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
As a freshman, I came to OU not knowing anyone. Going to college was the first time I would be away from my family. To say I was nervous was an understatement. Upon my arrival to the university I was warmly welcomed by a plethora of campus organizations during the first weeks of the college career. The Black Student Association was one of those organizations that greeted me with a warm welcome. At this time I had no idea how much of an impact this organization would have on me.
As my collegiate career began, I found myself drawn to programs and events the Black Student Association put on. I quickly sought the opportunity to get involved and took on a position as the Secretary for the Freshman Action Team, umbrella organization of the BSA. After taking on this position, not only did I find my niche on campus, but I also found a family within the organization.
Now serving as the president of the Black Student Association as a senior, I look back and can confidently say that taking part in the BSA was one of the best decisions I made for my collegiate career. Throughout the years within BSA, I have gained essential leadership skills, soft skills, life long friendships, and larger networking opportunities. On the other end of the spectrum, my involvement with the BSA has allowed me to also give back to the OU community, as well as the community at large. Because of my experience as a first year student and the impact the organization had on shaping my collegiate experience, I make it a point every year to mentor at least four younger students. I have learned simple encounters can change the outcome of one’s entire experience, just as it did mine. When coming to campus, it is importance to put yourself out there. While trying out new clubs and organizations you could eventually find a home for the next four years. That is something you do not want to miss out on!
Major: Accounting – Senior 2016
Hometown: Garland, TX
Have you ever held a human heart in your own two hands? Unless you’re an cardiac surgeon or a student in the health fields at OU, the answer is probably no. The University of Oklahoma’s health programs give students the opportunity to lean about the human body in incredible depth as we are able to study human cadavers in Human Anatomy lab. This course gives students a hands on experience in dealing with human bodies that we will eventually be working with in our future careers. OU has one of the most impressive and extensive cadaver labs in the country and as a current student in the Human Anatomy lab, I am so grateful to be able to learn this much even before applying to graduate programs.
Starting a future in the health fields can be a very rewarding choice for students but it can also be a very intimidating one. That first step towards becoming a nurse, physicians assistant, occupational therapist, or any other healthcare professional is made so much easier with the help of OU’s incredible faculty, staff, and department heads who offer incredible support and advice throughout this journey. Students are guided through course advising but are given incredible independence in choosing elective courses and in which semesters specific classes will be taken. With the help and guidance of individual course professors and advisors, students are set on the right path towards achieving their goals.
In my experience as a pre-health student, I have certainly had my doubts and worries about the course load that I was getting myself into. Over the past four semesters I have passed the bulk of my course work including all of my general education credits, letting me be able to take more profession-focused courses. Thanks to the variety of labs, depth of educational resources, and highly skilled professors and teaching assistants that the University of Oklahoma has to offer, my successes in the health sciences are setting me well on my way to my future career as a health professional.
Health and Exercise Science Major, Pre-Occupational Therapy
Oak Park, California
Sooner Scandals has been a part of OU’s history for 75+ years. Why is it called Scandals? Well, I’m not entirely sure, but it’s worth a Google search if you’re feeling it. Scandals is another way that OU students can showcase their amazing talents through a mini-musical which includes singing and dancing. A great aspect of this event is that it occurs on Mom’s Weekend. What better way to spend Mom’s Weekend than quality time with mom while watching college kids sing and dance their hearts out? If you can answer that question I will personally buy you Starbucks.
Being a part of Scandals is a crazy and chaotic experience, but it’s also very rewarding. I have been a part of the cast for one of the acts in the past, but this year my role is more behind the scenes as I am serving on Sooner Scandals Exec for the 2016 show. Seeing how everything comes together from getting sponsorship (which is what I’m on) to getting the judge panel organized is like seeing how Swiss cheese gets the holes in it. Nobody really thinks about it how it happens, but we really like the end result. Being on exec has already made me appreciate all the hard work and dedication that goes into it all, even though we are only in the early stages.
Mom’s Weekend 2016 is in April and I hope you know what your plans are and I hope they include seeing one of the Sooner Scandals performances! You’ll laugh, you’ll cry at the heartfelt storylines, and you’ll definitely have the songs stuck in your head for at least a week or two. I hope this small glimpse into the world of Sooner Scandals has given you readers a taste of the awestricken wonder that is Scandals, and even better, I hope to see you at the show! Boomer Sooner!
Human Relations / Senior
I’ve had countless amazing experiences during my time at The University of Oklahoma. However, my one of my favorite experiences happened just this year. I didn’t see it coming. I’m a senior now—old, senile, irrelevant, etc. I thought all the best years at this school had passed for me, but I was so wrong. It all started when I saw a flyer for OU’s Comedy Fight Night. I had done a little bit of stand up, but never thought I was good enough to use it as a weapon and fight people with it. I’m more of a lover, not a fighter. I figured I might as well go for it. I have embarrassed myself many times at this school anyway. Once I got in a bike crash on the South Oval when I swerved to dodge an eerily large squirrel. I dumped an entire coffee on myself in the middle of the Union when I was trying to slide down a staircase railing while singing a Rihanna song. Oh yes, and let’s not forget the time I accidentally called the dean of my college “ma’am” then tipped my imaginary top hat in his direction to smooth things out. Needless to say, I had nothing to lose by auditioning for Comedy Fight Night. I made the show as one of only two females and was super excited (and very nauseous) about the opportunity to perform for my friends and classmates at the battle. CFN had an incredible turn out. People sat in the aisles and filled the entire balcony section of Meacham Auditorium and when I walked out on stage, I felt like a real cool gal. Friends yelled my name and strangers that have probably been in my Spanish class every semester cheered… for me. The next 6.5 minutes rocked my world. I had the time of my life performing my very own material. I was so pumped when I was awarded First Place. However, as an aspiring comedian, I was even more pumped when I won Crowd Favorite. There is no better feeling than when your audience actually laughs at your jokes and thinks your funny. Comedy is a difficult career path to follow, but with the support of my friends and a university that gives oddballs like me the opportunity to perform, it all seems possible! Boomer.
Creative Media Production/Class of 2016
Upon arriving at OU I exhibited all of the signs of a freshman walking onto campus for the first time. I had new clothes, a big smile, and of course, lofty aspirations as a Micro-Biology major. However, like a lot of young pre-med students, I found myself bounced out of the major by a formidable foe, Chemistry. After having, what I thought to be my perfect plan of becoming a doctor was cut short. I had to find another major. To set out on this mission, I decided to pick something I loved and to pick a minor that I was passionate about. After a period of soul searching, I set my eyes on a degree that I not only was passionate about, but a degree that could make a difference in the world.
The major I chose was International Studies, but more importantly a Non-Profit Organizational Studies minor. Not only was I welcomed into the program with open arms, but also I embraced the program right back. Not only was this new major going to involve something that I love, helping people, but it was also going to allow me to learn by experience. Immediately after the major change, I joined the NLSA, or Non-Profit Leadership Student Association and began to attend the meetings. I was wonderfully surprised by the community feel of the club/program, but also by the hands-on activities in which I could participate. In class I was “starting” a non-profit and learning the ins and outs of managing volunteers, etc., and at my club meetings I was engaging in volunteer activities, networking with local non-profit professionals, and learning valuable lessons from speakers from across the state.
Overall, I believe that my change in major was one of the best things that has happened to me since being at OU. I found a community that fit me better than my first choice, and I was embraced by not only the Non-Profit family at OU, but the Sooner family as a whole across campus. Coming to college, a lot of people end up switching majors and nearly having a panic attack at not knowing what the future may hold. But at OU, there are new opportunities around every corner, and new passions to grab a hold of everyday. Through the loss of my pre-med dream, a new passion was born. My new major and minor fit me as a person much better than my previous choice, and I could have only found my real passion through my experiences at OU.
International Studies/Non-Profit Studies