“Who knows our open motto?”, my UT campus tour guide asked slyly. It seemed as if she didn’t expect us to know the answer and her expectations were met as we all quizzically looked at one another, mumbling uncertain “hook ‘ems?” under our breath.
“It’s actually, 'what starts here changes the world’. Here at the University of Texas, we don’t want our accomplishments to be limited to the 40 acres. We want to make an impact.”
Our tour guide proceeded to list off the accomplishments of past Longhorns. She detailed the ways that UT grads have made progress in medicine, technology, business and more. Of course, all of their successes started during their time on this campus, walking these same streets, sitting in these same classrooms.
I often wonder how they were able to do so much when I feel like I’m barely able to survive finals week. While juggling studying, responsibilities, internships and relationships, my main instinct is survival mode. How am I supposed to change the world when I have tests to take, essays to write, and group projects to complete?
Can you relate?
Unfortunately, I think it would be hard to find a Longhorn who doesn’t feel completely overwhelmed by their obligations as a student. However, I think it would be equally as difficult to find a student on this campus who isn’t ambitious, driven, and passionate about something. I think it would be nearly impossible to find someone on this campus who doesn’t care about making a difference in the world.
I want to let you know that it is possible to make the grade and an impact all at once. You have the ability to change the world during your time here. It just might look a little different than you imagined.
One day while scrolling through Hire a Longhorn, I saw a job posting for Side by Side Kids, a faith-based afterschool program, as a Crew Leader. The job entailed helping students grow both academically and in their faith. Despite the fact that teaching was nowhere near what I wanted to do post-graduation, I knew I had to apply. I wanted the chance to share the love of Jesus with these students while also helping them advance to the next grade level.
During my time at Side by Side Kids, I learned that changing the world starts with abandoning what’s comfortable and doing something different - I learned that changing the world starts with changing the world of one person.
I have plenty of favorite memories during my time as a Crew Leader, but one that stands out to me involved a student named Vince. I remember teaching my second-graders about the Holy Spirit in a way that my students would understand but nothing was working. Eventually, I said something about the Holy Spirit that caught their attention, and one student, Vince, looked up at me with the biggest eyes I have ever seen and let out a slow, “whoaaaaaaaaa.”
“Wait, Miss, so you’re telling me I have a part of God inside of me???”
I nodded excitedly with a huge smile on my face.
“WOW! That’s the coolest thing I’ve ever heard! Thank you so much for letting me know! I can’t believe God lives in me! God’s with me all the time!”
It was a little moment but it made a big impact for Vince.
When you see the kid with behavior problems start to go out of their way to be kind to others in his class, you know you’ve made a difference. When you see the kid who wasn’t turning in assignments for months start to enjoy Homework Time, you know you’ve made a difference. When you see the kid who had never heard about God start sharing with her classmates how much He loves us, you know you’ve made a difference.
What others see as small wins, Side by Side Kids celebrates for what they truly are - huge victories. I’ve loved the opportunity to work here and experience God moving in the lives of these kids firsthand.
Longhorns - changing the world has to start somewhere. Changing the world of one person starts today. Will you take a step of faith and apply now to be a Crew Leader?