The End

1st Year of College

Summer is almost here! I cannot wait to go back home and well, EAT! I cannot wait to see my family and my friends from Azle. This semester has gone by so fast that it seems as though I haven’t accomplished much.  It really saddens me that it is nearly over and that next semester will be nothing like this one.

1st Semester


On August 24th at 11:00 AM I pulled out of my drive way and began my journey to West Texas A&M. This was one of the hardest days of my life because I was leaving a lot of my friends and most importantly my family. I have two little brothers and a cousin who are only in the grades, pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, and second grade. I also have two sisters who are in the third grade and a senior in high school. As I was pulling out I began to think about everything I was going to miss in their lives, especially the young ones. [Seven hours later] I finally arrived in Canyon, Texas. I entered the Jones-Parking-Lot and I parked and sat in my Explorer while I contemplated whether to go inside or just drive back home. After about an hour of sitting I stepped out of my car and slowly but surely entered Jones Hall. I was greeted and I filled out all the paper work that was required and then I finally began to unpack my car and officially moved into my room on the seventh floor. I was ready to go back home already.


                My uncle died. This was a really hard part throughout the semester. I went back home for a weekend to hopefully see him because I knew he was sick and didn’t have much time. I went home and he passed away that same weekend. I came back to Canyon without telling my family goodbye, I was really upset and I didn’t know how to express any feelings. My birthday was also in September, it was the first birthday when nobody around me wished me a happy birthday. The only people who remembered were my friends and my family. That was also a sad day. The rest of the month went by, sadly and it felt as though it would never end. I was ready to go back home still.


                Midterms were approaching. Could life get any worse? Actually, no, not this time. Sometime in October I decided to check my WT Email, just because I had this feeling that something big was about to happen. I checked it and I read the first words of the many that would forever change my life, “On behalf of the Essay Contest Committee, I would like to congratulate you on being chosen as a semi-finalist for the Poland trip.” I was beyond excited, but kind of unsure of it, I didn’t know if it was real or not. I decided to take a nap and hopefully wake up to reality. I took a nap and then woke up a few hours later to check my email again. Nope, it was most definitely real; the email from Wes was still there.  A few weeks went by after that first email; those weeks included an interview with like 10 professors and peer leaders and finally a one-on-one meeting with Dr. Lowery-Hart. At this meeting he congratulated me and told me I was off to Poland! I was ready to go home, actually I had a flight to catch that afternoon. LOL

[November and December]

                These months went by fast just because the end of the semester was upon us. I was super excited about the upcoming semester and about going home. I was ready to go home again and I did during the Thanksgiving holiday and for a whole month during the winter holiday. I was HOME!

2nd Semester


                The long-awaiting countdown has begun for the semester! I was back in Canyon and for the first time looking forward to this semester. I was ready to begin all the work that needed to be accomplished before heading to Poland. I went back home four days after I came back to Canyon to pick up my passport in Fort Worth. I came back and everything just flew by.


                Nothing really interesting happened…


                Okay, so I go home a lot, but for good reasons. I went back home for a weekend so that I could go to the mall, because Amarillo doesn’t really have one. I said my goodbyes to my family and headed back to Canyon, where I would soon be boarding many planes to Poland. Before I knew it we were in Poland, and before I could blink we were back in Canyon again. After our trip to Poland we had many presentations and some speeches that most of us have taken part of.


                The first presentation I was part of was at Westover Middle School in Amarillo. Our goal was to make the kids realize that “hate” is wrong and that it shouldn’t be something to even mess with.  After all these presentations I realized that I use the word “hate” every day of my life, sometimes more than once or twice. Even if I really don’t hate something I will say it anyway, like math for instance. I absolutely don’t like math at all. Anytime that I look at my algebra book I think to myself, “Man, I really hate math.” I feel bad for saying this word, which is why I have cut back and seriously thought about why I use this word. The truth is, I really don’t hate anything or anybody and this makes me feel a lot better. We, the readership ambassadors have been talking a lot about changing the world, or at least to start with, our school. Last week, some of the ambassadors took part in “No Shoes Day,” a whole day where none of them wore shoes in honor of the 40% of people in the world that don’t have shoes. Two nights ago I, along with Brant, Eva, and Lindsey took part in “Displace Me ’08.” The purpose of this event was simply to raise awareness of the 1.7 million displaced people of Uganda due to the last 21 years of war. During this seventeen hour camp out, the people that took part in this wrote letters to some congress men, senators, and the president of the US to encourage them to help achieve our main goal, which was to raise awareness. Education is very powerful and it is something that cannot be taken away from anyone. I believe that educating people is the first step in ending the war, because “We believe every war has an end.”

[May – Not here yet, but my plans are…]

Stress, finals, saying goodbye, and leaving! The end of the semester is in a few days. Last semester, all I could think about was about going back home and wanting to be with my friends back home because I really didn’t know anybody. It is almost May and I feel as though time is only a glimpse of what life really has to offer. I have been spending a lot of time with friends that I have made, not just the ambassadors but also the ones outside this amazing group. I cannot wait to be back home, but I can already tell you that I am going to miss almost everything about WT during this long summer.


                I don’t know what else to say. I don’t know if this is going to be my last blog, or if I can find some time and blog again, but whatever the case is, I would like to say that, “It was worth it!” This entire semester has been a gift from God and it can never be taken away. I will never forget the faces I’ve met along with their personalities, the places I’ve visited, and most importantly the lessons I’ve learned.


Goodbye and Good Luck,



Published in: on April 21, 2008 at 3:02 pm  Comments (2)  

Time Begins to Slow Down….

Recent News: 12 Days till Poland!!!!

Well, of course time is beginning to slow down, just when the trip is almost at our finger tips. LOL. But, seriously, OMG, it’s almost here!

Ok, well I have mentioned that I am super excited about going to Poland like in all my entries. I have talked about the fun I am planning to have with my friends. I have also talked about the reason we are going to Poland.

The things I have not talked about at all in any of my entries are my fears. I am really nervous about going to a country that I barely knew existed before I read the book, Night. I love to travel, I have traveled my entire life and to each place that I have gone I have fallen in love with. I am planning to do the same with Poland nonetheless. Obviously these things are not a fear of mine.

One of my biggest fears is surviving in a foreign country and not knowing any of the language.  We are going to be learning a few phrases this coming up class, but I seriously don’t think that I am going to benefit from it, because it is impossible for me to learn enough of the language for it to ease my worries.

I love trying new things. Food is one thing that I rarely do because I am too scared to embarrass myself in public by trying something new and then fainting or worse. However, I cannot wait to try the Polish foods in Poland, even though it is kind of scary and nerve-racking.

Ok, so my fears aren’t exactly big or that great. My biggest fear however is going to the concentration camps and witnessing a part of history that many people will never see in their lives. Parts of history that many people don’t know exist or who simply don’t want to believe it exists. Many of the people that know about the trip have asked me to take tons of pictures of everything I do during the trip. I am really nervous about trying to capture such images and then have to tell people what it is that they are seeing only in a picture.

I know that I can do this; I have no doubt in myself. I just wish that it was easier. I know that I shouldn’t say this but it is something that I know will change my life and hopefully I can help people understand this history a little better.

The fact that we are going to Poland is settled well in my mind. The fact that we are going to see where one of the most tragic events in history took place is still something quite hard to really express in blogs and to actually believe we are going to be doing soon.


Published in: on March 1, 2008 at 10:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

It Won’t Be Long….. 20 Days!

Another week in history has been recorded thus it has passed, it has passed very quickly. Time sure flies when one is in college.  The funny thing is that it slows down when one needs it to go faster and it speeds up when it seems one doesn’t have any time for anything.  Usually when I am going to travel it seems as though my trip will never arrive. This trip coming up is different though, before I know it we will be on a plane across the universe, or at least across the world.

Monday in class we were given a lecture on how to better our picture-taking skills. It was quite helpful; at least I think I benefited a lot from it.  We were given some pointers on how and when and where some of the best pictures should be taken. I cannot wait to start taking pictures on our trip.

Marisela and Katie presented their PowerPoint on “International Flight Preparation.” It was a good presentation. Flying on an international flight isn’t anything new for me, but it does sometimes get confusing if one doesn’t prepare. The hardest part about traveling for me whether it is in a car, bus, plane, or boat is the time it takes to arrive at the final destination. I am not looking forward to being in the air for countless hours, but still I cannot wait to get on that plane and relax and then get off in Poland!

There are still a few things I need to do before we leave. I need a new suitcase because the one I have has broken and is too old. My mom has asked me to come to Dallas in a few weeks so that I can go shopping since Amarillo doesn’t have much of a mall. I am really excited to see my family before I leave to Poland. I have never left the country without my mom hugging me and wishing me a safe trip, so going home before the trip will put both my mom and me at ease.

My official countdown till the trip began the day after I was told I was going. As of today, February 20th, we only have 20 days till we leave! I am so excited, yay!

Published in: on February 22, 2008 at 2:19 am  Leave a Comment  

a traveler

We take on many roles in our lives. Some roles are forever. Some are only temporary. We don’t ask for all our roles. Some we acquire. Some we earn.

I am a student, a friend, a Christian, an aunt. I have been a co-worker, a teacher, a brides-made. I will be a wife, a graduate [eventually…], and in 39 days… a traveler!

In our class this week, we learned a little bit about the Polish culture. I feel inadequate to soon be in the midst of a population so rich in culture and history. I have learned the basics of American and Texan history throughout my education, but I do not carry the sense of pride in my country’s past as the Poles do. I can not wait to have a chance to learn about the lives of those we will be living near. In my “quick guide to POLAND” book, I learned that Poles are outwardly expressive [which means I should have no problem fitting in]. The Poles are also big into lunch time [my favorite part of the day!!]. They often will serve 3-4 course meals… maybe we will bring this tradition back with us?!

To become this traveler, I am going to have to be a learner, a group participant, an observer, a note taker, a positive representation of my university, and an ambassador.

I can’t wait to embark on this new adventure, and develop new roles in the future! [who knows… I may become a world traveler, post Poland that is!!]


Published in: on February 1, 2008 at 3:13 pm  Leave a Comment  
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…getting closer

Yesterday we all got together as a group to talk a bit more about the trip.    SO EXCITING!  Finals week is here so everyone was kind of blah.  However, after we left that meeting we were all reenergized to take on our remaining finals.  Finals no longer mattered.  We’re going to Poland! 

Making this even more real, our passports are beginning to come in. Everything is in order.  I cannot wait to go and experience this opportunity.  It’s three months away. I’m ready; however, It still seems so surreal that it is happening. 


The sneaky surprise..

So I do have to say that Russell is very sneaky. He understood that when we were told about a “final interview”, we all assumed that we were in. Then they decided to throw us all of with this “Oh, we don’t have enough money” spiel, telling us that they could only take 10 -12 instead of 20 people. So we’re all freaked out. Then they walk us into this room full of faculty, sit us down, and oh-so-casually mention that they were all tricksters and that all twenty of us were going to Poland! It took all of us abut 30 seconds before we realized actually what they were telling us. And then, I got really emotional, which was something I hadn’t expected. And that is why I was glad that they surprised us like that – because it meant so much more. I had assumed that we would basically already know when we finally found out – but in doing it this way, it had so much more meaning to it. I am really appreciative of everything that they have done for us and will continue to do for all of us as a group. For me, this is an amazing opportunity. I’m getting to go to places that people usually read about in books, and 95% of the people I know will never get to go there! To visit a place that you read about in history books is definitely an experience of a lifetime [especially when its paid for ;)]. All in all I’m soo thankful that I’ve been given this opportunity to take this journey and then, even further, relate back to my peers and tell them why taking a chance is always the best choice.

Katie Gus

Published in: on November 19, 2007 at 7:24 pm  Leave a Comment