On Saturday October 17, 2015 the University of Oklahoma’s Max Westheimer’s airport had its 9th annual Aviation Festival. This event is an open house of the aviation department, along with pilots and business’s from around the region. They bring in planes for the public to see. There were tours of the air traffic control tower as well as a children’s hangar put on by Sooner Flight Academy.
I had the opportunity to volunteer for the event and represent the aviation department. It was a fantastic experience to see Norman residents and OU students get up close and personal to planes and helicopters. Children were even able to climb in the cockpits and experience what a pilot sees. The University even brought the Sooner Schooner out so kids could take pictures! Many other departments came to show off, like the police K9 unit, the National Weather Center, and even the U.S. Army. It was incredible to see the Norman community come together and have OU be the center of it all!
I have been part of the OU culture for 4 years now, and I love how diverse it is. Not many other universities can say that they have their own airport. Especially one that has a festival where anyone can come and see the Norman and OU community come together to celebrate aviation. I encourage all OU students to come to the next festival to see how awesome just one small part of the University is!
When I think of the word college, the next thing that pops into my mind is money. Tuition, housing, and other basic expenses add up quickly. If an individual struggles financially, they could be compared to a broke college student. It is just how the world envisions college- a money pit. I always knew growing up that college would be a large investment, and probably my most expensive investment in life. Of course earning a higher degree of education is worth every penny, but it is hard to come up with the kind of money one needs to pay for college.
I am an Energy Management major at the University of Oklahoma. This major and the field it leads to perfectly fits my talkative and outgoing personality. The Energy Management Student Association (EMSA) is full of wonderful people I have learned from in many ways. EMSA has also given me more opportunities than I could dream of as a student- one of those opportunities being scholarship interviews. Because of my partition in the program, I was given the opportunity to speak in front of 50+ individuals from the Oil & Gas field that wanted to give away money to deserving students. Luckily, the group saw something in my story- I was awarded several scholarships from different companies. The total was astounding and really helped ease my mind of fiscal responsibilities.
I had no clue what doors would open for me the day I decided to major in Energy Management. It was one of the best decisions I have made to date because of the amazing things the program has helped me accomplish with their support. I am a proud Sooner and a proud EMSA member. These scholarships have helped me a great deal considering I am an out-of-state student and This is just a simple example of ways that the University of Oklahoma can help students to gain the skills and education regardless of their fiscal struggles. There are many scholarships that are offered through specific colleges, degrees and programs whether it is through your local community or through the University.
Class of 2018
Energy Management/ Finance
Growing up in the Balkans at the time and place where I did shaped me in a different way that outsiders sometimes struggle to understand. I was always very attached to my family, my friends, my identity and the things that are valued in my culture. In general, I always loved being home and when I took the decision to come to OU, I had was nervous. I knew I was going to struggle being away from home. When I arrived, I had to get used to different types of food, people, culture and most importantly, being far from my family and friends.
At first I thought that everyone would notice my accent and would treat me differently because of it. I struggled with the idea of being called out in class or making mistakes when speaking. I was afraid of having people think that I do not belong here. Even before coming to OU, I decided to live on the international floor in the residence halls my Freshman year and I am glad I did. I was able to meet people from around the world who were on the same boat as I was, and made the transition to getting used to a place like this one a lot easier. Most importantly, I felt welcomed in Norman. The hospitality of people in Oklahoma is far beyond what I could have imagined. People are always willing to offer a warm smile when walking past them on the street. They are there for you if you need help and are always polite. I was also very glad to find out that they were interested in my culture rather than alienating me because of it.
As time passed, the more and more I fell in love with the University. I love OU for all different opportunities that are offered, whether it is different classes, clubs or even go study abroad opportunities. Additionally, the professors are very helpful and attentive if you are struggling in their class. The concept of professors having office hours is one of the things I appreciate the most about the course culture here. The staff is polite and genuinely wanting to help you be successful.
I could have never imagined to feel at home other than where I grew up, but OU proved me wrong. One of the biggest OU traditions is attending a football game. Everyone is united and focused when watching it, where we all feel like a part of one big Sooner family. This is one the special experiences with a special meaning, and it would be difficult to find it somewhere else. I am thankful for all of the experiences and opportunities I encountered here, so I just want to say thank you to everyone for being part of my life & OU journey.
Magdalena Gea Vidovic
Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina
As soon as the countdown clock reached August 1, Midwest City High School valedictorian Adrienne Peak took the first step toward her future.
Peak, an Oklahoma State Regents Scholar, submitted her application to the University of Oklahoma in early August. The following month she received her official admission packet in the mail. The envelope, a colorful print of Memorial Union clock tower against an Oklahoma evening sky, represented the culmination of hard work, dedication and family support.
A month after receiving her acceptance letter, the Peak household received a knock on the door. Much to Peak’s surprise, OU had one more delivery for her: a gift that was years in the making.
Planting the Seed
Joining the Sooner Family is a truly unique experience for every OU student. Peak, thanks to her father, grew up on tales of his college years in Norman. His experience and stories spoke vividly to her.
“It’s been my dream school since I was six,” she said. “My Dad always talked about how much fun he had and such great times, and I decided that sounded great to me.”
Robert Peak already was proud of his daughter, but her decision to attend his alma mater brings him a great deal of joy and pride.
“I must admit, as an alumnus and former Leadership Scholar, I have had a tremendous amount of influence promoting my alma mater,” Peak’s father said. “I am extremely proud of my daughter carrying on the tradition of attending of the University of Oklahoma. Adrienne has obtained an outstanding scholastic record all on her own.”
Sowing the Field
The goal of being accepted into to her “dream school” stayed with Peak throughout junior high and into high school. She became the leader and captain of her school’s Academic Team, served as parliamentarian of the National Honor Society, and even led the trumpet section in the Midwest City High School band.
Despite a busy schedule, Peak also volunteered for the local chapter of Rotary International and spent two years as a volunteer at Science Museum of Oklahoma. It was there that Peak grew fond of science and math, which sparked her desire to major in engineering.
“Everything is good in engineering, so I just want to see where it takes me,” Peak said. “OU has one of the best engineering programs in the country. It’s insane how good it is, and it’s really close to home.”
Reaping the Harvest
Eager to join the next fleet of women in engineering at OU, Peak stayed driven to achieve her collegiate dreams. She credits her classmates at Midwest City High School for spurring her on to achieving those goals.
“There are so many smart kids in my school, and I just think ‘I’ve got to be as good as they are,’” Peak said. “There is no excuse for me not to be that good.”
Just like the recognition of talent, dedication and hard work Adrienne sees in her classmates, the University of Oklahoma took the chance to congratulate and reward her for those very same qualities.
On a crisp October day during fall break, a team from the university showed up at Peak’s Midwest City home. Crimson and cream balloons waved in the wind next to a large scholarship check that was carried inside, along with smiles, cupcakes and greetings from one Sooner generation to another.
We’re so glad to welcome Adrienne Peak to the University of Oklahoma next fall. Adrienne applied, have you?
Never in a million years would I have thought I was going to be a 5th year Senior. I thought that I was going to be a graduate of the Class of 2015 but boy, was I wrong. Halfway through my Junior year, I took a Supply Chain Management class just for fun and ended up falling in love with the course work. This resulted in adding a double major to my existing Energy Management degree and effectively pushing back my graduation date one more year. I never expected to be a 5th year, but I ended up becoming one anyway.
Well halfway through my 5th year, I can safely say that this has probably been one of the best years of my life. While last year, I had to participate with all my friends who were participating with their “lasts” on campus. I kept in mind that “Hey! I actually have one more of these.” Fast-forward to my 5th year and I get to participate in all the things with that my friends went through last year with some experience under my belt. My “Last First Day of Class”, my “Last First Football game”, everything has been such a surreal experience.
I wanted to make my 5th year the year that I did everything that I wanted to do, but haven’t gotten the chance to do. I became President of an organization, I joined new organizations, made more friends, networked with more faculty and made my experience during this 5th year the best that it could be and its only a quarter of the way through! I also made my 5th year, the year of spontaneity. A few weeks back, my friends and I decided to head down to enemy territory and visit The Austin City Limits Music Festival and I can safely say that was probably the best weekend of my life with some of my closest friends (I cried during Drake). I also just came back from a fun (but slightly depressing) OU/TX weekend and made some more memories as well.
Future Sooner, if you’re weary about taking that extra Fifth year, do not worry. This point in college, you’ve already made your friend groups, already found your faculty mentors, and you pretty much already get the gist of how campus works. You get to have that “one more chance” in college and believe me, I am taking advantage it right now. OU has been place that I have grown into the man I have become today and getting that one more shot at college is yet another exciting year to grow as an individual. If you have to, take that extra year because “With 5th year, comes wisdom.”
Energy Management/Supply Chain
Class of 201(6)
Months before you graduate from high school, this less than loved question emerges, “What is your major?” For me, I felt unqualified to answer this. I had only left the country once and been to about 5 states. How in the world was I supposed to choose my life’s occupation?
Did you know that the average college student changes their major six times. SIX TIMES. That is not an OU average, that is a U.S average and for some incoming college students, that can be scary. For me, I was highly involved with a business marketing organization in high school so naturally I believed that this was going to be my life’s calling. It was familiar, it was comfortable and thus it was for me. Walking into my first business prerequisite course though I realized that maybe what I thought business was was not for me. It took a 27 on an exam (this means I failed the class). This also means that chocolate chip pancakes at Cate Restaurants became my diet to equip freshman Breanna to change her major.
I was crushed.
I felt as if my life’s dreams and plans had been torn a part I had no idea what I would do. What I did believe though was that if I did not enjoy my college classes that I may not enjoy my career. Luckily though, I was introduced to OU’s Major Exploration.
Major Exploration gave me the opportunity to explore what other majors were offered at OU. OU has over 150 degree programs. Coming to college I was aware of approximately five of them. While comforting myself with chocolate chip pancakes, I sat under a tree crying. With every delicious bite of pancakes I answered an question on the Major Exploration survey. After I finished the survey, I set up an appointment with a Major Exploration Coach. This is when I met Jaime, and Jaime gave me confidence. Jaime walked me through my strengths and weaknesses. She went over my results and showed me what my top ten job compatibilities were.
Now, I do not believe in living your life based off online surveys; unless buzzfeed counts. This survey was able to help me narrow down my interests and ideas for potential majors. Through Major Exploration, I was able to open my eyes to the endless possibilities when it came to other majors and departments. This is how I found Public Relations. PR has developed into everything I wanted out of business marketing including classes that I genuinely enjoyed.
I highly encourage you, if you are a current college student or a prospective one, to go to Major Exploration. EXPLORE your major, EXPLORE your university, EXPLORE the resources that are offered. I encourage you to find something you enjoy because you never know; your major could be here and you just might not know it.
Public Relations/ Women’s & Gender Studies
Norman has been my home for the past four years, and it will continue to be for the next two. It’s a great city and the community is active in supporting our student body and the events/fundraisers we are constantly putting on. I have truly cherished the impact both OU and the Norman communities have had on me. What is even better is that every year in April I get to spend one Saturday, with the bulk of the student body, saying thank you to the amazing communities because of The Big Event.
The Big Event is OU’s official day of community service. Last year over 5,000 students signed up to volunteer to give back to the communities that have shaped us so much. The Big Event sends the students to organizations and non profits to help them with anything they need. It could be repainting the outside of a church to picking up trash along the parks in Norman. It is a special/unique opportunity to see how grateful the organization are that The Big Event has impacted.
I have played an active part in The Big Event since freshman year because of the chance it creates for me to say thank you to the community that had welcomed me in for these few years of my life. I do not believe anyone achieves anything without help; furthermore, being from a small town in Southwest Oklahoma, I know how impactful a community influence can be (even if others do not realize it themselves). It is important to be appreciative of the help and support we get in our lives, and it is more important to give back when the opportunities arrive. The Big Event is that opportunity for me to show thanks to the community that has shaped me these past four years. I am just as appreciative of The Big Event’s commitment to provide the opportunities to respond in gratitude as I am to the communities themselves!
Health and Exercise Science
As a black student coming to the University of Oklahoma, finding my place and fitting in was never on my mind. I grew up in a really diverse suburban neighborhood, with friends of all cultural and ethnic backgrounds. There was never a question of ethnic diversity where I was. As I entered into my college career at the University of Oklahoma, I started to realize that while there was a presence of various ethnic backgrounds, it was still smaller than what I was used to. It was a bit of a culture shock, and I kind of wondered how I was going to get involved, or where I was going to find my place.
I originally started my journey at OU by trying to get involved with the Black Student Association. I felt like that was going to be my home and safe ground. I started to meet other students of other ethnic identities, who encouraged me to come to other meetings. During my first semester, I ended up applying for Campus Activities Council’s Howdy Week. I applied to be secretary, and I received it. I was slowly starting to realize that ethnic diversity is not directly related to openness. Although this organization was predominantly ran by one race, I realized that that should not stop me from putting myself out there, and trying to find new places for myself. I grew to love Campus Activities Council, which then led me to join some other organizations on campus. I grew the confidence to know that I could join any organization, despite the fact that I might be in a room dominated by one group of people. Because I put myself out there, I’ve now gotten the chance to share different perspectives to different organizations and I’ve gotten to help encourage different students to apply.
No university is perfect; no university has the “right” number of anything. You might be one of the few, but it is what you do and how you do it and what you learn about yourself and community that matters. It is easy to be afraid, and to be hesitant to join a group where you are the only _____, but you have a lot to offer to that group. You have an unheard perspective and voice.
The University of Oklahoma has many opportunities to offer to every student, but if you don’t put yourself out there, then you can never get to them. Be the change.
It was the last night of recruitment and I had been standing outside of Jim Thorpe for hours with one of my PNMs. She was completely torn between two amazing chapters. I could see the stress and confusion in her teary eyes that are usually so bright. Luckily, I was prepared for this. I pulled a quarter out of my fanny pack.
“Alright, have you picked a chapter to be heads?” I asked. She nodded.
“Have you picked a chapter for tails?” She nodded.
“Okay, I’m going to flip the coin on three. One. Two. Three.” I stated.
I launch the coin in the air.
There is no way to describe how bizarre but amazing Recruitment is. There are girls clapping and screaming door songs at you. There are multiple girls that want to talk to you and have genuine conversations with you in a very short period of time. Then you have to continue this routine at every chapter, everyday. Your voice will start to go and your feet will start to ache. And by the end of the week you are expected to know which chapter is the best for you? For some girls, this is the first time they’ve been away from home and had to make major decisions for themselves. It is a very overwhelming experience. As a Rho Gamma, my job description was to mentor the girls going through recruitment for the week. We stayed in the dorms with them and got to build community with them. In the mornings, we gave them their schedules and at night, we had meetings to discuss their day. (There was definitely pizza involved.) We cheered with them when they were happy and held them when they were sad.
During sorority recruitment there are three viewpoints: the Potential New Members (PNMs), the sorority women doing the recruiting, and the Recruitment Guides (Rho Gammas). I have been fortunate enough to see the recruitment process from all three. From the PNM’s viewpoint, everything is new and you feel as if you are the star of the show. You are whisked into the fairytale land of sororities. From the recruiter’s viewpoint, you have the pressure of welcoming someone into your home and hoping that they love it as much as you do. When they say that the girl rushing you is more nervous than you are, they’re right!
For all of those incoming PNMs reading this, there are a couple of things I want you to take away from what I have learned from my Rho Gamma viewpoint:
[if !supportLists]1 [endif]It’s not the end of the world!!!!!
I have seen girls go absolutely bonkers over Recruitment Week. Remember that it is only ONE week of your entire college experience! There are so many other aspects of college that are way more important, like your grades!! Definitely don’t forget about those!!!
[if !supportLists]2 [endif]Do NOT listen to stereotypes
OU is lucky to have 11 absolutely amazing chapters on our campus. Seriously. They all rock. Our campus is diverse and so is each chapter. There is a group for everyone in each house, but it is your job in recruitment to find the chapter where you feel like you belong the most.
[if !supportLists]3 [endif]Trust the system
As crazy as it is, you end up where you are supposed to be. Recruitment week is a roller coaster. Even if recruitment doesn’t go as you expected, give it a couple weeks and get to know the girls in your pledge class and I promise it will all fall into place.
The viewpoint from the Rho Gamma is completely different from the PNMs or the recruiter’s perspective. We are not affiliated with our chapter in any way. We are an unbiased opinion that is essentially there to guide the PNMs through an overwhelming week.
“Don’t pick up the coin! I know which one I want! I know!” I said.
She burst into tears of relief and fell into my arms. I could feel the stress leave her body and the confusion that was once behind her eyes completely leave. Her eyes brightened as all her emotions turned into excitement. She ran into Jim Thorpe to write down her final decision. Of course I knew she had made a decision, but she didn’t realize it until that quarter was in the air. The reason I was chosen to be a Rho Gamma was because some PNM out there was going to need me. Ask any Rho Gamma about her moment, the moment that she knew that she was the only person in the world that could help that PNM. This was my moment. The good ol’ coin trick always works. The Panhellenic system at OU is about community and friendship; it was so special to begin building friendships and sharing a community with incoming freshman. I will cherish the fact that I was not only a mentor for that week of Recruitment, but also for the rest of their college career. I loved watched my girls grow into strong, valued and loved women by their chapters. Whether it’s a flip of a coin or whichever trick you prefer, it’s an experience worth taking a chance for.
Advertising / Junior
Flower Mound, TX