Victoria Kayode

Liberal Arts Honors, Psychology

Recently, I signed off on my first year at UT. Sitting here now, I’m shocked by how quickly it ended and how much I grew. As an outofstate student, I came in excited to see what my first semester had in store. I joined campus organizations, explored the social scene, and enjoyed the easy pace of syllabus week. But just as I was getting comfortable, Labor Day weekend came. The once spirited hallways of my dorm practically echoed as I walked down them. Alone, I was forced to sit with myself in an unfamiliar environment without my familiar support systems. Throughout the year, however, time spent in community and solitude would eventually allow me to embrace the reality of young adulthood far from home. And now I can confidently say that the life I’m building and the friendships that I’m cultivating are making Austin feel like home, too.

The first to welcome me on campus was the Dedman community. Their drive and initiative have given me the courage to shoot for the stars, while their compassion has assured me that I have a soft place to land if I’m ever offtarget. I’m beyond grateful to have found genuine friendships in the program and a special bond with my cohort. Dr. Woodruff has been a toptier mentor who is quick to offer a funny story or sound advice, and my peers have never failed to make me laugh or marvel at their intelligence. It’s an honor to call these people my friends and a privilege to venture with them to places like Dallas, San Antonio, KBBQ (my favorite), and more.

Regarding academics and extracurriculars, I found them to be challenging, thoughtprovoking, and wishfulfilling. In my bio lab, I engaged in fascinating bioethics discussions concerning topics such as in vitro gametogenesis and AI in medicine. As a member of Voices of Afrika, I joined an a cappella family of wickedly talented and kindhearted musicians. And while I was no stranger to singing, college a cappella was a novel experience for me. Together we built our repertoire and performed at various on and offcampus events where at times I was a featured soloist. Through RDC, Redefined Dance Company, my love for dance deepened significantly. For ages I’d marveled at dancers and dance companies, hoping to one day join a team myself. Fulfilling my childhood dreams by dancing with such highcaliber performers was one of the highlights of my year. At the TAAL dance competition this spring, my teammates and I cheered on the competing groups before taking center stage for the final time that season. I hope to continue having enriching experiences like these both inside and outside of the classroom as I spend more time at UT.

Somehow, I ended up somewhere I never thought I’d be, surrounded by people I constantly prayed I’d
find, as the embodiment of who my younger self always hoped I’d become. What a year, what a life!