Ambassadors Campus Life Meadows School of the Arts Student Organizations Transferring to SMU

Dear Future Transfer Students!

Rain spattered against the concrete and puddles splashed under my feet as I ran across Dallas Hall Lawn. My black umbrella towered above my head to protect the soft brown curls flowing from my hair that I had worked so hard on earlier that morning. My shoes, on the other hand, were a different story. The cold rain from the humid August day had soaked through them. Nevertheless, I was determined get to class so I kept going.


Upon reaching Umphrey Lee, I swung open the doors to the journalism department. Finally, I was out of the rain. I stood in the hallway for a brief second taking it all in. The newsroom with tall glass windows, shiny silver Mac computers, and a row of televisions flashing the latest news sat to my right. In front of me, a long hallway painted in deep SMU reds and blues led to the studio. I took a deep breath and turned left to my classroom.


I had made it. After over a year of detailed planning, recommendation letters, and lots of stress, I was finally starting my first day as a transfer student at Southern Methodist University. As the rain poured down, it washed away parts of my past to make way for the next two years of my college career. Today, I was a Mustang.


I transferred to SMU on August 27, 2019, as a junior majoring in journalism and minoring in political science. While my experience holds a lot of meaning to me, I am not the only one with a story. According to Inside Higher Ed, more than a third of all college students in the country transferred in 2015. Today, at SMU, transfer students make up 20 percent of the student body.


In my experience, transferring is often an avoided topic and is frequently followed by stigma. Not to mention, it’s challenging because it means you must take a massive leap of faith to move to another school with new teachers, students, and opportunities for the sake of a better experience, fresh start, or a greater future. In other words, it’s like starting college again as a freshman, but this time everybody knows where they fit in except for you. Although it is difficult, it’s immensely rewarding—especially at SMU. Luckily, there are ways to make the process easier.


First, I would advise doing as much research as possible. To explain, I chose to transfer because I wanted more opportunities to prepare for a career in broadcast journalism. As a communications student, I started by making a list of the largest media markets in the U.S., including Dallas. Then, I looked at schools in those top markets. Once I had narrowed down the schools I was interested in, I kept the research going. For each school, I compiled a list of information about the journalism schools. It included the awards, clubs, organizations to get involved in, the professors’ career experience, and how successful students were after graduating.


Second, I visited campus to make sure I could see myself there. Over Spring break, I took a tour through the SMU Admissions Office. I asked many questions, awed at Dallas Hall, and even ate on campus at the student center. Sitting on the outdoor patio at Hughes-Triggs with a Chick-Fil-A sandwich in hand, I knew I could visualize myself as an SMU student.


After this, I reached out to a journalism school professor to ask more specific questions and set up a tour of the facilities. Immediately, they set up a phone call with me to talk about my transferring decision. Afterward, they created an itinerary for my trip to SMU. It included a tour of SMU journalism, sitting in on the morning news broadcast, joining a class, advising, and meeting with the department’s head. Not only did I get to see what life would look like here, I felt welcomed.


With that, I knew I wanted to go to SMU. After a semester of goodbyes to my old college friends and a long hot summer, I finally began courses in Dallas. Little did I know, choosing to transfer was only half the battle. Now, I just needed to find my niche.


Once you arrive on campus, my biggest piece of advice is to get involved. At some point, every college student hears that, but this cliché has stood the test of time. For me, it took a lot of experimenting with clubs and organizations. Eventually, I got involved with SMU-TV, the SMU Daily Campus, and the Undergraduate Admissions Ambassadors program. By joining these groups, I found ways to fuel my passion, meet new people, and even meet other transfer students.


Lastly, and I can’t emphasize this enough: the entire transferring process takes time. Not only does it take patience to wait during the application process, but it also takes time to adjust to the new classes and schedules once you arrive on campus. Above all, real and genuine friendships take time to build as well.


As I approach graduation in May, I could not be happier with my decision to transfer to SMU. In just two short years, the university has opened doors for me, challenged me to be a better version of myself, and introduced me to lifelong friends. With that being said, if you’re transferring to SMU, be patient with yourself and know that all of the hard work will pay off.

Campus Life Meadows School of the Arts Student Organizations

Culture on Campus

SMU has some of the most entertaining cultural and artistic experiences on a college campus through our Meadows School of the Arts. Over the course of the semester, you could easily catch performances in dance, vocal performance, studio art and orchestra. A while ago, I had the opportunity to see the Cézanne String Quartet’s final recital as SMU’s Peak Fellowship Ensemble in Residence. The fellowship is Meadow’s way of bringing extraordinary artists, some from around the world, to campus. The group consists of two violins, one viola and one cello. They are currently working on recording their first album. The fall recital will be on the first album and focuses on tragedy in the human experience.

Overall, it was an incredible experience. Many people will never get the chance to see the caliber of performers that are in the Cézanne Quartet, much less for free, but at SMU, experiences like this are the norm. One of my favorite things about our University being located in Dallas is that these artistic and cultural opportunities are not limited to campus. Almost any day of the year, it’s simple to find an event in fine arts. Whether you are interested in venturing into the city or filling a few hours between classes, Dallas and Meadows ensure that there are no shortages of opportunities to learn and grow in areas that may be culturally different. As a student studying accounting and biology, two subjects that do not make much room for creative leaning, I find myself being refreshed and inspired by programs and performances that break up the monotony of my own academic agenda. Make sure to check out Meadows’ performance schedule if you are visiting us on the Hilltop – you won’t regret it!

Holt Garner

Campus Life Meadows School of the Arts

My Visit to the Meadows Museum

Taylor NickensWhenever I give a tour to students, I tell them that the Meadows School of the Arts is my favorite building on campus. As a Pre-Med student majoring in Health and Society and minoring in Spanish and Photography, I have an extremely busy schedule. My studies allow me to use both the left and the right sides of my brain and think both logically and creatively. I find so much comfort and happiness in the professors and classes I take in Meadows. From my background, it must be shocking to hear that despite my love for the Meadows School of the Arts, I had never visited SMU’s very own Meadows Museum until this semester. As a class trip, my Spanish class received a tour of the museum to get a real-life look at our studies of the history of art in Spain.

The entire museum is breathtaking. As I walked up the stairs to the entrance of the museum, I was greeted by one of the most impressive sculptures of a human face that I have ever seen. On its own, the sculpture has the ability to draw an audience into the museum due to its intricate design and impressive 3D form. Inside the museum, I got to see even more beautiful artwork, from very famous artists!

Having studied art for four years, it was extremely exciting to see the work of some of the most renown Spanish artists, such as Salvador Dali, El Greco, and Gaudi. Each original piece of work holds so much history and culture, and was only thirty steps from my classroom. SMU provides its students with the ability to learn about a topic, culture, and the importance of art in the world while in the classroom, and then provides tangible examples in our very own Meadows Museum.

After my initial with my Spanish class, I have returned to the museum three times. Two out of the three times I visited were to complete my original tour of the museum. The third time, however, was to appreciate the beauty and work along its perimeter. Along the outskirts of the museum is a beautiful garden filled with flowers and statues of a variety of materials with a variety of meanings. From the outside in, I can guarantee that SMU’s Meadows Museum has something to catch and hold everyone’s attention.

-Taylor Nickens

Campus Life Life Around Dallas Meadows School of the Arts

Endless Opportunities on Campus and in the City

Shannon ConboyIt’s Monday, and I’m reminiscing about my weekend, feeling incredibly lucky. Not only did I spend time doing what I love for my major, but I also had an incredible city to experience on my rehearsal breaks!

I’m a senior Vocal Performance major, and rehearsals for the opera are in full swing. Next week, I will perform a role in Mozart’s “The Magic Flute,” in front of family, friends, teachers, and colleagues. To have this opportunity and experience as an undergraduate is something I’ve only dreamed about. Meadows Opera Ensemble hit the ground running and hasn’t stopped since early January. Each evening that I’m rehearsing, I count my lucky stars that I’m part of such a wonderful production with such hard-working and talented people. I’m really getting to experience what my life will be like pursuing a career in an opera company, and I love it.

Saturday, a day off from rehearsals, I was able to enjoy my time in the city. I started the day off with brunch at Fernando’s, getting my Tex-Mex and scrambled egg fix, and running into multiple SMU friends. After a much needed lazy afternoon, I was surprised by a friend with tickets to a Stars game! He had gotten them through his internship, as he is a Finance Major in Cox. Stoked, we donned as much green clothing as possible and headed to the American Airlines center. After an evening full of stadium hot-dogs and friends, a Stars loss didn’t even faze me. I returned home content as could be.

As a senior, I guess I’m beginning to appreciate these little things more and more. I have had endless opportunities in my four years here and I look back on each with such fondness! I’m singing opera, building up my experiences, and preparing myself for a successful post-grad life, but I’m also living in the greatest city and taking advantage of all Dallas has to offer. I’m not sure what more I could ask for, except to do it all over again.
Here’s to the next few months of my time here being the best yet.

-Shannon Conboy

Academics Meadows School of the Arts

Dancing the Days Away

madison mckay

The SMU Dance majors immediately hit the ground running this semester. On the evening following the first day of classes, we jumped into rehearsals for the Fall Hope Show, which we recently performed. The show was comprised of three pieces, the first (and the one that I had the opportunity to perform) was a contemporary piece called Wild and Precious. As the name suggests, the contemporary ballet piece was a celebration of youth and exuberance. The music was relentlessly upbeat, and featured twenty-five dancers sprinting and dancing across the stage wearing brightly-colored costumes most likely inspired by the “Jane Fonda 80s Workout Section” that was incorporated into the middle of the piece. I had the chance to work with a choreographer named Robert Dekkers, the Artistic Director of Post: Ballet in San Francisco. He worked with us for two weeks and created an original piece that featured both his choreography and the choreography of his cast! Overall, it was an incredible experience and was so thankful for the chance to work with so many talented artists!

-Madison McKay

Campus Life Meadows School of the Arts

Sopranos Anonymous

This coming Friday, I have the opportunity to partake in something completely unconventional and absolutely awesome. I will be performing in an operetta written and directed by one of SMU’s very own Vocal Performance Graduate students. She presented her piece of work to the Opera Director within Meadows, and he has allowed her to cast it, direct it, and now we will be performing it! The performance is free and is located in the Meadows lobby. It’s quite the perfect opportunity both for the student body to enjoy a musical work of art that is accessible to them as well as for us to perform for our peers. The operetta incorporates several very well known arias and musical theater pieces. It’s entitled “Sopranos Anonymous” because it is set up as a support group for the typical soprano ‘diva.’

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It is not often that you get to play into the stereotypes of your major in front of an audience in a completely ironic and comedic work of art. It is extraordinary fun and great exposure and experience for us young singers. I am proud to be performing in one of my friend’s own works of art, and am more thankful every day to Meadows and SMU for opportunities like this one.

By Shannon Conboy