A Dark Day On The Forty Acres

A Dark Day On The Forty Acres

Let's stop pointing fingers and instead, outstretch our hands.

Yesterday was a terrifying day; a terrifying day to be a longhorn, to be a parent, to be a student, and to be a friend. Everything that we as young adults have ever been told regarding our safety was in question. “Don’t walk alone at night,” they said, but we were just walking to our classes at 1:45 on a sunny afternoon. “Always be aware of your surroundings,” they said, but the one responsible was one of our own who looked just like us. What happened yesterday on the University of Texas at Austin’s campus was unexplainable, yet people are attempting to point fingers. I don’t blame anyone attempting to grieve by placing blame on a particular group of people because it’s impossible to accept a situation as earth shattering as this by just saying it was nobody’s fault. However, the tragic loss of Harrison Brown yesterday could not have been prevented by the actions of a fraternity, a quicker response by President Fenves, or the ideals of a particular political affiliation.

Over the past 24 hours, I’ve never been more thankful to be a longhorn. The outpour of love that has filled our campus is unlike anything I’ve ever seen; from the GoFundMe account to the several organized vigils, it is clear that longhorns take care of each other, no matter what. While this compassion is not something to be ignored, the amount of hate I’ve witnessed on social media cannot be either.

People have been so quick to criticize. As a terrified student on campus, I also wish that alerts given by our university were sent quicker. I also wish that threats painted all over our homes were taken more seriously. I also wish that more was done to evacuate and secure our campus. But I refuse to label President Fenves and the rest of our administration as dismissive, selfish people who are only concerned with their reputation. As leaders of this university, their lives in a matter of seconds went from just a normal day at work to a reality TV show in which thousands watched with a critical eye to see what they were going to do next. Nobody wanted to act wrong; nobody wanted to publicize inacurrate information, nobody wanted to falsely intensify feelings of imminent danger, and absolutely nobody wanted to jeopardize the safety of any person on or around these forty acres. A change must be made as far as what a university needs to do in this situation, but thrusting blame with clenched fists and angry hearts is not the way to do it. Please acknowledge the difficulty of the handling this unexpected situation before you label anyone as ‘cruel’ or ‘egotistical.’

As more facts come to the surface, we are realizing that this senseless act was not to target any specific group of people. There will always be a motive that we do not know or could even fathom, but at the end of the day, placing the burden of a lost life on anyone but the person physically responsible is not a duty that any of us here on this earth are capable of doing.

Let us all put our fingers down and instead outstretch our hands to our neighbors - let’s all join together to positively pioneer change, to comfort those grieving, and to continue to love all of the things that make our university so great.

Rest in peace, Harrison Brown. You were loved by many and will be remembered positively by all.
Cover Image Credit: People

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3 Reasons Why Step Dads Are Super Dads


I often hear a lot of people complaining about their step-parents and wondering why they think that they have any authority over them. Although I know that everyone has different situations, I will be the first to admit that I am beyond blessed to have a step dad. Yep, I said it. My life wouldn't be the same that it is not without him in it. Let me tell you why I think step dads are the greatest things since sliced bread.

1. They will do anything for you, literally.

My stepdad has done any and every thing for me. From when I was little until now. He was and still is my go-to. If I was hungry, he would get me food. If something was broken, he would fix it. If I wanted something, he would normally always find a way to get it. He didn't spoil me (just sometimes), but he would make sure that I was always taken care of.

SEE ALSO: The Thank You That Step-Parents Deserve

2. Life lessons.

Yup, the tough one. My stepdad has taught me things that I would have never figured out on my own. He has stood beside me through every mistake. He has been there to pick me up when I am down. My stepdad is like the book of knowledge: crazy hormonal teenage edition. Boy problems? He would probably make me feel better. He just always seemed to know what to say. I think that the most important lesson that I have learned from my stepdad is: to never give up. My stepdad has been through three cycles of leukemia. He is now in remission, yay!! But, I never heard him complain. I never heard him worry and I never saw him feeling sorry for himself. Through you, I found strength.

3. He loved me as his own.

The big one, the one that may seem impossible to some step parents. My stepdad is not actually my stepdad, but rather my dad. I will never have enough words to explain how grateful I am for this man, which is why I am attempting to write this right now. It takes a special kind of human to love another as if they are their own. There had never been times where I didn't think that my dad wouldn't be there for me. It was like I always knew he would be. He introduces me as his daughter, and he is my dad. I wouldn't have it any other way. You were able to show me what family is.

So, dad... thanks. Thanks for being you. Thanks for being awesome. Thanks for being strong. Thanks for loving me. Thanks for loving my mom. Thanks for giving me a wonderful little sister. Thanks for being someone that I can count on. Thanks for being my dad.

I love you!

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Everyone Should Experience Working In Fast Food Or Retail

Working in fast food was definitely not sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows, but I'm so glad I did it.


I know these jobs aren't glamorous. In fact, most days I looked forward to clocking out before I had even clocked in. I always secretly rolled my eyes when an angry customer droned on and on about how entitled he or she was. Though I can name a lot of bad things that happened on the job, it wasn't all horrible. As I reflect on my time working in fast food, I realize how much having that job really taught me and how grateful I am to have had that experience. I really think everyone should work in fast food or retail at some point, and here's why:

You make some great friends from work. I get it, sometimes your co-workers are royal jerks or flat out creeps. You see your name on the schedule next to theirs and immediately try switching with someone else. I've been there. However, I have worked with some amazing people as well.

Every time I worked with one girl in particular, we laughed for entire shifts. One night, we were singing the national anthem at the top of our lungs without realizing a customer had come in (to our surprise, she applauded our terrible screaming). Another coworker and I turned up the radio on full blast when business was slow and had dance battles. We made the most of our shifts, and I still talk to some of these people today.

You learn how to deal with difficult people. It's the age-old story: the uppity customer thinks twelve dollars for a meal combo is outrageous and Where is your manager?!

My friend and I were once called stupid and a customer said he would never come back to our restaurant to eat ever again. At the moment, we were scared out of our minds because we were both pretty new to the job. As time passed, we became more patient and tolerant and knew what triggered these particular customers. Dealing with these adversities definitely helps in the long run, particularly when it comes to doing group work with people who seem unbearable.

Your people skills increase by a landslide. I had always thought that I was great with people before I had a job. However, when I found myself in situations where I had to talk to strangers, I would grow nervous and stumble across my words from time to time. Working in an environment where communicating with others is a driving force helped me not only with improving my public speaking, but also made me more outgoing. In situations where I once backed into the corner to avoid having to talk to someone, I now take charge and initiate a conversation.

You establish a connection with regular customers. My favorite customer was named Jack. He was the sweetest old man who came in every Wednesday and Friday and bought food for himself and his wife. I quickly memorized his order, which impressed him. We shared pleasantries every time he came in, and my coworkers and I looked forward to seeing him.

Establishing a relationship with people who come in a lot helps immensely when it comes to working. It also provides a sense of accomplishment when you memorize an order. Not to mention, the customers start to like you and typically leave a generous tip!

You have stories to tell for a lifetime! Sometimes bad things happen at work. Once I was holding a hot pan and burned my arm— I still have the burn mark on my arm to prove it. My point is, it sucked at the moment, but now I look back and laugh.

One time I asked my coworker how to make soup and she replied, "Slowly, but beautifully." It was so nonchalant that I cracked up for hours. There was also a time when a customer asked me for outlandish toppings and condiments that we didn't offer. The craziest story, though, was the drug deal that went down in our public restrooms. My coworker and I obviously could not leave our station and follow these people into the bathroom, so we were pretty much defenseless. Nobody got hurt or anything, so it made for a great story.

Working in fast food was definitely not sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows, but I'm so glad I did it. It made me more independent and outgoing and gave me memories I'll never forget.

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