Stories from the TCU Community

More than Meatballs, by Kait Sennott

A familiar smell that I have known since I was little diffuses through the house, seeping into every room. This warm, familiar smell signals it’s time to eat. My grandma, aunts, uncles, cousins, and siblings are rushing around in the kitchen as they put the final touches on the Swedish meatball dinner we have once a year.

I believe in food. Which may sound weird, but I believe that food brings families together, especially mine.

I first learned to cook and prepare the rigorous Swedish meal after my grandpa died when I was 10. My grandpa was the one who made the gravy to pour over the meatballs, and now it was my turn to carry on the “gravy legacy”. Let me tell you, carrying on this legacy was nothing easy, but with the help of my family, I perfected it. Over the years, my responsibilities grew in the kitchen during meatball night. Once my gravy was perfected, I became in charge of mixing the pork, beef, egg, nutmeg, onion, and allspice. Now that I am 19, I am in charge of most kitchen duties during this time of year because of my dedication to cooking this meal for my family

Swedish meatballs are a lot harder to cook than Italian meatballs because there is no bread holding the meat together thus making it a difficult process. When mixing the meat together, it is crucial that you do not use too much beef because this will make it harder to hold the pork. The egg must be a certain temperature in order to hold the meat and spices together; otherwise the egg will turn into unwanted scrambles.

The gravy, which I eventually perfected, is the hardest because this involves determining the gravy’s thickness. If the gravy is too thick it will become oily and gross, but if it is too thin the gravy will drown into the meatballs, making them slimy. The final step of the meatballs is mixing the sauce and meatballs, and putting them in a large bowl topped with a particular parsley flavor.

I feel that all families would agree that food brings families together. Of course each family member is very different, but in between the dishes, laughter, and lack of leftovers, the food acts as a distraction from all these differences that would usually set people apart. One of the reasons I love meatball night so much is because it is one of the only nights, besides Christmas, that I see my family. My family, unfortunately, has grown apart due to distance and death. Meatballs are what bring us together.

My favorite meatball night so far is the one we had before I left for school because the new baby cousins ate with us for their first meatball night ever. Watching a new generation grow up with the meatball tradition gives me hope that this valuable tradition will continue for many years after I am gone.

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Kait is a sophomore at TCU majoring in business and fashion merchandising. Both of her parents were journalists, so writing has become one of her favorite hobbies throughout the years. She hopes to continue her love for writing and bring it into a career.

Sundays are Mine, by Maddy Canale

I believe in Sundays. I believe in what a special day it can be. For me it was a day of peace at home with my family doing family things. My mom would make homemade spaghetti sauce on Sundays, a batch that would last us a whole month, which is a lot considering we’re Italian. I helped make the meatballs for my mom’s day long task. I would use bread crumbs, spices, ground beef and roll all the ingredients up with my hands into perfect spheres for my mother’s judgement. Then she would put it into the sauce and my job was done. It was everyone in the family’s task to stir the sauce whenever someone walked through the kitchen, a house rule. For the eight hours it took to slow cook, the whole house would fill with the scent of sweet roasted tomatoes and cooked sausage.

Sunday was the day I didn’t make plans, ever. That was a rule in my mind. With how hectic life got, I needed a day without my peers influencing my every decision. A day with just my family to think about. I would go get donuts with my dad in the mornings. The donut list was: a vanilla cake, vanilla icing rainbow sprinkled donut for me, a glazed chocolate bar donut for my mom, a messy bear claw for my dad, and a raised chocolate donut for my brother Joey. We would always get two fun wildcard ones to make half-a-dozen. I would carry the pink box filled with yummy happiness on top of my lap in the back seat of the car on our way home and bring them into the house to be greeted with the smiles of my mom and Joey just getting out of bed.

Sunday is the purest of all days. Mass on Sunday was always something my mom, dad, brother and I would attend as a family. When I was little my favorite part of mass was kneeling, when I was still small enough my dad would kneel and I would stand in front of him. I would fold my little fingers and he would fold his hands over mine. Sunday was the day we visited my grandparents after five o’clock mass to have dinner. Eventually that visit ended up at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery instead of their house after they passed away. This became a new tradition that I didn’t love but participated in to make my dad happy. It was something that made him feel better so I didn’t question it. Feeling close to my dad was what I ultimately cared about. I loved laying on the couch watching the final round of a golf tournament with him. I enjoyed him being relaxed and not at work but instead spending time with me.

Sunday is the day of reminiscence, the day unlike all the other days of the week. Sunday gives me a day for family and simplicity before the business of life kicks in with Monday. Sunday activities are slow paced, small. Sundays are happy. Sundays are mine.

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m-canale-photo

Maddy Canale is a freshman pre-business major at TCU from Orange County, California. Her interests include politics, volunteering, and traveling. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends and is looking forward to her time ahead in college.

This I Believe, by Shane Battis

I believe that although religious faiths can and have helped many people find inner peace and motivation throughout the globe, I view both my life and that of others from a purely secular perspective. Though my family on my mother’s side is staunchly Christian and my father’s agnostic, I was raised in a very neutral atmosphere as neither of my parents wanted to pressure my sister or myself into committing to beliefs we didn’t yet understand. Instead, they decided to let us figure it out on our own over time.

Growing up in Kennesaw, Georgia—like most other places—allotted me plenty of outlets to explore different faiths without pressure. Together, my sister and I listened in on sermons at our local church and partook in several youth group activities. Though the Christian community was receptive and everyone present appeared to be happy, I just didn’t feel like I had found a spiritual connection—the whole point of a faith. I decided that religion, or Christianity at least, simply wasn’t for me and that was and still is okay with me because I find that removing religion from my life doesn’t lead to me to cynicism or immorality. Rather, it has just locked my focus on the here and now. Without any expectation of an afterlife or rebirth, I feel the drive to be completely present in every waking moment and to live the way I know is right and can be proud of whether or not it aligns with beliefs of the many faiths throughout the world. Over the years, I have developed my own code of ethics I can call my personal creed. This is to be kind to those deserving, appreciate all the little joys in life as well as have patience with the annoyances, and hold myself to my responsibilities. Instead of seeking out religion for guidance in the face of moral ambiguity, I look inward for answers which has led me to even more self-discovery than I think I could ever have found in a temple.

I have heard criticisms from several different people that I’m missing out by living outside of religious communities and that atheism is all negativity. It is true that there is a plethora of individuals who are vengeful and unruly in their expressions thwarting those who think unlike themselves, but these are actions of individuals and cannot generalize an entire following. Personally, I don’t feel that being an atheist means embracing a culture of negativity, but simply stepping away from all religions passively and upholding secular ideals instead. By doing so, I am not trodding on other lifestyles; I’m just choosing an alternate one.

I don’t feel disheartened about my spirituality since I am still able to find purpose and love in a secular world. As far as I can tell, at the core of every religious faith and every practice and every prayer is the desire to feel a sense of belonging and direction as life can often be daunting without something steady to rely on. For this reason, I think everyone is entitled to believe in whatever makes them happy and atheism does so for me for several reasons. Firstly, I love that I have unlimited freedom to choose my virtues and fulfill them on my own conscience. Like so many other members of my generation, I strive to be a free thinking individual and by building my own pyramid of thoughts and convictions I am successful in that. It feels far more rewarding to me knowing that whenever I do something for the greater good I am doing it because I know it is right and not just because that’s what has been preached to me. This makes all my actions speak for who I am. Now I’d like to be clear in that I do not think religious people would be without a moral compass if they gave up their faith; their nature is innate and I admire their kindhearted spirits. What I’m saying is that I take pride in my personal brand of morality because I arrived at it independently and that these are simply two different routes leading to the same ultimate goal of finding humanity.

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img_3623Shane Battis is a journalism major in the Bob Sheiffer School of Journalism at TCU.

 

I believe that success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm, by Leosi Kaloso

Unlike Alexis Guadalupe, who had been playing basketball since first grade, I had never even touched a basketball until I decided to play in an intramural league in the ninth grade.  My friends, who were on the team last year, motivated me to tryout. Therefore, after school I went to the tryouts and surprisingly, I saw most of my friends there. The head girl basketball coach, Coach Abigail Hare, had us do layups, free throws, running up the bleachers, three-point line shooting, two-point line shooting, and suicides. Then we had to run a couple of plays and I was so tired I could barely keep up with the other girls. I started breathing fast, my legs were shaking, and I could barely speak. I started to think that maybe basketball was not just for me. Also other girls told me that I was so weak to be able to play for the team, all those compliment really brought me down. When Coach Hare substituted me out with Molly Gonzales, my attitude transformed from happy into heart broken and aggravated. Molly was a year younger than I was; she had never played basketball before, but she was strong enough to run all the plays until the end of the tryout which I could not.

I told myself if she can do it, I can as well. I knew the next day of the try out was not going to be easy, but I had show up on time ready to go, I kept up with other players until the end of the tryout, I was supporting myself to never quit. My number one goal was to support and be there for myself. I never tried to be a a killer but a hard working fighter.

I believe in hard work and I told myself that there are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.

The next day I heard that my name was on the team list.  I made the team! I was on my first school team! My teammates rushed up to me, high-fived and slapped me on the back. I announced this novel concept to my mother. She was proud of me. She hugged and kissed my head. She congratulated me and wished me the best. When I moved into the tenth grade, we played against Tremble Tech high school. I still had no concept of the game, but I was fast and played with hustle and enthusiasm, so I got some playing time. I fondly remember being able to jump high enough to get my fingers over the edge of the rim. Not so fondly, I remember the fateful day I jumped incredibly high to make a pass over the outstretched arms of the defenders and came down wrong on my foot.  I sprained my ankle. It instantly swelled up to about the size of a basketball.   This injury was painful and took weeks to recover from. That was the end of the season. I was scared that I may not be able to play again, basketball was my dream career, A dream does not become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work. My injury did not stop me from playing basketball, since I could not use my legs I was still going to the gym to work on my hand skills with the ball.

Coming back as a junior, I recovered from my ankle injury and the doctor said that my ankle was good enough to play basketball again. I showed the notes to coach Hare and she welcomed me back to the team. I told myself not to venture off my current path, but keep practicing, because I was going to get better. That motivated me to obtain the knowledge I needed and gave me momentum to keep practicing and working harder every time I was the gym. It was bizarre because, I started to see improvement in my game and started to believe that I could do it. I was not weak as they use to describe me on the second day of the tryout. I just needed a lot of hard working in practice.

I took my previous failure and used it in everything I did. I believe that success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. I knew I could overcome anything. I had to go through a lot in my experience. First, I had to get over my fear and approach the tryouts. Then I had to go out onto the court and show my skills for a whole week. Even though I was looking a little worn, I still had to show up to check if my name was on the team list.

My success was due to good luck, and support and advice from friends and mentors. But most importantly, it depended on me to keep trying after I had failed and my hard working. My hard work paid me with benefits.

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TIB Leosi

I am Leosi Kaloso from the Fort Worth Area. I am an international student from central Africa. My country’s name is the Democratic Republic of Congo, I have made a choice to come to America to study biology and to move on deep with it into med school, i am also interested in meeting new people and developing a relationship that will last for ever. Mostly i am interested in helping people with disabilities.  Vision disabilities are the one I like to get people out of. Vision is the most important sense in the human body, and i like to take care of it. we can’t make change if we can’t see the change and we can’t be the change we hope to see in the world. Going  to Med school i will study ophthalmology so i will be able to accomplish my goal of helping people with any type of vision problem.

I Believe in Store Brand Candy, by Michaela Eichers

I believe in store brand candy. It can be found anywhere, and shared with anyone. It can be the catalyst to a conversation with someone you would have never anticipated.

I remember hearing the crunch of the dry mud crackle underneath my boots as I sauntered through the tall grasses in Botswana. My all khaki ensemble blended in with my surroundings, but disagreed with every fashion instinct I had in my body, as I chewed on the same piece of candy for ten minutes. Our tour guide explained how my family and I would be meeting the indigenous people that called the safari their home; the blood in my veins turned red hot with fear. How would I interact with them? We do not speak the same language and knowing myself I would do something on accident that would offend them.

As soon as we went through the wooden fence, the people stared at us. The elders had seen Caucasian people before, but for most of the children, this was the first time. Filled with trepidation, I approached a young girl and kneeled down so I was eye level with her dark, round eyes. As she stared into my eyes, I could tell she was confused and even a little appalled. She had never seen a seventeen year old white girl with embarrassingly pale skin and blue eyes. I smiled at her and reached into my pocket and pulled out a small piece of cherry flavored candy. I stuck out my hand with my peace offering but her eyes stayed locked on mine. Panicked, I grabbed a second piece, unwrapped the delicate red plastic and ate it. Her eyes widened with excitement. I sat down on the dry dirt and opened my backpack revealing a ziplock bag filled with candy, and before I could catch my breath, ten more children found their way to my lap, wondering when it would be their turn to have a piece.

As the day progressed, the amount of candy I had dwindled. Every piece of candy I passed out was a ticket into the life of someone else. The children would tell me their names, and use hand gestures to try and act out important scenes from their lives. Even the Elders would tap on my shoulder, reach their hands out, and ask for a piece. Laughing to myself, I would agree, and without asking, they would invite me into their homes made of mud and straw and share their wisdom with me. Others would grab my hand and begin to dance, and some would roll what was supposed to be a soccer ball at my feet and start hollering to initiate a game.

I believe in genuine laughter, memories, and unexpected friends. The bitter flavors and unpleasant chewiness were microscopic compared to the laughter of the children, the stories from the Elders, and raw happiness that will never leave my heart.

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Michaela is a student at Texas Christian University

I Believe in the Power of the AHA, by Mikaela Miller

The patient sat on a piece of plywood resting on two school desks, hand exposed through sterile blue sheeting. The surgeon leaned over, allowing the sunlight streaming through the barred window to be his guide as he carefully pulled a scalpel through the skin around the man’s knuckle. The man stared calmly off into the light, willing his stomach to settle, but there was a certain look of relief and thrill in his eyes. Today was the day that a piece of shrapnel that had made its home inside his thumb for 8 years would finally be removed. There was a resounding ding as the sliver hit the bucket, and the man glanced down and expelled a sigh.

Fast forward a few hours and we are packing up for the day, passing boxes of prescriptions, glasses, and linens towards the bus assembly line style. The man reappears, a huge grin consuming his face despite the pain that is slowly overcoming him from the fading anesthesia. “Gracias, gracias” are the words falling, falling from his mouth when the ‘aha!’ moment strikes.

This is what I want to do. This is who I want to forever serve.

For a girl that had dreamed of doing anything but medicine, this was a huge revelation. It came exactly two weeks before I checked “Biology — Pre-Med” on my first college application, and long after that life-changing trip, I am still wearing the pre-med badge and dreaming of the day that I can return and be the life-changer.

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TIB Mikaela Miller

Mikaela Miller is a junior Biology major, minoring in Mathematics and Chemistry, on the Pre-Medicine track. Originally from Chandler, Arizona with roots in Seattle, Washington and a new home in Fort Worth, Texas, she hopes to find a little piece of “home” across the nations through travel and medical mission work. 

 

I Believe in Having Vision, by Brian Niebuhr

I believe in having vision.

I must first clarify that what I am saying is not that I don’t believe in the glasses, contacts, and vision impaired population and also am in no way attempting to promote vision correction as a way of boosting my beliefs. What I believe in is vision past the big E on the eye chart. A vision from the mind, for a plan, and with a purpose.

The first step, as with any first step, is dreaming up the goal, that ultimate vision that is going to invigorate involvement, instigate choices, and carry through challenges. And I believe with that first step comes action. The first step puts the vision into action. Like the swimmer who desperately wants to smash that big record to bits starts with buying that first pair of goggles, or the runner with his first pair of spikes, or the lawyer with that first Law and Order: SVU episode (a debatable first step). I believe that having a clear vision provides the goal and that the surface of a vision dictates the first step.

The second step, however, digs into the meat of the vision as it establishes the direction—it is where the vision dictates the path. This is where vision for a plan comes in. I believe each activity, each class, and each step should be guided by vision, by purpose. Without a vision behind that practice plan, that time delegation among many commitments, and that second step, each consecutive step loses its direction in the absence of purpose.

Vision supplies this purpose.

And a strong, clear vision with direction helps keep the mind focused on the end goal rather than getting hung up on minute failures. Vision keeps the eyes on the destination and less on the swerves in the road.

I believe in having a vision because having a vision helps me to believe. To believe in my goals, my plan, and my purpose in every responsibility I take on. And, luckily, the vision I believe in does not require the use of corrective lenses.

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TIB Brian NiebhurBrian is from Fort Wayne, Indiana and this is his first year at Texas Christian University. He is majoring in Biochemistry on the Pre-Medicine track

I Believe in a Better Tomorrow

How wonderful life is.

Life is seriously complex. From the intrinsic nature of organic life to the scientific blend of an atmosphere, life all around us is complex. But it doesn’t have to be. Is there really any benefit to such a thing? It can be simple. A simple life with simple beliefs.

I believe those who want to will find a way. Those who don’t will find an excuse. How bad do you desire something? How far are you willing to go to get it? And what if you can’t? I bet you have a reason why. And that’s natural, it can be applied everywhere.

While of course there will always be exigent circumstances, this is sufficient for the general majority of life. I don’t intend to be witty, or profound, or even knowledgeable. Today, I believe I found a way to express this concept.

Tomorrow, I believe I’ll find a way to get through that day as well. It may be easy or it may be hard. It may be enriching, it may be agonizing. I don’t know. There’s a lot I don’t know. But if there is something I want to know…I’m pretty sure there’s a way to find out.

And maybe that’s enough. Maybe that’s all that’s really needed. Just a simple belief in knowing that you don’t know. But I do know that I’ll find a way, long before I ever find an excuse.

Today may have been a bad day. May have been a good day. Maybe even a great day. But the days don’t last forever. Nor do they have memories. Which is why it is important to live for and believe in… a better tomorrow.

-Author’s name withheld

I Believe Everything Happens for a Reason by Regina Andonie

Out of all people, why me? The question I would always ask my doctors. A moment of silence would always come after my question. As I begin changing my lifestyle into a healthier one, my symptoms get worst every time, pain increases and doctors have not solutions for it.

I believe everything happens for a reason. As we all know it, life is like a puzzle. We see our own life as a mess most of the time.  Just take a moment to close your eyes, take a deep breathe and picture yourself in the future. Where do you see yourself a couple of years from now?

As no one ever was able to answer my one question, I began to see these “problems” as challenges. From that moment on, I understood that challenges will always appear on the road, some will be bigger than others, and some will be more challenging than others. However, every challenge has a purpose and that purpose is to make us stronger and lead us to the road of success.

What if we fail? The question most of us fear. I believe failure is the best part of it. Actually, it is the first and most important step to success. Behind failures come learned lessons and strengthened weaknesses that will prepare us for greater challenges.

As I am still in my journey of understanding myself and getting to know my own body, I realize how beautiful life is and try to look at the bright side of everything. What I mean is, the problem is there and will always be there. The only option is learning how to live with it, but that depends on how you want to deal with it. Look at it as something positive, as a challenge that God has put in your life and take it slowly. At the end, it will always make sense and see all the puzzle pieces put together.

During that moment, challenges may sound irrational and unnecessary. Once you overcome them and look back at them, you will finally understand the reason behind it, you will then realize that every piece of the puzzle is coming together.

You are the only person who can build your own story and it all depends on how you want to write it. Therefore, I challenge you from now on to completely change your mind about how you see real life and just think about the present, which will make the story of your past and define your future. At the end, you will be able to think back, and see how everything perfectly fits together, just like a puzzle.

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TIB Regina Andonie

I am Regina Andonie, current sophomore at Texas Christian University majoring in Interior Design with a minor in Lighting. 

I Believe in Kindness, by Tobi Carter

I believe in kindness.

I went to visit my grandfather the week before he died, not realizing that he was about to pass away. I knew he had stage 4 lung cancer and I knew he was fighting hard. But no one ever knows when someone else is going to pass away.

It was one of those days that cancer patients look forward to – a day where he got out of bed. We went for a slow walk around his neighborhood so he could get some fresh air. I’m not the closest to my grandfather but he always taught me kindness, even through his actions.

We were walking down the street when a car zoomed by and, like a scene from the movies, splashed water all over my dying grandfather. I expected him to get angry (he was a grouchy old man) but instead, he sighed and said, “Well.”

“Pops?” I asked to make sure he was okay.

Unprompted, he said, “You know, usually I would get mad. But one thing I’ve been taught throughout my time with cancer is niceness. People didn’t realize I was given only three months to live and would get angry at me because I was distracted.”

My grandfather left me alone with my thoughts for a bit until he said, “Always be kind. You never know what people are going through.”

I believe in kindness because you never truly know someone’s story. They could be going through hell but still have a smile on his or her face.

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TIB Tobi Carter

Tobi Carter is a junior journalism major with an anthropology minor. She hopes to work for a publication such as National Geographic. She’s a part of Eta Iota Sigma sorority, TCU 360, the Women’s Club Volleyball Team, and the Adventure Trip Program with TCU. Tobi’s originally from Lewisville, Texas but is happy to make Fort Worth her new home.