Tea Anderson

Liberal Arts Honors/International Relations 

I am a Texas resident, I have a Virginia driver’s license, and I call Las Vegas home; needless to say, settling in one place is a foreign concept. At this time last year I was trying to figure out how I was going to live in one city for four consecutive years. Now, I love Austin and am trying to cram as much into the next three years as possible. I knew college was going to change my life, but I never could have imagined how rapidly and how fundamentally it would do so. My freshman year at UT caused me to reevaluate my goals, my relationships, and even myself.

Maybe it is the Vegas girl in me, but I centered this last year on being ‘all in.’ I wanted to live as intentionally and purposefully as possible. I also pushed myself to take survivable risks. This combination led to an interesting academic route that included courses involving South Africa during Apartheid, the uncanniness of vampires, and solving symbolic logic problems. I was able to focus on the topics I found interesting while simultaneously refining my writing and public speaking skills.

However, the most important developments happened outside of the lecture halls. Through my Dedman application, I have fallen into a deep love with creating digital media. This passion has resulted in lots of independent research on different software, learning about intricate camera settings, and losing many hours of sleep to create montage videos, some of which even highlight Dedman events. I plan on pursuing this passion in my future years at UT through the Bridging Disciplines Program in order to gain technical training to showcase the stories I want to tell.

Beyond academics, I explored several different social scenes on the Forty Acres. I played on an intramural soccer team and dedicated Thursday nights to refining my billiard skills. I also worked as a staff writer with fellow Dedman Selome Hailu’s music publication Afterglow. I helped begin a spirit group, the Texas Novas, with other Dedman scholars as well. As part of the Liberal Arts Honors Envision Austin competition, I developed a non-profit that aims to connect foster children to the resources necessary to enable them to pursue a college education with a group of peers. I also volunteered at the Jeremiah Program, a center dedicated to helping single moms pursue a college degree.

A lot of changes occurred in the last year, but sophomore year is already proving to contain several more. As a result, I am going to spend the summer catching my breath with my family and friends in Las Vegas and doing some domestic traveling before heading off to Poland where I will be mentoring teenagers in speaking English.

Far and away, the Dedman program has been the most meaningful aspect of UT. I am constantly inspired and in awe of the faculty, mentors, and my peers; they have made me want to be better in every way possible. I have never felt so supported and enabled in my entire life. I am thankful every day that I somehow ended up among this amazing group of staff and scholars; I cannot possibly imagine being anywhere else. Thank you immensely to the Dedman family for fostering such an amazing and meaningful community.