I always knew I had made the right decision to come to SMU, but it wasn’t until the early end of the semester that I really looked back and realized how grateful I am for the memories I have made here. As the end of  my junior year was cut off due to the pandemic, I found myself thinking–  The next time I step foot on campus, I will be entering my final year as a Mustang. This thought led  my mind down a path of endless memories, as if I was watching a slow-motion movie of my time at SMU.

The memories that stood out the most were some of my favorite events and traditions that have made my time as a Mustang so special. First, convocation when I was nervously walking alongside girls I hadn’t met, little did I know they would become some of my closest friends. As we walked through Dallas Hall around the seal and were welcomed into the SMU community, I remember feeling goosebumps trying to picture what my next four years would be like. That walk was so symbolic for me and will forever be one of my favorite traditions here at SMU.

Fast forwarding a few weeks, I finally got to experience my first Boulevard. As I walked down the Boulevard,  I was surrounded by students wearing white, showing their school spirit. I was amazed by the lines of tents decorated with extravagant chandeliers, each blasting music, and even some with puppies sporting red and blue uniforms. It was then that I truly realized why it is called Boulevarding– it is so much more than just a tailgate. Families happily walk up and down the Boulevard running into old friends, and walking with their future Mustangs. However, you have never truly experienced the Boulevard until you take a picture with Peruna.

As I sat there reflecting on my favorite traditions, the Celebration of Lights instantly popped into my mind. This event happens every year around Christmas time. This tradition will always be close to my heart, not only because of the delicious hot chocolate, but because everyone is truly welcome to join together in celebration.  During the tradition, people from the Dallas community as well as those across Dallas gather together to sing Christmas Carols in front of Dallas Hall as we watch every tree light up the lawn. For me, this tradition symbolizes the community  that SMU creates. Not only is it a celebration of Christmas and friendship, but it is a moment to celebrate the honor of being a Mustang. SMU provides an incredible community with endless traditions that make the University so special. Not only has SMU given me the opportunity to expand my knowledge in an academic setting, they have opened doors for further opportunities and have made me feel at home.

Pony Up,

Ana Paula Martinez

Class of 2021

Arlington, TX