In 2014, I had the wonderful opportunity to study abroad in New York City, Chile, Jordan, and Nepal—all in the course of just 16 weeks. My program was one of six IHP/Comparative programs that SIT Study Abroad offers—Human Rights: Foundations, Challenges, and Advocacy. Rather than attending an international university or simply studying in one country, we were, quite literally, globe trotters and, if you’ll forgive the cheesy cliché I am about to type—the world was our classroom; we learned through experience. Even in sitting down to write a basic summary of my study abroad experiences I am overwhelmed—how can I possibly condense 16 weeks, four countries, and such a vast wealth of knowledge into a few paragraphs? While I could quite literally talk for days, I will attempt to keep it as short and sweet as Jordanians’ beloved sugary milk-tea, but bear with me—
When I was looking at engineering programs across the country, nearly all of them stood out for incredible research and cool projects. But something made TU special, and because of that, I have never regretted my decision to come here. What makes TU engineering special is its heart.
Just peek into Stephenson or Keplinger Halls on a Friday afternoon and you’ll see the students of SENEA- Sustainable Engineering, MADE- Make a Difference Engineering, and EWB- Engineers Without Borders spending their free time working on projects that matter for people. Because of their hard work, TU engineering students have affected people in need from Mongolian farms, to The Little Lighthouse down the road here in Tulsa, to the mountains of Bolivia.
I’m sitting in a circular lecture hall surrounded by other new students who are all nervously opening their textbooks and reviewing their notes. I’ve certainly had a lot of first days of school (this is number eighteen to be exact), but this one is different. It’s a first day that I’ve been working toward my whole life and one that will shape my future career: this week I started at Harvard Law School.
It seems like yesterday that I was starting as a biochemistry major at The University of Tulsa. Part of the reason I chose TU was because of the excellent pre-med advising and research opportunities (spoiler alert: I didn’t graduate with a biochemistry major). It didn’t take long for me to realize that medicine wasn’t my best fit. Thus began a circuitous route through majors and classes, concentrations and advisors, culminating in liberal arts degrees. In hindsight, I wouldn’t trade my indecisiveness for anything; by allowing me to explore my options, TU gave me the opportunity to find what I’m truly passionate about – advocacy law.
Freshman year I accompanied my orientation group to the Student Association Activities Fair. One of the best ways to succeed in college is to get involved- and get involved early! TU has a student group for anything and everything you can imagine. Over my four years, I studied abroad in Italy, taught a second grader how to read, advocated for student health, mentored high school students, and played intramural flag football. And although my flag football career is over, the opportunities and interactions that I experienced at TU are what led me to law school.
So as you are beginning your journey to TU, I urge you to start with an open mind. In college, your ideas will be challenged and your interests expanded. Go out of your comfort zone and explore something new. Who knows, you just might find your future.