A brilliantly neurotic man once said, “if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.” At the end of my first year at UTD, I cannot help but find validity and comfort in these words.
We all have plans for our lives, but the disruption of these carefully tended roadmaps can lead to exciting new experiences and dramatically different worldviews.
A year ago, my life could scarcely have been more different than it is today, and for that I am eternally grateful. I lived a normal, adult life, working a 9-5 job and making ends meet, gloriously unfulfilled, when chance threw me for a loop. Somehow, (it all has the haze of the past) everything fell apart and I ended up like so many these days, unemployed. On a soul-searching walk, I ended up on campus after aimlessly wandering. How it was possible for me to live mere miles from such a prestigious university and never have known bewilders me to this day. I found out more about the school and was immediately enamored. I’ve grown so much over the past year; I’ve struggled and overcome obstacles to become a more perfect version of myself.
When I think of the dutiful nature of most UTD students, a feeling of despair washes over me. So many here are in such a hurry to get to the end, to have their perfect lives and perfect jobs in perfect order, that they miss out on everything this place has to offer. I lived in Dallas for two and a half years before coming to UTD, but I only began to fully experience the city in the past year. Any UTD student can request a free DART Rail pass to take you anywhere in the Dallas area, and there are fewer things more liberating than taking a train to a random stop and finding something new to experience. Though my experiences haven’t always been positive (it’s generally a bad idea to take the last train to the end of the line at night, unless you want to have to run over a bridge while a shirtless man screams that he thought you were from the government) they are almost always an adventure. There are museums to explore, art to be seen, clubs to while the hours away in, and new foods to taste. From taking a train and a bus out to a field in West Dallas for Truckstock, a food truck festival, to riding down to the Angelika every Sunday to watch The Walking Dead in a theatre packed with people dressed like zombies, the only barrier to new experiences is you.
We are living right next to the ninth-largest city in America, but some of us insist on ignoring all of the potential exploits it has in store.
The important thing is to step outside of your boundaries, to get out of your comfort zone, to touch the cornballer, if you will. Hang out with people whose views you don’t agree with, see a movie that looks terrible, go to a restaurant in the skeeviest part of town. If you don’t you may suffer a fate worse than a less-than-perfect GPA: you may become a boring person. Sure, sometimes you get hit by a truck and sometimes you end up stuck in a conversation with someone who gradually reveals their racist tendencies, but sometimes you meet someone who challenges everything you know about yourself. Yours should be a life well wasted.
So I am here to implore you, please, if not for me, then for Woody Allen, let some chaos into your life, throw caution to the wind, and have some mindless fun before you have to be a grown-up. Or don’t, what does Woody Allen know? That guy married his own adoptive daughter.