Happy Thanksgiving from the Hilltop!

By Ryan Herrscher

With Christmas break looming on the Horizon, Thanksgiving is the perfect time to look back and take some time to be thankful for all that we have.  I, for one, am extremely thankful for the opportunity to be at SMU and to be a part of the vibrant community that gives our campus life. 

We won’t have any posts for a few days as we will all be celebrating the holidays, but we will be back next Monday with more exciting stories from the Hilltop.  Have a great Thanksgiving and we hope to see on campus soon!

Academics General

Staying Motivated: The Power of Freedom

By Brie Strickland

I am by no means a morning person, so waking up before dawn three days a week is a daunting challenge. On mornings where my bed is extra snuggly I question why I signed up to take three back-to-back Communications clases so early in the day. As I climb up the stairs of the Umphrey Lee Center each morning, I remember why I choose to be a Communications major instead of getting an extra hour of sleep. Outide the Umphrey Lee Center, the powerful words that constitute our First Amendment are carefully carved into limestone.

Just as former presidential candidate Romney tapped his hand against his “Clear Eyes. Full Heart. Can’t Lose” sign above his door, I too graze my hand against the cold stone each time I enter the building. The building reminds me of the freedoms of this great nation. I am a Communications major because my voice means something in America. I realize that at SMU my world class professors are preparing me to use this voice to move our country forward. My inspiration comes from the First Amendment. It is a constant reminder of the freedoms I enjoy each day and my privledge to be able to speek on behalf of those who fail to have a voice. The SMU Communications department has made me a powerful voice and advocate, and I am so grateful to be able to freely excercise such rights.


Mustang Pride

By Melody Davis

SMU students are passionate about our school! One of my favorite ways to show Mustang Pride and give back to all that SMU gives me is by giving campus tours. How could you not want to wear the SMU polo and teach visitors to Pony Up? SMU Ambassadors love to represent red and blue while walking groups along the boulevard and showing off our spectacular campus while teaching prospective students about all the other wonderful aspects of Southern Methodist University.

Careers General

Wanted: Video Game Tester

By Billy Hightower

Today was awesome!  This summer I was bored one day so I decided to log on to MustangTrak to look for any job opportunities. After applying to a couple of internships there was one in particular that caught my eye…VIDEO GAME TESTER. I quickly submitted all my information to this potential opportunity and I got a call last week asking me to come to the SMU in Plano Campus and test video games.  Earlier today I went to the Plano campus and was called in by the THQ gaming center.  Along with about 10 other testers, I got the chance to play an unreleased video game and then give my feedback on it. After an hour and a half of playing we were compensated with new video games and IT WAS AWESOME! Well I g2g, it’s Friday and there are some friends of mine playing Ultimate Frisbee out in front of Dallas hall.  LATER!

Academics Campus Life General

Expanding Horizons

By Laura Spitler

I want to talk about a piece of advice I heard multiple times before arriving at college: Try something new.

College is such a perfect time to expand your horizons.  For some students that may mean getting SCUBA certified through your wellness class, for others it may mean learning that foreign language you have always been curious about.  This advice translated to me joining SMU’s Ballroom Dance team my freshman year. SMU hosts an event for freshman the first week of classes called Night at the Club, where most of the clubs and organizations set up tables and give you an idea of all there is to get involved with. This is a great place to search for your new passion.  Learning a new skill is such a fun way to make friends.  Whenever you get plugged in on campus, you feel more connected and you’re likely to have a better freshman experience than those that stay holed-up in their rooms.

I definitely found my niche with the ballroom dance team.  I really appreciate that ballroom has familiar aspects to my extracurricular activity in high school, yet has allowed me to learn a completely new skill and meet some fabulous people.  Just two weekends ago, 30 of us road tripped down to Rice University to dance in a big collegiate competition.

I want to pass the advice I received onto all of you prospective students.  Don’t join the French club in college just because that’s what you did in high school.  Take some time to re-evaluate your interests and consider something new!

Campus Life General

What Do People Do at SMU?

By John Angle

Hey folks!

So you may be wondering, “what do people do at SMU?” Well one big way that a lot of people spend their time is to get involved in one of SMU’s 180+ clubs and organizations. There is literally something for everyone, ranging from multicultural organizations to campus programming to religious to community service and more. Some of the more unique organizations I would say are the Mustang Mavericks who are a group of country-western dancers who perform and compete, or the SMU Ballroom Dancing Club which has grown exponentially lately.

The organization that I am most involved in is called Student Foundation and is one of SMU’s largest and its most-selective organization. SF is charged by the university with the responsibility to plan Family Weekend, Homecoming, Celebration of Lights (our Christmas celebration), and Mane Event (spring carnival), as well as facilitating the Tate Lecture Series and Ambassadors program which sends SMU students to university functions in the community. I served as membership chair two years ago, the Family Weekend Chair last year, and am currently the President.  It has been so cool to have a hand in planning and pulling off all these important university traditions because on so many campuses they have a team of professional staff that plan these events. I’ve grown so much as a leader and had a ton of fun.

That said, SF wouldn’t be something for everyone…. but there is almost certainly some organization that would be for you here. If there isn’t, you can get a group together and charter one and Student Senate will fund it. If you’re interested in seeing if there’s something that you’re interested in here’s a list.

Until next time – Pony Up!

John Angle

Campus Life General

The First Step

By Courtney Steele

Walking up the stairs to the Hughes-Trigg Student Center that summer, a huge “Welcome New Mustangs” banner hung above the entrance, I was terrified. The time had finally arrived, AARO (academic advising registration and orientation) was here and it was time to embark on a journey I knew very little about, and a journey that would continually surprise, amaze and astound me. But I had the most incredible support system by my side for this new journey. Between the girl and her mom standing next to me and my parents who had already supported me through every happy and hard time in my life, I hope I was ready.

The day before, in the lobby of the Hilton Park Cities, I had met my new best friend who was getting ready to embark on the same journey. She immediately became the girl I cried to, the girl that my family welcomed in (I always wanted a sister), the girl whose family I joined (she always did too), the girl I went to Billy Bobs with, the girl that I went to the midnight premiere of the Justin Bieber movie with and the girl who started our pasta and rolls weekend dinner tradition. This crossing of paths taught me very early on that you never know where life will take you, who will come into your life and what you’ll learn along the way.

Walking up those stairs an instant later, it didn’t feel so scary, it felt right, more right than I could have imagined. SMU welcomed us all in with open arms and from that moment forward, we became Mustangs for life. My family immediately expanded and I was firmly planted in my home away from home. As my time at SMU winds down, I look at that moment as a pivotal moment. We learned about everything SMU, the traditions, the classes I would be taking, what to expect that first week of school, but most importantly we had reconfirmed that I had made the right decision.

As the college decision is looming and your senior year is winding down, remember a piece of advice that I had a hard time accepting (and maybe still do) – it will work out. I hope that SMU is the place for you, but moreover I hope that you have that feeling of serenity, calm and confidence in your decision that I felt standing on those stairs at AARO in 2008. Pony up!

Ambassadors Campus Life General

A Family Affair

By Greg Nelson

It was great to be home in Ohio for winter break with my family. It had been about five months since I had been home. While I was home, my brother who is a senior in high school started hearing back from some of the schools he had applied to early. One afternoon he walked in with a big, red envelope from SMU. He was all smiles and I was excited as well to hear that he had gotten in to SMU. He started asking questions about what was my favorite thing to do on campus and where to live and all those questions. I am really excited that he got in and hopes he chooses to become a Mustang. Good luck to the rest of you that are waiting to hear back, and to those of you that got in… Congratulations and welcome to the SMU family.