My Road Began at TU

Jennifer AllenToday’s Tuesday with Tulsa blog post comes to us from Jennifer A., a 2009 TU graduate with degrees in Spanish and Psychology.

If I had a chance to do it over, I would. College, that is. Choosing the University of Tulsa for my undergraduate education was the best decision for my life. I graduated from TU in 2009 with a double major in Spanish and Psychology. I could never recall all of the things I learned while at TU, but the further removed I am from college life, the more I realize the true impact TU has made on my life. Sure, TU was some of the most exciting and eventful four years of my life, where I met my best friends, my fiancé, made lasting relationships with professors, where I gained independence and the confidence to know that I could succeed in life…TU is where I was challenged to excel and supported to reach my goals.

After graduation in 2009, I moved away from Tulsa to begin a doctoral program in Clinical Psychology. Until you’re there, you can never quite appreciate how demanding doctoral programs can be; thankfully, TU laid a strong foundation for me to go full-steam ahead and approach graduate school with perseverance, a sense of self-assurance, and knowledge that set me apart from my peers.

It is a long, windy journey to reach the end for a Ph.D. Part of the requirement is an internship year and a post-doctoral residency. Currently, I’m finishing my internship year and will complete my residency at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, starting in September 2014. I am BEYOND excited that I received an offer to train at such a prestigious and well-known hospital. At St. Jude I will receive specialty training to become a board-certified Pediatric Health Psychologist. I will work directly with families and children who have been diagnosed with a life-threatening terminal illness. My role as a resident will involve providing psychotherapy and psychological assessment to patients to improve their quality of life, serving as a member of a multi-disciplinary treatment team, conducting research, and working in several specialty clinics. Given my areas of interest, my research and specialty clinic experience will overlap in that my research will focus on pain and sleep disturbances as a side effect of cancer treatment. I will also provide therapeutic services to patients and parents so they can learn how to manage some of the side effects of cancer treatment (e.g., teaching Mindfulness techniques to address pain, use of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for the treatment of insomnia). At St. Jude I will encounter clinical cases that are not seen elsewhere and I will receive top-notch training.

The process is linear, you see. As a Golden Hurricane you are set up to succeed. TU gives you wisdom and abilities that you won’t even realize are being transferred to you…until you’re at a point where you’ve reached your goals and will recognize how TU not only shaped your life as a college student, but also the path to becoming a professional. Without TU I’m not sure where I’d be, but I’m certain no one would be calling me “Dr. Allen.”