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My Take On TU: I Love TU!

The email below was sent by Amy Smith, a freshman biochemistry major from St. Louis, to her admission counselor, Teresa Bont, just a few weeks after she arrived on campus this past fall. Amy’s excitement is contagious, don’t you think?

Hi Teresa!

I freaking love TU. The campus is beautiful, and everything is exactly as I hoped it would be. I have made so many new friends here and I love the atmosphere. I really love how big TU feels, but at the same time is small and homey. My classes are great and my professors are all really nice. Since I came in with so many credits, I’m already taking pretty much all science classes, which is great for my major of Biochemistry.

I’ve joined a few clubs on campus, and they are a blast! I go to two-step every Thursday and I have met and danced with so many new people and learned lot’s of new moves. I’ve also gotten involved in the Red Cross club on campus, as well as AED (the pre health professions club) and Student Health Advocates Association (SHAA). All of them are so much fun, and there is always free food 😉

I did not get involved with greek life, but that definitely doesn’t mean that I am excluded from anything. I know at a lot of big schools greek life is necessary to get involved, but at TU that certainly isn’t true. I have plenty of greek friends and I hang out with them all the time, and I still get invited to a lot of the greek events.

Homecoming this past weekend was also so much fun! It’s really cool to become a part of all the TU traditions, and being at the bonfire and going to the game was quite the experience. Also, campus was the most lively that I have seen it. There were so many people and so many festivities that it was impossible to be bored. I love that at TU there is always something to do and someone to hang out with and that you never run into a face that isn’t friendly. I really do feel so much at home here.

The city of Tulsa is beautiful. I love the view of downtown from the library steps, and I even got really lucky that I can see the skyline from my dorm room in Hardesty! So far I’ve tried a bunch of the local restaurants (all amazing by the way), and explored some of the hotspots, such as Cherry Street, Utica Square, and Guthrie Green. I didn’t end up going to the state fair, but I heard a lot about it from people on campus. We went to the center of the universe, watched the fireworks from the driller stadium, and went to the Rose Garden all in the same evening! There is always something to do in Tulsa, and I never get bored.

All in all, TU is such a wonderful place to be, and I could not be happier with my choice to enroll here. I love TU with all my heart and I’m so glad to call this place my home. Hope this is helpful 😊

Amy

My Take On TU: Top 10 Cool Spots On Campus

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!

SPECIAL COLLECTIONS
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…

Tulsa GIF by SB Nation - Find & Share on GIPHY

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.

SKELLY FIELD
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.

HARWELL FIELD
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.

My Take on TU: Miami Beach Bowl Experience

Senior Haley Anderson traveled to Miami, Fla., to see the Golden Hurricane play in the Miami Beach Bowl on December 19. Here is a recap of her experience.

10 Realizations of a Tulsan Visiting Miami Beach for the 1st Time

 

1. Year-Round Summer is a thing… and we’re definitely into it.

When we left for the Tulsa airport, it was 3 degrees. When we stepped off the plane in Miami, it was 85 degrees. An 82 degree swing in temperature was a welcome change from the frigid Tulsa cold front. I’m all about snow and cozy winter clothes, but sometimes it can be a downer. Spending every day of the year in sunny summery weather may get old eventually, but at the time it was hard to convince me otherwise.

2) Trains are a great form of transportation.

So I’m a pretty big Harry Potter fan and I’ve always wanted to go on the Hogwarts Express, but I’d never actually been on a train until Miami. I have to say, it’s probably the best form of transportation apart from flying on a broomstick. Some friends and I took a train ride along the Florida coast from Fort Lauderdale to Miami. It was quick, cheap, and a really fun way to travel.

3) Coconut juice is great for aesthetic purposes, not as much for taste.

After we checked into our hotel, our first destination was the beach. We went out in the water to find sea shells and jump through waves, tried to tan and not sunburn, and commemorate the moment with tons of pictures. We bought a few coconuts to really capture the whole beach-vibe, and discovered that coconut juice really isn’t the best. So, it was decided that they would make a great prop for all of our beach pictures.

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4) Transportation- it’s real life Fast and Furious. Pedestrians beware.

Miami drivers mean business. When they’re going somewhere, they’re going as quickly as possible. Everything and everyone moves so fast. The cars, people on roller blades, runners, skateboarders, everyone. Needless to say we stood out like a sore thumb of Midwestern tourists trying to navigate our way through the chaos of South Beach.

5) People don’t know that Oklahoma is a State.

A surprising amount of people couldn’t locate Tulsa on a map, and an even more surprising amount of people didn’t know that Oklahoma was a state. Eventually they got it when we explained that it’s “the frying pan state above Texas”, which hurt my Okie heart a little more than I can say. Rest assured they knew exactly where Tulsa, Okla., was after meeting us.

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6) Sunglasses are a necessity. So don’t forget them.

I made the rookie mistake of forgetting my sunglasses before leaving Tulsa. So I spent the first afternoon taking squinty-eyed pictures and tanning with a T-Shirt over my face. Fortunately tourist shops are around every corner stocked with sunglasses, and who doesn’t love modeling sunglasses?

7) The city doesn’t sleep, so you probably won’t either.  

Everything in Miami is open much later than in Tulsa, and everyone is out. All the time. All of the restaurants, shops, and streets were bustling with people throughout the entire day and night, on a weekday. There was a ton of excitement and so much energy everywhere we went. When my head finally hit the pillow at the end of the night, I was out cold in under a minute.

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8) Baseball stadiums can be converted into football stadiums.

So the bowl game wasn’t actually at a football stadium, it was a baseball field converted into a football field. The Marlins stadium housed the beach bowl, and it was a really beautiful arena. We had a perfect view of the Miami skyline across the field. Also, there was a Marlins sign that had moving dolphins and water spraying out of it to celebrate when each team scored. The excitement never wore off even after we’d scored a million times. #ReignCane

9) TU is the ultimate Beach Bowl Champion, but we already knew that.

Not only did we win the game, we destroyed it. TU swept the floor with Central Michigan, winning 55-10. We also set new records becoming the first team in FBS history to have a 3,000 yard passer, two 1,000 yard receivers, and two 1,000 yard rushers in the same season. #ReignCaneEvenMore

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10) The Miami life is a fun getaway, but Tulsa will always be home.

As an underclassman, I always heard stories about the Memphis Bowl game from 2012. Seniors swore up and down that it was the best experience they had as a TU student. We waited and wondered what it would be like to attend our own bowl game and create our own story, and finally 2016 answered our prayers. As a senior, I could not have asked for a better last TU Football game.

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So, now we have our own story. That favorite TU memory we’ll tell anyone who will listen. As our story ends, I hope that you’ll pick up where we left off. Join the TU family and hopefully you’ll get the chance to make your own bowl game memories!

My Take on TU: My Life as a Study Abroad Peer Advisor

sina 2Today’s My Take on TU is written by 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.

Going into my sophomore year I wanted to join a group that really captured my drive for academic achievement and my passion for traveling abroad.  Over this past summer I studied abroad in a small medieval town, San Gemini, Italy.  I loved the uniqueness of my program, as I studied ceramic restoration, and how supportive the Center for Global Education was during the application process.  They were available for questions any time I needed them and encouraged me to pursue a program that was catered to my academic goals.  When I returned to the United States I wanted to share my positive experience and help guide other students with the process of going abroad.  The logical organization to accomplish this was through the Center for Global Education.

img_7197I was hired as a Peer Advisor at the beginning of the semester and love every aspect of my involvement.  This year there are five Peer Advisors.  We each have a unique perspective having collectively studied in Italy, South Africa, Spain, and New Zealand.  A meeting with a Peer Advisor is the first step in the study abroad process, as I help students search and explore different programs that interest them.  Meeting one-on-one with students is my favorite aspect to my job; I meet with people from diverse backgrounds, assorted majors, and different levels of travel experience.  I love how interconnected the Center for Global Education is with the entire campus.

img_7287Along with advising students, I also give classroom presentations to students around campus to inform them of study abroad opportunities at The University of Tulsa.  The Center for Global Education strongly advocates for every student to study abroad.  Through the classroom presentations, we are trying to change the perception of study abroad.  The study abroad experience is accessible to everyone in any major, it isn’t unaffordable, and it will make you a stronger candidate when applying for jobs.  I believe that all students should study abroad during their time at TU, which is why I became apart of the Center for Global Education.  Study abroad helps students become better world citizens, opens up job opportunities, and allows students to gain experiences that they can’t get from a classroom.

img_7791The experience I had abroad in Italy has shaped my vision for the rest of my time at The University of Tulsa.  I gained a new life perspective that I want to continue to grow, and I plan on doing just that through more study abroad.  I am immensely thankful to be apart of the Center for Global Education’s efforts to get more students to study abroad each year.  I have first hand knowledge on how valuable the experience is and how it can both enhance your time in college, and impact your life.

My Study Abroad Experience: The Dominican Republic

12219510_890565517700906_6255608414153645308_nToday’s blog post comes to us from Ellen Emeric, a junior majoring in sociology. Ellen was recently awarded an NSF/REU Summer Fellowship on “Investigating Social Disparity and Social Vulnerability,” in the Department of Sociology and Landscape Architecture & Urban Planning at Texas A&M University. 

In the Fall of 2015, I spent my semester in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic. I knew I was going there to study, but I didn’t anticipate that the experience would help me to grow as a person as much as it did. My city of Santiago was home to about 500,000 people, comparable to the size of Tulsa, and I stayed with a host family who lived 20 minutes walking distance from the university I attended, nicknamed Pucamaima.

I took a full schedule of courses, all but one of which were in Spanish. I had the opportunity to explore specialized topics, such as feminism in the Caribbean region and Dominican forms of dance. One of my favorite classes covered the history and status of Dominican-Haitian relations as a result of a thirty-year anti-Haitian dictatorship in the Dominican Republic during the late 1900s. This course actually had zero Dominican students in it; it was all exchange students from Haiti. As an international student, opportunities like that gave me the chance to engage with different kinds of people, and understand differing perspectives on economic and social issues that seem outwardly objective.

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Hiking the hills of the Eastern Pennisula

In addition to the incredible experiences I had on campus, I learned many things from my host family, and not just about language and culture. My host mom taught me so much about life, faith, and strength. She is a dentist who owns and manages her own clinic in the metropolitan area and is a single mother of four equally successful young adults. When life became difficult or overwhelming, she was there to brighten my day, provide encouragement and give me a hug. From my host mom, I learned how to make tostones (fried green plantains), how to make curtains, and how to belly dance. Some days, our ordinary interactions were what made me feel the most at home in this new place.

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Ruins of a 13th century sugar mill

Personally, I did a lot of growing. I took a course on intercultural communication and learned about sources of conflict (and cooperation) between different populations. Through overcoming the language barrier, I conquered a large portion of my fear of embarrassment; my vulnerability in unfamiliar situations brought out a confidence I never knew I had. I grew in tolerance and acceptance of others, and taking a step back from my own culture taught me that a global perspective is equally as important at home and abroad.

Historic monument to the Revolution Heroes, a short walk from my neighborhood.
Historic monument to the Revolution Heroes, a short walk from my neighborhood.

No essay or article can accurately capture the fullness of my experience in Santiago. Public cars, traffic jams, endless bus rides, service trips, empanadas, mosquitoes, merengue, rice, avocado, language mistakes, and an infinite amount of flexibility are just a few of the things that could characterize my trip. More importantly, however, I left more of my heart in the Dominican than I ever anticipated I would. My time there was challenging, but most certainly unforgettable. I wouldn’t want to have had it any other way.

Fall In Love With Greek Life

IMG_1147Today’s blog is from Brittany James, a junior Mechanical Engineering major from Lee’s Summit, Mo.

Greek Life is love, encouragement, confidence, silliness, a community, an opportunity, a lifetime of truth and loyalty, and a support system. Greek Life is my life. But it wasn’t always that way. In fact, most people from my high school were surprised I not only went through recruitment, but that I stuck with it. And I haven’t just “stuck with it”; I’ve fallen in love with it. Just what is it that makes Greek life so special? What makes me want to put my letters on everything I own and throw what I know in every photo with pride? Why should you give sorority recruitment a shot?

Check out the flow chart for some of the more basic arguments, but if you really want to get to the heart of it, for me it really comes down to three things.

Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 1.05.40 PM
IMG_0610The first is the idea of being a part of something bigger than myself. My sorority history, ritual, and values transcend both time and distance. Through it, I have had the opportunity to meet sisters from across the United States and prove to myself that my sorority is more than a dot on the map in the middle of Oklahoma. One of my favorite sisters I’ve ever met is a 96-year old woman named Fio. Fio has been a Greek woman for 75 years. She is a major donor to my organization, and she still joins in the dance party when Katy Perry is singing.

Women like Fio remind me that being a Greek woman isn’t about me, myself and I. Instead, it’s about the girl scouts I mentor, the sisters I make smile on a bad day, the people I help in our community, and the national and local leaders that inspire me. I have no doubt that my sorority has given me the confidence, tools, and support needed to be a part of the small acts of change in the world for the better. The grand scale Greek life composes is extraordinary and has the power to do amazing things with such amazing women involved. To be counted among those women is both a blessing and a continuous inspiration.
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And although my little dot does extend beyond Tulsa’s boundaries, my sisters here are my support system, my encouragement base, and my best friends. They encourage me to do the things I never would have imagined myself capable of, and they don’t let me stop there.

From supporting me on our executive council as a freshman to pushing me to be President, they’ve helped me discover a lot about myself and changed the direction I want my life to go. They’ve also completely embraced all of my little quirks and obsessions. They fill my Facebook wall with cute corgi videos, banter about my baseball teams with me, and let me eat all the Mexican food I want.

The only thing they’ve put their foot down on is wearing socks with flip flops, but I suppose I can’t really blame them for that. And while those are the things I’m passionate about, my sisters have different likes and obsessions. There are those who can sing like Adele (I can’t even clap on a beat) and others are vegan (hello, have they heard of ice cream?). And while I don’t have those things in common with them, there’s more to us than our likes and our interests. Instead, it’s our values that unite us and bring us together. Be it as simple as sharing corgi videos or supporting me as President, there’s nothing quite like a sisterhood.
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Lastly, I sincerely believe that my involvement in Greek life makes me a better person everyday. I don’t think it’s changed me; I’m not a different person because of Greek life. But I am a better person because of it. I always said, “Oh no, Greek life isn’t for me.” But that’s what society was telling me, and, like usual, society had no idea what it was talking about. If I didn’t care about academic success, becoming a strong leader, and making friendships based on my values, then yes, Greek life wouldn’t have been for me. But I do care about those things. I care about them a lot, and Greek life helps them become a reality for me.
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I am a lot of things. I’m a girl. I’m an engineer. I’m a daughter, and a sister, and a granddaughter. I’m a community volunteer. I’m a Presidential Scholar. I’m a role model. I’m president of the engineering honor’s society on my campus. I’m a national leadership award recipient. I’m a corgi lover and a baseball fanatic. But above all, I am first and foremost a Greek woman in everything I do. So yes, I love wearing my letters and throwing what I know for artsy Instagram photos. But more than that, I love my sorority for the value it has added to my life. I would encourage anyone to take the chance and give sorority life a shot. Some may decide it really isn’t for them, and that’s completely okay. You will still have the opportunity to meet great girls and make friends through the process. But I would be willing to bet that the majority of people will surprise themselves and fall in love with it- just like I have.

A Spirit Of Service At TU

10733948_10152891713646095_333273391774010913_oToday’s post was written by Jordan Hoyt, a senior Mechanical Engineering major from Tulsa, Okla.

Due to my brothers and sisters in Alpha Phi Omega (Service Fraternity), I’ve highly associated volunteering with one of the most fun experiences you can do in college. Some of my best memories in college have been playing with puppies while volunteering at the ASPCA and scaring kids (politely of course) at the annual HallowZOOeen festival. But it’s also one of the most important things you can do in college.

4th July 1975: American tennis player Arthur Ashe (1943 - 1993) holding aloft the trophy after beating compatriot Jimmy Connors in the men's singles finals at the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships. (Photo by David Ashdown/Keystone/Getty Images)

A great tennis player, Arthur Ashe, once said, “From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life.” This has been my favorite quote for a while now, but it wasn’t until about a year ago while volunteering for a psychology assignment that I truly felt what it meant.

After learning that a local alternative high school known didn’t have a science teacher, I knew it was my opportunity to make a difference. I gathered up supplies to replicate demos I had seen in my Mechanical Engineering classes and headed out. Expecting to inspire rooms full of students and become the next Bill Nye The Science Guy (BILL, BILL, BILL, BILL!), I was somewhat disappointed to see only two students in the room I was assigned to. But I still did the demos cheerfully and got some interaction. After my hour of volunteering, I left the room feeling a bit disappointed that I wasn’t able to inspire people or make a difference. But before I left the school, a teacher ran to catch me and said this: “I’m not sure if you knew, but one of the students you were talking to just lost his brother to a shooting three weeks ago. He hasn’t participated in class or hardly even talked to us until you came into class today. Thank you.”

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I can’t promise that all of your volunteer experiences will be like the one I just described. But I can promise that you meant the world to someone just for showing up. From what you learn in your classes here at TU, you can make a heck of a living. But what TU also encourages you to do is to give back and make a difference.