What A Difference A Year Makes

sina 2Today’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.

Sina 1My 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.

Sina 3The 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.

sina 4The 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.