I have a confession to make: I hate how quiet it is here. I work night shifts on campus, and the walk home at 3AM is a staunch reminder that this is indeed a commuter campus. The contrast between the overflowing parking lots during the day and the barren ones at night is always jaunting to me. Not many people are on campus during the breaks, but those who are can attest to how much of a ghost town this campus becomes. Before, without our new Tobor friends, it felt like any other abandoned area. At least now during the break the friendly Tobor fleet will give this campus some life, (even if it is robotic).
As I walk home, I realize my whole life is on this campus now. This is my home now, for better or for worse, and it took three semesters here for me to internalize that. I don’t drive, so besides the occasional trip on the DART, my roots are firmly planted here. Although I chose this university for its academic atmosphere, I still had the picture of the typical college experience in my head. Although I did not expect parties, I was at least expecting some more of the off the rails college activity that the movies I had watched as a kid promised. I never thought it would take this much time to feel like a college student. I’ve met my fair share of incredible people on campus, but there always seems to be something stopping me from feeling a part of the community here.
There’s not much I can do about it now, however. All that is left of this semester is dragging oneself through finals, doing what one can to prepare for the sunrise of stress that has crept up the once crane-filled horizon at this university. Regardless of the inevitable gauntlet finals are, I’m more focused on what comes next. How does one regain the energy and optimism that now seems irredeemable?
My current answer is to make new, obtainable plans. Regardless of your opinion of this university, one fact remains true: This university has so much potential for growth. There are so many opportunities for the students here to create new traditions. One can easily help people feel less alone by cultivating niche spaces for those who need them. Xone Mag, A collaborative zine for LGBT people of color was started just this semester. Amongst the multitude of religious organizations, ASH is an open space for those who are not religiously affiliated. Strings Attached, a club working to revitalize UTD’s music scene, recently brought me immense joy. There are spaces, or at least the opportunity for spaces to be created, for any niche subculture one may belong to.
To put it bluntly, there are too many unique, talented people here for us to be deemed the 9th saddest university by the Princeton Review. If you do not see a space for you here, create one! You may find that there are more people with similar interests to you than you’d believe. I invite anyone reading this to create an organization, start a band, participate in upcoming Comet Life events. Use your uniqueness to do what you can to make this university flourish with the sense of community we deserve.