Being the Black Sheep

By: Rose Mannas

Campus Sherpa Staff Writer, The University of San Francisco

rose

Do you notice anything different about me in the picture (far left). Maybe its that I, along with the charming older man in the row in front of me, are not wearing burnt orange. This photo was taken when I was home for Thanksgiving my freshman year. We drove from Dallas, where I am from, to Austin to go to a UT football game. My sister, my mom, and my dad are all Longhorns. Both of my parents graduated in 1990 and my sister is in the Class of 2017.

Needless to say, I come from a very proud Longhorn family. But I am not a Longhorn. I always knew knew that I was not going to be a student at UT. I could never see myself on the campus, and the twice-a-month trip to Austin to football and basketball games really took its toll on my interest in the school. I have nothing against UT, but I felt as if I have almost already gone there. I knew all the great hang out spots, all the drama, fraternity and sorority top houses, best tailgate locations, and the entire layout of the campus per my sister and parents. But I am not a Longhorn.

There were other reasons I did not want to go to UT Austin. Their nursing program was not at all what I was looking for and the school in general was not a good fit for me. With over 50,000 students, it is easy to go unnoticed by professors. I really enjoyed my experience at a small private high school getting to know my professors and being able to communicate with them directly. UT is dominated by TAs and disregard for individual student success. If you are failing a course, do you think the instructor will email you seeing if you need help? Of course not. But I am not a Longhorn.

I ended up at school in California, which ended up being surprisingly comforting. Nobody says, “Texas Tech? I hate the Raiders,” or, “I can’t stand Alabama fans. I don’t know how you handle it being at that stadium.” The only thing friends and family say to me about my school is that it must be nice going to school in San Francisco… which it is! I got to a beautifully harmless, non-agitating school that I can bring up back home in the South without conflict and dirty looks. Schools like UT are very polarizing where I am from. People are fiercely loyal to their schools. My parents even told me (I think jokingly, but still not sure) that they refuse to pay for any college costs if I even apply to Texas A&M, their school’s arch nemesis. But I am not a Longhorn.

Parents’ opinions are strong.

But they are just opinions.

Would my parents have liked me to go to UT? OF COURSE! It would have been a fraction of the cost and closer to home to see them. They wanted to invest in a condo for my sister and I to share and then rent it out to students after we graduate. It would have made everyone’s life, including mine, so much more convenient and inexpensive. It was my parents’ dream.

But I am not a Longhorn.

I am a Don.

I could not imagine myself more content with a school than I am now. Yes, of course I feel sad when I cannot go home as often as my friends because I live far, but I believe I am getting the highest quality education at a school that cares about me and not my money. It was so hard to convince myself that going the easy way wasn’t the best way. It is an honest conversation you need to have with yourself, but it is definitely not an easy one. I encourage you to trust yourself— it is okay to be the black sheep in the family.

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