I promise this isn't a break up letter, but more of a thank you letter.
Dear UT Austin,
I graduate in 4 days and with finals over, I can finally reflect on my time at the Forty Acres. First and foremost, I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you for the memories these past four years. It hasn't always been the best, but I can honestly say I wouldn't want to experience these past four years anywhere else.
Thank you for bringing closer to my family and making me appreciate them more. I never realized how many things I took for granted that my parents did for me until I started college. Thank you for making me realize how important it is to have such a strong support back home and for making me realize how blessed I am to have parents that support with me in whatever career choice I pursue and the path I choose to take there. This degree is for not only me, but for my parents. This is for the sacrifices that they made to move here to the U.S. so that my sister and I can have more opportunities. Yes, I'm a proud daughter of two hardworking Filipino immigrants and I wouldn't trade it for anything else.
Thank you UT for making my relationship and faith in God even stronger. These past four years, I have experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. I have fallen in and out of love. I have experienced tremendous losses and unforgettable memories, yet I know that whatever my circumstance is...my God is still good. There were many times where I would question why certain things that would happen in my life, on campus, in the U.S. and the world and ask God why? Why would these things happen? I may not know all the answers and yes things may not always be sunshines and rainbows, but I know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
Thank you UT for making me appreciate diversity. I was the only one from my graduating high school class from a small town to attend UT during our first year of college and so many people were worried for me. They were worried because the Austin "culture" is so different, that they were too "liberal" and that I was going to become a wild child.
At UT, I met so many amazing people from all walks of life-- from different backgrounds, ethnicities and political/religious views. Coming here definitely opened my eyes to appreciate diversity and how we can co-exist if we just all learn how to respect each other and be a little less selfish. I also definitely gained a new appreciation of different cultures, languages and especially food.
Coming to UT made me realize I wasn't just going to be identified as "the asian", but to be able to embrace all of who I am. Yes I am a Filipina, but I am more than just that.
Thank you UT for the amazing, wonderful and passionate people I got to meet because I chose you. Each person I have encountered here in the past four years have truly amazed me. From my first college experience at Summer Bridge to classmates, lab partners, roommates and everyone in between, I am truly amazed by everyone I have encountered.
Thank you for my friends turned family. My friends who have stayed up studying with me, went on spontaneous food runs with me, to those who have ever made me food, cried with me, laughed with me, to my friends who continually pray for me and encourage me. I am so grateful for each one of them. I am grateful that they were able to do life for me these past four years and I am so excited to see how each of them continue to chase after their dreams.
Thank you UT for helping me find my communities that shaped me to who I am today. Thank you for the Summer Bridge program for allowing me to jump start my college career and giving me people to grow with. Thank you for the Texas Interdisciplinary Program (TIP) Scholars which brought me some of my best friends today. Thank you TIP for the unlimited printing, the reserved seats in classes, the study groups and the extraordinary TIP fam you have brought to my life.
Thank you for Longhorn Chi Alpha. Thank you for the spiritual community that I was blessed to be a part of my past four years. Thank you for the spiritual leaders in my life and the friends that were able to keep me accountable and push me towards God. Thank you for the small groups, the wonderful girls and the new siblings (especially brothers) I have gained. Thank you Longhorn XA fam for the reminders that despite of everything, God is in control. Thanks for chasing God and running after Him with me.
Thank you UT for bringing me Texas Public Health. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve this tiny, but mighty organization with my dedicated friends. I was able to make new friends and develop friendships where we were all passionate about different aspects of public health whether it'd be policy, nutrition, global health or medicine. Thanks for giving me friends that can endure the classes with me and understand my struggles within those classes. Thanks for teaching me dedication and a new understanding of the term "hard work pays off".
Thanks UT for giving me the courage to chase after my dreams and serve my community. I am grateful for the opportunity to have been able to serve at People's Community Clinic. It was an eye-opening experience that showed me what working at a non-profit was like and the current state of the healthcare system of the U.S. is. I'm thankful for the compassionate volunteers and supervisors that I spent time with serving. Thank you for the laughs and memories and turning my "volunteering" experience to something that I looked forward to every week.
Okay last thing. Thank you UT for the late nights at the PCL/Union/NHB, the tears, the struggles and everything in between. I would be lying if I said there weren't times where my friends and I would joke that we should've attended an easier university or dropped out. Because of these hard times and struggles though, I was able to grow tremendously these past four years--- physically (LOL jk even though I did start lifting weights in college), emotionally, spiritually and mentally.
I have not only learned so much about myself, but I also learned so much more about taking care of my mental health. I learned to just take it one day at a time because that's all you can really do. As they say, if you can get into UT, you can certainly get out.
May 19th, I'm ready for you.
Sincerely Soon-to-be-a-Texas Ex,
The girl with upside down dimples
P.S. I'm still really upset that transcripts are $20 each btw. Come on man.