By Najib H. Gazi
Engineering. Computer Science. Pre-Med. Physics. Biochemistry. When coming to UT Dallas, that’s all I thought UT Dallas really had to offer. I may have chosen political science, but I did so with little to no hope that UT Dallas would truly offer me the resources I needed to make a splash big enough to get noticed in a job field filled with sharks. My belief was that only the skills I had could give me an advantage. However, my first couple of months have really shown me how misguided my perceptions were.
Orientation was the first time I had ever been on the UT Dallas campus, despite living in Richardson and Murphy for nearly all my life. I must say, (although I had never set foot on even one college campus to this point), the vast size of the campus, buildings, and classrooms were awe-inspiring. Already, UT Dallas had this aura to it. Yet, I still believed that engineers and techies were the only one who could truly take away the best it had to offer. The buildings associated with the social sciences didn’t have the same allure or grandeur as the other career fields. Even when the groups were split up to proceed to the more specified parts of orientation, EPPS had barely any kids. The more conventional sciences had already snatched the majority, and I already felt a sinking feeling about my choice of political science.
The first time that my perception about UT Dallas and social sciences in particular were challenged occurred as I scheduled my classes for the fall semester. All my friends in the conventional sciences ranted about how their advisors gave them little to no individual time, as they were simply overwhelmed by the vast amount of students they had. They had to put in their schedules on paper. Meanwhile, my scheduling session took place in a computer lab in Green Hall. There were 5 students during my time to schedule classes, and 3 advisors to help us. Rather than having to fend for myself, my advisor guided me through the entire process. She helped me pick the best classes, the best teachers, and the best timings. I easily had a great advantage over students based in other schools. At this point, I started to realize that my greatest asset would lie in the staff and faculty of EPPS.
Through the first couple of weeks of school, I started to learn more about my professors. My first class was with Dr. Euel Elliot, an Associate Dean with a large network of connections. The other professors I really found great value in knowing were Dr. Connell, and Dr. Sabharwal. Dr. Connell has done various studies in high level crime areas and has a wide network with law enforcement officials and criminologists. Dr. Sabharwal is an expert in Management, and has a multitude of connections in both the public and private sectors. Just in 3 classes my first semester in college, I already knew possible connections in so many different fields. From these experiences, I reiterate, the people of EPPS are the true asset that outmatch any other.
To conclude, while it may be that the conventional sciences tend to have the high enrollments, the school of EPPS gives its students an added value that cannot be measured. I would advise any student or potential student to get to know your professors, and be more than just a kid with a good GPA, but a student that builds a network to back that GPA. The faculty, staff, and student organizations have such a vast network that if one tries, there will always be an opportunity to achieve one’s goals.