I’m a rider on the 2018 Texas 4000 team, and I’ll be biking from Austin, TX to Anchorage, Alaska next summer to fight cancer. Check out my rider page here to learn more about why I ride, and please consider making a donation if you are able to. Thank you!
I first heard about T4K during my freshman year in college, after the recruitment process for the 2016 team had finished. I shelved the opportunity as something that I could look into later, perhaps during 2018 recruitment so that I would complete the ride right after Spring 2018 - and hopefully my graduation from UT.
I went along my life without giving Texas 4000 much thought at all until I spent Summer 2016 participating in MD Anderson's Cancer Prevention Research Training Program. I came back after learning and seeing so much, and I was reminded of Texas 4000 and their very meaningful cause. I decided that it was time to apply.
However, after a rough first round of exams in September, I felt so drained that I wasn't sure whether I had the energy to complete my application. My inner critic told me that I would never make it in, so why bother. I slowly stopped thinking about Texas 4000 yet again.
One day, I was in a meeting with the director of the Engineering Career Assistance Center, VP Corporate of SWE, and my Corporate Co-Chair Ruchika. We were discussing some professional development event ideas when Ruchika pulled out her newly purchased planner and flipped it open. From the corner of my eye, I saw something on her to-do list: apply for Texas 4000. (I'm not nosy, I promise! I only looked because I have a huge weakness for cute stationery, and if I remember correctly, her planner had a super cute marble cover.)
Ruchika is super busy and still has made time to apply to something that means a lot to her; why can't I just manage my time better and just try for it as well?
After the meeting, I looked up the application information and marked down the date of the one remaining info session. I then opened the application and read it over... and there was a line that stated that applicants could submit an optional letter of recommendation.
There were only 6 more days to submit the application, and there was no one who would be able to do that in such short notice.
And so I panicked.
Luckily, after voicing my concerns about the application to my boyfriend who then referred me to Kris, one of his roommates and a rider on the 2017 team, I decided to go ahead with the application even though I would not have the optional letter of recommendation.
The day of the info session rolled around. I was once again physically and mentally drained, but I forced myself to go after my 3-hour BME lab section. And I'm so glad I went! To be honest, I don't remember much other than that I first met my teammate Chai there (who I also saw later at our same group interview). I also got to see this beautiful and emotional video of the 2016 team that still gives me goosebumps every time I watch it:
Then, I procrastinated a little more on the application... And I ultimately ended up completing my application on the day it was due by skipping my biomaterials lecture that Friday. (Would definitely not recommend. Don't procrastinate!)
I went through two interviews, finishing my last one on October 20. I didn't worry much in the mean time, as I was too busy having fun in Philly for WE16, but once I got back, I double-checked the notification date listed on the application, which stated that those who were accepted would be notified by November 1. When I received no call and no email by the end of that day, I assumed the worst.
The next day, I went over to my boyfriend's apartment to study and work on homework, and I crossed paths with Kris. He said something to me that I didn't process (twice), but as he walked away chuckling and saying "I guess that you'll find out in two days", I realized that he was likely referring to the result of my T4K application.
Of course, this didn't serve to reassure me at all, and I probably spent more of my time worrying about whether or not I made the team than I did on studying for the three exams that I had from Wednesday through Friday of that week. (Oops.)
I finally received a call on November 4. Or more like four over the course of two hours while I was in class and wondering who in the world was blowing up my phone. I ended up picking up the phone and being somewhat snappy at the person on the other end. The person ended up being Kris.
- Hi, Victoria! How are you?
- Uh, who is this?
- Kris who???
After hanging up the phone, I excitedly texted my boyfriend, composed more detailed messages to post on my family's GroupMe (since I hadn't told them that I was applying to the program), and notified a good friend of mine (because I thought we both needed to cheer up from the stress of school).
And well, here I am, one year later!
Texas 4000 is recruiting for our 2019 team! We have various info sessions and a Meet-n-Greet profit share at Austin's Pizza before the application deadline on September 30. More information can be found on our website. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions!