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Make Your Mark at UTD

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It’s the first day of college, and I’m sitting in class wondering, “What now?” I’m sure every freshman starts to wonder the same thing. I remember coming to orientation and seeing all these different tables at the org fair. It seemed as if there had been a club for everything. There were intramural sports, Greek life, academic groups and even religious ones. There were groups that organized activities around campus and some that could familiarize you with other cultures. It was overwhelming. I wanted to join something. I wanted to feel like I was a part of something, hopefully making a difference along the way. All throughout Welcome Week I had a multitude of fliers being handed to me. I noticed various clubs and organizations hosting events. The promise of free food and T-shirts won me over, and I ventured out of my dorm to check out what was going on. I’m glad I made that decision.

It seemed every club had something different to offer to different people. So, where was my niche? I just couldn’t pick. I wanted to join so many and realized I didn’t even know how to join one. I remembered the stack of fliers I had tucked away at the bottom of my backpack, found one I liked and contacted the email on the back. They told me it was great that I was interested and welcomed me to the school. They explained I had to make an account on orgsync. From there I could join any group I wanted. I ventured off to the first meetings of several clubs: Fencing, SUAAB, rock climbing. I met awesome people along the way. The friends I’d already made got in on the action as well. We looked at soccer, longboarding and clubs for our respective majors. I just couldn’t help but feel that I was in the wrong place.

I finally stopped and thought to myself, “What do I really want to do?”

In high school I had played sports year round, was active in student government and the National Technical Honor Society and was a Peer Helper in the guidance counselor’s office. I liked being around people, but mostly I liked being able to have fun with them and, if needed, make their days better. Throughout it all, I volunteered extensively. I wanted to find something that could give me all of that. Fortunately, I found the answer the next day.

I was with my friend, Cannon. He had been on his own search for his place on campus and decided to rush a fraternity. He invited me to come out with him, and I was eager to check it out. Boy, was I amazed. Everything I was looking for was packaged up right in front of me. There was camaraderie, service in the community and a multitude of like-minded men who wanted to make the most of their time in college. I felt at home. The ensuing years as a brother in Chi Phi have been some of the greatest of my life. I ended up getting more involved around campus, joining Student Government and the Racquetball Club. I became more involved with the AES Cultural Scholars and joined the Professional Program in Accounting.

Being a part of something bigger motivates me to excel in everything I do. Had it not been for my involvement in the fraternity, I don’t believe I would’ve met the amazing people, nor experienced the adventures that I will cherish in my memories for years to come. I urge every student to find their passion and a club that can foster that passion. Whether it be through Greek Life, Student Ambassadors or the Volleyball Club, there is something for everyone at UTD. I feel I’ve made my mark here; it’s time for you to do the same.

Marcos Pelaez

Marcos Pelaez is an undergraduate student studying Accounting and Finance at the Naveen Jindal School of Management at UT Dallas. He is an active brother in the Chi Phi fraternity, serving on the PR committee, and a member of the Professional Program in Accounting. In his free time he likes to play sports, freestyle and create art. Read more articles

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