Looking Back (And Forward)

Posted by Andrew Wei

In the run-up to this first post on the new blog, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I would’ve wanted to know when I was going through the McDermott application for the first time. As a senior in high school, I had basically no idea what it meant to be a McDermott. I spent most of that time neck-deep in application essays and standardized tests, trying desperately to figure out what colleges I was going to apply to, what major I wanted to pick, and what I was going to do with my life. At one point someone suggested that I apply to the McDermott Program, and I did—despite not knowing all that much about what the program was really like.

This coming fall, many of you might find yourselves in a similar situation. You might not know exactly what you’re signing up for. In that case, this blog is meant for you.

In a bid to relive my time as a prospective college student, I recently took to the Internet to see what modern technology could tell me about the McDermott Program. The first new fact I discovered was that my McDermott class has the lowest average SAT score of the four classes currently at UTD (go ‘13s!). I also learned that a quarter of the current McDermotts were high school valedictorians, which was kind of irritating to me since I was not that amazing.

At some point I decided that maybe the Internet wasn’t the best place to learn the ins and outs of the program, so in classic college-student fashion, I began looking for ways to put off my work until later. Since I was already hanging out in the McDermott office, this meant heading back to the kitchen.

Yep, we have a kitchen.

Basically everyone who visits the office—whether to ask questions, to meet up with friends, or just to kill fifteen minutes between classes—seems to gravitate toward the kitchen. Every time I walk in for a snack, I’m basically forced to accept that I’m going to get wrapped up in a conversation about hitchhiking, or mazes, or the best way to serve pineapple, or the various merits of spreading whipped cream on Oreos. You get the idea.

This is an experience I think most McDermotts can relate to. In many ways, it’s the most fundamental of all McDermott experiences. Sure, there are a million other things people bring up when you mention the program—the scholarship, Leadership Dallas, bonding with your class, the new McDermott Cup, the celebrated Santa Fe trip, and of course, everyone’s awesome study abroad stories. Those are all remarkable things. (Things that we’ll talk about on future blog posts—stay tuned.)

But I would venture to say that the kitchen is the beating heart of the McDermott Program. Put a couple of McDermotts in that little room and it’s like all the stories, inter-class gossip, philosophical discussions, arguments, plans for the future—everything just comes pouring out. What is the secret sauce that makes the kitchen so awesome? Now that is a fascinating question. Maybe it’s all the waffles we eat in there, or the coffee, or the ice cream. Maybe it’s the never-ending supply of Goldfish.

This is rapidly turning into a love letter to the McDermott kitchen, so I’ll just close out by saying that we hope this blog can become the virtual analogue to that wonderful little room. We hope it’ll provide an unfiltered outlet for the ninety or so people who currently call the McDermott Program their home, a place where we can write and speak directly to you, where we can let out all the things we’re really passionate about. Most of all, we hope you learn something by reading it, because that’s what we’re really here for after all.

Next week: Kathleen writes about the McDermott Library, National Poetry Month, and other cool stuff.

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