Having completed a year at Rice and having taken to heart Rice’s mantra of unconventional wisdom, I decided to spend my freshman summer a little differently than most. I decided to backpack through Europe in a journey that would span two months, 18 cities and 14 countries. Accompanying me on my first leg of the journey were fellow Owls Cole Derksen and Maxim Karoubi.
In the 2016 presidential election, 43 percent of eligible voters ages 18 to 24 cast ballots across the country. In Texas, only 27.3 percent of eligible voters in the same age group voted. And these turnout rates, which are much lower than turnout for older groups, are by no means outliers — historically, young people don’t vote. That is especially true for Texas.
Even though it’s only been five weeks, freshman violist Lauren Ross has made herself at home at Shepherd — she’s already taken many naps on the black couches in the lobby, which she claims is the best napping spot in all of Rice. It’s easy to see that she’s comfortable at Shepherd by the way she stakes out practice rooms, which have windows that overlook the Skyspace on one side. As she pushes through the glass doors that look more like windows to enter Shepherd’s courtyard, she looks so at home that it’s hard to imagine her anywhere else. But one year ago, Ross wasn’t even sure she would pursue music at all.
“It was like, surreal. Indescribable,” Ton said of the moment she heard the news. “It just felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. And the thing is, I didn’t even realize the weight was on my shoulders because it had become so normalized.”
Cesar Zapata never envisioned himself as a performer in a mariachi band. He associated mariachi music with his uncle, never himself, and throughout middle and high school only performed in choirs. But now he’s the president of Rice’s own Mariachi Luna Llena.
A year after Hurricane Harvey swept through Houston, we talk to students and professors about the storm that changed their lives and the city at large. Tram Nguyen McMurtry College Senior Tram Nguyen had just settled into temporary housing after her third home was damaged by a hurricane when the Thresher spoke to her last fall.