Jawanza_CampCrimson14One of the best things about the OU experience is getting to attend our premier orientation camp, Camp Crimson. This provides incoming freshmen with a sneak peek of The University of Oklahoma’s traditions while at the same time letting students get a preview of the “Sooner Family.” Camp Crimson is offered in five sessions during the summer, and each session offers the same amount of memories and fun. The experience as a camper is obviously very special, but it is even more memorable to go through camp as a Small Group Leader.

Being a Small Group Leader means that you are in charge of a group of freshman students and get to introduce them to campus through traditions and chants that the majority of campus is familiar with. The best part of being an SGL is seeing the students come out of their shells and get excited to be on campus in the fall. I served as a Small Group Leader this past summer and it was one of my favorite experiences as an OU student. This summer I will be returning as a Small Group Leader and I could not be more excited to lead another group of freshmen through the traditions and customs here at OU.

One of the greatest things about Camp Crimson is the atmosphere. Everyone there is so excited about OU, even the current students. When you leave camp, you’re filled with a sense of pride and joy to get the following semester started and reconnect with all the camp friends!

If you haven’t signed up for Camp Crimson yet, it’s not too late! Sign up here and maybe I’ll see you this summer: ou.edu/campcrimson

Tyler Block

Junior Human Relations

Shawnee, OK

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I am nearly two years into my OU experience, but it feels like just yesterday I was attending Camp Crimson and finalizing my schedule. Just thinking about that gives me chills. Like most students, I have come a long way. Entering college, I was always the kid who thought high school was boring. I must say, I had terrific teachers and faculty, but I just felt so contained. At the collegiate level, and especially at OU, I really found my niche. After bouncing around a few different majors, I stumbled upon the College of International Studies.

While CIS is growing, it is still a lesser-known college at OU. However, with brand new facilities and a broad range of faculty knowledge and expertise, it is becoming an enticing program. There are many different options to explore within the College of International Studies, but the one that stood out to me most was International Area Studies, which is now one of my majors and a primary reason why I enjoy the university. IAS encompasses a variety of fields of study all in one. Although my area of focus has been the Middle East, IAS provides the opportunity to study political relations, language, and culture all around the world, from Brazil to Sub-Saharan Africa to China. In addition, during the next few years IAS expects to add more world-class professors and faculty as they carry out their commitment to advancing our university’s diverse and enriching environment.

One main draw to the IAS major is the vast list of study abroad options. While I have not traveled yet, I plan to attend a summer session in Istanbul, Turkey. However, many of my peers have been to Arezzo, Barcelona, and other places full of cultural appeal.

Foreign language is another essential aspect to the college. While it is known that many languages are available for fields of study, what is not widely known is that the Modern Language Department and the International Area Studies Department have been working together to develop opportunities for students to learn Arabic and its different dialects, Persian (or Farsi), and other Middle Eastern-based languages. Since the Middle East is such a prominent area in global politics, it is exciting to see OU making strides where other universities have not.

The University of Oklahoma has always strived to keep improving. Already nationally renowned, the College of International Studies is a direct representative of the OU experience. Everyone who is involved in the college is very proud of the achievements thus far, but it won’t stop there. While always thinking of the student experience first, I have the utmost confidence in our faculty, and I am thrilled to say that because of the College of International Studies I have especially enjoyed my OU experience. I can only guess what the future will bring!

Jess VanLandingham


International Area Studies and Political Science

Tulsa, OK

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Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetApril has finally arrived, and I have fewer than 40 days left in Italy…what?! I swear, I feel like it’s January and I’m packing my bags for four months abroad. I’m blessed beyond belief with how this semester has gone. So far, I have been to Venice, Padua, Nice, Marseille, Barcelona, Monaco, Florence, Rome, Pisa, Athens, Santorini, and now I’m on a train to London for the weekend! I’m amazed at how everything has worked out with my time abroad, and can’t wait to see what this last full month will hold for me.

Knowing that my time in Arezzo is dwindling down quickly, I am consciously taking moments to reflect on my time here. Have I grown in ways that I wanted to? What lessons can I take back home to Norman with me? I am still blown away that I took the leap of faith to come abroad because there were numerous obstacles in my path. Not many people have the opportunity to leave for a semester, so I will always be grateful for this time away. Throughout this entire journey, the one thing I have learned is my resilience towards anything that comes my way. The power of having dreams and goals is nothing if we don’t strive for them. Our dreams are important to us, and we must always do what we can to make them a reality.

Life in Italy has been full of great opportunities for me, but there have also been some downfalls. I am incredible tough on myself, and always strive to meet perfection. Whether that is with school, planning my travels, or anything else having to do with life abroad. Learning how to be flexible has been my own personal obstacle to overcome but I am a better person because of it. When people mention that you’ll learn a lot about yourself when you are abroad, they are definitely not kidding! I feel as if I’ve only scratched the surface of all the many more lessons to come.

If you, or anyone you know, ever has doubts about studying abroad……GO. Even if you think that it will be an impossible feat, or you don’t think that you have the courage to do so….STILL GO. The mentors and adults in my life always tell me that their number one regret is not studying abroad when they had the opportunity to do so. Who can say (with a straight face) that they regret spending their time abroad?! ABSOLUTELY NO ONE. There are definitely aspects I would have done differently, but this experience is something I would never want to change. Plus all of the traveling and amazing food I have gotten to eat doesn’t hurt nearly as bad. There are people around you who can be a wealth of knowledge, and can lend some support. And if you are reading this, I too, can also help in any way that I can!

Sigh, now it’s off to a few more adventures before I cross the finish line (a.k.a coming back to Oklahoma). I promise I won’t post TOO many pictures, so that no one gets overly jealous.

Ciao bella!

Blessing Ikpa

The University of Oklahoma ‘16

Criminology & Human Relations

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Freshman year seems like it happened a lifetime ago, and with all of the experiences that I’ve packed into these past three and a half years, it very well could be. However, one experience that stands out from that year is the Pink and Black Ball. The Pink and Black Ball is organized every year by the Women’s Outreach Center and raises money for breast health awareness programming at the university. The dress code is semi-formal and everyone is encouraged to wear pink, black, or a combination of the two!

Right before the night of the ball, I realized that I didn’t own any dress suitable for the occasion. That gave me the perfect excuse to shop! I went with my roommate and our best guy friend, who we decided to share as our date. That year, the ball was held at the Natural History Museum, which is just south of campus. The main area in the museum was outfitted with a dance floor and pink and black décor. Everyone was just starting to get on the dance floor, and we didn’t hesitate to join in on the fun.

We spent the night dancing, eating way too much delicious food, and taking pictures. I remember dancing in heels for about four hours, which of course I regretted the minute I walked out of the museum. Despite the foot pain, I giddily ran around my friends and couldn’t stop talking about how much fun the night had been. The Pink and Black Ball should be on everyone’s list of events to attend.

Tatyana Gubareva

Art History and Psychology

Yukon, OK

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10923227_648305935298198_149904853308503585_nI have officially been in Italy for a month and a half, and I couldn’t be enjoying my time abroad more! My weeks have been filled with classes, traveling on the weekend, teaching English to some Italian friends, and getting used to life here in Arezzo Italy. My good friend and roommate, Adriana, always talk about how a year ago, I would have never imagined myself studying abroad for a whole semester. I kept going back and forth between actually taking the step to move away for four months. Now that I’m here, I couldn’t imagine not coming! I know I would have been filled with remorse and regret. It has been a whirlwind of experiences, memories, and lots of lessons being learned.

The list of places I have traveled to so far has been endless (Venice, Florence, Rome, Barcelona, Padua, & more!). In a few weeks, I’ll be attending Spring Break in Santorini, Greece, and then flying to the south of France…WHAT?! Life is so cool, and I am thankful for the opportunities I have been given to live out my dream of traveling! Sometimes, my semester abroad feels like a complete vacation (but don’t tell that to my mom). Even though I have been traveling around the world, I have made sure to keep my classes a priority.

At OU Arezzo, I am taking Art History, Migration to Italy, and an Italian Cultural Literacy class. I have thoroughly enjoyed traveling to many different places for Art History (next week, we get to see the statue of David created by Michelangelo…I may pass out). In our Migration to Italy class, we learn about Italians who have migrated to different countries, and people who are migrating to Italy as well. Our Italian Cultural Literacy class focuses on learning the Italian language and the history of Italy, specifically in Arezzo. My classes have kept me incredibly engaged, and I love being able to learn from some of the greatest professors OU has to offer. The learning environment at OUA truly adds to the experience of studying abroad.

The friends I have made here in Italy are some of the coolest people I have ever met! Being able to travel the world together, or study for midterms at our favorite brunch voucher place (Bar Stefano, yum) has kept the homesickness at bay. We have created timeless memories together, and we still have two months to go! I cannot wait to see what the rest of this semester brings. My next update will be after my lovely week spent on the islands of Greece!

Ciao bella!

Blessing Ikpa

The University of Oklahoma ‘16

Criminology & Human Relations

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Reflecting on my time spent here at OU, I have started to think about where I was really able to enjoy myself on campus. No other areas come to mind more than the Student Life office. Student Life is a place where friendships are made, lasting relationships are formed, and leaders are born.

When I first started at OU I was a bit reserved. Having previously had my friends from high school, I found no need to go out and meet new people. Then I joined Campus Activities Council Crew, advised through the Student Life office, and this allowed me to meet one of my first advisors in this location. This relationship became one of the best advisor/mentor relationships that I have had at the university to this day. Soon after, I proceeded to get more acquainted with the staff of Student Life. This process was facilitated by the spot which I think is the best part of Student Life, at their big table that has become a hub for meeting new people and making new friendships with staff, students, and leaders across campus. For me, this table is where I have come to meet some of the most influential people in my college life, and where I have had some of the deepest conversations with complete strangers. This table and more importantly, this office are a place that is welcoming and wonderful for growing as a college student. Sitting in this office is like being a part of a big family. There are always tons of laughs shared and memories recounted.

As if this office wasn’t good enough, the existing advisors are top notch at helping all students at becoming successful leaders. I have been more pushed and challenged to do my best as leader, as I have been in this office. Following the example set by our President David Boren, all of the advisors here have an open door policy allowing students to come to them whenever they are in need. They are always within earshot, with a helping hand and an abundance of guidance. It also helps that most of the staff are OU graduates and have shared many of the same experiences we are facing now, so more than often they know what works and what doesn’t when fulfilling our leadership roles.

This office is filled with some of the most supporting and caring staff that our university has to offer. They have created a Sooner experience for me that will be unforgettable and still continues to make my time here even more enjoyable!

Isaac Hill


Chemical Engineering w/ Biomedical Option (Pre-med)

Midwest City, OK

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After making the decision to go to OU, I still wasn’t totally satisfied. I couldn’t help but think that I might have picked the wrong school. When I went in for my first advising appointment, I felt very uneasy. Later on that day, I went to the Student Union where I received my student ID card. I thought, “Wow, I’m finally an official student.” As I walked out of the Union to head home, I glanced at a picture of George McLaurin, the first African-American student at OU. Suddenly, a quote from Maya Angelou popped in my head saying,

“Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave.” 

Then it hit me. While I was still fighting with myself over school choices, I reflected on the African-Americans before me and realized the great privilege I had in my ability to choose a school of my choice. I do not believe Mr. McLaurin fought for his own personal right to attend this great university, but for every student that came after him, in hopes that they would not be denied admission based on race and skin color. No one in my family has ever attended OU and I had the opportunity to achieve what was once unachievable. When I hear the names and stories of people like George McLaurin, Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher (first black student admitted to OU Law), Prentice Gautt (first black football player at OU), etc., and have the opportunity to sit and speak personally with Dr. George Henderson (beloved OU professor, first black homeowner in Norman and founder of OU Human Relations Department), I feel overwhelmingly fortunate that such individuals fought for me, even though they never knew me. What really hit home for me was when I found out my lifelong dentist and personal mentor, Dr. Dunn Cumby, was the first African American to graduate from the OU College of Dentistry. Now that I am here, I realize that I have a legacy to continue and a responsibility to fulfill. OU is the place I want to be and the place where I belong. I must progressively challenge my peers and myself each day.

From my Camp Crimson experience to this very second, I have been so incredibly blessed and have enjoyed each second. The late nights studying, 3 am trips to Whataburger, the numerous people I have befriended, the course work, the professors and faculty who I have connected with and class discussions have all been so rewarding to me and I feel so fortunate in this moment to be a Sooner. Last time I heard Dr. Henderson speak, he mentioned the unofficial motto of OU, ‘Live On, University’ and stated, “It’s not about the university living on, but how it lives and what it will live for.” That is our challenge today as Sooners; We are responsible to ensure OU lives on and lives for better.

J.D. Baker


Public Relations Major

Public Affairs and Administration Major

Edmond, OK

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Every freshman gets the opportunity to go to an involvement fair, consisting of nearly every organization with those members begging you to come to their table and hear more about what they do. Now, personally, I signed up for probably 50 things, got about 1000 emails, and I went from wanting to get involved to a potential over-commitment problem. While you have all these people reaching out to you, you still have that intimidation factor going on. What if I do something stupid? What if I’m not qualified enough? Coming from a student who wasn’t very involved in high school, I didn’t really know if I would have the appropriate experience to take part in some things. Getting involved on a college campus as a freshman can be one of the most intimidating experiences. You have all these upperclassmen whom all know each other and probably have been apart of different groups for years, and you’re a little freshman who happen to go to this meeting, and you’re nervous.

My first official attempt at getting involved was going to hang out with the women’s rugby team, which was an experience that was unforgettable. Now, when you sign up for different organizations, you don’t really know what to expect, or even if you’re going to be a significant member. I’ll be honest, I was not cut out for that particular organization, but it gave me a boost of confidence, because there I was a freshman who walked from the dorms to the soccer fields by Lloyd Noble (and got lost) and these girls welcomed me in, as if they had known me forever. After the sad realization that rugby was not my thing, I went to a Campus Activities Council Crew meeting with some friends, and let’s just say you feel a lot better when you realize that there are hundreds of freshman that are just as eager and lost as you are. I’m at this huge meeting, learning about CAC and other cool things on campus and I liked it. One could say I started to find my place a little.

One day, while exploring different websites of organizations on campus, I found an application for CAC Howdy Week Vice Chairs. At this point in my early college days I was applying for nearly everything I came across. Yes, I was that kid. I applied for so many things that I forgot that I had applied for that particular position. A few weeks later I received an email from the chair in which he told me that I had gotten the position of Secretary on the Vice Chair staff. As a freshman I was still rather confused as to what I had gotten. I remember going to Vice Chair Development Day for CAC, and finally figuring out what I had been selected to do. After a few weeks, and meeting different people, I started to realize that getting involved wasn’t as scary as I thought it was. Because of that opportunity I was more motivated to sign up for other clubs that interested me and I’ve met a lot of people who I love to be around.

All in all, getting involved is a baby steps kind of process, unless you’re a kid like me, that dives in head first and decide to literally sign up for everything. It takes one brave attempt to fill out that application to gain the confidence needed to let yourself know that you can do it. It doesn’t matter how involved you were in high school, how many people you know, or how outgoing you are; all that matters is that you take that chance, even if you might be the only freshman at that meeting.

Kennedie Akinwande

Psych/Human Relations Sophomore

Dallas, Texas

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Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetWell, my first three weeks in Italy have been…astounding! I never thought that I would have the guts to leave my home for 4 months to make a new home in Arezzo, Italy. Having to step out of my comfort zone is something that takes a lot of energy out of me. But here I am, and I have loved every single second of my new adventure. These last three weeks have been a whirlwind of new faces, too much gelato (but can there REALLY be a thing like too much gelato?!), train rides to new places, and learning something new about myself in the process.

I didn’t think I had what it took to be able to study abroad, and leave my comfort of home. I am born and raised in Norman, Oklahoma. I grew up with the same group of friends for 10+ years of my life, so I never needed to make new friends until I came to college. If I was ever in trouble, I had the comfort of being able to drive 15 minutes to my mom’s house. I was completely familiar with the four corners of Norman, but I was itching to find a new adventure. Being at OU for my first two years have been some of the best times of my life to date. Why would I want to leave everything for a whole semester, to be totally out of my comfort zone? That didn’t exactly sound like a great time to me. Before I knew it, I was purchasing my ticket to Rome for the spring semester of my junior year. I was actually going to study abroad.

I don’t have that much experience under my belt just yet, but I urge anyone reading this (and who is considering study abroad) to look into the different programs and start talking to people! Whenever the idea to study abroad in Arezzo popped into my head, I talked to every single person I knew who went. Advisors, friends, OU in Arezzo ambassadors, mentors, my mom, EVERYONE. You can never start early about planning to study abroad (I started a full year and a half….I was a bit eager). People are always willing to answer your questions, and if you feel nervous, still talk to someone! I know for a fact that if I had let my fear stop me from coming to Arezzo, I would have regretted it. The lessons and experiences I have had in just three weeks blows me away. To think that I still have months ahead of me to experience all that Italy has to offer me makes me excited. Stay tuned!

Blessing Ikpa

The University of Oklahoma ‘16

Criminology & Human Relations 

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When I first came to the University of Oklahoma, I honestly did not know what I wanted to major in. I really enjoyed science in high school so I felt like biology was the way to go. I came to the University of Oklahoma as a Biology/Pre-Dental major. Although I liked a couple of my classes, I remember I had a sudden realization while taking my final lab practical in Introduction to Biology. I realized that I actually hate animals and IDK WHY AM I DOING THIS. So what was a young Bunty going to major in? I’ve thought about Political Science, Engineering (HA!), and Meteorology. Heck, I even considered Drama as a major. I went to the Majors and Minors exploration office within Wagner Hall to take some tests and meet with a counselor to talk about what I wanted to do. Every single aptitude test that I took told me that my destiny was to become a business major. It made me think a little bit. I remembered taking accounting in high school and looking back I sort of enjoyed it. I looked up information about the Price College of Business and felt like “Hey! I could actually do this business thing!” So I made the switch my Sophomore year.

I love being a Price student. There are so many opportunities for success while you’re in the business college. Price students as a whole come into the business college with the mindset of getting an internship, building yourself professionally and networking. Need help revising your resume or need work on your 30-second elevator speech? Visit Robert Harper and Dena Newhouse in the Professional Development office. Robert Harper was the one I ran to when I needed help on my resume my sophomore year and he took my average resume into a real winner at career fairs. Did I mention that we have career fairs once a semester? Companies throughout the United States will come here to OU and recruit students and even have their interviews on campus so you don’t have to travel. IBC (Integrated Business Core) is a program where students will essentially start a business every semester from scratch, design, make and market a product for the general public to purchase. All the proceeds from IBC go towards the company’s charity. Since its inception, IBC has raised over $1 million in charity! Study Abroad, the Business Communication Center, JC Penny Leadership program, the list goes on and on about how great Price is.

After bouncing around majors in Price, I am now an Energy Management/Supply Chain major and I feel that I have found my right fit. The Energy Management program is the first of its kind in the nation and since it is the first, it is obviously the best of its kind in the nation as well. Although it is a business degree, it is a very unique one. It blends teachings from College of Business, Mewbourne College of Earth & Energy, College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences and the College of Law. Supply Chain Management, which is a major  focusing on logistics of business operations, is a top #20 program in the nation and its value here at OU has been steadily rising every year with the help of Ronald Davidson, the head of the Supply Chain department.

If you’re still thinking about what you want to major in, don’t worry. You have a lot of time in college to truly find out what you want to do. If you don’t like what you’re doing right now, don’t do it, you don’t want to be doing it for the rest of your life. College is a time to learn and build yourself. Price was the right fit for me, with all its programs, faculty and staff, and great job placement. If business has ever crossed your mind, take a chance. Who knows? You may be a CEO one day.

Bunty Patel

Energy Mgmt/Supply Chain, Senior

Wilburton, OK

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