By Caroline Gurley
This summer, I had the opportunity to study abroad in Oxford, England. This was one of my greatest memories of college thus far. I studied in Oxford with around eighty other SMU students and we had a fantastic time. I took two classes completely outside of my major while I was there. I am an Electrical Engineer and I took two classes that focused on antiquity. I know more about Greek and Roman culture than I ever thought I would! An SMU professor taught one of these classes while an Oxford tutor taught the other. This allowed all of the students to see the difference between higher education in England and higher education in the U.S. Personally, I had a great experience with both professors, but I developed a relationship with my SMU professor that I hope will continue throughout my time at SMU.
(Picture of Caroline taken at Blenheim Palace in the United Kingdom)
Of course I learned an enormous amount academically, but I learned even more about myself. I found a new confidence in myself that I never would have gotten in the U.S. After my luggage got lost and credit card got compromised, I thought I was going to get on the next plane to the U.S. I stuck it out, handling both problems with limited communication with my parents, and learned that I can handle a lot more than I thought.
Studying abroad was the best decision that I have made at SMU. I learned just as much about myself as I did about the subjects that I was studying and the culture I was absorbing.
By Carlyle Reid
This year I got to re-live my experience at Mustang Corral as a leader. Mustang Corral is a summer orientation camp for all incoming First-Years to SMU. I was a leader for incoming students to my Residential Commons, Loyd Commons. The entire three days were spent competing for points towards the Commons Cup, a “Harry Potter”-like competition between all of the eleven Residential Commons, where at the end of the semester, one commons will reign supreme and receive the Cup rights for the year.
(Picture taken at “Club Corral”, a dance party on the last night of Mustang Corral)
All of SMU was divided into three different camps. The Commons attending my camp were Armstrong, Crum, Virginia-Synder, and Loyd. We played games ranging from Commons Trivia (trivia about SMU), Capture-the-Commons (Capture the Flag), to the Rotunda Games (a fun field day). In addition to games for points towards the Commons-Cup, students are also put into small groups of about 12-16 students led by a leader from their Commons, where they do a variety of activities and get any questions about SMU answered. Unfortunately, Loyd did not win the weekend’s points, but we did come up with some awesome cheers and songs that we will continue to sing forever. We also developed a top secret hand-sign (make an L with your Pointer and Middle Finger sticking together for the L).
I loved being a leader at Mustang Corral because I got to know many students who are living with me in my Residential Commons this year. It was also fun to see incoming first years getting to know each other. Over 90% of incoming first-years attend Mustang Corral, so it is a great way for First-Years to make friends! In spite of the rivalries with other commons, we also got to know people in other Commons.
The picture attached shows my favorite event at Mustang Corral, to me, really shows SMU’s community. The last night at camp, we have “Club Corral,” where we play music and dance. The whole camp had glow sticks, and we were having so much fun dancing, that we had to cut off the dancing at 1 AM (sadly, we had to get up to leave the next day at 8 AM). I had so much fun and hope to go to Mustang Corral again next year, because you can never get too much of SMU!
By Ryan Herrscher
Hi everyone! In case you are just tuning in to news from the Hilltop, classes ramped up this week after an exciting 2014 Mustang Corral experience. We all had some great summers with awesome opportunities, but I think I speak for all the ambassadors when I say we are thrilled to be back on campus!
Now that we are getting back into the swing of things we will resume regular posting on this blog to give you some insight into life at SMU. However, to get the full experience we definitely recommend coming to visit so one of us can take you on a tour and show you around.
Now that we have welcomed the class of 2018 into the SMU family (check out that awesome class picture…), we are already looking for the people who will turn that eight into a nine and make up the class of 2019. That could be you in just one short year!
Until then, we look forward to keeping you updated and can’t wait to see you on campus!
By Michael Saunders
Hey guys my name is Michael Saunders and I am a senior double majoring in Philosophy and Spanish! I am a Resident Assistant in the Hilltop Scholars Community and an active member on the Cheer team and Hip Hop Club. This semester has absolutely flown by, partly because every semester seems to, and partly because the job hunt, along with the rigorous training the Cheer team goes through as they prepare for College Nationals, are making it a little challenging to look up and watch the weeks pass by rather than race through each day with no concept of time! I am having an incredible time, though, and am so grateful for all of the opportunities that this University has made available to me. Whenever I have time to catch my breath in between classes and extracurriculars, I have a tendency to reflect on some of the many things I have been able to do since enrolling at SMU in the fall of 2010: Open for B.o.B, Study abroad in Madrid, the Hawaii Bowl, being introduced to President Bush, being there for as students stormed the court after our basketball team beat #7 Cincinnati in Moody. These are only a few of the MANY stories and I can’t help but recognize that it has been an incredible ride and I know it is still far from over! What happens next? Who knows! I know that I certainly do not, but I can assure you that I am looking forward to the future and will do everything in my power to make a positive impact on this world.
By Jeffery Jacobs
This semester, I was fortunate enough to work as a Public Relations Intern with Southern Methodist University Athletic program. I started working on January 2nd as a volunteer construction worker for the Moody Coliseum. With only two days before the opening of the coliseum, it was imperative to make sure every tile was in the right place, test the lighting and sound, and experiment the various food options in the different concession stands. It was hard work, but it was amazing to make my contribution into the coliseum that will be standing for at least the next half century. If you have been into the coliseum, you will see the blue section numbers circulating the stadium. Before the coliseum was opened, they were power drilled into the wrong locations. My job was to unscrew all of the blue signs and take them all down so they could be placed in the correct spots. Even though I was going backwards on work that had already been done, it was still cool to make my marks in the coliseum.
The first game was amazing because we played and beat the University of Connecticut by 20+ points. It was a big deal for us at the time and it is even more impressive that we beat the NCAA Champions of 2014 twice. Too bad we couldn’t play them instead of Minnesota. This began the whimsical slogan of “Moody Magic.” During the season, my job was to run the statistical data from the media table in the center of the court to the team benches, the radio crew, the television crew, and all of the media sources that attended the games. I met a number of well known people from ESPN, ABC, and TXA 21. In addition, I also met George Bush, Jason Garret, Jason Witten, Tony Romo, Michael Finley, Vince Carter, and a few other successful individuals. This was just a bonus perk but it was really cool to meet people who I see on television every day. With the year coming to a close, I feel so much more prepared for the business world in sports because I learned that the game itself is what people come to see, but all of the cyber kinetics between the different offices in an athletic department is what lasts on a daily business. This is a tough and time consuming business. People who work in sports have to be prepared to work back to back 16 hour days because it is very possible. Sports in the real world is a very fast paced business and you must learn how to keep up before you actually know what you are actually doing in your position. You have to be prepared for sudden changes, discretion, and representing a positive image for not only your department, but for the athletic program as a whole, and the school/team you are working for. This is the most fun I have had in my life.
By Taylor Thompson
Every spring SMU students emerge from class to find a huge carnival set up on Dallas Hall Lawn to celebrate Peruna’s birthday. He’s a pretty big deal around here, so we definitely go all out for him. The event is called Perunapalooza and is put on by Student Foundation, one of our student organizations on campus. Dallas Hall Lawn is covered in giant inflatables with everything from slides, an obstacle course, “The Wrecking Ball” (which is probably self-explanatory), and my favorite, the Meltdown. If you’ve ever seen the show “Wipeout,” they have an obstacle with two spinning arms at different heights, one high and one low, that you have to jump and duck under. If you’re not careful, the arms will knock you off your platform and you’ll go flying. By the time I was done, let’s just say the score was Meltdown: 1,000,000 Taylor: 0.
Besides laughing at everyone getting knocked off their feet at “The Meltdown” the food is definitely the best part of Perunapalooza. There is everything from free Chipotle and Kind Bars, to popcorn, fried Oreos, and giant birthday cakes, just to name a few of student’s favorites. I love Peruapalooza because it’s the perfect way to relax before everyone starts heading into final texts, projects, and exams. The entire campus comes together to celebrate the feisty pony who fills SMU with all our spirit, just as it should be, because without Peruna, who knows where we would be. SMU students would probably not be camping outside of the ticket office trying to get into the student section for the Louisville basketball game, that is for sure. But guess what? WE ARE!
By Margaret Ellen Crawford
My four years of college are finally coming to a close. It is hard to believe that it’s been so long since I first stepped on campus as a bright eyed and eager high school senior. I visited SMU in April and I immediately realized that SMU was an incredible school. Its beautiful campus, its size, and its location in Dallas made SMU stand out from all of my other prospects. I loved that I could study more than one subject here. I loved that SMU students were incredibly involved on campus. And most of all I loved that when I walked around campus students looked happy – like they truly enjoyed going to school here. These were the factors that lead me to make my decision to come to SMU. What I didn’t know at that time was just how big of an impact SMU would have on me.
(picured: Last year’s May 2013 SMU graduation ceremony on Dallas Hall lawn)
As I write this I am a mere three weeks away from graduating. In my time at SMU I have changed my major more times than I can count. I have joined clubs and quit clubs. I have had the “what am I going to do with my life” crisis. I have excelled and I have struggled. Your four years of college are a time to discover your passions, develop life long friendships, and build the foundation for your future career. College challenges you in everything you do; teaches you about your strengths and weaknesses; and ultimately shapes who you are. I look back on who I was when I first walked down the boulevard and am so thankful that I chose to be moulded by SMU.
My mom always told me growing up that you are the company you keep. To a certain extent I agreed, but I also thought that a person decides who and what they become. In my time at SMU I have realized that we both were right. When you are surrounded by excellence it challenges you to also be excellent, but ultimately the decision to be excellent is yours. What I have found at SMU is a community defined by excellence, full of students that excel but also that encourage their peers to excel with them. Not a community of competition, but of shared accomplishment. I have done and achieved more in my four years at SMU than I ever imagined I would when I first stepped on campus. I attribute that success to the encouragement and support not only of my professors and mentors, but also my peers. More times than not it was my friends that convinced me I could achieve something when I was skeptical of my own ability.
You always hear people say “College is the best four years of your life!” A part of me can’t help but agree with this. I have had MORE than my fair share of fun during my time at SMU going to themed parties, boulevards, sporting events, and formals. I have stormed the field after our football team beat TCU and the court when our basketball team made it to the NIT championship. I have studied abroad in Italy and traveled all over the country visiting friends. While this is only the tip of the iceberg of the fun I have had in college, a part of me hesitates when I hear that college is the best time of your life. I truly believe that because of my decision to come to SMU I have set myself up to have many more years of incredible memories. SMU has given me friends and mentors that will support me. SMU has given me an education that has prepared me for the real world. SMU has given me outstanding resources that greatly contributed to me getting a job. And finally, SMU has given me the tools to be successful no matter what path I take going forward.
Graduation is a bittersweet time for all seniors. In the past few months there have been many “lasts” and there are even more to come in the next couple of weeks. There will be ceremonies and hard goodbyes, but there definitely won’t be any regrets. I can honestly say that coming to SMU was one of the best decisions of my life, and I hope that you too can say when you graduate that the best is yet to come.
By Adam Melson
As the spring semester winds to an end, one obstacle lies in the way of students returning home, starting internships, and even graduating: final exam week. During this week, students will spend hours visiting with their professors and studying in SMU’s various libraries in order to prepare for the semester’s end. After the semester, many students will begin internships set up through SMU’s MustangTrak, which allows them to experience a new job setting and build up one’s credentials for after graduation. For those who are graduating, this is a bittersweet time; the senior class will close a chapter in their lives and finally enter the real world!
Getting through finals isn’t an awful time at SMU because of the amenities that SMU provides for its students. Every night at SMU’s Fondren library, a “midnight breakfast” is catered for the students who are studying away during the night. SMU also provides free massages in the residence halls to relieve stress and provide a break for students who are focusing on exams.
Although exam week is a burden for most students, SMU goes out of their way in order to help us succeed. And we just have to remember that summer is just a week away!
By Ryan Herrscher
Today is the day! If you were recently accepted into SMU, we hope that by now you have made the decision to join us here on our beautiful campus in Dallas, Texas. SMU is a wonderful school with abundant opportunities, and we think you are going to love it. You have a lot to look forward to this summer with AARO, Mustang Corral, and the beginning of the next chapter of your life! If, on the other hand, you made your decision and plan to go somewhere other than SMU, we wish you all the best in your future endeavors.
Regardless of your choice, I think I speak for all of the SMU Ambassadors when I say congratulations on completing the process. For those of you headed towards the hilltop, we look forward to welcoming you to campus in the fall! Pony up!
By Katie Maiers
As an advertising student, I often forget that research papers, minimum word requirements, and the typical academic fears that loom over many college students continue to exist. Don’t get me wrong: I still write an occasional paper now and then, but for the most part, my assigned work tends to feel more like assigned freedom.
My recent assignment in my Introduction to Creativity course was to make a “creative hat.” The only instruction was to make a hat, and the grade would depend on the creativity and execution of the idea. Yes, that’s it, and yes, that was my homework. Although it seems simple, it truly was a challenge. I went through countless ideas and totally failed, and the deadline was coming closer and closer each day.
I ended up making a hat out of a shoebox lid, real grass, and my own shoe. My inspiration came from one of my favorite things to do when I’m in need of inspiration: take a walk. I glued real grass from the nearby park where I usually walk onto the hat chunk by chunk, and I topped it all off with my own personal shoe.
Like many of the classes that I’ve been able to take at SMU, this course has taught me that when you’re having fun and enjoying yourself, work doesn’t even feel like work. I’ve been given a multitude of opportunities to take risks in the classroom and stretch my brain in ways that I would’ve never imagined, and all that I had to do was put on my creative hat!