Looking Forward (And Back)

Posted by Andrew Wei

There was a long line at the Pub the day Lindsey Ward ’12 and I had our first working meeting as blog co-editors. It’s hard to believe that more than two years have passed since then. Occasionally, I still go back and reread my first post on this blog. I said somewhere in there that I hoped this blog would become something like the McDermott kitchen. Well, that kitchen has evolved over time—and this blog has grown far, far beyond what we could have possibly envisioned back in 2015.

McDermott kitchen
The kitchen now, complete with a shiny new fridge and a wall full of senior memories.

It’s a scary thing to accept, but as of this month, I am officially an alum of UT Dallas. That makes this my last post not only as a blog editor, but also as an undergrad, a UTD student, and a McDermott Scholar. After seeing my best friends almost daily for four whole years, it’s hard watching everyone graduate and move away one by one to begin their lives in the post-college world. It feels like the ending of something too big to grasp all at once, like I’m still waiting to be hit by the enormity of it all.

We have so much time ahead of us. So much time to find each other again and catch up and make more memories. We may never be able to recapture the magic of living together on campus, but even out there in the real world, we’ll always be connected by our time here at UTD. Because home isn’t just a place. Home is people. And even spread out across the country (and the world), this class is going to live on.

Senior retreat
Our senior class retreat at the end of this semester, one last hurrah.

Still, I’m going to miss UTD. Already, it’s with a mixture of happiness and longing that I remember movie nights, group homework/study sessions, Whataburger runs, and irresponsibly late nighttime discussions. The way the early morning light streams through the Trellis on the way to an 8:30am class. Sledding on baking trays that time it snowed sophomore year. Our many gatherings at the gazebo by the monarch fields, which we built this year as a McDermott senior gift. Playing sand volleyball for hours in the warm, endless evenings under the sun.

It’s passed by so quickly, and at the same time, it feels as if I’ve been here forever.

Friendsgiving this year, and with luck, a tradition for years to come.

I’m so grateful for this program—grateful for the experiences and opportunities I’ve had, of course, but mostly grateful for the community that I’ve become a part of during my time here. I want to keep in touch with so many people: it’ll be hard, and I know I won’t always succeed. I’m lucky to be moving to a job that lets me travel (and hopefully visit friends!), but even then, it won’t be everyone together, not like at school. Group chats and the blessings of modern technology will help fill part of that void. We’ll still have Friendsgiving. We’ll always have Finalist’s Weekend.

Farewell dinner
McDermott graduation dinner, our last official night as current Scholars.

One last thing. For those keeping track, this is the 101st post on the McDermott Blog. We always hope that this blog can speak to applicants, counselors, parents, and the wider UTD community, and watching it thrive over these past few years has been inspiring and humbling in a way words can’t describe. When I hit publish and release this jumbled collection of thoughts and feelings out onto the Internet, I will officially transition from an editor to just another reader, leaving the blog in Joanna Haug’s ’15 more than capable hands. It is with mixed feelings that I let this thing go, but I’m also so, so excited to see what comes next—to have this lens through which to watch future classes of McDermotts learn and grow at this university that I love.

Andrew Wei

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