:20 tonight without a single cat nap. And I'm still wired. Something is seriously wrong with me. Round Up was a major success--lots of free food (let's be honest, mostly free fried food...freshman fifteen here I come), meeting and greeting, neon tanks, foam, friends, walking, sweating, and fun. Very little sleep though. I'll reveal pictures and report more later on my ATX adventures as well as tonight's grad party. But while we're on the college topic, I guess I'll share that I got into NYU this morning! Finally some more feedback. Four more to go...

Keep Marching On

3.23.2011

I think a "random blabbing" is way overdue, so here she is! I have yet to hear from the other five schools I applied to, and I'm getting freaking antsy over here. Not that it really matters because I am 99.6% sure I'm Texas bound, but I don't want to seal my fate just yet. Plus, I'm jealous of everyone getting all perked with their acceptance letters. Because of automatic admission, I really haven't had that rush of tearing open that envelope awaiting to see what it holds inside. I'll keep you posted since the results should be coming in shortly after April 1st.

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I ordered this print for my room today. I recently revamped my room a little, adding a little more sophistication and little more me to it. My mom painted over the light yellow shade with a soothing grey while I was in New York, and I love it. It's much more calming. I've been longing to do a post on my little sanctuary, but haven't gotten around to it. Anyway, ever since the paint job the walls have looked a little bare so my first step in filling them will be with this modern piece. I like the simple typeface and graphics. There's nothing complicated about it; it says what it means and that's why I was drawn to it. Now the only question is whether it'll stay here in Houston or travel to Austin with me to inspire me to keep up with BOD.

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{the headitors putting on a happy face at one of many late nights}

We're less than two weeks away from being completely finished with the yearbook. It's been a long but rewarding process. I can't give enough applause to Lana, Dani, and Claire who have put so much of their blood, sweat, and tears into this book, and I have loved working alongside them. They keep me grounded, always know how to make me laugh even in stressful situations, and I know we'll keep in touch in the years to come. I really think we're creating a wonderful product and I can't wait for everyone (especially the senior class) to enjoy it.

Speaking of MHS publications, the senior issue is finally in the works. The last issue of our school newspaper, The Anvil, traditionally honors the senior class with underclassmen advice, a list of everyone's college destinations, senior wills and the best part of all--the superlatives. The awards include classics like Most Attractive, Most Fashionable, Biggest Flirt, Most Likely to be President, and Most Likely to Make You Laugh. Then there's the more unique ones like Mr. and Mrs. Facebook, Memorial Mom and Dad, and Should Have Dated. Half the fun is just thinking about my own responses. The surveys were released today and it was the hot topic amongst the senior class.

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I miss Gossip Girl. I need my weekly fix.

Current song on repeat: No Sleep -Wiz Khalifa

Our valedictory addresses are due on Friday. There's nineteen of us and only one is selected after we present them to a panel. I always told myself I wasn't going to write one; I just thought someone else should have the honor. I've had my spotlight with cheerleading and what not. Then, of course, the time came and I couldn't resist taking a whack at it. There's something that I love about reflective writing like that, looking back on these four years that have been so defining in our lives thus far, and getting all mushy about it. So, yes, I wrote one and we'll see what happens but regardless of the outcome, I enjoyed writing it and perhaps I'll share it with you all in the future.

I have a timed writing on Shakespeare's Richard III tomorrow...ROUGH.

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{graduation party hosts}

I'm excited for an eventful weekend ahead of me. I'm taking off Friday at school for Round Up at Texas. Essentially, it's a weekend where every sorority and frat throws an event for their charity and the parties are back to back to back. I can't wait to transport myself to college life for a weekend and get a sneak peak into my life for the next four years. Then I get to come back to celebrate the past four years with all my friends at our first graduation party. There's a whopping 22 people throwing it, many of which are my good friends like Caro! So it'll be a weekend honoring what's to come and what we're leaving behind--lots to miss and lots to look forward to, but most importantly, lots to celebrate!

Happy Happy Joy Joy

3.22.2011

I feel like people get lost when they think of happiness as a destination. We're always thinking that someday we'll be happy. We'll get that car or that job or that person in our lives that'll fix everything, but happiness is a mood and it's a condition, not a destination. It's like being tired or hungry; it's not permanent. It comes and goes and that's okay, and I feel like if people thought of it that way, people would be happier.

So whether it's travel,
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{a fellow yearbook reporter, ellie, who spent her spring break exploring paris and versailles}

Chasing your own dreams no matter how big or small,
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{my darling nephew, sam, on his third birthday dressed in his current dream job attire}

Indulging in your favorite comfort food guilt-free,
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Pretending like you're a kid again,
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{my nieces ana and cecilia with sam}

Spending time with the girls,
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or getting inspired,
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Make sure you
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{all other photos courtesy of Reserved Theory}
Have a wonderful Wednesday.


Let's End With a Bang

3.20.2011

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Julianne and I decided it was about time we weren't the last ones eating breakfast and got up at a shocking 8:30am on our last full day in Ixtapa. Although this was due in part to a loud knocking at 8 am...that's just one downfall of having your room being the party room thus the only room number the boys have memorized. Anyway, the boys went off to surfing or scuba diving so the girls had the place to themselves and instead of getting all sandy and sticky yet again (ew. the horror!), we stuck to the pool.

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After a nice laying out session, Caroline, Julianne, Kirby and I went to get massages. A big group had gotten them the day before (including Caro) and highly recommended them. Plus, it was only $20 for an hour. That's like the tip rate over here in the states, so we couldn't pass it up. And let me tell you, it was worth every peso.

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Shannon, Julianne, Caro, Brent, and I taking a dip in the pool with Barrett close behind

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Here's Caro and I with our troublemaker Junior Girls dates. To ask Brad and Tyler to this formal coming up in a couple of weeks, we set them up to get in trouble with our principal. We filled out a senior survey a few weeks back, so we got blank copies and put their names on them and put very inappropriate answers for all the questions. We even had Caro's little brother assist for some male handwriting. They got called into the office and it went beautifully--they turned white, freaked out, and even argued that they would give handwriting samples. Our principal threatened to take away their exemptions, suspend them, and call their parents. Then Mrs. Cole told them to look at how inappropriate what they wrote on the back was and it said: JUNIOR GIRLS? And Caro and I walked in with freshly baked cupcakes to ease all the pain they just went through! It was priceless. The nerves were tangible in the room. I think they're laughing about it now...but this picture makes me question that.

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The parents organized a catamaran boat. We liked to call it the booze cruise. We jammed to everything from Lime Tree to I'm On A Boat.

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My favorite girls!

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I got a little seasick but that didn't stop me from enjoying watching the sunset and taking in the beautiful views.

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Caroline and I soaking in every minute of the last night. We went to a Mexican restaurant, hit up our favorite Tree House, and then the classic Senor Frogs. My favorite part of the night, though, was gathering on the beach with some of my best friends and talking until five in the morning.

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The Saturday group getting ready to board the bus and head home to Texas

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Tyler was in the second group so he had one more night and was sad to see practically all his friends leave. For all of you that were worried, he survived the last night and somehow made some new friends...we're all very proud of you!

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What's wrong with this picture? I think an Aggie snuck into this pic!

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To all of my fellow Ixtapa travelers, I'm going to miss this so much! From all the late late nights/mornings in 908 to Charlie and the Chocolate Factorying it with the beds to the hairy man on television to Marshall using my Queen Latifah shampoo to searching for buckets to Oso Negro to the Good Ole Boy, Loose Canon, Diva, All-American, and Blossoming Swan to Tyler's astronomy theories to monkey brains to Britney to Goooooo Wayne!! to Caro falling in the bushes to funny beach and all the other laughs we shared, I'm glad we all did this together! Quiero a todos mucho!


Nueve Cero Ocho

3.19.2011

Every morning, we woke up to a fresh breakfast of pastries, fresh fruit, and our own custom omelette station with anything our hearts desired. We were living the good life here in Ixtapa. The next stop after the breakfast table was the beach. Monday was the first day both groups would have a full day together.

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My bestie Caroline and I

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Julianne with juniors Rachel and Mason. Rach and Mas had siblings on the trip and tagged along with their families. I loved getting to know both of them! These lucky girls get to experience the senior trip twice.

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There are constantly people strolling down the sands asking for you to get tattoos or do some sort of water activity, but when we were approached to parasail we couldn't resist. The girls were fortunate enough to be able to go in pairs, but the boy weren't quite as lucky due to their weight...hence Tyler's expression in this next pic...

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Here we are strapped in and ready to go!

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I'm not gonna lie; I was a wee bit nervy before we took off. I was pleased to find it perfectly comfortable and safe and the views were breathtaking.

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After our lunch at the resort while everyone else was getting massages (rough life)

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On Monday night, the parents had arranged reservations at the hotel restaurant for the whole group so we got a little dressier for a nice sit down dinner, which of course for Marshall and Del means some shades.

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Love ya Brooke!

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The whole gang

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Cheer partners--Barrett, Aubrey, Brent and me

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Our table at the dinner

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Told you it was always a party in 908! We changed after dinner into more dancing appropriate outfits because as you will see...

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We get down.