JUNIOR COHORT

Courage

Deepti Aravapalli

Plan II/Business Honors

If freshman year was an exercise in learning how to spread my wings, sophomore year was a lesson in how high I could fly before the wax holding everything together threatened to melt. Saying no has never been my strong suit, and as a result I tend to pile more onto my plate than I can feasibly handle. While I have managed to get away with this for most of my life, this past fall served as a rude awakening to the toll this mode of operation was taking on my mental and emotional health. I am so grateful to have had the support and wisdom of my cohort through all of it. I can’t put into words what it meant to have the safe place that is the Dedman community as I was navigating the most difficult semester of my life.

To recap the 2019-2020 academic year, beginning in the classroom, I discovered as a transfer into the Business Honors Program that I was not as compelled by my business classes as I had hoped to be. While I found philosophy discussions enthralling, accounting and business communications just didn’t seem to do it for me. Though disappointing, I found solace in my Playwriting class. This was the first chance I’d gotten to explore creative writing and theater in college, and it consumed me in the best way imaginable. I went on to take another drama class in the spring, which cemented my interest in the subject. Additionally, I had the opportunity to serve as a teaching assistant for Professor Lee Walker this past semester and working with students proved to be one of the most rewarding experiences of college.

From an extracurricular standpoint, I served as Director of Marketing for USIT, a finance organization I’ve been in since freshman year. I was fortunate to be part of the Skaaren Climate Scholars Program, where I learned a great deal about climate change and got to meet so many incredible people that work in that space. Additionally, I was the fellow development director for the Social Entrepreneurship Learning Lab, which meant that I got to mentor ten fellows as they built ventures to address social issues. My friends and I also got the chance to consult for the food truck, Bananarchy, and I served on the regional board for Destination Imagination, an organization I’ve been involved with for over a decade. Finally, I found such a special community when I was tapped into Texas Orange Jackets. This group of women consistently empower me to do and be better.

If there was a silver lining to a stressful year, it was that it forced me to consider what I wanted to prioritize going forward. This reflection yielded three things that I am most compelled by: sustainability, social justice, and storytelling. As I move into the second half of my collegiate experience, I am excited to be pursuing things that allow me to further explore these realms.