Humans of UD: Tom Hand

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Name: Tom Hand
Hometown: Wichita, Kan.
Classification: Junior
Major: History and economics

BS: Why are you a history major?
TH: I like history…. It’s interesting to read and learn. It’s kind of like the story of human nature repeating itself. You learn how people operate, which is interesting. Specifically, I like Russia in general. Russian history is just interesting. Basically, anything [that] is a mess is fun. Stuff that’s clean-cut is boring.

BS: What is your favorite Core class?
TH: Probably Lit Trad I. The “Iliad” is awesome. I had Dr. [John] Alvis, who is just hilarious.

BS: Why did you choose to attend the University of Dallas?
TH: It was kind of a default on some level. Both of my older sisters went here, and I know a ton of UD people from back home. I worked on a farm with another UD student in high school, and in terms of the idea of liberal education, I liked it. I feel like I would have been out of place at a huge state school. They also offered me a really good scholarship, which was nice.

BS: Describe the nature of your friendships here at UD.
TH: Close? I don’t know. The most UD thing I can think about is sitting out on a porch in Old Mill, smoking cigarettes, drinking beer and arguing finer literary or philosophical or historical points with people, which is very much a thing. I’d say that’s what makes UD UD. And listening to Irish music while we do it.

BS:What is your favorite memory from Rome?
TH: Me and Matt Kaiser, we went to the Balkans on 10-day. Basically, we were up all night in Fiumicino airport [and] didn’t sleep because they have construction. They do all their construction at night.

We flew to Dubrovnik, Croatia, which for me was just a stop-over point because I was going to visit my buddy in Bosnia. It turns out that Dubrovnik is actually an old Venetian fortress, and it’s where they shoot Game of Thrones. The white castle city, they shoot that in Dubrovnik. I don’t watch the show, but I know that because I went there, and there’s all this Game of Thrones stuff.

It’s pouring rain, it’s October — nasty weather. We haven’t slept all night. We get into town at 10:45 a.m., and we didn’t eat dinner the night before, and we haven’t eaten breakfast. So it’s absolutely the worst time to get into town; Europeans have finished eating breakfast but they haven’t started eating lunch yet. And if there is breakfast, it’s like the leftovers from continental breakfast, which is like no food, basically.

So, we’re wandering around, we wander, wander, wander, and we come across this chef sitting outside of his restaurant in an alleyway, smoking a cigarette and sitting with a waiter. We asked if they were open and if they had food, and they let us in when they heard we were Americans. He said, “You’re Americans, you come in, I’ll open up for you.”

We open up the menu, and there’s a chicken dish, a fish dish, a shellfish dish and a beef dish. Being in Italy for so long, we’re expecting not very much food, a small bit of meat and a tiny bit of potatoes. So we order three dishes each. And they bring out bread, and we order coffee. We’re starving, so we devour the bread in two seconds. I walked back to the kitchen and asked the chef to bring us some potatoes too, because we were starving and hadn’t eaten in forever.

He brings out the food, and it’s not Italian style, it’s a giant, steaming bowl of rice, and tomato sauce, and mussels. There’s just a ton of it. He also brings out a ton of potatoes. There’s a massive spread between me and Kaiser, and we [each] get a beer. We went from being cold and miserable, to having the most food I’d ever had in Europe. The chef sat down and talked with us, after he was done cooking, and apparently he had worked at a 5-star restaurant in [Los Angeles] for a while, so it was great food. And there was just a ton of it.

It was an awesome moment. We were kind of lost and didn’t know what we were doing. And all of a sudden, we’re comfortable and happy and full, and then we have coffee and cigarettes and food and beer. It was a great moment.

BS: What advice do you have for your fellow UD students?
TH: Honestly, maybe I’m the worst person to say this, but, don’t take it too seriously. It’s college. 90 percent of the kids here are not going to go on to grad school. They’re going to go on to the business world. Care about your classes, but don’t worry about them too much. You know what I mean? Don’t be a recluse workaholic because you’re terrified about getting a B.

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