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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It was a pleasant surprise that we made it to a BCS Bowl Game this season. After upsetting Oklahoma State we anxiously waited to see what bowl game we would be put in.  Immediately after they announced our placement in the Sugar Bowl, a group of friends and I bought our tickets, booked our hotel, and planned on rooting for the Sooners in New Orleans whether or not we won. It literally was going to be the last opportunity to be able to attend a BCS Bowl game. To be offered a position in a BCS Bowl Game is an honor. Our head football coach, Bob Stoops, has played and won in every BCS bowl. The Sugar Bowl was the only bowl he had not conquered. Therefore, this game was huge for our university and football program.  With the game being played in the Mercedes Superdome in New Orleans, we were sure to have a great time. This game attracted thousands of families and students because of the location. I was sure to make this a trip to remember.

On the car ride down all of us talked and fantasized about how awesome it would be to actually win against the defending national champs. In the back of our minds we even thought about how it would make this trip the best trip we had ever been on if we won. Never thinking it would actually happen, we were very skeptical going into the game and expected the worst. We were about to play a football game going against the one and only Bama, the ruler of the SEC.

We found out pretty quickly how crazy New Orleans can be especially on game day. This was the ultimate tailgating experience. People were throwing crimson beads on every block of Bourbon Street. You could not go into a restaurant without fans chanting “BOOMER” or “ROLL TIDE”! Alabama fans were constantly giving us Sooner fans a hard time by saying we didn’t stand a chance. Unfortunate for them, we were about to show them that we deserved to be in this BCS bowl game just as much as they did. It was an experience that I have never endured anywhere else in my college career.

45-31. Can you believe it? Was it Sooner Magic?  Was it luck?  I’m not sure what it was, but we couldn’t believe that we had actually won. Crimson and cream streamers filled up the superdome as the students screamed Boomer Sooner for countless minutes. We just beat the self-proclaimed “number one” school in the nation!! I felt like I was in a crazy dream!  A group of students started the chant “Bye Bye SEC” and it eventually echoed throughout the entire stadium. As the last few seconds rolled by, every Sooner watched the Bama fans leave the stadium. Only about twenty-five percent of the stadium was left to celebrate, and it was none other than the Sooners! Big Bowl Game Bob had completed his BCS Bowl collection! He was now the ONLY coach to win every BCS bowl game and a national championship!   After the game, a state of euphoria continued when all the Sooner fans took over New Orleans famous Bourbon Street! There was nothing but OU flags, fans, and the famous Boomer Sooner chant playing up and down the street. Every student had lost their voice from screaming so loudly.  I have a feeling I will be on a “SUGAR” high for a long time. This was the best way to go out as a student, but I am so eager for next year.  So is it the 2014 football season yet?  Now let’s go win a National Championship! BOOMER!

Tony Montalvo

Oklahoma City, OK

Energy Mgmt Senior

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My name is May Segovia; I am a junior international Business and Marketing major at the University of Oklahoma. I am very excited to let you all know that I will spend next semester studying abroad in Paris! I had the chance to see some of Paris & lots of France this past summer because I spent a month abroad with OU Price College of Business in Vichy, France (my first study abroad experience). I am lucky to have the support of my family and friends, who are excited to vicariously live through my photos as I am abroad. I am specially thankful and lucky to have obtained this opportunity through the OU Study Abroad department. My study abroad advisor has been so patient and has been able to help me through any (visa, housing, scholarship) issue that has occurred.

Studying abroad is one of the best things I have done so far in my college career, and I would encourage everyone to follow along. First of all, let me just say that OU has many study abroad opportunities. Whether through your specific college or through the study abroad department, they will find a perfect fit for you! Here are just a few things why I would encourage you, as a future Sooner, to plan on studying abroad (whether a whole semester or a summer) while at OU:

1.     Grow:

Study abroad has given me a change to grow in my personal life. I now feel better able to handle situations independently and have learned to not be so reliant on others to help. While abroad, you will be put through many situations you otherwise would not be, the obvious being the language barrier. You have to find creative ways to solve any issue you encounter and every step is a learning experience. After being exposed to a new language, culture, and way of thinking I definitely feel that I have learned not only about myself but also others and am better able to resolve any issues that come up. Overall, I feel more confident in myself and better able to succeed through any problem.

2.     Adapt:

The biggest thing to get used to while abroad is… well EVERYTHING! You are in a new place with new people speaking a new language. It can be a lot for any student, but eventually you adapt and begin to appreciate both your host country and your home country more. This goes hand in hand with personal growth as it allows you to gain a different perspective on life. You will become more aware of international issues, social issues and economic issues that pertain to your host country and/or surrounding countries. Once you adapt to the people and the new culture, you will feel like a global citizen and better understand others.

3.     Experience:

The best thing about studying abroad is the adventure that comes with it. You truly never know, no matter how much you plan, exactly how everything will turn out. It’s all part of the experience. Travel as much as possible, take as many pictures as you can, and be curious about everything. As a fellow student abroad, I would recommended for you to keep an open mind throughout your time abroad and never say no to the opportunities that present themselves because only then can you truly make the best memories!

 

It is difficult to write down all the things I learned or the reasons I would recommend everyone to study abroad if they get the chance, mainly because there are so many! It is a life changing experience to have and as a Sooner (future or current). I encourage you to at least look into it and you will see for yourself the many reasons you should study abroad. If that doesn’t convince you then I encourage you to read this article from the Huffington Post on employer’s perspective of study abroad:

May Segovia

International Business and Marketing

OU Class of 2015

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As a graduating high school senior, I remember thinking that I wanted to pursue a degree in vocal performance. Having done musical theater, school choir competitions, and honor choirs, I was nearly sure that this talent could only be used if I pursued it academically and professionally.

However, after a serious heart-to-heart with both my vocal coach and my parents, I quickly decided that music wasn’t the profession for me. And yet, I couldn’t help but be heartbroken at the notion that I might not ever sing in a rehearsed group again. A short internet research session, however, quickly revealed that I could, as a non-music major, still take part in the choirs and ensembles alongside the music majors.  I learned that a brief audition process is conducted at the beginning of every Fall semester and students are placed in the ensemble that best suits their voice type.

I tried out that Fall and was welcomed into the world of OU Choirs. After opening these doors, I have taken part in many different kinds of ensembles—from performing in the opera chorus, to taking private lessons, to singing alongside the Sooner elite in University Chorale. And the number one lesson I learned by becoming involved in OU Choirs:

Always ask professors about involvement opportunities!!!

You may not think that you are qualified for a certain opportunity because “you’re not a major”, or “there’s no room for you”. But I will tell you, professors and directors of all departments are usually willing to work with eager students that show passion for a particular subject.

So many students think that because they will not be studying their hobbies as a major in college, then they must give up those hobbies in favor of their areas of study. This is just simply NOT TRUE. If your passion is to dance, but you want to be a chemical engineer, take a dance class in between your physics classes. If you love photography, join the photography club and enter your photos in competitions on campus.

As for me? I am a double major in International Area Studies and Letters that wants to go to law school that also sings in OU Choirs. And while I know that I will never sing professionally, I am so grateful that the University of Oklahoma is a place where I can pursue all of my passions.

Boomer Sooner!

Kellie Reidlinger

International Studies & Letters

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There is so much that can happen in four years; so much that can change. Four years ago, I was a senior at Dale High School, a 2A public school just off of I-40 East towards Shawnee. We were just wrapping up fall baseball playoffs (we didn’t have a football team) and gearing up for the best season of the year, basketball season.

I absolutely loved high school. I loved knowing everyone I went to school with and their families. I loved the community and the support. I loved that my teachers had a relationship with me outside of the classroom. I didn’t love that my dad’s office was next door to my first hour class so he always knew when I was running late; but, other than that, high school was awesome.

College, on the other hand, terrified me.

The dream was to attend the University of Oklahoma. I had gone to games since I was a little girl and I had been told that if I worked hard in school, I just might be able to earn a scholarship and attend. When the dream started to become a reality around this time four years ago, I couldn’t have been more excited. Or terrified.

I was used to walking by first graders every day in their adjoining building. I babysat for most of my teachers. The principal was my best friend’s dad.  I didn’t know anyone that attended OU. I heard horror stories of lecture classes larger than my town. How would I get the help I needed? How would I get involved in campus activities? How would I make friends? Would I make friends?  Saying goodbye to everything I had known would, quite possibly, is the hardest thing I had done.

Fast forward four years and you’ll find me sitting at my computer, sipping on my favorite kind of coffee, and writing this blog because last weekend I was crowned the 2013-2014 Homecoming Queen.

I’m not sure how to sum up this experience in words, except to say that my fears of being lost in a big sea of 27,000+ people have been replaced with a deep gratitude, appreciation, and love for the sooner family and this campus.

Over the past four years, OU has become my home. It is a place where I belong, where I have been invested in, and where I have been able to pour out. I have grown as a person, as a student, and as a friend. I could not be more humbled by this incredibly undeserving honor. The number of times I have cried over the past few days is getting a little absurd.

I am overwhelmed with joy at the thought of the support and encouragement I have experienced, not as Homecoming Queen, but simply as a Sooner over the past four years. And now, as a senior at the University of Oklahoma, I can’t imagine anything harder than saying goodbye to this season of life and all of the friends and mentors that define it.

But then I’m reminded by my childhood friend Winnie the Pooh, “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

Live on University.

Brette Throckmorton

Economics, Pre-Law Senior

Dale, OK

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“I’m seventeen and I’m crazy. My uncle says the two always go together. When people ask your age, he said, always say seventeen and insane.” –Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

I used to be seventeen and crazy. When I read Bradbury’s famous text my sophomore year of high school, I eagerly anticipated the day when I could call myself “seventeen and crazy,” without much thought as to what seventeen would bring. But with each passing year, I pay more attention to the expectation that accompanies my age. Eighteen meant I was an adult, able to buy spray paint and cigarettes (or not) all on my own. Nineteen made me a “baby” again, and forced me back into the uncomfortable role of a dazed and confused freshman. Now, a week into twenty, I feel as if I am expected to be a real person, to actually know something about the world.

But in actuality, I proudly prove that the struggle is real and live my life as a flipping hot mess.

When I entered high school, I was shocked by the appearance of peach fuzz on the lips of the upperclassmen passing me in the halls, confused by the lanyards casually clutching car keys in their metal clasps. Slowly, I became one of those cool upperclassmen with a car (not with the peach fuzz), and I transformed into one of the kids I had so admired at fourteen.

Now, my friends order drinks from the bar when we go out to dinner, and rarely do Shirley Temples make their way back to our table. Some are engaged. Some kids from back home post pictures of their children on Facebook.

And then there’s me.

Disney movies clutter my shelves, my cure for any bad day. Starburst wrappers have waged a hostile takeover of my desk, threatening to cover my numerous to-do lists and sticky note reminders. Big people stuff? Big people stuff is scary. People around me are making serious life decisions. Since when did I get old enough to make serious life decisions without parental consent?!

I paid taxes for the first time this summer. That was enough of the real world for me.

Gone are the days of being seventeen and crazy. Now, I enter the age of exciting uncertainty and few satisfying answers. The Red Hot Chili Peppers know my life: “The more I see, the less I know, the more I like to let it go. Heyyyyyyyyy oh. Whoa, oh whoa, oh whoa.” The “whoa”s clearly capture my perpetual confusion.

But out of this confusion are eleven lessons that I’ve learned despite the insanity. They cannot be taught. They cannot be found within the confines of a classroom. But here they are, born of nights denying our impending status as “real people.”

1) If you’re sleeping, you’re missing something.

2) School shouldn’t be your only focus. People should. Experiences should. Seek them out.

3) Never pass up a 3 a.m. pizza run.

4) If you are letting a friend make a fool of themselves alone, you are wrong. Get on their level.

5) Freaking out is OK. Letting the freak out define your mood for the rest of the day is not. There is beauty in everything. Freak out, hate your life, scream to the heavens, and then move on.

6) Don’t be “that kid.” Nobody likes “that kid.”

7) Sometimes, stress will force you to talk in some strange accent that resembles no other dialect in the world. Just go with it.

 8) It’s ok not to know what you’re doing with your life, or to not know what’s happening at any given time. No one else does either.

9) Don’t underestimate your abilities. You can do great things, and you can do them now. Go for it.

10) Things change. People come in and out of your life, tests come and go, heck, you change, day in, day out. Love what you have while you have it, and learn what you can from the experience.

11) The strangers you first meet will become your friends, mentors, and supporters. Love quickly, love easily, and trust in them fully. There’s no time to wait.

12) Strive to make people smile.

13) Believe that you can, and you will.

There you have it: The nonsensical musings of a 20-something striving for success and struggling along the way.

Struggle well, Sooners, and make that struggle all your own.

Kendall Burchard

Journalism

Sophomore

Reno, NV

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