Campus Resources

I was raised in Arkansas, a state with many natural resources. Still, however, I was blown away by the multitude of resources at SMU. “The Natural State” better watch out! It has some stiff competition!

When considering resources at SMU, the Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center (ALEC) is the first that comes to mind. The ALEC offers free tutoring services to SMU students. Coming from a small town in an impoverished school district, I knew that I would be behind a lot of students upon entering into college. I knew that I would have to seek additional support in order to level the playing field. Immediately I turned to the ALEC. The kind tutors with whom I collaborated were former students that had earned A’s in the classes. They not only knew the course content, but they also knew the relevant test tactics and professor preferences. They provided me with a competitive edge as well as with new ways for approaching knowledge and academic tasks.

In addition to the upperclassman tutors, the ALEC also has expert English faculty members in the Writing Center to assist students with writing papers. Recently, SMU commissioned a special subset of English faculty to the Scholars Den to assist students with professional school and fellowship applications. I recently utilized this resource upon writing my personal statement for medical school; I truly could not have conquered this daunting task without their expertise!

When navigating research papers and projects, it is not only wise to consult the Writing Center faculty but also the librarians and research staff members of Fondren Library. This expert team has its members on call, as well as available for private appointments. They help students develop research outlines and locate their sources within SMU’s extensive library system.

SMU has six libraries on its main campus. Fondren Library is by far the most popular, with its expert research staff, centralized location, contrasting study zones, and infamous Starbucks! Students patron Fondren numerous times a day—to meet with study partners, to retreat to special hideaways, to occupy odd gaps between classes, or to fuel up on coffee! Students can reserve private rooms for individual or group study. They can also select among an endless variety of public study spaces—from the very loud-and-social first floor to the extremely quiet-and-reclusive fourth floor. This top floor boasts a spectacular aerial view of campus and of the Dallas skyline. Another scenic study location is the Centennial Reading Room on the second floor. This glassed-in reading space is sanctioned for the most serious and sophisticated of students. Its ornate, traditional decor transports me back to my studies abroad in Oxford, England.

While Fondren Library offers much variety, SMU students have several other options for studying beyond the walls of “Club Fondy.” Students can study at the Underwood Law Library, the Bridwell Theology Library, the Hamon Arts Library, or the Cox School of Business Library. The sixth library on SMU’s campus is the George Bush Presidential Library. The George Bush Institute provides students with excellent opportunities for internships in political science, public policy, history, and economics. Outside of the library system, the residential commons also cater to students’ academic needs with their study nooks, study lounges, and classroom settings. While the commons’ classrooms are utilized by professors during the day, they are open for student use during the late night and early morning. These areas come equipped with printers, hole punchers, white boards, and projector technology.

Enough nerding out over libraries! I’d like to wrap up by giving a brief overview of the resources in our student center, rec center, and health center. The Hughes Trigg Student Center is the headquarters for our more than 200 student organizations! It is also the hub of student life at SMU. There you can find several offices and meeting spaces, as well as several dining options! Students spend their flex dollars on Chick-fil-a, Cinco Taco, Panera Bread, and the Market. The Market contains a full-service sushi bar, a gourmet popsicle stand, and a plethora of healthy, grab-and-go options! In addition to these food items, the Market also stocks school supplies, toiletries, and over-the-counter medication. Directly across from the Market is the Mail Center. Students can send and receive packages and paper mail at this location, as well as utilize the UPS drop box. Perhaps the epitome of Hughes Trigg resources is the Hegi Career Center. Hegi sets up every SMU student with an online database called Handshake, which operates similarly to a LinkedIn profile. There, students can keep track of their professional materials, while also networking with prospective employers. Hegi plans career fairs, resume workshops, and other signature events throughout the year. They prepare undergraduate students for jobs, internships, post-graduate programs, and on-campus leadership positions through their mock interview appointments and other career-related services.

The Dedman Rec Center is SMU’s three-story fitness complex. Students can freely access its facilities, as well as attend workout classes for free. The Outdoor Adventure Company belays the three-story rock-climbing wall, while also incentivizing outdoor recreation through its camping rentals and guided camping trips to nearby state parks. Dedman employs an elite team of fitness instructors and personal trainers; it even hires massage therapists during finals season to further alleviate stress and stiffness!


Finally, the Bob Smith Health Center is an incredible resource at SMU. Its three stories represent the body, mind, and soul. The first story, corresponding to the body, contains a pharmacy, dental clinic, and numerous physicians accepting patients as walk-ins or by appointment. The second story, corresponding to the mind, is the headquarters for counseling services at SMU; students can book up to eight free appointments with the clinical staff before being charged or referred. The third story, corresponding to the soul, houses a Zen Room with a massage chair, essential oil diffuser, and other features that promote meditation and relaxation!

This is by no means an exhaustive list of resources, but it contains some of my absolute favorites! These resources differ greatly from those in my home state, but they certainly fostered a more “natural” transition into the SMU community.

Pony Up!

Katherine Wright

Class of 2021

Biology & Philosophy Major | Psychology Minor


Unique Majors at SMU

Welcome to SMU! My name is Jack Davis, and I am a current senior from Newport Beach, CA. There are seemingly endless majors here at SMU, ranging from finance in the Cox School of Business, to engineering in the Lyle School of Engineering. I, however, am a somewhat unique SMU student because there are only around 40 students in my major!

I am in the BFA Studio Art program in the Meadows School of the Arts, which only admits around 7-10 students a year. This small, intimate major has provided me with all sorts of amazing opportunities, such as collaborating and growing with my peer cohort, and the opportunity to do one-on-one classes with my art professors. What makes our major even more unique is that we are interdisciplinary, meaning that we all work in different mediums. My concertation within the BFA is film production and photography, while other BFA students focus in the areas of sculpture, drawing, painting, and digital/hybrid media.

Over the four years we have spent together, we have all become very close friends, and all have diverse interests and involvements including Greek life, campus clubs, and sports. I have been very fortunate to be able to study in this program the last four years and would highly encourage anyone interested in a rare or unique major to take a risk and pursue it!


Pony Up!

Jack MacKenzie Davis, BFA ‘21

Academics Ambassadors

Internships at SMU

Internships. The word itself sounds daunting and scary, but don’t worry SMU has your back! Even given the unprecedented times of living in a pandemic, SMU has everything to prepare you for success: the Hegi Career Center, easy-to-access resources like free Linkedin Learning courses, amazing professors, Peer Academic Leaders in each commons, Hegi Career Leaders Program, SMU Board Fellows Program, and more. This might sound overwhelming; how could you know what you want to do? Don’t panic! The Hegi Career center also has an in-depth assessment to understand your behavioral and analytical skills to advise what you are best suited for. Additionally, you can consult with mentors (i.e. professors, counselors, other friends) to understand what exactly you’re looking for. But what does the actual recruitment process look like? Let’s break it down bit by bit:

The First Step: Networking and Getting your Foot in the Door!

SMU recognizes that the hardest part of getting an internship – and a full-time job – is getting noticed! In order to combat this, the SMU Hegi Career Centers facilitates a career fair once per each semester. During this career fairs, dozens of companies from all over the Dallas, Fort Worth Metroplex will come to SMU to want to meet YOU. Before Covid-19 times, each company will have their own stall (think food market style!), and students were able to freely walk up to whichever company to learn more information from each. Additionally, certain schools like Lyle School of Engineering and Cox School of Business will have their very own tailored career fairs. However, during the pandemic, you might think that career fairs are dead. But it’s exactly the opposite! At SMU, career fairs are still thriving, and companies are always looking for SMU talent. Instead of in-person stalls for each company, all events are catered online. Students are allowed to express interest to each company ahead of time and register for a time slot (of many) during the career fair days – this allows for efficiency and easiness for both you and the company. Additionally, a great way to stand out is to have a strong resume. Lucky for you, the Hegi Career Center hosts a semesterly event called “Resumania.” In this event, the career counselors at the Hegi Center will invite executives from companies throughout Dallas to edit and look over student’s resumes in a nonjudgmental, constructive environment; this is so students will know that their resume is amazing because a real company executive will have approved and looked at it. Keep in mind, although it might seem scary to talk to recruiters from companies, all the SMU resources listed above are here for you and ready to help you along the way!

The Second Step: The Interview

The key to a successful interview is to be confident and be curious. Oftentimes we get caught up in the idea of students being the one that’s interviewed, but you have to remember, you are also interviewing the company! Remember to ask intentional and thoughtful questions to ensure that you can thoroughly visualize yourself as a happy and healthy employee at the company you are interviewing for. To prepare for the interview process, we have so many resources on campus to help you practice. The Hegi Career center has set up online appointments with career counselors to practice any type of interviews ranging from behavioral to technical; all you have to do is register and book your appointment online! Additionally, in each residential commons, there are Peer Academic Leaders, Honors Mentors, Residential Community Directors to help you with those areas of professional development – so many resources at your fingertips! Remember, practice makes perfect and that includes interviewing. Don’t be afraid to ask multiple different people of varying personalities to sit down and practice! From my experience, the more I practiced my interviewing skills, the less nervous I was for the real deal; I knew that I could ace the interview because of the encouragement from previous practices and people.

The Final Step: What happens after the Interview

So, you’ve applied, you’ve interviewed, what’s next? After your interviews, always remember to send a follow-up thank you email; you won’t believe how impactful this can be! This allows for the recruiters and interviewers to continue to have you in mind, even after the interview. Additionally, don’t be afraid to reach out to the recruiters and ask follow-up questions – everyone loves an eager and diligent learner. This is also the point where you finally get to relax. You’ve worked hard during the process and you deserve a break. Wind down, send those emails, and wait for the acceptance letter that I know is coming your way!

Thus, at SMU, we have a million and one resources for you to be successful and find the career that genuinely puts a smile on your face. Even during Covid-19 times, SMU has adapted seamlessly. So, when we see you on the Hilltop, Our Focus: Your Success.

Best Wishes and Pony Up!

Jessica Wang

Class of 2021

Management Science B.S. | Lyle School of Engineering

Academics Ambassadors Campus Life

To my Freshman Self…

This one is for the students out there who believe they have it all figured out. This one is also for the students out there who don’t believe they have it all figured out. I know how it feels to be in both of these positions. As a graduating senior *wipes tears,* I have experienced so much that has shaped me into the person I am today. My little freshman self had her life planned out. She knew the classes she was going to pursue, the clubs she was going to join, and the friends she was going to have before making it to campus. Spoiler alert: I pursued different classes, joined an array of organizations, befriended so many extraordinary people, and did so much more. It took some time to realize, but college taught me that some of the best things grow outside of comfort zones. By stepping out of mine, I learned more about myself and enjoyed my college experience more than I could have imagined. Of course, it was a learning process, so if could go back in time and advise myself as a freshman, I would say this:

  1. Introduce yourself to your professor. Class sizes are so small at SMU, so your professor will likely know who you are before the end of the first week. Make yourself stand out by actually telling your professor who you are, why you are taking their class, and what you hope to gain out of taking it. Professors are more inclined to help students they actually know.
  2. Do not be afraid of challenging courses and professors. This does not mean you should not be prepared for them, it just means you should not be afraid to pursue them! For me, they often served as the greatest learning experience. Rigorous coursework improved my study habits, challenged my way of thinking, and sometimes introduced me to areas of study I never knew I was interested in.
  3. If you are confused about something, it’s likely that another person in your class is too. Two minds work better than one, so get to know a few people in each of your classes and exchange numbers with them. Also, utilize SMU resources to improve your performance in class. Familiarize yourself with the Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center. Their tutoring services and academic success programs saved my life at one point.
  4. If there is an on-campus event occurring and you are free, attend it! If it means you have to go alone, that’s okay too. You will meet new people, familiarize yourself with an organization you may want to join, and have a good time.
  5. SMU has over 200 student organizations. It is so important to find the ones you are drawn to, join them, and acquire leadership positions within them. At the top of every semester, SMU hosts an event where students can learn more about all of the student organizations on campus. Attend this event. Student organizations enhance the student experience and give you lifelong friends along the way.
  6. Lastly, sunshine all the time makes a desert. Take it easy and let go of perfectionism. Set aside some time for yourself every day to decompress. Treat this time like it is your homework, and don’t end the day without completing it.

I overcame a lot in the last four years, so I hope this survival guide prepares you to better embrace your college experience. There is so much in store for you!

Best of luck, and Pony Up!
Leena Kamal
SMU Class of 2021

Ambassadors Life Around Dallas Texas Travel

Getting Around Dallas!

The fact that Dallas is our backyard is one of the best parts of being at SMU! This city has everything: exciting sports, tantalizing eateries, electrifying concerts, adventurous trails, captivating museums, and more! But figuring out how to travel to these events and places seems to be an insurmountable hurdle for SMU students…or is it?

Travelling around Dallas is actually really easy! And cheap! So don’t let a little logistics stop you from maximizing your time in this incredible city! Check out a few of my favorite transportation options below…


The cheapest, most fun, and most active way to get around Dallas!! On a beautiful Dallas spring day, grab a friend and a 7/11 Slurpee and head to anywhere in the city! Some popular spots near campus to walk to are Snider Plaza (eat at Bubba’s!), or to La Madeleine (use that student discount!). And if you really just want to walk, head down the Katy Trail. You can make it all the way to the American Airlines Center in only 3.5 miles under a canopy trail. You can walk, run, and jog there! Or if you are really adventurous, you can wog (walk jog). Some cool spots to stop along the way are the Village Baking Company, Wild About Harry’s, and the Katy Trail Ice House!

Pro: Free, fun way to explore, exercise!

Con: Takes a long time, limited geographic area

Your Car!

Freshmen can bring their car! Having your own car does provide you independence because, hey! Want to drive and get a Whataburger Hub Chub (Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit) at 1 am? Forgot to get a memory foam mattress topper at Target? Need to drive to the interview for your first internship? Yep! Having a car makes it easy to do all of these things and more. Your schedule, your car, and your time to explore! Also! You can 100% offer to drive your friends around. Better to explore together!

However, if you aren’t used to driving in a big city (or even if you are), Dallas drivers can be a little crazy. They drive FAST here, and the interstate system has many off and on ramps. Also, finding parking can be challenging to find, and then they make you PAY for it! Wild!

Pro: Independence, your own air fresheners, control (if you’re one of those people who need it)

Con: Paying for gas, parking, Dallas drivers


The easiest, quickest, and potentially the cheapest alternative to having a car. Your first friend on campus is typically your roommate, and the best way to bond with your roommate is to drive  unnecessarily long distances to stock up on the essentials. Carpooling with your roommate and new friends is the best way to make friends and help each other out. Although campus is great, people typically want a reason to go explore their new home (aka Dallas). So give them a reason to check out the latest Swedish furniture trends at IKEA, get gas at the greatest gas station in the world – Buc-ee’s, try a Czech Stop Kolache, and/or play at Klyde Warren Park.

Pros: Make new friends, give your friends a reason to explore Dallas, environmentally and economically friendly carpooling

Con: Lack of independence (no way to really hurry up that friend that can’t decide), parking

Uber & Lyft

The Uber and Lyft drivers are bountiful on SMU’s campus. (Not a bad side gig if you need one.) And with downtown only being 10-15 minutes away, no trip is ever too expensive. Plus, if you split a ride with friends (safety in numbers!), you’ll be paying pennies for your rides! Okay, so maybe not actual pennies…but! It will be cheap! The drivers are generally pretty friendly with great stories, and they know campus well. Convenient if you ever need to get somewhere fairly quick and want to avoid parking.

Pros: Fairly inexpensive, no parking, fun stories from your local drivers, convenient

Cons: Safety (just make sure to bring a friend or two), still does cost money, little less control


THE SINGLE GREATEST TRANSPORTATION OPTION EVER!!!!!!! Okay, that may be a little over dramatic/not 100% true…but! The DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit System) is awesome!! The DART is essentially free because you only pay $5 for unlimited access to the DART buses AND monorails for. all. 4. years. And the DART goes everywhere! I have personally traveled to the Texas State Fair, DFW Airport, American Airlines Center, Dallas Marathon starting line, and to many other places. Not only did I not have to pay for gas, I also didn’t have to worry about parking. Plus! I reduced my carbon footprint by using public transportation! And how fun is it to get a big group of friends and all travel together without worrying about who will drive or fighting over who gets shotgun?

Okay, so here is the non-rose-colored version of the DART. The DART is truly an easy and inexpensive way to get around Dallas. While the schedule is fairly reliable and consistent, the DART does not have the same time precision as a German train. (Aka it can be a little late). I would also recommend taking the DART with friends during the daylight. Also, although police officers patrol the DART, they cannot be everywhere at once. You will most likely make it home safely, but if it’s super late, you would be better off just taking the $10 Uber home. However! Coming from someone who didn’t grow up with reliable and ubiquitous public transportation, I cannot stress enough how cool of a resource the DART can be for us as SMU students!

Pros: Essentially free, cool way to explore Dallas, no parking, no Dallas traffic, ability to make memories with friends

Cons: Best to take during the day, potentially unpredictable schedule

The good news is that whatever form of transportation you choose, you will be able to explore Dallas and make memories with your new friends!


Travel onward, and Pony Up!

Nick Fontela

Class of 2021

Accounting, B.A. | Cox School of Business

Ambassadors Campus Life

Dorm Room Hacks

Hi, y’all! My name is Tulsi Nursariwala and I’m a senior double majoring in Finance and Markets & Culture.

As a freshmen and sophomore, I lived in Cockrell McIntosh Commons! Moving from home to a college campus can be daunting. But I promise it’s the best part about college! You get to meet so many friends through the Commons system and it genuinely becomes your home away from home.

Walmart, Target, Bed Bath and Beyond, and the Container Store will be your best friends when you first move into your dorm. They have so many things you can buy to spruce up your room and aesthetically organize your dorm.

Organization Hacks: Dorm Room

My biggest organization tip is to have your bed lofted to the middle setting. You’re able to put a lot of stuff under the bed and save space. I slide the dresser provided by SMU under my bed and bought a few affordable yet stylish drawer organizers to have extra storage. All of the drawer organizers and dresser allowed me to store a lot of my personal things without it being out and about. Try your best to keep your belongings tucked away so the area looks more organized.

Additionally, everyone needs a full body length mirror. I got one that went over my door so I could check my outfit before I left. I won’t lie, I didn’t check myself every time and definitely went to class in my pajamas a few times.

Organization Hacks: Closet

As a girl, my closet can definitely get SUPER messy. I did a few things to make sure that space would be organized. First, I added a 3-tier shoe organizer. It was a great way to store lots of pairs of shoes in a smaller area since I could stack them on the tiers. Second, I bought three plastic baskets to put on top of the shelf in my closet. I had my laundry supplies, winter articles, and other items in the basket. I’m sure you’re seeing a reoccurring theme of having organizers to conceal all of your stuff. It really does make a difference to see organizers rather than the items strewn about.

Moms definitely know everything. My mom bought me a hamper with wheels and a foldable crate with wheels. I loved those two items SO much. The hamper was easy to transport from the laundry room to my dorm. The foldable crate with wheels? Absolutely genius. I kept it in my car’s trunk so I could easily pop it out and fill it with my groceries. I would roll my groceries to my dorm instead of having to carry them all at once. Shoutout to my mom for being an absolute gem!

Decoration Hacks: Dorm Room

I recommend decorating the walls with personal mementos, quotes that are important to you, etc. It made the space personal which helped it feel like home when I was homesick. I got rope and cut it into one long strand. I looped it at the top so I could use a thumb pin to the wall. After, I bought small close pins so I could hang all of the pictures onto the rope! It was a good way to decorate my room without having to stick them to the wall!

I love plants but it’s tough to keep up with them in college. Orchids are my absolute favorite flowers so I’d make sure to grab one from the grocery store if they were in season. It was nice to have them on my windowsill and livened up my room a bit.

Decoration Hack: Comfy + Peaceful Space

My last tip is to create a space aside from your bed to relax if possible depending on your dorm. My dorm had enough space to fit a small couch. It was the place that my roommate and I would sit to relax and talk. It provided a place for me to sit and hangout besides my bed. I highly recommend implementing an area like this in your dorm. It doesn’t have to be a couch. It can even be a comfy armchair for you to sit on and watch an episode of your favorite show.

In Fall of 2020, my little sister started her first year of college. I definitely saw her snooping in our storage room at home and taking unused things that I still had from my dorm.

I hope I was able to help out and give a little inspiration on decorating + organizing your dorm room!


Tulsi Nursariwala

Class of 2021

Academics Ambassadors Cox Business School

My Favorite Class at SMU

My name is Austin Foster, and I am a Sophomore Majoring in Finance and Political Science here at Southern Methodist University. One of the things I really love about the SMU campus is our small class sizes (average of 22 Students) and the unique personalities of each of our professors. The combination of these two truly sets apart SMU from other universities. Today I’m going to tell you a little bit about my favorite class I’ve taken on campus—ACCT 2301: Intro to Financial Accounting.

For starters, this class was great because of the amazing professor that teaches it: Liliana Hickman-Riggs. Professor Hickman-Riggs, or “LHR” as she is affectionately referred to on campus, is an eclectic woman known for her high-top sneakers, designer handbags, and chihuahuas! SMU is known for having professors who are extremely dedicated to their students and LHR is certainly no exception to this rule.

Specifically, the course has taught me to think in a new form and how to communicate using the “Language of business.” Rather than adding and subtracting, Accounting is a language of Debits and Credits. As the course progressed, we continued to build on these skills and were given the opportunity to apply them to real-world scenarios through case studies and innovative homework problems.

One of the most beneficial parts of the class for me was the asynchronous videos that the professor incorporates. These. Videos served as “guided readings” that walked us through the chapter reading, highlighting key terms and examples before we begin the lecture for the week. I found this to be extremely beneficial for me as it allowed me to master the material much easier and alleviated stress before exams.

One week of the course gave us the opportunity to meet with a partner from Pricewaterhouse-Coopers, which is one of the “Big Four” Accounting Firms. This experience was very intriguing to me as it opened my eyes to the world of accounting careers during my first accounting course. After meeting with the partner, we were divided into groups and asked to complete an analysis of Apple Inc.’s three financial statements, The Balance Sheet, The Income Statement, and The Statement of Cash Flows for “Jill,” who was considering an investment in the corporation.  This application of the skills learned in the class was extremely beneficial as it showcased the practical uses of the skills we had just learned in Financial Accounting.

Ambassadors Campus Life Spirit and Traditions Student Organizations

How It Started vs. How It’s Going

Looking back on the fall semester of my senior year, I can honestly say that I have never been more proud to be a Mustang. Though changes have been thrown at this University left and right, SMU has remained committed to providing the best student experience possible. One of the main ways I have seen that take shape is how the administration has had faith in students to continue hosting safe events and opportunities for the campus community to come together during these unprecedented times.

Over the past three years I had the privilege of serving in a wonderful student organization called Student Foundation. SF brings all of SMU’s traditional events to life on campus such as Family Weekend, Peruna Palooza, Homecoming, and Celebration of Lights. As I’m sure you can imagine, when the pandemic hit we were devastated about what the restrictions and everchanging circumstances would mean for our events. It wasn’t long until I and other leaders in SF had an epiphany. We realized that tradition is not about doing the same thing year after year, but rather is meant to unite the SMU community and help us grow stronger as a Mustang family. And the truth is, there are so many ways to do that! This set the tone for our year and was a driving force behind each event we put on last semester. Though SF’s events in 2020 did not look exactly like they have in the past, I want to share how a special tradition on campus started, but more importantly, how it continued to thrive even in the midst of a global pandemic.

Family Weekend is a campus tradition that is near and dear to my heart. This event dates back to 1973 and has featured events such as Boulevard barbeques, Mothers’ Club Luncheons, student talent shows, cultural events, exquisite receptions, and movie nights on Dallas Hall Lawn just to name a few! These events usually include an address from President Turner, delicious food, and incredible conversations among all types of SMU families and community members. There is something so special in the air throughout this weekend as students welcome their family and friends to their “home away from home”. It is at this point that families get a true sense of why their student loves SMU so much.

In a year when traveling was restricted, indoor receptions were unsafe, and large gatherings were prohibited, SF had to think outside the box. We were committed to delivering SMU families a quality Family Weekend experience, whether they were in Dallas or someplace else around the world. To kick off the weekend, we distributed “Game Day Goodie Bags” to students and families at the flagpole on Dallas Hall Lawn. Since SMU football game tickets were limited, this bag was full of merchandise families could use to show their SMU spirit throughout the weekend. It was a great way to boost morale and to share what other exciting events were happening throughout the weekend.

Our next program was a series of virtual information sessions put on by the different academic and student affairs departments titled “An Inside Look at SMU”. Families were invited to learn more about Greek life at SMU, study aboard programs, and so much more. And the best part is that they could join these sessions from anywhere!

One of my favorite events of the weekend was the “Reverse Care Package Packing Party”. Since many families were unable to travel to campus this year for Family Weekend, SF provided supplies and merchandise for students to send their families a care package from SMU. In classic assembly line fashion, students moved down the line, customizing their care package to include exciting items such as stationary, coasters, M&Ms, and even a custom postcard that included a picture of their student! Once the care package was just as the student wanted it, a member of SF taped it up, addressed it, and put it in the mail cart to be shipped! I loved the inclusive nature of this event, as every student felt as if they could take part in Family Weekend, even if their parents were unable to travel to campus.

After an exciting afternoon, it was time for “Night on the Lawn”. This outdoor concert consisted of live country music, an address from President Turner, Instagram worthy photo opportunities, and precious picnic blankets that families could take home as a souvenir. Additionally, there was a livestream of the event so that families could join in on the fun even if they were not on campus. This night was truly a dream come true! To see families safely gather on Dallas Hall Lawn to celebrate how special it is to be an SMU Mustang was truly incredible.

All in all, Family Weekend 2020 is one example of how tradition remains strong at SMU because of the commitment and perseverance of its students, faculty, staff, parents, and community members. There is a new found appreciation for being able to come together, whether that is in person or virtually, and I have no doubt that the events and ideas that were implemented this year will continue to positively shape the inclusivity of Family Weekends to come. The importance of our Mustang family has never been more clear, and it was such a privilege to get to share that with so many families throughout Family Weekend 2020!


Sophie Pasternak

Class of 2021

Ambassadors General

Taking Care of Yourself at SMU

Hi all! My name is Anna Musich and I am a sophomore studying Marketing and Spanish with minors in Music, Economics and Advertising here at SMU. Yes, that may be a long list however I find a reality of college life is simply being busy. Another reality, that I did not realize until the middle of freshman year, is also knowing how to take care of yourself. Amongst the busy life of a college student, it can be hard to discern priorities and more often than not, self-care can be placed on the back burner. As one of the many busy students on campus, working jobs and being very involved on campus, I am frequently guilty of ignoring my needs. Coming back to campus this semester after a long-needed break, and amongst the midst of a pandemic, I realize how necessary for success self-care is for a successful college experience.

Hydrate or Diedrate!
My Class Schedule!

Now, don’t get me wrong I love face masks, sweet treats, and chill nights as much as the next person however, staying healthy and happy more involves creating a routine in which you can thrive. My schedule is hectic; however, I have found setting aside time for meals and snacks throughout the day helps me slow down and is also an opportunity to catch up with friends. When scheduling my classes I do my best to make sure I have time to eat.

This past Wednesday I went with my friends to the new Panera! The time I allotted myself to slow down and enjoy a meal with friends allows me to recharge. Their pick 2 menu is my favorite and I usually pair mac and cheese with a sandwich 🙂

Unfortunately, a designated lunch time did not work out with my schedule on Tuesdays and Thursdays as I am online from 9:30-2pm. However, within the 10-minute breaks I make sure to have a granola bar, go-go squeez, popcorn, and/or dried apricots on hand so I can snack and keep my energy up! Pro tip: Always have a water bottle on hand, as you need to remember to drink water!

On campus, we have a ton of religious organizations and I love all the different services they provide! Personally, I am Catholic and this week they happened to offer Spanish services. I normally go every Sunday and is a set to slow down within a larger community. This has been critical with keeping my stress levels manageable.

Finally, I finished out the week spending time with friends and playing Cards Against Humanity, hanging up a new picture for the dorm room, and giving our selves fake tanner “tattoos” while eating Oreos. While these are not extravagant events, the small things are what make college memorable.

At the end of the day, I have a set night routine before bed. After all the work is done for the day, I like to dance around my room before bed, or play frisbee in the quad, or just watch Netflix. I often go to bed late (and right now it is quite late as I’m writing) but my routine always stays the same, washing my face, lotion and my pink fluffy headband. Again, finding these small parts of my daily routine in which I can incorporate time where I take care of my physical and mental health is what allows me to have more fun and success on campus.

All this to say, it’s not that I don’t get stressed (or I don’t get dehydrated;), and in no means am I perfect at all this. I probably will refer to this article for reference and taking my own advice.


I hope this is helpful and you can find inspiration to start taking care of yourself in the best way possible!

Learn more about Health Promotion and Wellness at SMU, here!

Ambassadors Campus Life

Dream Week at SMU

My name is Matthew Merritt, and I am a sophomore Music Education Major from Duncanville Texas. This past week I had the honor and privilege to sing the selection “Lift Every Voice and Sing” also known as the Negro National Anthem at SMU’s MLK Unity Circle.

This event was a part of the SMU Dream Week Programming and has become an annual Tradition here at our university. This event was put on by our Office of Social Change and Intercultural Engagement.  All in attendance had the opportunity to hear from Leaders of our Administration such as our Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Mmeje, and our University President R. Gerald Turner. We also had the privilege to hear from Student Leaders in our campus community like Tyne Dickson.

I find this event very near and dear to my heart for many reasons. One being that I am a Black Minority Student on our predominantly Caucasian campus.  Being able to see students and faculty members of all colors and backgrounds gathering together in harmony for one cause is a very touching sight to see, given the state of our nation over the past year.

When Martin Luther King Jr. came to SMU back in the 1960’s to speak, the state of our nation was immensely different than it is now and gladly I can say we have evolved for the better. But it is also safe to say that there is still a lot of work yet to be done. Attending this event truly gave me and everyone there the opportunity to reflect upon everything that has happened in our communities and to evaluate ourselves to assess how we have positively or negatively impacted this movement.

As we continue to navigate through our individual journeys in life, we must remember that we are all stronger together and that “There is No I in Us”.

Academics Ambassadors Campus Life

Back to Campus…During a Pandemic!

My first day of the Spring Semester!

As the first week of school is upon us, I was asked (ok I volunteered) to share my back to school tips that I have learned in my last 3 and a half years at SMU. The most important thing you can do is to get organized, in all areas of your world. Organize your academic space, your digital space, and your physical space.


Academic Organization

Even if I don’t have all my syllabi and classes on canvas yet, there are several ways that I prep my academic space for the start of school. The first thing that I will do is set up my calendar for the semester. I prefer to use Apple Calendar because I can color code my different activities and have the same information between my phone and laptop. I make sure to add the location of the class so when the first day of class rolls around I don’t have to pull up my.smu on my phone. I also add the professor’s name and the course number so I can use my calendar as a quick reference in case I forget. This is when I’ll also add my work schedule and any other recurring events I know I’ll have during the semester. I also use a physical planner throughout the semester to keep track of assignments. In the time before I have all my syllabi I will color code each class and write in major dates that I do know.


Digital Organization

The next thing I do is get digitally organized. That’s right, clean up your computer files and desktop. First I will delete all the junk and random files off of my desktop, making sure to empty my trash after. Next I’ll create new folders for each of my classes, and move the old classes into a Fall 2020 folder. You may find this task very intimidating, especially if your desktop looks anything like mine. But having a clean computer and even a super basic file organization system will make it so much easier for you to find important documents throughout the semester.


Physical Organization


The last piece of advice I have for you is an oldie but a goodie. Clean up your room. After living in a space for at least a semester, it can be super helpful to rethink how you organize your room. Did you actually use your storage, desk, and sitting areas as you intended? How may you better adapt the space to how you actually use it? For example I personally struggle to use my desk as a workspace. I think through why I don’t use it and come up with some possible solutions.. If my desk chair is uncomfortable, then maybeI should find a cushion or pillow for it. If I clutter my desk with junk, then I should find a different area I can use for just junk. This is a time to be realistic not idealistic. I can tell myself that I will not clutter up my desk anymore, but I know that won’t happen. It’s going to be much more productive to adapt your space to your behavior than to hope the behavior you’ve learned over the past 6 months will magically change.


The beginning of the semester can be stressful and confusing. I hope some of these tips can help you adjust to a new schedule as easily as possible!


Daniel Heard

Class of 2021


Holidays on the Hilltop

For 43 years, Student Foundation has brought the magic of the holiday season to our campus through Celebration of Lights. This tradition takes place on the heart and soul of our campus – Dallas Hall Lawn. This year, I had the honor of serving as the Campus Events Chair for Student Foundation. My committee and I were responsible for planning the traditional ceremony as well as the holiday festivities for Celebration of Lights this year. The event began with student performers, President Turner reading the Christmas story from the Bible, and the most memorable moment of all the lights on Dallas Hall Lawn being turned on during the performance of Silent Night. Following the ceremony, there were reindeer, caricature artists, horse carriage rides, a stocking stuffing station, carolers, as well as a tent for our philanthropy, Dallas CASA, where people could write cards to the children the organization supports. All of the aspects of Celebration of Lights complied with the event guidelines posted by Student Affairs. Despite these restrictions, the night was absolutely spectacular. Everyone was able to gather in a safe manner to celebrate the successful semester we had on our campus. The tradition is an incredibly special way to say goodbye to SMU before we leave for winter break, and truly encompasses the talent and joy of our student body. In addition to Celebration of Lights, students jumped into the holiday spirit by participating in events in their residential commons and enjoying the lights on the lawn as well as around in the Dallas community. Holidays on the Hilltop are magical and got me right in the spirit to head home and spend the break with my family and friends. I can’t wait to head back to campus in 2021!


May the New Year bring you joy and rest!

Eliana Abraham

Class of 2022

Biological Sciences B.S. | Health & Society B.S.

Ambassadors Life Around Dallas

A Foodies Guide To The 8 Best Restaurants Near SMU

Texans love to eat. Among the hundreds of restaurants in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, some of them are located within walking distance of SMU’s beautiful campus. Over my last three years as a student here, I’ve tried everything from pierogis to biscuit french toast, and I can’t wait to tell you a little about my favorite spots. Buckle up & let’s take a ride to flavor town.

While breakfast is the most important meal of the day, it’s also my favorite. Located just across the street from the new dorms, Shug’s is a brand-new New York inspired bagel shop that was recently opened by a SMU grad. Whether you are looking for a study break or a snack on the way back from your workout on the Katy Trail, this is a must try. The bagel to the right is the classic Shug, made with bacon, egg, cheese and a hash brown on your bagel of choice.

Biscuit Bar does things with breakfast food I didn’t know was possible. Nothing celebrates the completion of your 8am exam like a quick breakfast here—my recommendation is the French toast biscuit with a side of tater tots.




First on our afternoon agenda is Dive Coastal Cuisine. Dive was created for the health-conscious foodie. Created with all organic products, you can’t go wrong with their salads, sandwiches, and hand crafted beverages. The most popular order is the ahi tuna wrap paired with their homemade plantain chips.

Take a trip across the world with just a few steps across the street. Kuby’s Sausage House has been a SMU favorite since 1961, offering all your favorite German delicacies. Not to mention, attached to their restaurant is their extensive market that houses all of your European favorites.



Now, lets talk dinner. My personal favorite is Olivellas Neo Pizza Napolentana—the white pizza will change your life. Located just across the street from Umphery Lee, Oilvella’s is the perfect hole-in-the-wall pizza place.

Coming in at a close second is Dallas Grilled Cheese Company, which you can find just across the 75 in Mockingbird Station. As seen in the photo to your left, they are known for the Grilled Mac ’N Cheese sandwich. To make the meal even better, I order a side of their DGC Fries and malted milk chocolate shake.





Last, but certainly not least, is dessert. A personal favorite is Pokey-O’s, which you can find next to the SMU bookstore. Pick from your choice of two cookies and ice cream to make a delectable cookie sandwich. This is the perfect pit stop on Dallas’s 100-degree days.

I also recommend Baldo’s Ice Cream & Coffee. Why not reward yourself after a hard study break with a cone for your walk back to the dorms? Their slogan is “Anything but Vanilla,” because they believe that each time you have ice cream it should be an experience. Some of their unique flavors include Coffee Oreo, Frosted Animal Cookie and White Chocolate Pretzel. My personal favorite is the Coffee Oreo served in their freshly made waffle cones.


SMU can’t wait to welcome you all back in the fall, we have missed you all so much. I know I personally can’t wait to celebrate with a stop at all of these restaurants once we are back to campus.

Zac Scornavacco

Ambassadors Campus Life Travel

Being an International Student at SMU

Hola! My name is Sofia Marin (’22), and I am an international student from Maracaibo, Venezuela double majoring in Business and Advertising with a minor in French! Two years ago, I made the decision to come to SMU to pursue my bachelor’s degree, and since then, I have felt nothing but gratitude and happiness for having made this choice.

In 2018 I left Venezuela driven by two main motifs; First, the critical economic and political situation of the country, and second, the unique opportunity my parents gave me of acquiring an exceptional education in the United States. Since I was little, I have always come to the US for summer camps, family vacations, and more, but choosing the place where I would spend the next four years of my life growing as a professional was completely different and no minor decision. For me, aside from the academic excellence, this needed to be a place where I could immerse myself into an entirely new culture, and develop unique perspectives on different topics, but at the same time, where I could feel the warmth of home and a sense of belonging. And that is exactly what I’ve found here at SMU.

I’ve met amazing people with similar backgrounds to mine, from Latin American countries like Mexico, Honduras and El Salvador that make me feel at home and remind me the value of our roots, but also people from all the way to Asia, Europe and more, that help me widen my outlook on the world and teach me about different cultures. Professors have been a vital part of the experience too, with their demonstrated unconditional support and strong desire to see students succeed, I have found role models and mentors and created relationships that I am sure will last for a lifetime. The campus itself has contributed to my journey as well, with places such as Fondy, HT, and Dallas Hall Lawn turning into special spots where I create memories with friends, learn new things, or simply appreciate life and how blessed I am for being there. From Celebration of Lights, to Midnight Market, the school hosts events and carries traditions that separate this place from others and connects students, faculty, and staff. Undoubtedly, it is not easy to leave your home country and start a “new life”, but the support, resources and people SMU has given me have made this journey enjoyable, unique and even magical. There is not a moment I don’t thank my parents for giving me this unique opportunity, and the school for being what it is to me today: my home away from home.

Pony Up!

Sofia Marin

Class of 2022

Ambassadors Transferring to SMU

Transfer Student Survival Guide

Preparing for your first year of college at a university isn’t easy, but I made the best decision of my life when I decided to do it twice. There aren’t many survival guides out there for transfer students and it’s probably because we’re just too busy making up for our “lost time” to put one together. Although you feel like your life is running just a little faster than you, the great thing about being a transfer student is that you have a head start. Your previous experience has probably equipped you well enough to take on your first semester with greater confidence. Just one year ago, I thought I had everything figured out! Nonetheless, even that changed for the better during my first semester on the Hilltop. I knew the opportunities at SMU were abundant, but it wasn’t until I transferred that I realized just how great of an impact they would have on me.

I’ll never forget my very first class on my very first day at SMU. I was welcomed by the one and only Liljana Elverskog for my Intermediate Arabic class, and what I thought was a class that would satisfy a University Curriculum requirement had become the beginning of an Arabic minor. As a transfer student, I was eager to explore my interests but I thought I would be too busy playing catch-up to minor in anything at all! SMU has undoubtedly exceeded my expectations in their encouragement for academic and self-growth with their availability of various majors and minors. With the help of my academic advisor and attentive professors, I have also added a second minor in Statistical Science that will better prepare me for graduate school!

It doesn’t end there. Student organizations have been the best way for me to simultaneously foster my academic and personal growth and establish my closest ties to other students. Finding a community of students on campus that interact through social, educational, and religious means has always been important to me, and my involvement with the Muslim Student Association has especially helped in shaping my student experience. Fortunately for all students on campus, there is a student organization for just about everything and you’re able to explore them all during Night at the Club before classes begin.

Although in-person classes have come to a halt because of the COVID-19 pandemic, I have come to understand from this and being a transfer student that my time as a Mustang is not only defined by the time I’ve spent on campus. The education, relationships, and experiences on the Hilltop are everlasting, and I am so eager to continue to pursue whatever SMU throws my way (via Zoom or not). I cannot wait to see you all on campus!

P.S. If you were looking for a sign to transfer, this is it.

Pony Up!

Leena Kamal

SMU Class of 2021