As a senior in high school, even in Karachi, Pakistan, I, like many others, spent hours researching, selecting and applying to various colleges. Throughout the process, I realized this would be an exciting and life-changing decision. I wanted to join an institution that not only offered a world-class education but also provided an environment that would mold me as a person ready to accept challenges and thrive in the professional world. I could not continue higher education in Pakistan. Being a third-world country, Pakistan did not have the quality of education that I required to achieve my goals.
Hence, I finally decided to take the arduous journey of 8,000 miles, zipping through various airports, to the doors of the University of Texas at Austin. The 40 Acres was going to be home for the next four years. As I sat through the long flight, I had some time to reflect. I knew I had just crossed the threshold of adolescence into independent adulthood. And I knew that with this independence comes responsibility. In Austin, I would no longer have the luxury of having domestic caretakers. I would have to make my own decisions and learn to become self-reliant for everything. While this responsibility looks different for different people, it is perhaps the most important aspect of a student’s college life.
As incoming freshmen, we are told that college is all about new beginnings and meeting new people. College is truly the cultural melting pot of America. This is where lifelong friendships are forged and one becomes aware of the diversity and beautiful color that is added to life by people of all sorts of backgrounds and experiences. This is where the learning begins, where we learn to celebrate differences and resolve conflicts civilly, where we learn to become true citizens of this rich and diverse world population.
I feel I can speak for most of the incoming freshmen when I say that every one of us is worried about adjusting to college life. One of the most important things this adjustment period teaches us is the importance of being polite and humble. No one wants an arrogant friend, and in order to fit in with all the different social groups, freshmen need to put aside their haughtiness.
These four years away from family and friends will play a key role in establishing lifelong friendships with my peers at UT. I hope to forge friendships with students from all kinds of races and ethnicities.
Another important part of college is to learn the value of time, to make decisions at the right time and act accordingly. I hope to accomplish this as quickly as I can, because it would only make my college experience more fruitful.
I am a true believer that education that is imparted in the classroom is enriched and enhanced by our experiences outside the confines of the lecture hall. What better place than UT to take that first step in becoming an accomplished global citizen and the next generation of professional?
On my first day on campus, I was intimidated by the 40 Acres and I thought it would be impossible to find my way around. I missed home, where everything was familiar, but as I walked around campus from one building to another meeting new people, I stopped thinking about Karachi. There is so much to explore at UT that I am hoping it keeps me occupied, and hopefully in the coming four years, it will come to feel like home.
Mahar is an economics freshman from Karachi, Pakistan.