Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Advertise in our classifieds section
Your classified listing could be here!
October 4, 2022

An open letter to the South Mall Lawn

Dear South Mall Lawn,

I was asked to reflect on my time here at UT and felt it was fitting to address this letter to you. You have seen thousands of students walk around you and have become a special place for not only me, but for many.

Your lawn was the home of lots of fun adventures including Holi, where I got to throw paint powder and water balloons on my friends, and the gigantic dance parties at “Gone to Texas” and even the days where I just want to twirl around on the lush of your grass.

We only got to really know each other sophomore year because freshman year, I was too insecure to come lay in the middle of campus on your grass. But for some reason, being a second-year college student gave me the confidence to finally meet you. And I’m so glad that I did.

You gave me the inspiration sophomore year to grow into the person I was meant to be. You were the home for not only me but for many students, as we sat on your grass debating major life decisions. You watched me lay for hours contemplating dropping pre-med and strictly being a liberal arts student. In the arms of your grass, you helped me realize that the calling in my life did not lie in medicine but rather in human rights advocacy. It was this year where I learned that the purpose of life is something much greater than myself; although I did not exactly know what that purpose was, I was willing to dream big and seek it.

The next year was where you watched me struggle through hardships, while teaching me that nothing was impossible. As I sat on your grass, almost in tears from Plan II physics, you became my sanctuary. It was there where I had meaningful life talks with students who have become some of my best friends.

Later that year, you watched me leave campus and move to Washington, D.C., for a semester. Even though I lived in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol and the Supreme Court, I still missed the sweetness of your lawn and campus — nothing beats the spirit of the Texas Capitol and the UT Tower.

Finally, this year you have watched me learn some of the greatest lessons of all. Senior year started off with mixed sentiments: lots of excitement yet lots of uncertainty toward the future. Whenever I was overwhelmed with where the future may take me after graduation, you would be the first place I would go. This year I have learned that everything will work out as it should and that I need to cling to my faith and just be patient.

This year was also most memorable as you watched me sit week after week and write opinion columns for The Daily Texan. I didn’t even know I had that many opinions on things, but on your lawn I found the love of writing.

I even shared you with some of my friends and family throughout the years. A special thank you to my Duren friends who have kept me grounded for four years. To Melissa and Lynda for reminding me to dream big. To my lovely parents for reading every single one of my columns and acting like each column needed to be published in The Washington Post. To my twin brother for always supporting me. And to Chris for being my best friend and No. 1 fan.

Lastly, thank you, South Mall, for all the years, lessons and memories. I will forever miss your lawn and your spirit that made me wholeheartedly know that Texas is truly the greatest University.

Heba Dafashy, a Plan II senior, worked as a columnist in the spring. 

More to Discover
Activate Search
An open letter to the South Mall Lawn