UT students share experiences on unbearable heat

Sofia Treviño

As Brianna Rodriquez escaped the heat at the concession stand, she found herself as one among a crowd of overheated Longhorn fans. With temperatures well above 98 degrees and no available cold water, she said she even saw a woman faint.

“I got so tired I had to sit down, and I couldn’t even see the game,” business sophomore Rodriguez said. “I was focusing on the heat instead of the game, so it was not enjoyable.” 

As UT returns to in-person classes, students must consider challenges they avoided last year from the confines of their dorms and apartments: staying hydrated, withstanding extreme heat and navigating campus dripping in sweat. As Longhorn football makes a comeback, Texan and non-Texan students alike must adjust. 

While preparing for UT’s season opener, and her first ever college football game, Rodriguez said she couldn’t contain her excitement. She picked out an outfit eagerly, considering the style but not the ensuing, boiling heat she later experienced inside the stadium. 

“(Wearing a) black T-shirt is where I first messed up,” Rodriguez said. “We were all standing in the heat and sweating. We were literally dripping. I was sweating from my arms, hands, face, neck. Everywhere.”

Though born in Texas and accustomed to campus living, Rodriguez said simply walking to classes instead of being on Zoom forced her to update her wardrobe and drink more water.

“I like to dress super cute everywhere,” Rodriguez said. “But Brownsville heat and Austin heat are two different things. (Austin heat) is way more extreme, so I have to wear workout clothes all the time now, and I feel weird because that’s not my usual style.”

Making a much farther trip to be in-person this year, advertising senior Yunji Choi moved to Austin from South Korea, where she said the weather is similar. However, she noticed some major differences in Austin, most notably how South Koreans use parasols to shield themselves from the sun  to avoid tanning while Texans dive in head-first, preparing to sweat and burn.

Like Choi, when moving into her West Campus apartment on her very first day in Texas, special education graduate student Hana Liu felt drained by the overbearing sunrays. 

“I’m new here, so I would like to walk around the city,” Liu said. “But it is a little bit too hot, so if it can be a little bit colder, I would love that.”

Having moved from Taiwan to Austin in August, Liu described the Texas weather as “more unbearable,” with Taiwan having more rain and shade. Still, Liu explores Austin lathered up in sunscreen, taking her umbrella wherever she goes.

“Most of my friends, because we are all from Taiwan, bring our umbrellas together,” Liu said. “Compared to others, I’m more concerned about my skin color because it is really easy for me to get burned.”