I’ve had so much fun hanging out with our Sooner Discovery students; in fact, if I had to pick a favorite part of the whole time here, it’s been just “hanging out.” It doesn’t sound super profound or important at first, but I think the exact opposite is true.
The most important aspect of being at a university is the relationships that you foster and the community you find. Period. If your sole purpose in post-secondary education is just to get an education or a degree, don’t go to a university. It’s too expensive, it takes forever, and you’ll have to take classes that have nothing to do with your specification. Tech schools can be great. But if you want to become a better person, form relationships with peers and mentors, become a part of something bigger than yourself, and foster a passion for learning in your life, then a university is an incredible place to be. Mostly just the University of Oklahoma; because, you know, we are the best.
With that being said, most of my favorite moments from freshman year involve people. Specifically, my five friends who lived on my floor with me. I remember the Star Wars marathon, the hours upon hours spent playing Super Smash Bros, the nights of talking until 1 or 2 in the morning about ourselves and our faith and our dreams, and trying to pray but laughing so hard we had to quit. Those are the things that will stick with me for the rest of life, even more so than the things I learned in a classroom. I enjoy my time in the classroom; I know that it is important and it really does have to be a top priority on a daily and weekly basis. But I also know that it will not be the place where I learn the most important lessons in college.
When I think back to our time here at Sooner Discovery, what I remember are the chess matches, the 2+ hour long games of Settlers of Catan, the scavenger hunt, the birthday party for one of our students, the hours spent playing basketball at the Huff, and all the fun and noise we’ve created in the lounge. I sincerely hope that all of our students do well in their classes and succeed during their senior year. I would so much rather them grow as people, though, and create relationships in college that last a lifetime.
So, no, “hanging out” may not be the most productive thing in the world. It may not be what the parents call to ask about. It can become distracting and lead to irresponsibility. But it’s my favorite part of college, and it has been my favorite part of Sooner Discovery. Sometimes the moments that seem insignificant can be the most impactful. Ultimately, relationships are more important than grades.