When you come to OU and Norman, you enter a sort-of bubble. You realize you are getting older, you become a sophomore then a junior then a senior, but it never really hits you. Well, as a senior staring at graduation (in about 20 days), I can tell you that it hits you. The feeling that you may have to leave Norman, your friends, the place that started out as college and became home, all hits you like a train crossing by The Mont.

I can still remember that first day. It was at Camp Crimson, Purcell Family, Monnet Small Group. It was my first chance to really be at summer camp, but this was not just camp. This was an introduction to the next four years of my life. Those people I met at camp are still some of my best friends on Earth. We all “dropped our cool” and found friends, and a part of ourselves that we hadn’t known yet.

Soon it was August 2011 and I was moving all my stuff into Walker 6E, and I was terrified to be completely honest. My room had this picture perfect view of the stadium, the roommate and I got along, and my suitemates were some of the coolest guys I had ever met. That first night, I went fountain hopping, stayed up way too late, had the first (of many) cheese breads from Papa John’s. I knew that I made the right decision, and that I was going to fall in love while I was here. Then I had my first Sooner football game, and I’ll admit that when the intro video came on, I was crying. We sang the fight song, and the alma mater, and I had never really felt like I belonged to a huge family until then. That first semester was hard, I was homesick, I saw all my friends that went to A&M and UT having the times of their lives. I wanted to leave, to transfer, but I knew deep down that I would regret leaving because I hadn’t truly experienced OU yet.

Sophomore year and junior year flew by. I participated in Soonerthon. I changed my major a few (too many) times. I made friends and lost them. We all grew up in a way that none of us could have expected. We had our hearts broken, we failed a class or two, and we decided that college was not as easy as we thought it would be. Above all, we found out that our school was the one connecting the dots. We were bleeding Crimson and Cream and died for the idea of “Live on University.” Nothing felt real. We were separated from the newness of freshman year and did not want to think about senior year.

Then like a flash senior year comes. You realize that are beginning to have a lot of “lasts.” I gave my last tour as an OU Tour Guide the other day, and fought back tears the entire time. I ate at the Caf, where I had many times before, for the last time. I said goodbye to people in Student Life that have given me so much time over the last few years. It started hitting me that I was taking my last steps around the University that I love so much. You push these thoughts away for most of your last semester here, but at some point it is going to creep up on you, and it finally has crept up on me.

OU never leaves you because from that first time you step on campus to the last time you do, OU makes a mark. So much of the person I am today is because of the people I have met here. I formed opinions and friendships that will last a lifetime because of this school. My heart is here just as much as I am. When I get old one day, I will look back at those football games or late nights and realize that I had an experience to share with complete strangers. OU invites you into a family the moment you get that acceptance letter and it never lets you go. For that I will never be able to repay OU. The opportunities I have gotten here, the people who have become my mentors, and the family that I chose will never leave my memories. I love OU, and that will never change, no matter where I am.

Dalton Brasington

Senior

Political Science

Spring, TX

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Game day in Norman always brings an intense atmosphere but Homecoming produces a special kind of crowd. I remember standing in the stadium thinking, “Wow, I’ve never felt the stadium shake so much from a crowd yelling BOOMER SOONER!”

For many organizations Homecoming is an extravagant event with countless hours of hard work put into the floats, boards, banners, chalking, and the pep rally dance. Every year Campus Activities Council (CAC) organizes the long time tradition of Homecoming here at OU. This year our theme was Bound As One. Months of preparation have been put into each and every category. It is a time where the student body organizations work together to put on a campus wide event.

This year CAC aimed to create a Homecoming shirt where the same logo would be used again and again. I love being able to see a new tradition created at OU and yes the shirts are super cool. Another new thing CAC did this year was the Rah! Rally. The rally was on Friday, placed in the Lloyd Noble Center and in previous years it was somewhere else that didn’t really offer what the LNC does. Being able to see OU alum Gerald McCoy (All-Pro DT for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers) come back was remarkable. Since I graduate here in December it was a refreshing reminder that once you become a Sooner, you are a Sooner for life. I am sad this will be my last Homecoming as a student but it was a great one to end on!

Needless to say the Rah! Rally was a blast and excited students even more for the game. The participating groups this year truly went above and beyond the normal requirements, every theme deserves credit for their creativity and hard work. The themes winning this year in the Homecoming competition were, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Water for Elephants, and Mary Poppins.

If you were unable to see any of the homecoming events in action check out @oucac or @UofOklahoma on twitter or search for the hashtag #BoundAsOne

Drew Purdin

Choctaw, OK

Senior Aviation Management

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The 66th consecutive year is upon us! Of course I am talking about the long time tradition here at OU called University Sing! U-sing, for short, is a production applying an overall theme to create a show that involves singing, dancing, as well as a storyline. The theme for this year is, There’s A First Time For Everything and auditions for the show were this past Sunday, September 28th. Seven out of eleven organizations make the show every year and this year is not only bringing tons of talent in dance and vocals but also in comedy and creativeness! The shows that made it this year are First Class, Little Lion Man, One Small Step, Play Ball, Rockefeller, Superman, and Toy Story; each of which depict a different first time throughout history. It is going to be a long and exciting wait until the weekend of November 8th when all these shows will be performed for the first time for their organizations, friends, and family.

This year I was fortunate enough to get involved with Campus Activities Council and applied to be on the U-sing 2014 Executive Team. I am helping out with the Awards Show of the program which will be following after the last performance on Saturday. You are hearing it here first, the trophies are awesome this year and I know everyone is aiming towards first place! Our executive team leader is the one and only Julianne Hennessy, along with her vice chairs Ariel Mackey, Ann Estes, Jeff Pitcock, and Jennifer Phillips. Without them U-sing wouldn’t be as successful as it has been so far. It has been without a doubt the most fun I have had with people I didn’t know at all until just last semester. I highly recommend to any current freshmen to get involved with U-sing next year or if you plan on being here next fall then try out for your organizations u-sing cast because you truly do make college memories.

Drew Purdin

Senior Aviation Management

Choctaw, OK

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After spending my second summer here in Norman, I have realized a few things. First, Chimy’s is always closed at random times in the summer and that really grinds my gears when I need a chimichanga fast.  Second, I’ve grown to love the city that I have called home for the past 3 years (sorry Mom and Dad). After living in Norman for so long, I consider myself a Norman resident and not just a college student living here. There are are so many cool things about this city that I wouldn’t of known if I haven’t of lived here year round. I have compiled a list of the 9 things you need to know before you move to Norman. This city can surprise you!

1. Festivals galore!

Norman is known as the city of festivals so there is always something going on during the school year and even in the summer. My favorite festival is Norman Music Festival is a (picture above) where Main Street literally gets shut down for three days for a massive FREE music festival that features many local bands in the spring! Some other cool festivals include Medieval Fair, Jazz in June and the Chocolate Festival (unlimited samples of chocolate, need I say more?).

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2. Culture and Arts

Norman is a mecca for culture and arts and two of my favorite places for that is right here on OUr campus! Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History is one of the largest University-based Natural History museums and features the world’s largest Apatosaurus (a really big dinosaur) as well as other cool artifacts about Oklahoma’s history as well. Another museum we have here in Norman is the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art which holds over 1 billion dollars of art inside of it!

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3. FOOD everywhere

Queso at The Mont, Gyros at Greek House, Boba Tea at Tea Cafe, Norman has a thriving food scene! There are over 100 restaurants in Norman with many diverse offerings. Vietnamese, Peruvian, Moroccan, Indian and many other offerings right here in the middle of Oklahoma. One word of advice for y’all, EAT LOCAL! There are so many restaurants that are a big part of the Norman community so try them all.

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4. NEVER take Lindsey.

When Fall Semester rolls around and when you add thousands of new students on the roads, things can get pretty hectic. One tried and true saying that you will hear over and over from many upperclassmen is “Never take Lindsey.” Lindsey St. is the main artery that runs right in the middle of campus here in Norman, Oklahoma and one of the most congested roads as well. Save yourself the frustration during 5 o’clock rush hour, take Highway 9, take Boyd, but never take Lindsey.

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5. Big City atmosphere, Small-town feel

In terms of population, Norman is actually the 3rd largest city in the State of Oklahoma right behind Oklahoma City and Tulsa! Even with such a large population, you won’t feel like your living in a big city because Norman has such a small town feel to it. The residents of Norman are laid-back and friendly. Main St and Campus Corner are two great additions to the Norman community and add to to the small town feel. However, even with all the small town feel, Norman has so many amenities that some of the bigger cities have! Sooner Mall and SuperTarget are some of my favorites!

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6. Remember, people still live here!

That stunning women in the picture above is no other than Mayor Cindy Rosenthal, mayor of Norman. I recently had the honor of being an SGL at Camp Crimson with our namesake being the mighty Rosenthal (shout out to Rosenthal Fam). One of the things she told us in her presentation is to always remember that people actually live here instead of just college students. You’re going to find some of the friendliest people in this town but remember that they still live and work here so try not to be disrespectful to the residents. Contrary to popular belief, most norman residents actually love college kids!

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7. Remember the Oklahoman Way

If you’re from out-of-state, this one applies more to you. Even if you have strong ties to Texas, Missouri, Kansas or wherever you’re from, remember when you move to Norman, you’re going to have to get used to the Oklahoma way. Sweet tea, saying Yes Ma’am, No sir, sheer hospitality are some of the things you will have to get used to. The Oklahoman way also means looking out for one another. Welcome to Oklahoma y’all!

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8. Ditch the Car        

Kind of piggybacking off the “Don’t Drive on Lindsey” statement, you’ll slowly realize that you won’t need your car as much as you think in Norman. One piece of sage advice, get a bike! I recently just moved into a house near campus and it was probably one of the best decisions of my life. All I do is bike and walk everywhere and its great. Norman is such a compact town that you can bike and walk everywhere. You’ll realize that you won’t use your car as much.

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9. Realize that Norman is the best college town on this planet.

Norman is a beautiful place to live and go to school. It’s a quirky town, filled with weird stores, restaurants and culture events. It is a big town, filled with all the amenities you’ll ever need. It has a small town feel, great mom and pops, friendly people and more. It is a college town and all the things that come with it being a college town. You’re going to be spending the next four (or five) years in this wonderful city and you’ll slowly appreciate this beautiful town. Some of my favorite memories and experiences have happened in this town and I don’t ever want to leave. NORMAN FOREVER.

9Bunty Patel

Senior

Energy Management/Supply Chain

Wilburton, OK

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If you’re taking classes and  hanging around Norman during the summer with nothing to do, think again! OU Summer Session has a ton of events to keep you occupied when you’re not studying away during the day. Through the month of June, Summer Session is holding a volleyball tournament on campus and the first round was nothing less than an evening of friendly competition and lots of sand. Several groups on campus formed teams and rolled out to show everyone who the best volley-star in Norman was.

Though there weren’t actually any titles given out at the first round of play, the competition was fierce and it turns out several members of the OU family have hidden skills on the sand that they put to good use during their intense rounds of play. The only thing missing was ESPN commentators and hand made signs to cheer on their favorite teams. Check out summer.ou.edu to see the list of events that Summer Session will be putting on throughout the summer, and while you’re at it get a group of friends or coworkers together and sign up- you might even score an awesome tank!

Tyler Block

Shawnee, OK

Junior, Human Relations

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Seeing a large portion of the student body and faculty all come together in service is something so inspiring and moving, and that’s exactly what happens every year during The Big Event here at The University of Oklahoma. Student organizations work throughout the Norman, Moore, and Oklahoma City communities at different job sites and make huge differences for everyone involved. I served on Operations Staff for The Big Event and I was in charge of going to a select number of sites across the community and evaluating what their needs were for “The Big Day”. Seeing the people in charge of the sites being so gracious and thankful for our help was beyond humbling and makes you think of the impact you can make in your community. On the actual day of The Big Event, all of the students participating meet up on the North Oval and take part in the opening ceremonies, with appearances from President Boren and Clarke Stroud, two of campus’ biggest celebs. After words of encouragement from them and a small speech from the Big Event chair, this year senior Ben Laptad, all of the students head out to their respective job sites with the hope to make the best change they can in the community. From my behind the scenes perspective on Ops Staff, it was so awesome to see all of the volunteers go off in the morning and come back at the end of the day with smiles on their faces and full hearts from making such an impact in their communities. I actually got to visit and volunteer at a job site during the day, which isn’t always the case for someone on Ops Staff, and it was so humbling to have the owner of the day care I was working at come outside and gasp at the progress we had made in just 2 short hours. Moments like that are what make The Big Event so special to this campus and it is a huge part of what makes The University of Oklahoma “live on” and become a true home to all of its students and staff.

Tyler Block

Sophomore, Human Relations

Hometown: Shawnee, Oklahoma

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One of the hardest things about starting at a new place is finding yourself and where you belong. I know, I know, the gag reflex has just hit you, but just make it through. I mean what did you expect? The title of this blog is “Let It Go”. And as such it will be filled with fantastic, albeit, extremely cheesy Frozen metaphors and references. So let’s get started.

When I first got to OU, I was extremely overwhelmed. I was the first person in my family to go to college in the United States, and I honestly had no idea what to expect. When you first step on campus, you are instantly bombarded with things that you should do and be involved in. And as a student that was pretty involved throughout her high school career, the pressure was on. I was going to be super involved in anything related to pre-medicine on campus, make fantastic grades, and meet the best friends that I would ever have. No big deal, right? Well obviously, pushing myself into everything that seemed even mildly interesting and tackling those difficult freshman pre-med classes made me quite miserable. But I was the good girl that I always had to be. Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know, and always walk around with a smile on your face. That was my M.O. (You were waiting for when frozen would finally make an appearance, weren’t you?).

Anyway, with this self-destructive lifestyle on full throttle, I eventually discovered the best lesson of all. Let it go! Seriously. Let your past go. Let your high expectations, your parents and siblings pressures, and everything that is on your back go. Your college experience is completely yours to do what you will with it. It can be a vulnerable thing sometimes, but start with a blank slate!   One of the hardest parts about college is truly finding yourself. Who are you? What do you like to do? Don’t be afraid to try new things, new organizations, and a class that you never thought you would be interested in. Slowly start filling up that plate and then you’ll allow yourself to grow into the person that you were meant to be instead of an idealized version of yourself created by a high schooler. You’ll also find friends and relationships in the most unlikely places. There are over 450 organizations and over 150 majors at this University. So don’t be afraid to create yOUr own experience.

With that being said, I’ll leave you with a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift”. That is why they call it a present. Sometimes the pressures of a big test or a relationship can seem overwhelming and the worst possible thing in your life. But it’ll pass. In case I haven’t said it enough, let it go! So make sure to take the time to enjoy the little things about college life, because you won’t get them back!

Krishna Manohar

Microbiology/Psychology

Tulsa, OK

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As much as I love Norman, sometimes a girl misses her mom. Luckily, OU hosts an annual parents’ weekend every year. In the fall, Campus Activities Council celebrated “Dad’s Day” with a football game, meet-and-greets around campus corner, and several performances of the University Sing competition. While Dad’s Day happens every fall, Mom’s Day is held in the spring. In the days leading up to the weekend, members of CAC advertised by asking the question in various places around campus: “Have you called your mom yet?”

My mom arrived on Friday in time to watch the campus awards ceremony that happens on Friday afternoon. By 4 PM, proud moms swarmed the campus with their pride and joys. After my brother and I treated our own mother to a dinner at a local popular restaurant, the Mont, there were an abundance of fun activities all over OU to enjoy. Just like during Dad’s Weekend, Mom’s Weekend is during the same weekend as CAC’s Scandals competition. Scandals is a singing and dancing competition made up of mini “musicals” put on by sororities and fraternities, with small performances in between each group’s show. It’s a really fun show to watch, and moms eat it up. This year’s theme was “And So It Was Said,” so every performance was based on a specific quote chosen by the acts.

On Saturday, there were multiple other events that students could take their mothers to, such as a delicious brunch, and, the coolest part of the day, the Mom’s Day Tea at President Boren’s house, the Boyd House. President Boren’s wife, Molly Shi, hosts a tea for students and their mothers. The weather in the courtyard of the Boyd House was perfect, and meeting the Borens was a great way to top off Mom’s Weekend!

As a senior, this is my last Mom’s Weekend at OU. I was so thrilled to have one last opportunity to enjoy my favorite place on earth (OU), with one of my favorite people on earth (Foxy Roxie, my mom). As usual, CAC hosted another successful event; I couldn’t have asked for a better final Mom’s Weekend at OU!
Rebekah Martin
Alva, OK
Class of 2014
Political Science Major

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Almost four years ago, I began my OU adventure. Coming into college, I expected all of the usual experiences – making new friends, learning from great faculty, joining some fun clubs, etc. While all of these did occur for me, it is the experiences that I did not expect that have made my time at OU unique and much more incredible than I could have imagined. Recently, I was given the opportunity to meet one of my idols, former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. As the first female Supreme Court Justice, she is nothing short of a living legend, particularly for a pre-law student like myself.

A few times each semester, President Boren hosts “President’s Associates’ Dinners,” where a special guest visits the University of Oklahoma. In the past we have had guests such as U.S. senators, famous journalists, etc. When I discovered Justice O’Connor was coming to OU, I was excited. When I discovered that through an organization I’m a part of, I would be allowed to help host her, I was nothing short of ecstatic.

My day began at 11:30 a.m., where I met Justice O’Connor at the law school. While there, she gave a “fireside chat” with the dean of the law school and the OCU President. The court room in which she spoke was packed to capacity with students and faculty who wanted to hear from her. Justice O’Connor showed off her wit and humor while answering questions asked by the audience. Later on in the day, she spoke at the OU student union for an audience of around 1500 – the biggest crowd in years. I, along with the rest of the room, drank in every word.

Having the chance to meet someone so influential is an opportunity I know I would not have gotten at any other school. President Boren frequently attracts exciting visitors to our university, and OU is a rare school for allowing student hosts for important guests. At the next President’s Associates’ Dinner, the director of the CIA will be the guest. Experiences such as these stand out among the many things that have reinforced my decision to attend OU years ago.

Rebekah Martin

University of Oklahoma, Class of 2014

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After a long, refreshing winter break, Campus Activities Council welcomes students back to their second home to start 2014 off right with a week’s worth of free food and awesome events! Winter Welcome Week eases the transition back into school mode by providing delicious meals and fun winter activities sponsored by vendors such as, Raising Cane’s and Which Wich, and on campus organizations ranging from the Student Alumni Association and Sooners Helping Sooners.

Each morning hot breakfast is available on the South Oval from 9:00 to 11:00 am, perfect for grabbing a Sonic breakfast burrito and a cup of coffee from Starbucks or Crimson and Whipped Cream on your way to class! Beginning at 11:00am, every day holds a different event. On Monday, come test your balance and strength with sumo wrestling. Lose a match? No problem; fuel up with some Raising Cane’s for lunch and jump back in the ring. If art is more your thing, Tuesday will satisfy your creativity needs with cookie decorating. After cookies, try an array of Which Wich sandwiches; the two make a great pair! Wednesday will fulfill everyone’s favorite childhood memory of sledding; grab a toboggan and work up an appetite for Taco Casa. Love all of the activities that CAC provides? Check out the involvement fair on Thursday while munching on a Jimmy John sandwich. Later in the afternoon, the volunteer fair will be open as well. These are great ways to become a part of the action! Friday brings Welcome Week to an end with Papa John’s pizza and an ice rink in the union courtyard until 9:00 pm.

Luckily, the excitement doesn’t end after lunch. If you can’t get enough of breakfast, Jim Thorpe will have midnight breakfast to satisfy your late night hunger craves and energize you for the snowball fight taking place in the Walker-Adams mall on Tuesday. After a long day of sledding on Wednesday, relax during the movie night with a CAC Film Series sponsored film. Thursday evening comes to a close with night at the Huff; pick your favorite sport!

CAC knows the best way to welcome in 2014 and the Sooner family back from the winter break. Just as the winter break ends, Winter Welcome Week begins!

Anna White

Human Relations ’15

Tulsa, OK

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