Life after graduation… It can be a daunting thought. There’s a lot of planning that takes place throughout college, and it all leads up to the big question seniors hear day in and day out during their final semester:
“So, what’s next?”
For many ambitious and daring TU grads, it’s working abroad. Adjusting to post-graduate life is a transition that every TU student faces eventually, and some are taking it on by diving headfirst into another country, its culture, and the expectations of a foreign workplace.
Abbey Reynolds, Class of 2014, graduated and moved to London, England for an internship at a fashion public relations firm.
“Work was crazy, fast paced, and incredibly fun. I would gather clothing samples and send them to places like Vogue and beauty bloggers. I read magazines and newspapers on a daily basis looking for organic mentions and placements of our clients from editors in Elle, Vogue, and Marie Claire. I ran all over London picking up clothing samples and mailing products. I even made tea for the office! Which is actually totally different than the way Americans take it.”
Abbey embraced her London life, work load and all.
“The fashion world is mesmerizing. You have to start from the bottom and work your way up. It was a lot of work, but so worth it. In my spare time on the weekends and weekdays, I was all over London. I wanted to see everything and eat everything.”
Abbey offers her advice to TU students about planning for life after graduation.
“I applied for this opportunity totally on a whim through The Intern Group. When I look back, I’m so glad I took a chance, seized the opportunity, and ran with it! Go abroad. Get uncomfortable. Thrive.”
Abbey has since returned to Tulsa and is working in Advertising Sales at KJRH-2 Works for You TV.
This week’s Tuesday with Tulsa comes to us from Tendai D. Tendai graduated in May with a degree in Biology. She is from Edmond, Okla., and wrote this blog as a junior to encourage students to get involved with LINC.
I remember the summer before my freshman year at TU. I was terrified and excited to finally start college. I didn’t know about all of the opportunities that TU had to offer its students, but then I received a brochure in the mail about LINC. LINC stands for Leaders Incorporated. It is a student organization that is part of the Multicultural Student Programs group. It pairs an older student (a mentor) with a younger student (a mentee) who is part of a minority student group. This sounded perfect!
As a mentee, I was able to transition easier into The University of Tulsa community. Starting college off was a lot easier when I had someone I could go to for any questions or concerns that I had. My mentor was not only there to answer my questions, but she also helped me get involved around campus, connected me with the minority and multicultural sides of campus, and introduced me to the city of Tulsa as a whole. She became someone I could call when I just wanted to have a bit of fun, and LINC provided for some awesome events. There was a retreat that brought mentors and mentees together, volunteer opportunities and even an evening spent at Tulsa’s premier indoor trampoline park—Skyzone!
Being a mentor this past year has been a wonderful experience. All I wanted was to be able to give my mentee the same experience that my mentor gave me. Not only have my leadership skills grown, but the relationship that I have with my mentee has allowed me to become a more successful student. Having someone look up to you is not only empowering, but also humbling! I not only keep my mentee accountable, but she keeps me accountable, as well. The LINC program has been wonderful both as a mentor and as a mentee. I gained friends from all across campus, and I’ve learned more about TU, Tulsa, and myself.
Today’s blog comes to us from TU sophomore Sina McLin. She is double majoring in Art History and Arts Management, as well as earning a certificate in Advertising. Sina is from St. Louis, Mo., and studied abroad this summer with the San Gemini Preservation Studies program in Italy.
When I left home for college I didn’t know what to expect. I had been told countless times that the next four years would be the time to discover myself and what I was most passionate about; a time to travel and meet new people and make the memories of a lifetime. I can honestly say that my first year at The University of Tulsa was everything people kept telling me, and abundantly more.
I experienced so much during my first year that it almost seems surreal. I got an Internship my first semester at a non-profit art gallery in downtown Tulsa called 108 Contemporary. I was the Art Administrative Intern and that experience helped me declare my major. I decided to double major in Art History and Arts Management and to get a Certificate in Advertising.
My ceramic artwork was displayed in two student exhibitions: the Core Connections Student Art Exhibition at Living Arts of Tulsa, and the Gussman Juried Student Art Show held annually at TU.
I received the School of Art Scholarship by submitting my ceramics portfolio and the scholarship has been an important factor in my college experience. I interacted with the fine arts faculty prior to starting my first year for the review of my portfolio and to interview for the scholarship, so I was acquainted with a few faculty members before officially arriving on campus. It was comforting to see familiar faces when I went into the art building the first day of classes and to have people already know my name. While I didn’t decide to major in ceramics (as I initially intended), the department made it easy for me to keep pursuing ceramics, something I have been passionate about since eighth grade.
The School of Art Scholarship also influenced my ability to study abroad this summer with the San Gemini Preservation Studies program in Italy. The Art Scholarship allowed me to manage my financial resources and facilitated my ability to participate in the study abroad program. I took two classes for TU credit on Archaeological Ceramics. Not to sound cliché, but it was the most amazing experience I have ever had. My favorite academic aspect of the trip was restoring a plate from a tomb burial that was from the 2nd-1st century BCE. The plate was almost 2,000 years old and it was incredible being able to handle and preserve a piece of history.
Like all study abroad programs, my time in Italy wasn’t all work. I lived in a small medieval town, located in the province of Umbria, which was full of culture and a deep sense of history. Living in a small town was a unique experience for which I am deeply grateful. I quickly became familiar with the town and was welcomed at the grocery store, gelateria, pizzeria, and the butchers with warm smiles and boisterous greetings. I met many people and learned so many new things that can’t be taught in a classroom. I explored surrounding cities in Umbria such as Assisi, Perugia, and Orvieto. I also traveled to Rome and spent the weekend with my friends exploring churches and getting to view in person some of the artwork I had learned about in my art history classes at TU.
The support and encouragement I found in the art department faculty, specifically from my art history professors Dr. Olds (who is also my advisor), Dr. Maurer, and my ceramics professor, Whitney Forsyth, was inspiring. I wouldn’t have accomplished all that I did in my first year without them. They were constantly there to encourage me and embolden my creative and academic sides. I look forward to the next three years at TU and the adventures and opportunities that await me.
Today’s blog is from Kyla Sloan, a senior Speech-Language Pathology major who is also minoring in Sociology. This past spring, Kyla spent the semester studying abroad in Sevilla, Spain.
During my spring semester in Sevilla, I noticed several cultural differences between the U.S. and Spain!
Besos are the standard greeting – In the United States, personal space is very valued. When meeting someone for the first time, you most often shake the person’s hand out of respect. However, in Spain, whether it is your host family, your employer and even professor, “besos” (a kiss given on each cheek) is the standard. It was uncomfortable at first because I did not know the recipients well, but eventually it became second nature. I’d usually just let my cheeks touch the other person rather than kissing them.
Food and Meal times – Meal times are later in Spain that the United States. Lunch is usually at 2:00 p.m. and dinner is at 9:00 p.m. Though there are many staples such as rice, each country’s cuisine is different. For instance, a “tortilla” in Spain is an egg and potato omelet eaten at dinner; very different than the Texas staple that you eat with tacos and burritos. Also, you have bread every single meal, much to the delight of an avid bread lover like myself!
Siesta is your best friend – Siesta is a break in the middle of the day where the city basically shuts down because locals go home, take a nap, or just relax in the middle of the day. Most stores such as banks, restaurants, clothing stores, will close. It was great to have time specifically carved out for naps, something most college students do on a regular basis.
Transportation is ridiculously convenient – I was very nervous about having to use public transportation abroad. I had never taken the bus or subway by myself, never walked to school or the grocery store, or even rode my bicycle off campus. Having to navigate European cities seemed challenging as a result of not having someone to give me a ride; however, I quickly learned that getting around is incredibly easy. The public transportation is very reliable and now I have a new level of independence that I’ve never experienced!
Shopping – Shopping in Spain is not significantly different than in the United States except for size conversions and the language barrier. One of the very pleasant surprises I found was “rebajas” or end of season sales. The government mandates that stores sell their items at discounted prices in order to make room for the next season’s products. Exercise restraint though because shipping things back to the States gets expensive!
Semana Santa (Holy Week) – Many Christians in the United States celebrate Holy Week by attending a church service or several during the week. In Spain, especially Sevilla, Semana Santa is a week-long gathering of street processions by Catholic “brotherhoods”. The participants (“Nazarenos”) wear long cloaks and cone hoods. Though commonly mistaken for the Ku Klux Klan, the Nazarenos wore this apparel first and are unrelated. The significance is that they are covered because they are mourning and repenting their sins. Additional participants carry an extremely heavy statue depicting Jesus or his mother Mary from their Church to the Catedral in Sevilla, then back to their church. It is seen as a high honor to carry these massive structures. Seeing the entry processions is really moving, as you experience the somber of Holy Week with thousands.
Streets – In the United States, it is considered polite to look and smile as you walk past someone to acknowledge their presence. In Spain, looking and smiling at someone as you walk past them is not only uncommon but can also mean you are attracted to that person. There are So. Many. Dogs. I was very tempted to ask the owners if I could pet them, but when you stare in admiration at the dogs, many times the owner will look at me strangely so I never asked. I believe the Spaniards feel very particular about their pets. Also, smoking in Spain is very common and socially acceptable rather than in the States where it is generally discouraged.
Dress to impress – Spanish residents are very fashion forward. Even on an average “casual” day, as I walked to class, it seemed like everyone was walking on a runway with perfectly matched and put-together outfits. T-shirts and Nike shorts to class are a definite no as you would truly stand out as an American.
Restaurant dining is slow – Meals are seen as a time to socialize in Spain. Customers are not rushed like they would be in the United States. There is not an incentive for you to finish your meal quickly so the waiter can “flip” the table to the next customer. As a result, you often have to get your waiter’s attention when you are ready to order and need the check. “Tapas”, which are bite-sized appetizers may come complimentary when you order something to drink. Sadly, there is no such thing as free refills and you often have to pay for water.
Conserving Energy – Spaniards really try to conserve energy because it can be quite expensive. When staying in a host family home, you are expected to be more conservative with electricity. Many homes do not have dryers, but rather hang clothes on a line. Don’t leave the light on in a room you are not in. It is also considered slightly rude to take long showers that use lots of hot water.