An Evolution

Beginning my last year as a student at SMU has been surreal. Some days, I still vividly remember watching my parents leave me in August of 2013, tears in my eyes, struggling to hold myself together and convince myself that I was as grown up as the world now expected me to be.

The beginning of the end really makes you reflect on just how far you’ve come.

Three short years later, I’m designing the first issue of my last year with Hilltopics. I have had the fortunate pleasure of witnessing an evolution of Hilltopics in my time at SMU. As a wide-eyed, inexperienced first-year, I was given free reign over the design of the paper. Now, I am less proud of and more amused by the first few issues I designed. Nobody really needs to see those again.

Similarly, looking back on my first year at SMU amuses me. Nobody really needs to see that version of me again. I am amused by how big I thought I was when in reality I was still so small. I am amused by how part of my mind begged to go back to high school, just to return to some sense of normalcy. I am amused by my over-enthusiastic efforts to make friends that I would never talk to again.

Now, three years later, I see the entire college experience with a refined sense of realism. I see it as a stepping stone, a proving grounds, a test drive for the rest of my life. It is not the be all and end all, but rather a brief segment of the journey.

Hilltopics has been an important part of my journey. Hilltopics has made me view the world through satire, through interviews, and through insightful comments by my peers. The content in this paper has evolved into something of substance, thought, and careful consideration. It is this that I am most proud of: being part of a group of people who are so eager to not only learn about the world but share their experiences with others.

The amazing thing about this publication is how it now pushes others to broaden their views. Hilltopics strives to remind us that although our time at SMU is limited, our ability to creative positive change in our world, however small, during our time here is limitless. I am so proud to have been able to witness our paper evolve into a force of intellect while still holding fast to the roots it planted over ten years ago.

The University Honors Program has a fantastic slogan: “UHP: The Heart of SMU’s Intellectual Community.” Nowadays, I see this two ways: we are the heart of SMU’s academics but we are also fostering the development of intellectual hearts within our community. We are encouraging empathy through fact, reason, and careful consideration of the world around us. I believe that Hilltopics, constantly pushing us to think differently and to evolve both with and in spite of our world, is at the core of this. We are shaping world changers and we are watching them thrive.

And so, as I begin the end with Hilltopics, I cannot wait to see our evolution this year. Though my journey with the paper will end in May, its story is far from over. Three years ago, this paper, much like me, was wide-eyed and inexperienced. Now, it looks to the future with hope and anticipation. I can only begin to imagine how it will evolve in years to come.

This article was written by Camille Aucoin. Click here to see more of Camille’s work.