Always Bring Snacks: Words of Wisdom from the Class of 2015

Posted by Joanna Haug

To the Class of 2016 McDermott Scholars,

Congratulations and welcome! A year ago, we were just like you. Excited, nervous, and utterly clueless about what the next year would hold. Your life is about to change completely. But never fear! The Class of 2015 is here, full of a year’s worth of wisdom to share with you.

“Enter as an undeclared major.” 

–  Harris Chowdhary

“Bring a car if you can! Having transportation is helpful for getting groceries, exploring Dallas, and getting to LD on time.”

– John Chan

(Note: LD stands for Leadership Dallas)

“Make friends who will drive you places.” 

– Joanna Haug

“Arrange rides before the hour of an event.”

– Kiara Dandridge


“Don’t be late to LD.”

–  Richard Wu

“Don’t be afraid to go out and explore. Talk to the staff about ideas for what to do and organize trips or events to see more than just the metroplex.” 

– Daniel Rodricks

“Know how you study. If you’re someone that loves taking breaks in between studying then schedule your classes with breaks. If you’re someone who has to do things from start to finish, then schedule your classes together.”

– Christian Cortes

Joey Campain relieving stress.

“Don’t just focus on school and McDermott stuff. Try and get involved in something fun or stress relieving like an extracurricular, so you can unwind.”

-Nidhish Lokesh

“If you need help or have a question before the school year starts, ask. I spent like 5 hours wondering what on earth I was going to wear for business casual in Santa Fe before I asked for help. On a similar note; girls, buy a pair of dress pants you like.”

 – Joanna Haug


“Don’t bother asking because, yes, it’s biz cas.”

– Andrew Swanson

“With name tags.” 

– Kiara Dandridge

“Maintain relationships within the Program, but make sure to reach out and make friends across campus. Try to balance your time between the two.”

-Neel Reddy

“Play intramural sports with more people than just your McDermott friends. I played intramural soccer this semester and made a bunch of new friends.”

– Rachel Kyes

“Hang out with as many people in your class as you possibly can in Santa Fe and early on. You have no idea who your closest friends are going to be and they might not be who you expect.”

– Joanna Haug

“Get your study schedule down. Then build in your social schedule.”

– Rachel Meade

“Control your sleep schedule closely.”

– Quang Le

“Don’t procrastinate- it’s easier to have fun if you know your work is done.”

– Sydney Sherman

Exhibit A of Rachel’s artistic capabilities

“Explore your artistic capabilities.”

– Rachel Kyes

“Don’t be afraid to change your major early on.”

– Ayesha Karnik

“Knowing how to say no to the wrong opportunities is just as important as saying yes to the right ones.”

– Matt Carpenter

“Don’t rush into anything. Everybody says this about relationships, but this also includes things like picking your major, setting up your McDermott hour chart, and committing to summer or study abroad plans, etc. Also, be flexible (with stuff like summer plans), and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.” 

– Rachel Kyes

“Know which upperclassmen took your classes, so you know who to ask for help.”

– Sydney Sherman

“Always bring snacks.”

– Daniel Rodricks 

“Be aware of how you act and what you say in the office. It can be a very casual, fun environment, but it’s important to also show respect.”

– Andrew Swanson

“Don’t forget your Comet Card. And deep clean your fridge before winter break.” 

– Rachel Meade

(Note: Comet Card is the UT Dallas student ID)

“Sunglasses are your friend.” 

– Harris Chowdhary

Rachel walking back from the arts tour in no pain whatsoever.

“Band-aids are your best friend. Sunglasses are important, but band-aids are way better when you’re basically walking up mountains on your way back from the arts tour in Santa Fe.”

– Rachel Kyes

“Don’t feel pressure to instantly connect with everyone at Santa Fe. People may tell you that these will be your best friends for life, but you’ll have the next four years to form unbreakable bonds. Enjoy the trip, and get to know your class and staff.”

-Morganne Blaylock

Class selfie at the opera in Santa Fe

“When you live with people, there are going to be emergencies and crises, whether they be related to physical or mental health. You’re going to have to lean on each other. Be supportive, be helpful, but mostly just be there. Take care of yourself, but look out for each other.” 

– Joanna Haug

“My advice:  Don’t forget to use your meal exchange every day. I forgot to use my meal exchange on Saturday and almost cried. To go boxes are beautiful too.”

– Bhargav Arimilli

(Note: Meal exchange is a system which gives students with meal plans one swipe per day for meals at on-campus restaurants. It is a God-send.)

“Your parents’ advice is good, but they’re not always going to be right. That being said, call your mother. She misses you.” 

– Rachel Kyes


“Pay attention when the raft guides tell you what to do if you fall out of a raft in Santa Fe. You may not think it’ll happen to you, but if it does, you will have to be pulled out of rapids by people you have known less than a week. It will be very embarrassing and you will get teased for a very long time.” 

-Joanna Haug

(Note: Joanna will neither confirm nor deny falling out of a raft in Santa Fe.)

Zach Boullt, self-proclaimed “cool guy”

“Don’t be afraid of upperclassmen. They’re cool. We’re cool. I’m cool.” 

– Zach Boullt

(Note: the opinion of Zach as “cool” has been questioned by many.) 

“Say yes to new things! But with the understanding that you have the right to say no at any time.” 

– Harris

Welcome to the family, 2016s! We can’t wait to get to know y’all!

Love, the 2015s

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