Growing up in the Balkans at the time and place where I did shaped me in a different way that outsiders sometimes struggle to understand. I was always very attached to my family, my friends, my identity and the things that are valued in my culture. In general, I always loved being home and when I took the decision to come to OU, I had was nervous. I knew I was going to struggle being away from home. When I arrived, I had to get used to different types of food, people, culture and most importantly, being far from my family and friends.

At first I thought that everyone would notice my accent and would treat me differently because of it. I struggled with the idea of being called out in class or making mistakes when speaking. I was afraid of having people think that I do not belong here. Even before coming to OU, I decided to live on the international floor in the residence halls my Freshman year and I am glad I did. I was able to meet people from around the world who were on the same boat as I was, and made the transition to getting used to a place like this one a lot easier. Most importantly, I felt welcomed in Norman. The hospitality of people in Oklahoma is far beyond what I could have imagined. People are always willing to offer a warm smile when walking past them on the street. They are there for you if you need help and are always polite. I was also very glad to find out that they were interested in my culture rather than alienating me because of it.

As time passed, the more and more I fell in love with the University. I love OU for all different opportunities that are offered, whether it is different classes, clubs or even go study abroad opportunities.  Additionally, the professors are very helpful and attentive if you are struggling in their class. The concept of professors having office hours is one of the things I appreciate the most about the course culture here. The staff is polite and genuinely wanting to help you be successful.

I could have never imagined to feel at home other than where I grew up, but OU proved me wrong. One of the biggest OU traditions is attending a football game. Everyone is united and focused when watching it, where we all feel like a part of one big Sooner family. This is one the special experiences with a special meaning, and it would be difficult to find it somewhere else. I am thankful for all of the experiences and opportunities I encountered here, so I just want to say thank you to everyone for being part of my life & OU journey.


Magdalena Gea Vidovic

Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina


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As soon as the countdown clock reached August 1, Midwest City High School valedictorian Adrienne Peak took the first step toward her future.

Peak, an Oklahoma State Regents Scholar, submitted her application to the University of Oklahoma in early August. The following month she received her official admission packet in the mail.  The envelope, a colorful print of Memorial Union clock tower against an Oklahoma evening sky, represented the culmination of hard work, dedication and family support.

A month after receiving her acceptance letter, the Peak household received a knock on the door. Much to Peak’s surprise, OU had one more delivery for her: a gift that was years in the making.

Planting the Seed

Joining the Sooner Family is a truly unique experience for every OU student. Peak, thanks to her father, grew up on tales of his college years in Norman. His experience and stories spoke vividly to her.

“It’s been my dream school since I was six,” she said. “My Dad always talked about how much fun he had and such great times, and I decided that sounded great to me.”

Robert Peak already was proud of his daughter, but her decision to attend his alma mater brings him a great deal of joy and pride.

“I must admit, as an alumnus and former Leadership Scholar, I have had a tremendous amount of influence promoting my alma mater,” Peak’s father said. “I am extremely proud of my daughter carrying on the tradition of attending of the University of Oklahoma. Adrienne has obtained an outstanding scholastic record all on her own.”

Sowing the Field

The goal of being accepted into to her “dream school” stayed with Peak throughout junior high and into high school. She became the leader and captain of her school’s Academic Team, served as parliamentarian of the National Honor Society, and even led the trumpet section in the Midwest City High School band.

Despite a busy schedule, Peak also volunteered for the local chapter of Rotary International and spent two years as a volunteer at Science Museum of Oklahoma. It was there that Peak grew fond of science and math, which sparked her desire to major in engineering.

“Everything is good in engineering, so I just want to see where it takes me,” Peak said. “OU has one of the best engineering programs in the country. It’s insane how good it is, and it’s really close to home.”

Reaping the Harvest

Eager to join the next fleet of women in engineering at OU, Peak stayed driven to achieve her collegiate dreams. She credits her classmates at Midwest City High School for spurring her on to achieving those goals.

“There are so many smart kids in my school, and I just think ‘I’ve got to be as good as they are,’” Peak said. “There is no excuse for me not to be that good.”

Just like the recognition of talent, dedication and hard work Adrienne sees in her classmates, the University of Oklahoma took the chance to congratulate and reward her for those very same qualities.

On a crisp October day during fall break, a team from the university showed up at Peak’s Midwest City home. Crimson and cream balloons waved in the wind next to a large scholarship check that was carried inside, along with smiles, cupcakes and greetings from one Sooner generation to another.

We’re so glad to welcome Adrienne Peak to the University of Oklahoma next fall. Adrienne applied, have you?

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Months before you graduate from high school, this less than loved question emerges, “What is your major?”  For me, I felt unqualified to answer this. I had only left the country once and been to about 5 states. How in the world was I supposed to choose my life’s occupation?

Did you know that the average college student changes their major six times. SIX TIMES. That is not an OU average, that is a U.S average and for some incoming college students, that can be scary. For me, I was highly involved with a business marketing organization in high school so naturally I believed that this was going to be my life’s calling. It was familiar, it was comfortable and thus it was for me. Walking into my first business prerequisite course though I realized that maybe what I thought business was was not for me. It took a 27 on an exam (this means I failed the class). This also means that chocolate chip pancakes at Cate Restaurants became my diet to equip freshman Breanna to change her major.

I was crushed.

I felt as if my life’s dreams and plans had been torn a part I had no idea what I would do. What I did believe though was that if I did not enjoy my college classes that I may not enjoy my career. Luckily though, I was introduced to OU’s Major Exploration.

Major Exploration gave me the opportunity to explore what other majors were offered at OU. OU has over 150 degree programs. Coming to college I was aware of approximately five of them. While comforting myself with chocolate chip pancakes, I sat under a tree crying. With every delicious bite of pancakes I answered an question on the Major Exploration survey.  After I finished the survey, I set up an appointment with a Major Exploration Coach. This is when I met Jaime, and Jaime gave me confidence. Jaime walked me through my strengths and weaknesses. She went over my results and showed me what my top ten job compatibilities were.

Now, I do not believe in living your life based off online surveys; unless buzzfeed counts. This survey was able to help me narrow down my interests and ideas for potential majors. Through Major Exploration, I was able to open my eyes to the endless possibilities when it came to other majors and departments. This is how I found Public Relations. PR has developed into everything I wanted out of business marketing including classes that I genuinely enjoyed.

I highly encourage you, if you are a current college student or a prospective one, to go to Major Exploration. EXPLORE your major, EXPLORE your university, EXPLORE the resources that are offered. I encourage you to find something you enjoy because you never know; your major could be here and you just might not know it.

Breanna Bober

Edmond, OK

Public Relations/ Women’s & Gender Studies

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The Oklahoma Memorial Union is said to be the heart of campus. If the Union is the heart of campus, then I consider the Union Programming Board (UPB) the heartbeat. At the root of it all, this was where I found my home on campus. UPB is known for hosting numerous events at the Union that cater to a diverse group of students, but UPB is something else for me. UPB established a home for me at The University of Oklahoma. 
Starting out as a freshman, the landscape of a university with a student population larger than my hometown was intimidating. I heard testimonies from many people that the key to finding a home in college was to get involved. Right from the get-go, I decided to get involved with UPB after hearing a pitch from a member at a Coca-Cola social. I attended the first meeting and I was immediately immersed in the craziness that was UPB. The lasting moment that sealed the deal was my interaction with the then-Vice President. She introduced herself and made the effort to get to know me. During every subsequent encounter with her, she remembered my name and the things we talked about.  
The interaction set the tone that I currently associate with UPB – home. Every meeting, every event, and every time I walk into the Union, I feel at home. I always see familiar faces when I am at an event. I see the faces that made me stay in UPB as a freshman. Throughout my first year as a member, I went from having little campus involvement to being very involved. The people there made the effort to keep me feeling welcomed. They also gave me the opportunity to be break out of my shell and develop useful skills that transferred to my other involvement.
Two years later, I am a junior serving on the exec for UPB my second time. In the past two years since my general member days, I was able to use the confidence and creativity UPB equipped me with to create an event. I got to bring quality to UPB’s photography and cement my name as a photographer on campus. I gave the “media director” position the renaissance it needed. UPB was able to serve as a stepping stone for my other campus involvement. After gaining confidence as a campus leader, I was able to apply to and participate in Camp Crimson as a small group leader.
While I was able to benefit from the organization, I do not see that as the only thing I got out of it. I think back to my freshman year whenever the then-Vice President reached out to me and made me feel like family. Developing interpersonal connections is actually a huge part of being on exec. I was able to do the same with many of the members that I worked with. One member specifically comes to my mind. She was someone who expressed interest in photography, so I gave her a position as a photography lead. In the year that followed, I got to watch her gain confidence in being a campus leader, change the organization’s photography, and become a close friend of mine. This is one prominent example that shows how much I put into an organization and its members, as a result of what the organization gave to me as a freshman. 
Of course, the main purpose of UPB is to provide free and diverse programs in the Oklahoma Memorial Union. I have discovered that there is so much more to this.
Internally, UPB engages students, encourage leaders, and enriches lives. The “3 E’s” is what made this student organization a home for me. It provided events for me to do nearly every Friday night, it allowed me to develop my own leadership skills, and lastly, it made my college experience worthwhile. For people looking for a place to get involved in, then I hope my story encourages them to check out UPB and the other student organizations that campus offers.


Francis Phan 
Class of 2017 
Psychology major 
Mustang, OK
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Upon arriving at OU I exhibited all of the signs of a freshman walking onto campus for the first time. I had new clothes, a big smile, and of course, lofty aspirations as a Micro-Biology major. However, like a lot of young pre-med students, I found myself bounced out of the major by a formidable foe, Chemistry. After having, what I thought to be my perfect plan of becoming a doctor was cut short. I had to find another major. To set out on this mission, I decided to pick something I loved and to pick a minor that I was passionate about. After a period of soul searching, I set my eyes on a degree that I not only was passionate about, but a degree that could make a difference in the world.

The major I chose was International Studies, but more importantly a Non-Profit Organizational Studies minor. Not only was I welcomed into the program with open arms, but also I embraced the program right back. Not only was this new major going to involve something that I love, helping people, but it was also going to allow me to learn by experience. Immediately after the major change, I joined the NLSA, or Non-Profit Leadership Student Association and began to attend the meetings. I was wonderfully surprised by the community feel of the club/program, but also by the hands-on activities in which I could participate. In class I was “starting” a non-profit and learning the ins and outs of managing volunteers, etc., and at my club meetings I was engaging in volunteer activities, networking with local non-profit professionals, and learning valuable lessons from speakers from across the state.

Overall, I believe that my change in major was one of the best things that has happened to me since being at OU. I found a community that fit me better than my first choice, and I was embraced by not only the Non-Profit family at OU, but the Sooner family as a whole across campus. Coming to college, a lot of people end up switching majors and nearly having a panic attack at not knowing what the future may hold. But at OU, there are new opportunities around every corner, and new passions to grab a hold of everyday. Through the loss of my pre-med dream, a new passion was born. My new major and minor fit me as a person much better than my previous choice, and I could have only found my real passion through my experiences at OU.

Logan Banfield

Tulsa, Oklahoma

International Studies/Non-Profit Studies

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One of the greatest assets to the University of Oklahoma is the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art. It contains more than 17,000 works in its permanent collection, and houses multiple temporary exhibits a year. Having a museum on campus allows for a quick getaway into an environment completely different from the academic surroundings and lets you unwind as you allow yourself to be caught up in the exquisite and sometimes surprising creations held in the museum. Walking from room to room, one is exposed to artists of all backgrounds and beliefs. Seeing so many different perspectives and techniques perfectly exposes one to the grandeur and expanse of the art world and what it represents.

In a sense, the museum reflects the diversity of the campus on which it was built. Guests of the museum can find works from around the world, and the works can further be divided into secular and religious spheres. The beauty of this cohabitation of works mirrors the way students on campus herald from across the globe. Students come together from all backgrounds and join together to make the University more beautiful and intricate than before they arrived. The works displayed in the museum, like the students, only make the surroundings in which they thrive that much greater.

I come from a Russian family that moved to Kazakhstan in the 1930s. When I was six, my mom and I immigrated to the United States. This journey has made me lucky enough to see many types of art and art forms, which is why I am so grateful for the masterpiece that is the FJJMA. Wandering through the museum, I am able to marvel at art from my birth region, while in the next room, I can appreciate the beauty created and influenced by my adoptive country. Without leaving the University campus, the museum provides one of the best outlets for exposing yourself to other cultures and does it in a way that leaves you more appreciative of the beauty in the world.

Tatyana Gubareva

Psychology and Art History Senior

Yukon, OK

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My name is Daniel Smith and I am a junior at the University of Oklahoma studying Finance. There are great opportunities offered at OU that supports students and other national organizations. My experience through my major has given me the chance to be involved with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. This semester nineteen other students and I started a company called OklaCozy through the IBC program in the Price College of Business. IBC stands for Integrated Business Core which gives business students a chance to gain expertise knowledge of managing a company while creating and selling a product throughout the OU and Norman community.

Through the Integrated Business Core (IBC) program, my core group created OklaCozy. Our responsibilities include developing, financing, marketing, and selling our product. This teaches us the business process first hand. On top of that, we get the privilege of picking two philanthropies to support. We are giving our time and service at the OK Kids Korral located in Oklahoma City, a place of lodging for pediatric cancer patients and their families; and then all proceeds from our product go directly toward making children’s dreams come true through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. We were given a wish child named Elizabeth Lansdale, she is a four year old suffering from leukemia and her dream was to go to Disney World. Oklacozy is committed to helping kids like Elizabeth make their dreams come true!

Our product this year are OU blankets. The blankets have consist of a one-of-a-kind OU themed design. These blankets are 100% polyester, machine washable, with one side having a furry texture, and the other having a fleece texture, allowing you to pick your preference of softness. These blankets have a unique design that our company created and that you cannot find anywhere else. My experience through IBC has been an incredible hands-on learning experience that has equipped me for my future career in the business field. This is just one of many degrees and programs that

If at all interested in possibly purchasing either of our product to help the children of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, follow the link below to learn more about our company and to purchase your very own blanket!

Follow the link below to learn more about our company and to purchase your very own blanket!


Daniel Smith

Junior, Finance

Edmond, OK


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Homecoming 2015

At the University of Oklahoma, Homecoming is one of the most magical and unique times of the year. The OU community comes together to welcome current students and alumni back to campus. The 125th Anniversary of Homecoming is themed as the Reunion Weekend 2015. This campus is built on tradition and community. This week exemplifies just that. The possibilities for the 2015 homecoming are endless. One hundred and twenty five years is something to celebrate, and we are going to do it right.

During the week there are many traditions that happen on campus that keep the Homecoming spirit alive! Every facet of campus has something happening. On the South Oval there are our traditional events and on campus corner there are benefit nights as a competition between other organizations on campus. For benefit nights, the organization with the highest turn out will get extra points to their overall homecoming score and all the proceeds go to The Children’s Miracle Network through Soonerthon. The Night at the Huff offers organizations a chance to earn a spirit award. This is given to the team with the most enthusiasm through competition in different sporting events. The South Oval board competition week paints the South Oval with creativity and color. Paired organizations paint a board to prop up on the south oval that pertains to their specific theme. The next South Oval event is the sidewalk competition. This brings campus chalking to a whole new level. This is where different organizations will have a certain amount of time to create a chalk drawing on a portion of the South Oval. They are detailed and innovative and shows how talents students are.

The last events of the week are the parade and the Rah Rally. For the Rah Rally, all organizations come together and celebrate the end of the week with a dance competition, and a routine from OU Cheer & Pom. It’s a great way to get everyone pumped about the upcoming football game. Each organization participates in a dance competition where they showcase their homecoming spirit in elaborate costumes with eccentric dance moves. The event to close out the week before the big game is the Homecoming Parade. This brings students, fans and alumni together in celebration of the greatest University. The organizations that participated throughout the entire week showcase a Homecoming float that encompasses their theme. Students walk around the float and throw candy as it cruises down the campus streets. A wide variety of people and organizations participate in the parade, from Homecoming Royalty all the way to the Deans of each colleges.

Homecoming is such an incredible time on OU’s campus. I have served on Homecoming Exec since January, and it has been an incredible experience. This year exec changed the pairing process to be more inclusive and create a greater chance for all organizations to be fairly represented. Watching our exec formulate a more inclusive homecoming has made me so proud to be a Sooner. Homecoming is something that I truly believe every person on campus can participate in, one way or another. Every year Homecoming continues to build up OU’s campus and bring the community together. The energy that runs through the campus during Homecoming week encompasses what it means to be a Sooner and that is what makes Homecoming so near to my heart.

Cassidy Lutosky

Sophomore/ Secondary Education

San Diego, California

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image1Fall break at the University of Oklahoma marks one of the most celebrated weekends in existence, as the Red River Rivalry between OU and Texas comes into full swing. Characterized by caravans of students headed to Dallas, endless amounts of fried food and cramped hotel rooms, some have gone as far to call this weekend, “Christmas in October.” One might think to his/herself, “it’s just another football game…” but that statement would be the farthest thing from the truth. As a senior, I have experienced OU/TX three times now and am beyond excited for my fourth trip this upcoming weekend. I can confidently say that it is, by far, my all-time favorite college tradition I’ve experienced at OU. With its date lining up right after the first round of midterms each Fall semester, taking the weekend off to go to Dallas is a much needed break that no student can deny.

With the overwhelming options that Dallas nightlife offers, each trip I’ve taken has been a unique experience. That being said, however, I can always count on watching the game and walking around the Texas State Fair to be a consistent source of genuine entertainment. As ridiculous as it sounds, waking up the Saturday morning of the game is honestly as close to Christmas morning as you can get, except gifts and holiday cheer are replaced with an assortment of fried foods and Boomer Sooner chants. Even though it’s an early kickoff, waking up early automatically becomes worth the trouble, when you realize that you’ll be in attendance of one of the most exciting and memorable football games you’ll ever see. The atmosphere surrounding the stadium is truly a unique blend of furious resentment towards the opposing team and an insurmountable pride in your own. While that sounds like the typical description of every football game ever, the level of polarization far surpasses anything imaginable. Sure, there will be some angry words exchanged between OU and Texas fans, but the day would not be complete without the heated tension that temporarily envelops the city of Dallas.  A Sooner touchdown is always a reason to celebrate, but this takes on a whole new meaning when it happens during the OU/Texas game. When either team scores, you can feel the energy of the stadium spike as the fans passionately rally behind their team. Even the most timid individuals will find themselves yelling at the top of their lungs, criticizing the referee’s unfavorable decisions regardless of whether or not they know anything about football.

After the game there’s no better way to celebrate a victory (or soften the demoralizing blow of a loss), than by exploring the Texas State Fair, which is going on right outside of the stadium. I like to call the fairgrounds the “streets of gold,” because it is lined with vendors selling every decadent food you can imagine, as a golden, deep fried treat. While you might regret your dietary decisions later on in the week, but in the moment, nothing sounds better than a corn dog accompanied with some deep fried Oreos.  With the addition of the typical carnival rides and games, walking around the fair acts as a good way to wind down the day so that you can take a much needed nap upon returning to your hotel.

Overall, OU/TX weekend isn’t just some trip that can be duplicated or overlooked. While much of what I’ve described might not sound that special on paper, it is truly a weekend that must be experienced first-hand to understand why it is such a beloved part of being a Sooner fan.  If you’re reading this and have never gone to see the game, or are on the fence, I highly recommend that you wrangle up a group of your closest friends and make it out to Dallas at least once during your college career. Not only does the experience provide you with memories that will last you a lifetime, but a strengthened connection to the University that’ll make your time at OU even better than before.


Adam Siddique

Tulsa, OK


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The future is going to be an adventure and I am really excited to see where the Arts take me. I am extremely proud to have graduated from the University of Oklahoma. The Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts has been so good to me. Dean Mary Margaret Holt and the OU School of Dance professors are incredible and have prepared me for my next step in life, a professional dance career. Next season, I will be dancing with Ballet West II in Salt Lake City, and I owe a lot of it to this school. As a developing professional, OU has prepared me for life after college. This school has helped me grow artistically and technically, and has given me opportunities to collaborate with other arts disciplines. If you enjoy performing, or attending performances, or both, OU is the university for you.

There have been so many significant events I have been involved with in the College of Fine Arts. There are so many amazing people at OU. I had the opportunity to perform alongside so many of my talented friends, including dancers, musical theatre majors, and vocal performance majors. At OU, the fine arts departments collaborate often with each other. Collaboration is an opportunity other universities do not offer, and having that opportunity to work with other departments was great. I walked in a Fashion Show to raise money for scholarships for the School of Dance. I performed in the musical On The Town my sophomore year. I actually had a line. It was one word, but I got to say something haha! My freshman year, the School of Dance collaborated with the the School of Music and I performed in Don Giovanni. There are always performances to see, so you won’t be bored.

The support the College of Fine Arts receives from its patrons is remarkable. It may not seem like it, but there are people in Oklahoma who love and support the arts. It’s incredible. I was given the opportunity to tour overseas twice with the ballet company, Oklahoma Festival Ballet. We performed in Eisenstadt, Austria at the Esterhazy Palace. This is the palace where Joseph Haydn conducted his orchestra. We, as well as the OU Chorale, performed Haydn’s The Seasons there. The President of Austria was in the front row at one of the performances. A performance I will never forget. I gained so much experience and culture studying at OU and I am eternally grateful for this school. The opportunities are boundless and I highly recommend this university. I made the decision to attend the greatest university in America and I do not regret it one bit. There’s no place like OU. Boomer Sooner!

Zeek Wright
Amarillo, Texas

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