From Caterpillar to Butterfly: The Transformation of Daniela McGill


Taylor Good, Writer

Four years ago, senior Daniela McGill was once a timid freshman learning how to navigate her new life as a high schooler, sharing her personal interests, her quirkiness, and her artistic talents with a handful of her middle school friends. As the years progressed, McGill quickly blossomed into a student that is unashamedly vocal and passionate, walking across the campus with a confidence that no student can break.

Earlier this year, McGill was admitted into the College of Fine Arts at the University of Texas at Austin. She has plans of earning a bachelors in Art History.

“I have never been super into STEM,” McGill said. “I originally thought that I was going to do something in business ‘cause that seemed the easiest and most applicable to everything. But I took Art history last year with Mrs. George and it was a really, really fun class and really interesting. I was the most engaged and interested I have ever been in a class, and I really enjoyed the content and the course in general, so I was really interested in pursuing it.”

Although UT is on the radar for many of her peers, she initially was reluctant to apply. She had dreams of continuing her artistic journey far away from her home-town.

“I went to this intensive program over the summer for a month last summer, and I originally did not want to go to school in Texas at all,” McGill said. “I wanted to go somewhere in the northeast. I wanted to go to New York– I mean, everyone wants to go to New York. But I really like the intensive and I really like the campus and the environment. Austin is a really cool city.”

As of 2023, UT’s Fine Arts program is tied for 23rd in Best Fine Arts Programs in the US, further demonstrating their commitment to academic excellence. McGill is confident that the skills that she acquires within the program will help propel her to the next level in her career.

“I actually maybe want to go into curating for, like, a museum”, McGill said. “So that would be pretty cool if I could do a big one, like the Met, if I were super good at what I do. Or, I would maybe consider going down the academia route and get a PhD and be a professor.”

Although the prospect of reinventing herself at UT is exciting, her approaching departure from College Park is still bittersweet. She is grateful for the school’s effort to help students succeed throughout the school year socially and academically.

“There’s a lot of opportunities to do specific things that you want to do in terms of, like, help,” McGill said. “If you want to improve your writing, you can do AP or Dual Credit English. Those significantly improve my writing! There’s a lot of ways to improve yourself.”

Through her years at College Park, McGill learned the importance of focusing on things that truly matter, such as her mental health, hanging out with friends, and attending school events.

“A lot of maturing and a lot of letting go of things that don’t really matter, and learning how to prioritize things that matter to me a lot,” McGill said. I’ll miss mostly the people I met, especially friends that I only see in class usually, ‘cause those conversations are usually fun.”

With senior season approaching for our current junior class, the anxiety regarding college applications and scholarships have been intense. McGill urges those students to appreciate the time that they have left on campus rather than spending their last year stressing about college.

“It’s just another year,” McGill said. “Just be appreciative of the opportunities that the school does give you and be appreciative of the time you do have with these people that majority you are not going to see again.”