Looking Back, Looking Forward

Here is a guest blog post from Maribel O., a senior Energy Management Major from Arkansas….

When I first decided to be a guest blogger for the TU Admission Blog, I thought it would take me a couple of minutes to write something funny, insightful, and inspiring.  Yet, this brought to mind so many of the memories that I have experienced at TU. Both good and bad.  And it surprised me how quick my journey at TU has been.  Allow me to share my story with you…

As a small-town girl from Huntsville, Arkansas, I wanted to get out of Arkansas. And fast. I traveled to colleges in Missouri, Oklahoma, and California in search of the perfect one.  I wanted to retain the small-town feel that I had grown up in, but not sacrifice the thrill of football games and Greek life.  I found the perfect mix at TU. This sounds super cheesy, but I knew I wanted to be a Hurricane the moment I set foot on campus.  I even made a life-long friend out of my tour guide at Tulsa Time.  (Shout out to Sara M)!  The professor whose class I sat in for Tulsa Time ended up being one of my favorite professors and I proceeded to take two of his classes (Dr. Settle WILL make you learn economics).  My admission counselor was beyond awesome and the entire staff or counselors, advisers, and professors eased the transition from high school to college.

First semester I joined a sorority and I am proud to call some of the most incredible, talented, and caring women on campus my sisters.  But some of my closest friends are non-Greek and I love that TU has the type of environment where affiliation does not impede friendships, but rather fortifies them.  Campus has so much diversity; I have friends from Indonesia, Scotland, China, Venzuela, Uzbekistan, Ireland, Germany, Nigeria, and India.  It is incredible how much you can learn from your friends!  Who knew Kazakhstanian women love telenovelas as much as I do!

Finally seniors!! My best friends and me on bid day 

With friends after brunch with alumni

I quickly learned of the traditions that TU has to offer such as the annual bonfire, football games, Springfest, and International Night.  With the help of my friends I began new traditions such as an annual float trip among our best friends, $3 dollar burgers at McNellies, and “porching” on a warm day.  It took some time, but I managed to find my way around the city of Tulsa. C’mon, I’m from a town of 1,000 people so it took some time to get used to! I also discovered some amazing restaurants in the area.  If you are a fan of Chinese food you MUST try Guangzhou Dim Sum; it’s less than a block away from campus.

We LOVE to support the Golden Hurricane. Isn’t the mini mascot SOOO cute!

One of our friends had a golf themed birthday party. We had to dress up in our preppiest attire.

Academically speaking, I can honestly say that TU captured when with its small class size.  In the beginning I was not sure of what major to choose and thankfully my advisor helped me choose the right one.  I am an Energy Management major with a double minor in Finance and Economics.  My professors while at TU have included the current General Counsel of the United States Department of the Army, managers of Fortune 500 companies, and renowned economists.  All of my professors know my name and keep in contact with me.  This past semester I was part of the Student Investment Fund. It has been by far one of the most challenging and rewarding classes I have taken.  SIF manages over a portfolio worth over $2,000,000 (yes, $2 MILLION) and gains go towards scholarships.  The class manages the portfolio with the help of the faculty advisor. We make financial decisions based on our analysis of the current economy and future projections.  It was very interesting as the class consisted of several international students who brought a different prospective.  I am happy to say we had higher returns than the S&P 500 and were able to increase our holding in several companies.

The Fall 2011 SIF class. We look so smart!

One of the great things about TU is that every major has the opportunity to have an internship during the semester or in the summer. This past summer I spent it travelling between West Virginia, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania running title and looking at potential sites for gas wells.  It was a great learning experience and a chance to apply knowledge to real world situations.  Some of my friends spend their time doing real financial analysis for national banks, designing machines for pipeline companies, researching cancer treatment, or assisting on Presidential campaigns.

A fellow sister and I at a rig in northwestern West Virginia.

Campus itself has undergone tremendous changes. The library got a snazzy coffee shop – perfect when you are writing a 15 page paper and REALLY want need that coffee break.  The Allen Chapman Activity Center (or ACAC for short) welcomed Subway in addition to its already delicious line up of Chick-fil-A, the Hurricane Hut (try the MUDSLIDE smoothie!!), and Bonnicci Bros. Finally, campus added three new buildings thanks to the generosity of donors and alumni.

I will not lie to you.  College does come with its difficulties. There will be times when it seems that there is NO way you will ever understand how to take a derivative or you will feel swamped with homework, tests, quizzes, oh, and that 10 page paper your professor wants by the end of the week. Did I mention that there will also be 3 meetings you have to attend because you decided to be a good student and be super involved?  Those weeks will come and they will be rough.  The calculus tutor will save your grade, the writing center will polish your paper, and your professor will gladly explain the difference between a two sample t test and a one-way ANOVA test.  It’s perfectly okay to ask for help.

Sometimes you just want to hide from school. This is me attempting to hide under the library staircase. It didn’t work…

As a senior, do a tip or two to make your college experience a little more enjoyable.  First of all, have an open mind. College is the perfect to time to reinvent yourself and have a fresh start. Take advantage of that. Secondly, learn to prioritize. We come to school to learn. Academics are important and skipping classes becomes addictive if you do it once.  Trust me, the day you skip may be the day the professor gives a pop quiz or decides to be extra nice and give bonus points. Thirdly, become involved. You will learn just as much outside of the classroom if you just become involved.  Whether it be in Student Association, University Ambassadors, Society of Mechanical Engineers, or the Ultimate Freebee club. These extracurriculars will not only help you make new friends, but leadership positions are great practice for when you become CEO of some fancy company. Finally, network, network, NETWORK!  A lot of times it is about who you know rather than what you know.

At a networking event hosted by Chevron

Tulsa is a great place. I can’t imagine myself anywhere else. I have made some great memories and equally great friends. There is no way I could have made it this far without the help of my incredible friends, my wonderful boyfriend, and all the professors who would text me back when I had a question at 2 am.  I know it isn’t too long until I have to ring the bell that signalizes the end of my time at TU, but I am going to squeeze in many new memories between now and then…

Can’t wait to decorate my mortar board for graduation!