Anna Duong

Plan II 

Moving to Austin from Jackson, Mississippi was full of changes. However, as I look back on my freshman year, I am immensely grateful for a time that encouraged me to grow into myself and lean into others while experiencing the safety that close-knit communities provide. As a double major in Vocal Performance and Plan II, I was able to explore a variety of interests through several organizations. The first community I joined was The Butler Opera Center, where I performed in Mozart’s Don Giovanni and played the role of Susanna in a series of opera scenes from Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro. I also participated in two student government organizations, the First Year Leadership Organization (FLO) and the Undergraduate Mentorship Agency (UMA). Even after the shift to online education due to COVID-19, I was able to stay connected with groups from UT. One organization, Healing with Harmonies, moved their mission online. While we would traditionally perform music in-person at hospitals, nursing homes, and children’s homes, we now perform individually on Zoom for nursing home residents across Texas. I was also able to work with Project Protect, a UT student-developed organization that raised thousands of dollars for protective equipment for healthcare workers. Even though my freshman year was unconventional, I consistently felt supported by my community both in person and online. In the year ahead, I am looking forward to pursuing new friendships in the Dedman Distinguished Scholars Program and improving my piano skills!