For former QSA director, UT’s LGBTQ community was an undeniable draw

Kent Kasischke

Coming to UT Austin was not something I had planned. Many of my friends were born and raised with either burnt orange or maroon coursing through their veins; however, I was transplanted to Texas in high school and had no clue what amazing opportunities Texas could have. I took the logical route: What’s cheapest? What has the most prestige? What is far enough away yet not too far from family? But most importantly where will I be most comfortable? The latter was my true decision to enroll at UT.

Near the end of high school, I had come out as a gay male and knew I needed to be in a place where I could foster and grow my self identify. UT Austin seemed like the hub of a more accepting and tolerant Texas. That blue dot in a sea of red. That was everything I wanted and wished for as I graduated high school. I took a chance because I wasn’t in the top 10 percent, and I got rejected. I reluctantly participated in the Coordinated Application Program (CAP) and went to UTSA for a year with another 15 students from my high school. We all pushed ourselves to maintain high GPAs, support each other through the struggles of freshman year, and make sure we all kept our goal in mind. The best thing I ever did was to discuss the decision and pathway to UT with my fellow classmates. Hearing everyone’s unique reasoning helped to solidify my choice and to take a chance no matter what.

I would tell all high school seniors to look at your logical choices, but also recognize that this may be the first of many opportunities to really propel your life into a unique and defined path. Don’t let money, family, distance or any other factor deter you from following your passion and choosing the school that speaks to you as an individual. That school was the University of Texas at Austin for me, and I hope you can join my Longhorn family soon! 

Kasischke is a biology and psychology senior from New Orleans. He served as director of the Queer Students Alliance from 2011 to 2013. He will be graduating in May.

Editor's Note: A shorter version of this column ran in print Tuesday.