by Katie Carter
2016 University of Oklahoma Graduate
Throughout my college career, I gained once in a lifetime opportunities and experiences. One such opportunity was serving four years as a University of Oklahoma tour guide. I was able to welcome students to campus and explain all OU had to offer. Upon my day of graduation, when I gave my final tour of the OU Campus to my family, I looked behind me and realized they had been there all along. I recognize that many of my friends and peers, both in college and leading up to it, did not have the same resources and opportunites I have had.
As a senior at Jenks High School, I knew I wanted to attend OU and was willing to do anything to get there, so was my family. After not receiving automatic admittance from OU the first go round, I attended an OU Tulsa dinner. Meeting with President Boren, handing him my resume and giving my elevator speech as to why I deserved to be a student, granted me a phone call from President Boren’s secretary two weeks later with a “congratulations!”.
I vividly remember stepping foot on OU’s campus for the first time during an orientation camp, having no idea everything OU would offer and give to its students, myself included. High school students face many obstacles when it comes to attending college. No obstacle should be too big or too difficult to keep anyone from pursuing a college degree.
My experiences as an OU tour guide taught me about the tremendous opportunities a college experience affords. From scholarships and involvement, to the LGBTQ community and work-study programs, I knew no incoming freshmen would feel alone. OU encouraged everyone to appreciate unique backgrounds and ideas, being a part of the Sooner family. This idea truly shaped who I am today. I would not have gained these outward views if it weren’t for OU. Through hands-on learning, leadership opportunities and outlets to make a difference, college shaped me as a person unlike any other experience could.
OU was a place to grow for me, as many universities are for other students. I graduated in May 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and a minor in Non-Profit Studies. I am working at 21C Museum Hotel in Oklahoma City and would not have received an offer if it weren’t for my OU experience. Additionally, my OU experience would not have been possible without the support of my family along the way. I hope more students are able to enjoy and grow from a college education the way I have.