Not Just Another First Day

LaurenToday’s blog post comes to us from Lauren S., a 2015 TU graduate with degrees in Speech Pathology and Psychology. Lauren recently started her first year of law school at Harvard.

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.

Q&A With…Jacob Waters

Jacob WatersToday’s Tuesday with Tulsa comes to us from Jacob Waters, a sophomore Petroleum Engineering major from Oklahoma City, Okla.

What is your favorite spot on campus and why?

Definitely out on Dietler Commons (the Old U). If it’s a nice day out, that’s where I’ll be. Most likely in my hammock either studying or watching Netflix. Or I might be playing frisbee on the grass with my friends. It’s also the best place to watch the sunset in Tulsa.

In five words, describe your experience at TU?

Exciting, defining, memories, unique and home

Why was TU the perfect choice for you?

From the first moment I stepped foot on campus, I knew I was home. The beauty of the campus is like no other school I had ever visited. The friends and memories I have made here are ones that I know I’ll have for life. And, all the faculty members are amazing. They all truly love teaching and want each and every one of their students to succeed.

How did you decide on your petroleum engineering major?

Since I was in the 5th grade I knew I wanted to go to The University of Tulsa and I wanted to be a petroleum engineer. Why is that? It runs in the blood, I guess. Both my father and brother attended and graduated from Tulsa with degrees in petroleum engineering so I thought I would give it a shot.

What advice do you have for high school students who are deciding on which college to attend?

Go with the school where you know you can make a difference,  and then call it your home. Don’t just settle for a school. I knew TU was the place for me, and I have never once regretted my decision.

My Major: Education

As an elementary education major, there are required methods courses that we typically take during junior year.  These courses explore methods, hence the name, that are most effective when teaching elementary students.  I am in my last methods courses now which cover literacy assessments, writing and language development, mathematics, and science.  Last semester, I took a reading methods class as well as social studies.

photo 1One of the main goals of the methods course is to prepare us before we go into our full semester of student teaching.  For the past two semesters I have spent at least four hours a week in an elementary classroom.  So far, I have observed in a third grade class, a collaborative first and second grade class, and now I am currently in a kindergarten class.

photo 5I have been very fortunate to have wonderful field experiences each semester with teachers ready to pour all of their knowledge into me.  Not only do I get to observe classrooms and teaching methods, but I also get to teach lessons myself.  This helps to prepare us before we go into a full semester of student teaching.  Getting to spend a day implementing what we learn in our classes, with real students, is not only beneficial to our learning, but it gives us all something to look forward to each week.

MercedesIn addition to going into classrooms, I also get the chance to tutor a student one-on-one each week for our Literacy Assessment class.  This gives us more opportunities to practice writing lesson plans and to assess a student’s reading level.  Even better, it gives us a chance to spend more time with incredibly cute kids.