As a sophomore film studies student, Sydney Alison is already a University Ambassador, an anchor on TUTV, a member of the Student Association cabinet and former resident hall president. Her impressive résumé of activities and outgoing spirit is especially remarkable because she was born with arthrogryposis multiplex congenita. Watch her TU story below:
TU is many different things to many different people. Because of this, it would be hard to select just one hashtag to capture what campus life is all about. Find out for yourself by watching the video below. What will your TU hashtag be?
Today’s blog post is written by Brittany James, a senior Mechanical Engineering major from Lee’s Summit, Mo. Brittany will be graduating in May and recently accepted a position with Kiewit Engineering and Design Co., in Kansas City.
It’s hard to miss the beauty of Tulsa’s campus on a gorgeous spring day. With the bright sun, vibrant blue and yellow flowers and pristine courtyards, it is a gem like no other. However, the best spots on campus are sometimes those places outsiders don’t know about. Get the 411 on the Top 10 Cool Spots on Campus below!
It’s not every day you can read a first edition Frankenstein or a bible straight off the Gutenberg press, but TU’s Special Collections has everything you need from original World War I memorabilia to more James Joyce artifacts than you knew existed. 10/10 recommend stopping by to pay them a visit!
THE LIBRARY STEPS
Whether it is sunrise, mid-day, or when the stars populate the sky, nothing beats the view of downtown Tulsa from McFarlin Library’s steps. It’s where I go whenever I need to think or update my Snapchat story. Stick around long enough and you’ll probably witness a TU proposal first hand.
SOLD OUT REYNOLD’S CENTER
There’s nothing that compares to a sold-out basketball game with everyone on their feet cheering the Golden Hurricane on to victory. Running across campus because your 10 minutes late for your honor society initiation since the atmosphere had you too fired up is different story…
MECHANICAL ENGINEERING PROJECTS LAB
To the untrained eye, it may look like a heap of unorganized metal and wood, but it’s actually student innovation at its finest. From the 3-D printer to the laser cutter and the mill to the lathe, nothing is beyond the imagination of TU students hard at work.
ALEXANDER HOGUE ART GALLERY
TU students are incredibly talented in all fields and art is no exception. The Alexander Hogue Gallery exhibits the best of the best. It’s always a good time to appreciate fancy art, eat some mini appetizers and pretend you’re not a poor college student for the night all while admiring the talent of people you’re lucky enough to consider your friends.
It’s not every day you can pretend you’re going long for a Hail Mary on your very own Division 1 football field with your friends, but I’ve lived the dream on Skelly Field. Students turn it into an intramural softball diamond in the spring or simply stop by to kiss the 50 yard line excited to be a part of the tradition.
LORTON PERFORMANCE CENTER
Whether it’s Phi Mu Alpha and Sigma Alpha Iota serenading us with their velvet voices or the TU theatre department bringing down the roof with their next Broadway production, the talent in this building is phenomenal. I sometimes hope when I’m in there some of their talent will rub off on me considering I can’t even clap on beat.
The closer we get to summer, the more and more TU students you’ll find throwing a Frisbee around on Harwell Field or soaking in some rays. Sometimes you’ll get extra lucky and people will bring their dogs along to play. Don’t forget your sunscreen though because that after-finals nap on the fresh grass might not be as nice as you might think.
ANYWHERE IN A HAMMOCK
What’s a better way to appreciate our campus than relaxing hammock style?? With the fresh smell of flowers and bright blue skies, a hammock can even make reading a textbook a tolerable afternoon activity.
STUDENT UNION PERGOLA AND FIRE PITS
Whether it’s a slightly chilly night or a warm summer day, the Student Union pergola and fire pits are the best place to go to relax. With twinkle lights, a warm fire and comfy seats, it’s incredibly easy to curl up and pretend you’re in a lodge in Colorado. It gets your mind (and stress levels) off campus without even leaving.
I hope you can tell the less than square mile coverage that makes up the place I call home is full of surprises and fun spots. What makes it even better is the amazing people you get to share these great places with.
The music program is one of my favorite things about TU! There are so many wonderful opportunities to learn music, strengthen your talent, and highlight your hard work! Through the marching band and pep band, I have had the opportunity to travel to two NCAA football bowl games, as well as March Madness for Men’s Basketball.
TU CATHOLIC NEWMAN CENTER
Coming to college, I knew I wanted to continue practicing my faith, but I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to find a place to call home. The St. Philip Neri Catholic Newman Center on TU’s campus allows students to strengthen and practice their faith, and it serves as a great place to meet others.
SIGMA ALPHA IOTA
Sigma Alpha Iota is an International Music Fraternity. Sigma Gamma, TU’s collegiate chapter, is home to many talented women who long to further the development of music throughout the country. We work together to advance music in multiple ways: philanthropy projects, volunteering in local elementary music classrooms, and supporting one another in our musical endeavors.
MORTAR BOARD NATIONAL COLLEGIATE SENIOR HONOR SOCIETY
At TU, I had the opportunity to join Mortar Board, a prestigious honor society focused on highlighting students’ academic achievements, leadership skills, and service projects. The organization allows initiated members to meet to discuss how to further our individual academic performances, but more importantly, how to serve others on our campus and greater Tulsa community.
THE UNIVERSITY OF TULSA THEME HOUSE: CulTUring Campus
Through campus housing, my friends and I were given the opportunity to develop a theme house to enhance the campus community. CulTUring Campus’s mission is to educate ourselves and the campus at large about the diverse cultures around the world. Due to TU’s already diverse campus community, we as a theme house can engage with a variety of students who attend our events throughout the year.
Human beings typically don’t like change, yet there are times in our life when we have to give up the familiar for a new opportunity. Coming to college is one of those times. The University of Tulsa has a week of Orientation at the start of the new school year in order to help ease this transition. Whether you are originally from Tulsa, moving from out-of-state, or even coming from another country, this week is for you.
Orientation is a time to learn the campus, meet your classmates, and form the bonds you’ll need to get you through freshman year. I work as an Orientation Leader, guiding a group of students through this week to make adjusting to campus as easy as possible. In that spirit, here are my top three tips for getting the most out of New Student Orientation:
In every Orientation Group, there is at least one student who thinks they are too cool to play games or discuss serious topics. Don’t be that student. The best way to have fun and make friends during this week is to be open to activities that you normally wouldn’t try and conversations that you wouldn’t normally have. You might even be surprised by the things you enjoy or learn from the most.
REMEMBER THAT EVERYONE IS IN THE SAME BOAT
It’s easy to forget during orientation week that you aren’t the only one going through a big change. You may look around and see people laughing and talking to each other and fool yourself into thinking that they aren’t feeling scared and insecure like you. That is not the case. Some will handle this change better than others, but no one is completely immune to the uneasiness that comes with meeting new people and getting used to a new place. So do your best to reach out to others this week and don’t think you are alone! Start a conversation with a stranger, invite others into your activity, ask to join someone else’s – you will start to feel like you belong here more quickly than you realize.
YOUR ORIENTATION LEADERS ARE A RESOURCE, USE THEM!
As Orientation Leaders, our whole job is to help you. There are a few more specific requirements, but that one is first and foremost. Take advantage of this! Upperclassmen can help you figure out the best professors to take, how to get involved on campus, what there is to do in Tulsa, and much more. Through our time at TU, we have learned all kinds of tips and tricks that can make your life easier, and we would love to share. Additionally, your Orientation Leaders are some of the best informed people on campus about the services available to students – as are your RAs – so if you need something, ask them about it. This doesn’t just go for during the week of Orientation, but throughout your time as a TU student!
People always ask me, “What’s a typical day at TU look like?” And, at least for me, the only thing I can say about typical days is that I don’t have them. Sure, I have things that I do every day, like drink my morning coffee and go to my scheduled classes, but beyond that I throw in random meetings, impromptu trips to the gym and last minute lunch or dinner plans with friends. To illustrate what I mean, here is a snapshot of my September 12, 2016, a typically untypical day in my life.
This morning I had my first alarm set for 8:30am and a second one set for 9am. I like that first alarm because it lets me know that it’s almost time to wake up but I also get to enjoy the exciting realization that I still have time to sleep. I threw in a few extra snoozes because, well, it’s Monday, and finally forced myself out of bed. In my typical zombie state, I got ready for the day and headed over to the student union. I always purchase a white chocolate frozen mocha with no whip from Einstein’s. This is where the routineness ends and the typical “idk what this day will bring” begins.
I sat down in a booth and jammed to some music while catching up on my emails and to-do list for the different organizations I’m involved in. I had friends filter in and out of the union and join me at my table. Today, Student Association was handing out wristbands with the names of 9/11 victims to honor the sacrifices they made. One of my friends came around and handed me a wristband to wear, which I thought was a pretty legit, yet unexpected, addition to my day.
I then headed over to Keplinger Hall to quickly talk to the freshman Chemical Engineering class about Tau Beta Pi, which is the engineering honor society here on campus. I hopped back to the union afterwards and grabbed Chick-fil-a for lunch. I have a lot of dining dollars, so I try to buy lunch for random people whenever I can. Today, I surprised the professor in front of me with a free sandwich and fries. He said he’d be sure to pass the kind act along in the near future, which I’d never had anyone tell me before. It was pretty cool to see how such a simple act can go such a long way.
After lunch, one of my friends asked me to edit her short story for grammar since Spanish is her first language. I was very surprised to find I was included in the story. By the end, fictional me had been killed off and the real me was cracking up. I suppose it could be said that one typical element of my days is that they are never boring and always full of surprises just like this one.
I headed off to my 2pm class. My favorite professor teaches this class, so even though it’s longer than a normal Monday class, I always enjoy it. After class, I had some free time, so I decided it would be a good idea to start my homework. Sometimes my engineering homework can take one hour and other times EACH problem can take up to an hour. This is another reason why my days are always a surprise. Thankfully, I was able to get my entire assignment for engineering economics finished in this one homework session.
For dinner, I went to Kappa Kappa Gamma’s “Kappasta.” It’s $5 for all you can eat pasta and the BEST cookies ever. Plus, the money all goes to support their philanthropy. It’s a great break because 1.) the food is delicious; 2.) the money goes to a great cause; and 3.) I get to see a lot of people I don’t interact with on a normal day-to-day basis. After dinner, I prepared for the New Member meetings I run for my sorority. It’s my job to help our newest members get acquainted with our chapter values, history, members and just college life in general. While it is definitely a lot of work, I really enjoy it and always have a lot of fun. I wrapped up the evening going to two meetings and finally talked myself into going to the gym. I thankfully survived my workout, despite my personal doubts, by watching Bones on Netflix. I came back to the house, hung out with my sisters for a while, and wrapped up some loose ends for the day. After all that was finished, I was finally able to crawl back into bed.
One of the great things about attending TU is that every day is refreshingly different. There are different things I do, different people I see, and different surprises that make life special. However, just as I often begin my days in the same way, I also always end them all in the same way. Before I go to bed each night, I record five things about that day that I am thankful for. It really puts the day in perspective for me. Paul Coelho once said, “If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine. It’s lethal.” While I’m not adventuring through the Amazon on a day-to-day basis, I do like to approach each day as an adventure and value the experiences that come with it.
“You will never be completely at home again because part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for loving and knowing people in more than one place.” – Miriam Adeney
If you’re like me, college may be the first time that you’ve lived somewhere other than where you grew up. I didn’t know anyone in Tulsa when I arrived as a freshman, and I was terrified by the transition, but it quickly became a second home to me.
The only trouble with home is that you never want to leave it. Home is where you feel comfortable and in control. But you should leave, at least temporarily. When you live somewhere else, you discover more about yourself, find new people and places to love, and you learn to appreciate your home again for all new reasons.
Even if The University of Tulsa is right down the block from you, there are so many opportunities at TU to extend yourself and get uncomfortable (in a good way). In part, it is simply being open to new and different people. TU has such a diverse population of students that I now have friends not only across the country, but across the world. You can also join clubs and organizations that introduce you to new cultures, ideas and passions. Studying abroad allows you to not just visit another place, but live there and immerse yourself fully in the culture.
You can also take jobs and internships across the country. I am spending my summer interning at PulsePoint Group, a crisis communication and digital consulting firm in Austin, Texas. For the second time in my life, I packed up my belongings and moved to a place I had never been and didn’t know anyone. In exchange for the familiarity of home and the comfort of having those I know around me, I have gotten an adventure that I will never forget. I live in a house with seven awesome roommates, who are mostly students at the University of Texas. I spend my week working for a company with clients all over the world, and I spend my weekends paddle boarding on Ladybird Lake, hiking Greenbelt trails, listening to live bands and shopping on South Congress.
In college, you get the chance to leave your heart all over the place. Part of mine is in Des Moines, where I grew up and where my family is. A part of my heart is in Tulsa, where I have had the opportunity to learn and change and meet incredible people. After this summer, I will leave another part in Austin, a city that has surpassed all of my expectations. It’s true, you never feel entirely at home in one place again. Instead, you get to claim a bunch of different places as a part of you, and that is so much better.
Last year, a classmate and I organized the first ever TEDxUniversityofTulsa. TED, which stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design, seeks to spread powerful new ideas through moving, interdisciplinary talks. TEDx events are planned and coordinated independently, on a community-by-community basis.
In my first year as an organizer, I had the benefit of not knowing just how arduous a task I was taking on. However, planning this event for the second time gave me the opportunity to improve it and build a great team. This year’s event was aimed at sparking discussion and connection around our theme, “Truth and Dare.” We chose this theme because truth often requires us to be daring, and daring often leads us to new truths. Our speakers and performers shared their truths and challenged attendees with their dares.
This year my co-organizer, Sam Beckmann, a sophomore computer science major, and I worked to make this event a campus tradition. We chartered the organization through TU’s Student Association and put out a call to campus for team members. We got fellow students to help with everything from film to stage management to budgeting to graphic design. TEDxUniversityofTulsa is completely student run and dependent on the skills of the students on our campus. Similarly, our speakers and performers are all University of Tulsa students and faculty, which allows us to showcase the incredible ideas and talents of our community. We had speakers on topics ranging from energy and sustainability to history and museums to psychology and professional development. We had two musicians perform, one folk singer/songwriter and one indescribable remix of a popular song, as well as a spoken word artist.
In the interest of keeping this event going each year, each organizer plans the event for just two years and trains the next leader, so sadly this was my last year in charge of this incredible event. It is bittersweet to realize I am passing this event on and entrusting it to someone new, but I know that it is in good hands with Sam and his next co-organizer. I can’t wait to see what this grows into as it changes and improves each year.
This is something special. Our campus will continue to be defined and inspired by events like this – events that are planned and executed by students for students, driven by innovative ideas and aimed at changing perspectives.
I booked a plane ticket to fly to Chicago and live there for the next three months. That’s right. Downtown Chicago. Within a one-mile radius of Millennium Park, the Shedd Aquarium, the Art Institute and Navy Pier. I’m definitely excited, but I’m also sad about the things I’ll be leaving behind here in Tulsa as I head off to my summer internship.
Here are some of the things I’m going to miss most:
- Five Stars on Five Dollars– Food is delicious. Tulsa food takes it to the next level. There’s a good deal for college students every night of the week. From burgers and fries at McNellies to $3 pizza slices at Andolini’s and my all time favorite $2 puffy tacos at Elote, you’d be hard pressed to say I ever go hungry. The food is delicious and the atmosphere is light, fun and top notch. I will definitely miss the slightly embarrassing feeling of being able to call up one of my favorite restaurants and have them know who it is based on my order.
- Postcard Status– Before leaving for summer, I walked around campus sighing about how beautiful TU really is. Maybe it’s because it’s the end of finals and I’m just really happy, but I don’t think you can argue that TU is a hidden gem in the middle of the Midwest. The blue and yellow flowers with McFarlin in the background and the sound of graduating seniors ringing the bell in the distance makes me fall in love with it all over again. It makes me feel safe and happy, and there is no doubt that TU is my home away from home.
- What’s a stranger?- Walking across my beautiful campus is only made better by the fact that I see familiar faces everywhere I go. Whether it’s a good friend, someone I sit next to in class, that one guy who went to the same meeting as me, or the girl I see in the Chick Fil A line at lunch every day, Tulsa students are just flat out friendly. The number one reason I chose to attend TU was I felt like I would fit in well with the student body and find people who had similar goals and values as me. That still rings true and it creates a vibrant community of friendly, kind, driven, intelligent, and fun-loving people. I am thankful to be a part of this family.
- QuikTrip- The inaugural entrance into TU student life is your first trip to QT- and after that? You’re hooked. I’m going to miss the random trips (whether it’s 2pm or 2am) to get a coke, peanut butter M&M’s and ice cream whenever my heart (or stomach) so desires. It’s the perfect 10-minute study break complete with snacks, a car jam or two, and, most likely, some ridiculous shenanigans.
- Random Times are the Best Times- My eating schedule isn’t exactly “normal” and my sleep schedule is completely wonky. But I love that some nights I go to bed at 3am, sometimes I have Mexican food at 11:15 at night, and sometimes I wake up at 4am to study. From being an engineering student to a student tutor and a leader on campus, you could say my schedule is a tad hectic. But I appreciate that every day is a new adventure and no day is ever the same.
There are a lot of perks to being a TU student (actually it’s the best job in the world), but the number one, top of the list, all summer long thing that I will miss is my friends. I’m going from living in a house with 26 girls in the middle of good ole Oklahoma to a single apartment in downtown Chicago. You think I’d be psyched. But in reality, I’m going to miss always having a friend to run to Starbucks with, someone who will start a movie at 1am with me, and somebody who is willing to consume more ice cream than our body weight together.
I’m going to miss always having a friend who listens when I’m stressed about school or boys or life (because sometimes it is hard). And most of all, I’m going to miss the people who make me happy when we’re all sitting in a room doing something as boring as homework, having someone to laugh with about all things ridiculous, the game nights and the movie nights, and the people who are just about the best people I know. Sure, I’m going to make lots of new friends this summer and have some amazing experiences, but there’s no doubt I’m sad to be leaving Tulsa and the people that make it great. In fact, I’m already counting down the days I get to see them again.