Class of 2019: Lifeguard, Lover of Literature Is a Thinker at Heart
Editor’s Note: Every Comet follows a distinct path to UT Dallas, and members of the Class of 2019 are no exception. A few soon-to-be fall graduates shared their thoughts about their journeys as they get ready to tackle new challenges after commencement.
Francis Patience is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in literature, with minors in philosophy and political science from the School of Arts and Humanities. For most of his time at UT Dallas, he has worked in University Recreation as a lifeguard; he also played intramural soccer. But even with his love of sports, Patience considers himself a thinker. He enjoys philosophy and appreciates thoughtful discussions. He was born in Norway to a Chinese mother and a British father, but after being raised in Houston, he considers that city to be his home. Patience does not yet have a definite postgraduation plan, although he foresees enrolling in graduate school and working in a field that involves research.
What will you miss most about UTD?
First and foremost, the friends that I have made here. Seeing as I don’t live here and not many of my friends live here either, I’m going to miss this family that I’ve created and that I rely on almost every day. Second, I’m going to miss school; I’m going to miss learning. I have enjoyed having structure that’s both flexible and rigid. I can go to class, but I still have time for myself.
Would you rather have to retake a final exam or be Temoc for a day?
Considering the looks that Temoc gets on campus, I don’t know if I’d want to be Temoc. People see him with a mixture of fear and joy. It’s like, “There’s Temoc, but I hope he doesn’t come over here.” But, I’d probably be Temoc just to make people feel uncomfortable for the day. I’d just be kind of weird and goofy.
What is a fun fact about you?
My viewpoint on the world: That the whole world is based on responsibility and relieving oneself of responsibility. People don’t want to be responsible for their own lives and living those lives because that scares people. Once people have to take responsibility, for example, for having to make decisions, those decisions will be long-lasting and consequential. That’s why people turn to the things that they do to avoid that responsibility.
What are the best ways to survive a Monday?
- Don’t wake up too late.
- Have a cup of black coffee.
What’s the most Instagrammable spot on campus?
Looking down the mall over the fountains. Or the Plinth — I haven’t seen many places like the Plinth. Then, maybe, TI Plaza.
What’s the first thing you’ll do to celebrate your graduation?
I’ll go to Uchi (Japanese restaurant in Dallas).
What accomplishment/project are you most proud of from your time at UTD?
I feel I have equipped myself here with skills for life. I feel like I fundamentally understand my place in the world and my place in relation to other people. I understand that the world is largely constructed of narratives, and if you come to understand those narratives and your place within them, then a lot of uncertainty and fear about life kind of fades away. Because with understanding comes comfort. That is what I feel most proud about — that I can now feel very comfortable in the skin that I wear.
UT Dallas alumni make their mark wherever they go. How will you make yours?
A lot of students see their degrees as very transactional. I come here; I give you money; you give me a degree, and then I leave. But I don’t think you can reduce it down to that because the University gives you a lot of things that you take for granted, such as giving you a safe space to just be you and make friends and be happy. Ultimately, I will make my mark by sharing what I’ve learned here with other people and working to make sure that attitudes toward the world are not antagonistic. It’s about fostering relationships, community and feelings of acceptance and understanding. Because a lot of that is just missing today.