Groups make the college experience

Paulina Urbanowicz

At UT freshman orientation, I, wide-eyed at all the possibilities, looked around the student organization fair at Gregory Gym. A sign bearing the words “Texas Women’s Ultimate” caught my eye. Today, four years later, I am a graduating senior whose semester is dominated by weekend excursions to places like Tennessee and California. Ultimate Frisbee practices and tournaments fill my weekly planner. My team spends weekends throughout the semester traveling across the country, building team chemistry and improving our skills in preparation for the college series that takes place at the end of the spring semester. 

Ultimate Frisbee is an unusual, modern sport developed using the principles of other sports. You score in an end zone, running with the disc in your hand is considered travelling and you must establish a pivot foot when throwing. There are no referees, and calls are made and discussed by players on the field. This aspect helps create the fun-loving atmosphere that Ultimate Frisbee is known for. Additionally, a concept called “spirit of the game” is assessed by the way players behave toward each other on and off the field.

“It exposed me to a more diverse group of people and helped me make friends at a big school,” Trisha Talamantez, an MIS major and four-year team member, said. “Getting involved with Ultimate also helped me build confidence during my college experience.” At a school as large as UT, having 20 girls at your side alleviates some of the stresses that college puts on students. Aside from school pressures, social problems and relationship issues in college are always hard. Going through these experiences is made much easier when your friends keep you distracted or force you to have dance parties. 

Current president of Texas Women’s Ultimate, senior mechanical engineering major and four-year player Naomi Trang says, “Texas Ultimate [Frisbee] introduced me to a new group of people that I wouldn’t normally hang out with.” The program currently has members ranging from 18 to 29-years old, from mechanical engineering and nursing undergraduates to graduate law students.

The skills we learn through getting involved in more than the required coursework at school provides students with a broad variety of skills that we can take into our professional careers. My physical ability to sustain the challenge of strategically running after a plastic disc all day is unlikely to help any job interview I attend. My time management from demanding practice and travel schedules, however, will improve my ability to balance various tasks and challenges at work. My experience cooperating and effectively communicating with 20 completely different personality types will help my ability to create an environment conducive to teamwork and productivity. 

Whether it is a club sport, a student organization or the Greek community, students should expand their horizons and take advantage of out-of-classroom opportunities while they are available. A tight-knit community in the sea of our student body becomes a blessing when you need emotional support, or friendly and familiar faces to see on campus. 

Urbanowicz is a geography senior from Houston.