Without question, lots of kids have recently made UT Austin their dream school. While they may not have understood Empowering Leadership Alliance’s (ELA) Towers of Hanoi problem, or walked away with the ability to program UT’s soccer-playing robots, they certainly got the message that computer science, and school itself, is fun.

Future computer scientistsSome of them were wearing matching shirts with pictures of Einstein that said “be smart, go to college,” while others walked around with their alumni parents nervously chattering about how their three year olds might grow up to break their hearts by going to A&M.

Other attendees had already been accepted, and watched as their future professors guided robots through a hula hoop, or heard from current students about what it’s like to major in computer science.

And current students like myself were reminded of how fortunate we are for our opportunities, and how many people are amazed at what we get to do—even if forty kids had seen me struggle with the washing machine earlier that morning while touring my dorm.

A wonderful thing about UT is that it basically stays like this all year. Sure there’s typically fewer kids climbing on Gateshenge (thanks Rohan for finally explaining to me what the giant structure in front of GDC is), but almost every day you can fill in the sentence “Whoa, I didn’t know we had a _____!” with something new and exciting.

There's lots of reasons that people say college is the best years of your life. You’re given all of the knowledge and resources that you could possibly want, and you’re encouraged to see the world with the same wide-eyed excitement as UT’s tiny explorers. At the same time, you’re responsible and smart enough to do the really cool stuff – and nobody’s worried that you’ll break something. And you’re constantly surrounded by brilliant and inspiring people with lots of common interests.

It’s really impossible to be unhappy here. Even when we’re not trying to impress future Longhorns, I don’t think I’ve met a single person at UT who wasn’t passionate about something that the university supported them with. And even though whatever that passion is varies for all of us, the inclination to encourage others is something that we all possess.

I definitely feel like one of the Explore UT kids whose dream came true. We say that what starts here changes the world, and I am incredibly lucky to see it happen every day. Explore UT was a great way to give the rest of the world a small glimpse into our extraordinary university, and proved that it will continue to inspire people long into the future.


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