Category Archives: Student Life

extracurricular activites, UT sports and other campus events, student organizations, recreation, etc.

MPA Student Profile – Haley Wall

Name: Haley Wall
Hometown:  Fort Worth, TX
MPA track: Financial Reporting & Assurance
Class status: Fourth Year
Graduation date: May 2019

Why did you choose the MPA program?
You simply can’t go wrong with the MPA program. As I progressed in my studies, experienced working at a bank as a teller, and served my sorority as VP-Finance; it became clear how integral accounting is to every type of organization. After orientation in the program, I was pleasantly surprised to see how many of my friends in McCombs also decided to join the MPA program. The curriculum is challenging, but the people in the program are incredible, from my peers to the faculty. My favorite teachers at McCombs are involved with the MPA program.

What do you look forward to most about your MPA experience?
After having been recruited spring semester by the Big Four, like many of my classmates, I’m eagerly looking forward to my spring audit internship, which will be my initial work exposure at a Big Four company. It is such an honor to have the option to work for one of these prestigious firms.

Additionally, I will feel a great sense of accomplishment come graduation in May 2019, having completed my 5th year with both a BBA, a MPA, and, hopefully, as a CPA! McCombs prepares us well for the exam and helps us set aside the necessary time in our 5th year to study for the exam. It will be wonderful to already be a CPA as I start my career.

What have you been up to before the start of school?
With an anticipated BBA in spring 2018, I’m highlighting activities I have been involved with here at UT Austin, but there are extracurricular activities for everyone. Previously, I was heavily involved with my sorority, especially in my role as the VP-Finance, which was an intense, but an invaluable experience. After that, I wanted to engage in some personal interests, including exploring other forms of personal fitness, beyond my knowledge of ballet and running workouts. The weight training courses through UT have been extremely beneficial, with weekly workouts to teach the correct techniques for strength building and readings to reinforce concepts from class sessions. The techniques I have learned should last me a lifetime and are satisfying and fun! I may try to take the weight training class again as a 5th year.

What led you to accounting?
Accounting provides a solid foundation that enables you to apply yourself within a wide variety of business opportunities. It offers a seemingly endless level of flexibility, which you don’t often find in other fields.

 What advice do you have for students interested in the MPA program?
If you are interested in doing the integrated approach, focus on doing well in your beginning accounting 311 and 312 classes and ensure the professors know you and can see you are working hard. Also, demonstrate your interests outside of the classroom and pick up an extracurricular – whether it’s a part time job or involvement in a student organization.

What’s your favorite spot on campus?
The patios outside the Union – I love to be outside! I also really enjoy walking by the tower on my way to class every day.

Where are your favorite places to go and favorite things to do in Austin?
Austin is known for its great food. Some of my favorite restaurants include La Condesa (contemporary Mexican), 24 Diner (farm-to-table), and Musashino Sushi Dokoro (delicious sushi near West Campus). For a real treat, get Fresa’s Chicken al Carbon drive-through takeout and find a pleasant spot outside to go enjoy it with friends and family. By this description of well-loved restaurants, you may realize why fitness activities for me are a necessity!

How to be a Dog Lover in Austin When You Don’t Own a Dog

If you are anything like me, you often find yourself bonding with dogs more than you bond with people, and you would much rather hang out with dogs than most other beings. Same. But being a full-time grad student, I know I don’t have time to have a dog myself. Between my apartment, my night classes, my oh so exciting social life (totally kidding), and my general lack of funds, having a dog is just not feasible right now. So how in the world do I find dogs to socialize with while I’m in Austin? Easy!

Have a Picnic at Zilker Park
When I had my first picnic at Zilker Park, I had no intention of running into dogs. I went to find some shade after my morning hike and check out a beautiful park. However, I picked a place in the park right off Riverside and stumbled upon a park with a plethora of off-leash pups. They all came up to say hi, and I got to make tons of new furry friends that day. Contrary to what you might think, it is not weird at all to go to Zilker without a dog. Some people were there playing frisbee, lots of us were out having picnics, and plenty of people were walking through all without dogs. This is the easiest way to interact with lots of dogs any time of the day!


Volunteer at Animal Shelters
Austin is a dog-loving city with lots of people and lots of canines. This leads to a need for a large number of animal shelters.  Texas Humane Heroes is the animal shelter for the city of Austin, and there are plenty of volunteer opportunities there to help you fulfill your love of dogs (and even cats!) In addition to Texas Humane Heroes, you can volunteer at Austin Pets Alive, Austin Animal Center, PAWS Shelter of Central Texas, and Town Lake Animal Shelter (just to name a few!) Theses shelters are always in need of volunteers, and you can help by walking the dogs, cleaning their cages, socializing puppies, and even fostering dogs if you have the capabilities to do so! This is a great way to interact with Austin’s pup population and feel great doing it. Most of these animal shelters took in rescue dogs from Hurricane Harvey, and they all need lots of help right now!

Become a Dog Walker
This option will let you interact with dogs AND make a little cash. What a deal! There are plenty of different avenues you could pursue to become a dog walker from apps to websites to even walking dogs on your own and spreading the word to your friends. Although I will not advertise one avenue over the other, if you have experience with dogs and desire to walk dogs, board dogs, or offer dog sitting then this is a great option to meet Austin’s vast array of dogs.

It is no secret that Austin has a vibrant canine population, and there are plenty of ways to interact with these dogs all over the city. These are just a couple of ways I have become involved with pups in Austin, but I would love to hear your suggestions!

Also, here is my puppy Joey from Fort Worth who makes me miss having a dog in Austin every day!


Places to Relax on the UT Campus

Fall is finally here! Temperatures are dropping, Pumpkin Spice Lattes are back in business, and students are breaking out their long-sleeve Comfort Colors. But, UT students know better than anyone else, this time of the year is also the busiest time of the year.

With midterms, assignments, group projects, student org responsibilities, recruiting for summer internships, and on top of that, trying to have a social life — life can be a mess. As students, it is so easy to feel overwhelmed and lack the motivation to continue to work hard. It’s so easy to fall out of love with our passions.

However, I cannot stress how important it is to take a minute for yourself, to rekindle those passions. Here are some cool places on campus to relax in between study sessions!

South Mall

When the weather is great, nothing beats sitting out on the lawn, looking up at the clear blue Austin skies. Find a spot on the grass and get a good view of the Tower while relaxing.

College of Liberal Arts Patio

Here’s another place to be when the weather is nice. The CLA Patio is quiet and peaceful, exactly what you would need to get away from the stress of college. There are many chairs and tables available for you to sit with a cup of coffee and a good book.

Gregory Gym

Working out can be a very effective way of relieving stress, and Gregory Gym offers a variety of facilities as well as group exercises you can join. You can also get your smoothie fix at the gym!

Student Activity Center

The SAC is a popular place for students to get work done on campus. There are many spots for you to get comfortable and be productive, or just to eat your Chick-Fil-A! The famous nap stairs can also be found in the SAC.

Cactus Cafe

The Cactus Cafe can be found on the ground floor of the University Union, next to Starbucks. The cafe is an intimate live music performance venue, always hosting a range of artists. This can be the perfect way to unwind after a busy day!

In between your back-to-back schedules, remember to take care of yourself. Mental health is a real thing, and it’s an important thing. Know your limits, and understand that giving yourself a break does not equal weakness. Work hard, take care of yourself, and hook’em horns!

Also, we’re so close to Thanksgiving.



Bullet Journaling – Staying Organized Beautifully!

Anyone who knows me knows I love organization. I get excited about buying planners and stationary (I am indeed a nerd).  I know that other people do not find the same joy in planning. Warning: if you are that person, this article will be painfully boring for you.

Currently, I’m using four planners/calendars: Google calendar, a planner for recruiting, a planner for schoolwork, and a planner for my extracurricular activities.

Recently, I was introduced to something called bullet journaling.  It is “a customizable and forgiving organization system. It can be your to-do list, sketchbook, notebook, and diary, but most likely, it will be all of the above.” I found this concept intriguing because I already keep a journal and a planner but not a combination of the two. I decided to try it out. Here are some examples of bullet journaling:

Image result for bullet journal


  1. Bullet journaling is extremely time consuming. It is a sketchbook, planner, and journal all rolled into one…. which means it takes 3 x as much time as a regular planner if you want to make it pretty like the ones I found above. However, if you already do all of these three things separately, it may actually be a time saver because everything is in the same place.
  2. It is extremely helpful for habit tracking and goal-setting. I now have small and large goals set for myself in a week, month, and year that are carefully organized (they existed before, but  were kind of taped on sticky notes in various locations).
  3. Bullet Journaling is good for the individual that…
    • Has a prolific amount of to-do lists floating around
    • Like goal-setting and habit tracking
    • Enjoys handwriting things

I know that as the semester gets busier, I may not be able to keep up a bullet journal and may revert back to my prior planner/Google Calendar system. For now, it is a welcome form of goal setting and planning.  If you’re interested, here’s a helpful article from Buzzfeed to get you started.


The MPA program at the University of Texas is number one for a reason. The faculty is amazing. The research being done is innovative. And, the students are brilliant. But, sometimes being around such greatness can be a lot of pressure. The environment  is very competitive even with the comradeship fostered by both Longhorn and McCombs school spirit. Everyone around you worked hard to get to where they are and they continue to work hard to get to where they want to go. On top of all that, there’s an expectation of excellence within the MPA program. It didn’t reach #1 for nothing! While accepting the challenge will be great for any students future career, it can be stressful. I’m going to share some strategies I use to manage the stress.


Every night I try and get the recommended 8 hours of sleep. I take this especially serious before I take exams. Some students will try to tell you they only need 4-6 hours of sleep and they feel alright. But, getting the doctor recommended amount of sleep not only keeps you sharp and focused, but also decreases your stress levels. Being tired can make you irritable and less ready to take on challenges during the day.  If you’re tired before all of your classes it’s going to be difficult to pay attention. This will eventually catch up to you when its time for exams.

Working Out
Working out has two benefits. If you do it regularly, it gives you more energy throughout the day. It can also serve as a great stress reliever on your most frustrating days. If there’s a big event coming up that I’m worried about, I’m more adamant about exercising. Working out burns some of the energy I would’ve put towards thinking about my anxieties.

Happiness Jar
This last tip is a bit corny, but it really works. I’m always looking for ways to optimize my performance. But, it can also lead to a lot of stress because of all of the pressure you are putting on yourself. In my apartment I have a mason jar that I call my “happiness jar.” At the end of everyday, I force myself to write down three to five positive things that happen to me. It reminds me to not only focus on the long term goals, but to enjoy the present.

Stress isn’t always negative. It’s a great motivator and is very helpful when solving difficult problems. But, it shouldn’t be a constant thing. So, next time you’re feeling stressed try one of my tips.