Major: Plan II Honors, African and African Diaspora Studies
Programs and Activities: Black Student Alliance, Big XII Council, Onyx Honor Society, and the Epsilon Beta Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Camp Texas
Since childhood, Hypatia Sorunke was often found with a pen and notebook in hand.
“I was always writing something—songs, poems, stories, etcetera,” Sorunke says. “As I got older, I started to transition into short essays and research.”
While at UT Austin, she delved deeper into writing and advocacy. The San Antonio native could oftentimes be found at the Multicultural Engagement Center with fellow members of the Onyx Honor Society, a newly created Black honors student association that promotes community service, leadership and academic excellence.
Read on to learn more about Sorunke’s experiences on campus and plans to enter graduate school after devoting a gap year to creative writing.
Could you share a bit about your writing projects?
I took my senior year to reconnect with my creative writing roots and wrote a collection of short stories and poems for my thesis called “Brownscale.” Since COVID-19 closed campus, I was never able to present my thesis; however, I hope to use this gap year to complete the collection and expand on my creative writing ability. In the next few years, I see myself expanding my storytelling abilities into visual and performance platforms, while still remaining true to my creative voice. Initially, I didn’t think that I could be a career writer, but I was inspired by writers like Toni Morrison, Barry Jenkins, Tarell Alvin McCraney, Issa Rae, Lena Waithe, Jordan Peele and so many more.
Do you have any grad schools in mind after your gap year?
I am looking into a few academic institutions in the Northeast and the West Coast, as I hope to match the rigor of the Plan II and African and African Diaspora Studies Programs here at UT. I know that I want to focus on getting a masters in fine arts in film/creative writing, and I am taking time to find a program that matches my goals and my personality. Also, even though I was only a semi-finalist for the Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship, I have plans to continue to apply to other postgraduate scholarships like Fulbright and Knight-Hennessy.
What did you enjoy most about your UT experience?
There are a lot of things that I enjoyed about my UT Experience, but the thing that I enjoyed most was how strong of a support system I had. From the Plan II Honors Program to the Multicultural Engagement Center to Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, I always had someone willing to hear me out and explore the bounds of my ideas. I have made lifetime friends and mentors who have guided me to undertake personal challenges like mentorship, academic research, community service and studying abroad, and I am forever grateful to have had the opportunity to connect with such dependable and creative people.
What advice do you have for future Longhorns?
My advice for future Longhorns is to never be afraid to ask questions and make mistakes. Dialogue is so important; there are so many things to learn from the people and experiences you will have on the 40 Acres, but the first step in success is figuring out what you don’t know.
Anything else you would like to add?
With COVID-19, the face of everything is going to change. As incoming freshman, current students, and graduating seniors are caught in the whirlwind of the pandemic, I hope that everyone takes time to breathe and access the changes that are to come. At some point, we must ask the question that every Longhorn has asked or been asked at some point: what can I do to help change the world? It’s a heavy but essential question. If UT has taught me anything, it is that the UT community only works if we care about every Longhorn in Austin, in Texas and across the globe.
If you’re interested in supporting a UT student-led cause, you can follow @mutualaidatx on Instagram for some ideas and resources on how you can help during this time. And If you want to follow my journey in life after UT, you can follow me on Instagram and Twitter @itshypatia.