“You’re from Nevada?! Wow! So….why’d ya come to OU?”

“Wait, you’ve never been to Braum’s?”

“Wait. Reno? Like, Reno 911?!”

My responses have become automatic, engrained in my brain from hundreds of conversations that have all begun the same way. Automatic, perhaps, but no less true.

“Yeah, I’m from Reno, Nevada. I love the spirit, pride, and community of the university—it’s so unique!”

“No, I’ve never been to Braum’s. Never even heard of it. What should I get?”

“Sorry, Reno is really nothing like Reno 911. We don’t have palm trees. Or cops in short shorts. Usually.”

I applied to fourteen schools before making my decision. Fourteen. That’s a clear death wish, y’all. The University of Oklahoma’s application is the first I started and the last I finished. Because I was not going to Oklahoma. Sure, it had everything I wanted, from the size of the university to the excellent academic reputation and incredible sports programs, but…it’s Oklahoma. I’m from Nevada. Who goes to Oklahoma? No one, that’s who. Except for me, apparently. And Jake Dalton. I think more people know him than they do me, though—being an Olympian has that effect. My friends back home didn’t get it. They pointed to our local university’s spirit, pride, and sense of community—why was I looking for anything else? But it was a feeling I couldn’t explain. A sense of being home, a sense of feeling as if I was in the right place at the right time. I finally just let the football intro video from 2011 do the talking for me.

I pledge allegiance to the Crimson and Cream. If that opening line doesn’t send chills down your spine, nothing will. It’s a promise, a declaration that I will work to fulfill the rest of my life. I will honor this university, and take part in the incredible traditions established over generations of Sooners. I will to be part of a family so much larger than my own, and celebrate my family’s victories and mourn my family’s losses with thousands of others for the rest of my life. I will be that crazy alum, surrounded by friends and family gathered around a television screen, screaming “Boomer Sooner” until I simply can’t gather the strength to give it justice—and even then, I’ll still be hanging out with my right index finger up in the air pointing to victory.

There’s only one. There’s only one university as welcoming and encouraging as this, there’s only one shot at the epitome of a college experience in a lifetime. There’s only one Oklahoma, but thousands of paths that one may take once here. One school, one choice, thousands of opportunities waiting to be seized.

See you next fall.

Kendall Burchard
Reno, Nevada
Class of 2016
Political Science and Psychology

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