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My aunt graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio, and when I was growing up, she would gift me UTSA merch, saying I could wear it when I attend the university myself later. Though the decision was ultimately my own, my aunt’s enthusiasm for her alma mater certainly influenced me to follow in her footsteps.

Now I’m a sophomore majoring in psychology and really finding my stride at UTSA.

Coming from Taylor, a small town north of Austin, without a car, it made sense for me to live on campus. It’s such a big campus with everything you need — from food courts to well-being services to a recreation center and even a hair salon — that I didn’t explore San Antonio until I became involved in activities like the Spirit of San Antonio marching band and VOICES (Volunteering Organization Involving Community, Education and Service).

Being part of the Spirit of San Antonio marching band has been an incredible experience. The band truly lives up to its name, bringing the school spirit to every football game, getting players and fans alike hyped for some good competition. Being at the Alamodome surrounded by all the energy and getting to witness the excitement, especially in the fourth quarter, has been exhilarating.

Angelica Cordero, membership coordinator for the Volunteering Organization Involving Community Education and Service (VOICES), sorts through food pantry donations with Special Events Coordinator Sofia Salazar.
Angelica Cordero, membership coordinator for the Volunteering Organization Involving Community, Education and Service (VOICES), sorts through food pantry donations with Sofia Salazar, the group’s special events coordinator. Credit: Bria Woods / San Antonio Report

My aunt participated in VOICES when she attended UTSA and told me I would love it. So since my senior year of high school, I followed the group’s Instagram page to gain insight into the work they do. Now I’m involved in that volunteer work on campus and around San Antonio and even serve as the group’s membership coordinator. It’s through VOICES that I’ve gotten to connect with fellow service-minded students and to know more of the city.

My favorite class so far has been Statistics for Psychology. This may be an unpopular opinion for psychology majors, but I enjoyed plugging in formulas and studying for it. My professor understood what it was like to be a student and provided us with everything we needed to actually learn. 

The common area on my floor of my residential hall is where I get some of my best studying done, either early in the morning when the sun is shining bright or in the early nighttime when I feel most productive. And if I ever need any extra help, UTSA offers plenty of resources, such as tutoring services or Supplemental Instruction, where a student with previous experience in the class hosts sessions designed to help the students currently in the class. These are great because they know what material is important for exams through their connection with the professor.

After my first year, I took it upon myself to become a resident assistant. I am now in my second semester as an RA, a job I’ve found rewarding even when it’s challenging. Through problem-solving, I’ve acquired valuable skills that I can apply in other aspects of my life. I also love interacting with my residents and being able to provide guidance in their college journey. It can sometimes be hard to get residents to show up to the events we organize, but I appreciate the ones who do attend.

UTSA sophomore psychology major Angelica Cordero is involved with a volunteer group and is a campus ambassador. Credit: Bria Woods / San Antonio Report

UTSA hosts multiple events throughout the academic year that are both educational and recreational. I try to attend as many as I can and always have a blast. One that stands out to me is BestFest, a carnival-like event where organizations run booths to fundraise. I typically spend the day helping my organizations, but when I get some downtime, I like to look around and go on the free rides. 

Another campus event I enjoy is UTSA Day of Service, a large-scale volunteer event that allows us to give back to our campus and community. It’s a beautiful way to make an impact while meeting new people who are happy to help.

I feel like I’ve already grown so much as a person during my time at UTSA and look forward to even more growth and exploration as I continue my studies.

Angelica Cordero

Angelica Cordero is a sophomore studying psychology at the University of Texas at San Antonio.