As this month of love draws to a close, how about a love story? Well, I’ve got a good one for you. It’s the story of a long-awaited dream worth fighting for. It’s full of commitment, introspection and passion. And, like most love stories, it has its share of highs and lows.
This love story is very personal to someone here at the College of Liberal Studies. This person is proud to share her story with anyone who will listen because it’s a journey many CLS students can identify with.
Kim McDaniel, our receptionist and internal recruiter, truly LOVES the University of Oklahoma and the College of Liberal Studies. Here’s the story of how her dreams came true.
Kim has worked at the College of Liberal Studies for the last two years. If you call our main office number, there’s a pretty good chance you’re talking to Kim.
But Kim is more than just our front office “face.” She knows what it’s like to be one of our students because she IS one of our students. Kim is on track to graduate with a Master of Arts in Administrative Leadership this December, having earned her Bachelor of Arts in Administrative Leadership from CLS in 2009.
“I am proud to talk every day about the degree program that changed my life,” she said. “Without this degree, I would probably still be working in an atmosphere that did not appreciate me any more than I appreciated it. We all have to work to pay our bills, but I am too stubborn to settle for less than I think I deserve. I couldn’t convince others I was deserving without a college degree. CLS made that goal a reality for me, and my options are limitless now.”
Like a lot of CLS students, Kim’s journey to degree completion was a long one.
“When I was 18 years old, my dad had kinda dropped me in Norman via Shreveport with the hopes I would just find my way to being a grown up,” she explained.
But, after a few missteps, Kim was asked to leave OU.
“I was a pitiful student because I had never had to be responsible for myself, my actions or my decisions before. My family always cleaned up my messes and allowed me to move on…but OU was not as lenient. One day they said, ‘Sorry, we are scholarly and you are not.’ That was tough!”
Years later, when Kim started thinking about finishing her degree, she considered getting an associate degree at a local community college.
“Lazy me thought, ‘Well, that’s better than just a high school degree.’ But stubborn me would not take less than a degree from my beloved University of Oklahoma. I was petrified to walk onto the Norman campus to ask for an opportunity to redeem myself as a Sooner.”
Once she made the decision to get started at CLS, Kim has never looked back. It hasn’t always been easy, though.
“I had to change a lot about myself and my lifestyle to accommodate my many hours of reading, researching and writing. Sometimes I was so tired, I considered giving up. But my virtual classmates and my professors would always encourage me, and I kept moving forward. Each ‘A’ and positive remark in my inbox fueled me to keep going. Each constructive correction fueled me to try even harder.
“One day, I received a card in the mail…it was an application for graduation! I could not believe it was addressed to me, and it was finally the end of my scholastic journey.”
“Now that I have finally matured, I am so proud to be an official Sooner. I love helping others understand the pride I now feel.
“I know I am one of the most blessed CLS graduates ever! I get to work with the awesome faculty and staff, I get to look out a big window onto the beautiful Norman campus and I get to tell my story every day. I am paid to be me.”
…and Kim, we are so grateful to have you!