More often than not, people talk about the difficulty of being in architecture school; so what is the value of it? After 5 years at the University of Oklahoma’s College of Architecture, I’ve realized that there is a lot more to architecture school than just staying up late, drawing pretty pictures, and doing construction details.

The architecture program trains students to think critically when it comes to designing a building. A project often has a big concept that questions the students about how architecture or design can affect a community, the environment, a viewer’s experience, etc. The first few years, students will focus more on the overall picture of the concept which will become more technical and practical as the curriculum reaches the final year. The tools that students use can range anywhere from hand drawing, model-making, to architecture and design programs.

As architecture students, we often find ourselves spending the most time in our main classroom which we refer to as “Studio”. We work, play, sleep, eat here. We spend so much time here that there are occasions when our families and friends question whether we are still alive. Other students on campus will be a little surprised if they see us anywhere other than in the architecture building. Yet, Studio is still my favorite class. With so much time spent there with my classmates, we create good memories and a lasting bond that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

To say that we spend lots of time in Studio makes it seem as though we are locked up in one building but the truth is that architecture students will often go on field trips, whether it is a 5-day trip to Chicago or a 4-month study abroad program in Rome. There are also social events such as the progressive dinner, Beaux Arts, the bond fire as well as extracurricular activities such as design workshops and competitions.

Overall, design skills, public speaking skills, computer proficiency, field trips, cocktail parties are only a few things that one can get out of architecture school.

Minh Tran
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

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I came to the University of Oklahoma for the Meteorology program but I found out that there was so much more to offer at this amazing school than an awesome degree program. Starting at my very first campus tour, the University of Oklahoma was more than I imagined it could be. I felt like I belonged from the start and I knew there was something special about this university.

Throughout my experience at the University of Oklahoma, I have gained more than an education. I have gained lifelong friendships, leadership skills, professional experience and a sense of belonging. There were challenges along the way but there was never a problem that someone was not eager to help me solve. The Sooner family cares about your success and strives to provide the resources to help you achieve your goals.

Being a part of the Sooner family is much more than simply attending the University of Oklahoma. Being a part of the Sooner family is getting goose bumps every time you hear the OU chant, walking down the south oval, meeting people from all over the world, and feeling like you are a part of something that truly matters.  This university has played an integral part in who I am and has influenced who I strive to be in the future. I encourage everyone to take the plunge and join the Sooner family because your life will be forever changed!

Riely Pickos
Zion, Illinois

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Summer in Norman is definitely unlike any other, especially for us OU Students. A lot of people stick around Norman for work or summer classes, so the town is still inhabited by all of your friends, coworkers, and classmates. To make sure that you won’t be bored when you’re not in class or at work, Summer Session at OU makes sure to have numerous events throughout the summer for students and faculty to enjoy when they have some down time.

These events include movie nights at The Warren Theater in Moore, a shrimp boil event, and free sno-cone days on campus! Aside from the OU community and Summer Session, the city of Norman offers countless things to do during the summer. Downtown Norman has a variety of activities from wine tastings to outdoor concerts. The overall feel of Norman during the summer is very relaxed and different than during the school year, and this is indeed a good different.

No matter how you spend your summer in Norman, you won’t be disappointed. There are endless opportunities available in Norman, and if you have some friends along with you, the fun times will never end. Find a patio, grab your friends, sit back, and enjoy one of the best towns during the summer!

Tyler Block

Senior, Human Relations

Shawnee, OK.

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Saturday, May 9 was my last day as a student at the University of Oklahoma. Friday’s commencement ceremony was canceled for the first time in about 50 years, so each student  made a point to brave the insane rain and show up Saturday to celebrate their graduation.  As I waited with hundreds of other graduates of the Michael F. Price College of Business in the Lloyd Noble Center for our chance to finally walk across the stage and shake Dean Pullin’s hand, I had the chance to reflect on my time here at OU. The Dean listed off the many awards and honors that Price College had received this year, and this made me realize how lucky I am to be graduating a Sooner.  Everybody in the room applauded as each award was announced, proud to be associated with this group of individuals.  Proud to be part of the Sooner Family from this point on.

As I went through my classes at OU, I never really took the time to appreciate what my degree would look like to others.  Each honor that Dean Pullin listed off is a reflection of how future employers and co-workers will see my diploma; as evidence that I graduated from one of the best universities around.  OU’s business school consistently ranks among the top programs in the nation including entrepreneurship, accounting, international business, supply chain management, and many more.  Price College and the University of Oklahoma helped me to have a full-time job over a year and a half before I even was supposed to graduate.  They gave me the tools I need to succeed in the real world.

However, OU and Price College gave me so much more than a diploma.  I made some of my best friends here that I know I will keep in touch with for life. I had the time of my life at OU football games, which I plan on going to for as long as I can.  Above all else, I found a home in Norman, Oklahoma. Now that I’m an alumna of the University of Oklahoma, I am more proud than ever to be called a Sooner.

Emily G. Elliston

University of Oklahoma

Accounting | International Business 2015

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As the spring semester winds down, most of us are overwhelmingly aware that summer break is right around the corner. A quick bout of tests and finals will lead to three months of pure bliss, void of painfully early morning schedules or late nights studying. Summer is a time that I feel everyone can unanimously agree, is a time to relax and experience life a little more slowly. Everyone works hard during the school year and a little break never hurt anyone. Right?

That being said, its important to realize that even though we’re not in the academic mindset during the summer, we have an obligation to ourselves, to maintain a certain level of productivity in our lives. Using Netflix as a metaphor for a disciplined summer schedule, sitting down and watching a couple of episodes is a great way to relax and unwind, but it’s important not to let your couch become a black hole that sucks you into binge watching entire seasons at a time.

If you think about it, we have these four years in college to prepare ourselves for our grand debut in the real world. That reality might not seem so apparent as a freshman in college, but it is an important truth to realize. Becoming stagnant during the summer is not an effective way to promote the work ethic or life skills that will be vital to success in the near future. Every opportunity to better one’s self should be seized, and there’s no better way to do that than by taking summer classes.

I know it seems contradictory to put those two words next to each other, but at this pivotal time in our life, getting a head of the curve is a no brainer. Sure, taking classes during the most enjoyable break of the year might seem like a drag, but in retrospect, spending a couple hours a day on a class isn’t too tough, especially when your whole day is wide open. The University of Oklahoma offers a wide variety of summer courses, for students to take both online and on the Norman campus. In addition, there are classes that span different lengths of the summer months, in order to accommodate those with other summer plans. With this wide scope of flexibility, OU makes it easy for students to take advantage of what it has to offer.

As with all classes, the summer courses offered at OU is as challenging as they would be during the semester, but students have the advantage of a much easier and smaller workload given that they do not have a full schedule on their hands. Whether it be general education courses or that organic chemistry class that seemed a little intimidating to take during the busy semester, summer classes always leave you with a sense of satisfaction at the end of the summer when you realize that you’re that much closer to your goals. Having taken summer classes before, I can personally say that they are one of the best ways to get a solid grip on your academic life in college. Sacrificing a small chunk of your day during the summer is definitely worth it when you’re able to enjoy a comfortable schedule during the school year and is why I will always recommend taking summer courses.

Adam Siddique

Tulsa, OK

Biology Junior

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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:

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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