Thursday, July 24, 2014


I try not to get too cheesy with this blog, but it's really in my nature, and I am warning you right now that this post might be a little bit on the sentimental side. With today being my very last day in Austin, and my last ever shift at SRD (though who knows, maybe I'll continue the trend and work here next summer, too), I'm allowed to get a little bit cheesy.

As I look back at my time in Austin, I can't help but think of Darius Rucker's song, "This." It is one of my very favorite songs, and I think it speaks nicely to how I even ended up in Austin. Might I suggest listening to it as you read? It will up the sentimentality. Seriously, I had it on repeat as I was writing this.

I'm not sure that I have ever shared this on the blog before, but The University of Texas was not my dream school. It wasn't even really on my radar until my senior year of high school. For most of my high school career, the only school I would talk to you about was The University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia (duh). I became obsessed with the idea of moving far away and leaving everything familiar to me (I was very prideful of this), and attending this beautiful school in the northeast that had actual seasons and a prestigious reputation. UVA was my "dream school," and this was school I just had to attend. Well, April 1st, 2010 (actually March 26, if we're being specific) came, and by this time, I just wanted a yes or no answer. Many of my friends knew where they would be going, and I was tired of saying that I didn't know where I would be going yet. I had contemplated just saying "yes" to UT, solely so that I would have a definitive answer to the "Where are you going next year?" question, but my mom convinced me to hang on for just a few more weeks until I heard back from UVA.

To cut to the chase, I checked my status online, and I saw that I had been waitlisted. So while I was very obviously disappointed (what more did I have to do in order to be admitted?), it took me about 2.5 seconds to get in the car so that I could drive over to Uptown Park to stock up on some UT gear. Obviously I was upset (and out of my mind for voluntarily driving on I-610 in rush hour traffic), but something my best friend told me still sticks with me today: "Kelli, if you really want to go to UVA, you can make it happen, but it seems to me that God is pointing you in a different direction." And what a direction I took. It's so crazy to me that these past four years of my life could have looked so incredibly different had I tried to get off that waitlist and attend school across the country.

So, the first step I took was choosing to move just two and a half hours down the road to the live music capital of the world - Austin, Texas - so that I could work towards earning my degree from The University of Texas at Austin.

Spoiler alert: I did it!
Which led me to live at Scottish Rite Dormitory, also known as SRD, the dirty SRDy, or the virgin vault, and that was arguably one of the best decisions I ever could have made. I met some of my best friends here, I had the opportunity to be a Resident Assistant with some truly incredible girls, and heck, I still can't seem to get away from the place! It made the transition from high school to college so much easier, and you better believe I will be coming back for the reunions.

I had the opportunity to study abroad and spend seven weeks in Barcelona, Spain with one of my best friends. It is easily one of my most favorite cities, and we had the time of our lives over there. We were also able to explore Madrid, London, and Paris, and I know that I will not be able to stay away from them for long.

I have always been into exercise and staying fit, and since coming to college, I have completed five half marathons, and I am currently signed up complete my sixth in January. Who knows how that might have changed, had I not had lived in a city so dedicated to staying fit? Town Lake is just a place that can't be beat.

I was involved with YoungLife in high school, but, to be completely honest, I never even considered staying active with it in college. I am so thankful that I found myself surrounded by such incredible people those first few weeks of college, because that led me to get involved in a YoungLife small group that met weekly, which led me to go through YoungLife leader training, which led me to be placed on a YoungLife team full of some of the best people you will ever meet.

Not only that, but I had the chance to hang out with a pretty awesome group of girls. I was supposed to be the one leading and teaching them, but I learned more from them than they may ever know.

I got to live in the cutest house with some of the greatest humans on this planet. There simply aren't enough words to describe the love, laughter, and crazy antics that went on in our little house and on Wild Wild West 35th. I will cherish these memories forever - especially the ones that involved "What Are The Odds" - and though we are all running off in very different directions, I look forward to the laughs that are sure to come when we all reunite.

Suite 1 forever
Going back to the YoungLife part of my college experience, I can't help but be thankful that it led me to Dylan. I remember thinking he was cute the very night he was placed on my team. Unfortunately for me, I was dressed as a hipster zombie, so while it would be a cute story to say that he thought I was cute from the moment he saw me, I wasn't really doing myself any favors. Above all, though, I absolutely loved getting to know him over the course of that year, and he grew to be one of my closest friends on the team. One sweet letter and one five-hour beach day later, and we've been discovering new restaurants together ever since. He makes me want to be a better person, my stomach hurts from laughing so much when we're together, and I just genuinely enjoy being around him (even when I'm reading and he's playing Sudoku). And though I know it will be hard to do the whole "long-distance" thing (which is really only two and a half hours so can that really be considered long distance?), I am excited to see how our relationship will grow this next year. And he gives me even more of an excuse to return to this great city.

And finally, because I have yet to mention the very reason that I came to this university, to do the whole school thing, I was able to complete the very best secondary teacher preparation program in the country. It was not without many thoughts of changing my major, many tears of frustration and stress, but also not without many sweet reminders as to why it is that I wanted to do this in the first place.

So, what I'm trying to say is, every seemingly wrong step or bad turn that I took, led me to have the most incredible college experience. I can't even express how grateful I am for the experiences I have had, the people I have met, and this city that I have gotten to know so well these past four years. As sad as it makes me to close the door on this chapter of my life,  I could not be more excited to head back to Houston to start a new one that has me teaching English and coaching volleyball at Bellaire High School. I am so grateful for this opportunity, and it is still so crazy to me how it all seemed to fall into place. It's been a great four years, and it's crazy to think that one little thing could have changed all of this.

Sidenote: I may or may not have teared up a little bit while writing this. Austin, you will truly be missed (though your lack of plastic bags and horrendous Mopac traffic will most definitely not be).

A sweet farewell from SRD

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful photographs and interesting. Teamwork really attract others.
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