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Discovery Scholars Graduates Share Tips for Class of 2021

This year marks the first graduating class of students who started in the Discovery Scholars Program (DSP). Two DSP seniors reflected on their time in the School of Undergraduate Studies and shared these tips for the Class of 2021.

Eileen Villasenor

Eileen Villasenor
Major: Environmental science and geology
Hometown: El Paso, Texas

Be open-minded. Explore different majors and interests when you come to UT. Discover who you really are and get out of your comfort zone!

Use your resources. I don’t know where I’d be without my DSP coach. There are so many resources on campus that will help if you’re feeling lost. Find someone you can talk to.

Remember that it’s normal to get discouraged. Most freshmen experience a setback when they come to campus. While you probably were in the top of your class in high school, you are now going to school with 30,000 other students who were the top of their classes, too! Avoid comparing yourself to others.

Network. It’s important to establish connections with your professors and upper classmen. By the time you get to your senior year, you’ll need letters of recommendations and career advice, so start forming those relationships now.

Take care of yourself. Take time to do the things that make you happy. Be mindful of your mental and physical health, too. These things are just as important as your grades.


Fernando Fernandez

Fernando Fernandez
Major: Economics
Hometown: El Paso, Texas

Embrace being undeclared. Being undeclared in the School of Undergraduate Studies actually gives you an advantage. Explore and find out what you really want to do first, and then go for it.

Explore the possibilities. Sometimes things may not go the way you want them to. Don’t limit yourself to just one path toward your goal when there are many paths you can take to get there.

Get involved. Attend career fairs and start building your resume early. Get involved in a student organization and learn how to network.

Find a balance. School should be your first priority, of course, but don’t forget about your social life, too! There’s time for everything if you keep your priorities straight.

Enjoy Austin. With all of its restaurants and outdoor activities, Austin offers a wide variety of fun things to do.