Before school starts every semester, a program called “Mustang Corral” takes place. This program consists of programming on campus, an excursion in Dallas (touring Dallas Cowboy’s Stadium, taking a Dallas Trolley Tour, doing community service at Bonton Farms, and more), and an overnight program at an off-campus campsite. Every year, I’ve grown to appreciate Mustang Corral more and more. The bonds that are made between first-years are invaluable, of course, but the memories I’ve made as a Mustang Corral Guide are some that I will cherish forever.
As a senior, all Corral guides that participated in Corral for at least 3 summers get to give a “senior speech” at a special ceremony that concludes the camp portion of Mustang Corral. This year, I was incredibly nervous to get up and speak in front of almost 2000 students, faculty, and staff members. It took forever for me to figure out just the right advice to give, but I landed on advising the first-years to create an SMU bucket list.
Some sample items for their bucket lists were to jump in all 11 fountains we have on campus before graduation and to meet former President of the United States and frequent SMU visitor, George W. Bush. Being at SMU has afforded me many exciting opportunities like these and more.
Standing backstage, the few senior Corral guides and I were feeling nostalgic, nervous, excited, and bound together by the spirit of SMU. We nervously chattered about what we were going to talk about, joking about the craziness surrounding the fact that we were actually seniors, about to spend our last year on campus.
When we all got on stage, I looked around and felt overwhelmed with joy and appreciation for SMU.
I was surrounded by some of SMU’s brightest, most involved, and most impactful leaders on campus. I was sharing the stage with people who would go on to be “world changers,” and we were all able to make a lasting impact on the class of 2020 with our speeches.
At SMU, I’ve found that although opportunities for greatness are present all over the nation, there seems to be a disproportionate amount at SMU (in a good way). Not only this, but being a mid-size university allowed myself and my classmates onstage at Corral to actually have access to the resources and opportunities, and to be able to talk about them to incoming first-years, prospective students, professors, friends, family members, and future employers.
Although we were all emotional after the speeches, we looked at each other knowing that this wasn’t the end of our collegiate journey, but the beginning of our lives that were now filled with connections, networks, and opportunities that only SMU could have ever given us.