Seven types of college FOMO

FOMO, or the fear of missing out, is a staple of young adulthood. But it seems to skyrocket in college. Here are seven types of FOMO most people will experience in college.

1. Multiple friend groups FOMO
This type of FOMO happens when your friend groups aren’t integrated. Maybe you’re hanging out with your sorority sisters, but you see Snapchats of your high school best friends at a party. Or your friends from class at a movie. Or your friends from work at a concert. And though you love the people you’re with, there’s a small part of you that wonders if you’re missing out on memories in other circles.

2. Under-21 FOMO
There’s nothing like feeling your stomach drop when you’re having a night in with friends and one of them says, “Let’s go to the bars!” When you’re under 21, you have two options when this happens: offer to be a DD or pretend you have too much homework to stay out.

3. “I have to work” FOMO
You need money. You’re broke. That’s why you have this job. But every time your alarm goes off, you ask yourself, “Do I really need to eat this week?” And when the weekend rolls around, you aren’t free to go on the day trips and dining sprees that your friends have planned. And every time they invite you, you tell them you have work. But somehow, they always forget and ask again a week later.

4. In-a-relationship FOMO
Spending every spare second with your significant other is easy to do, especially with a first love. Nothing seems as important. But as you’re cuddled up on the couch with your guy or girl, you can’t help but wonder what’s going on at that party you ditched for date night. You pretend to be annoyed at the string of texts from your friends asking where you are. But truth be told, you miss the single life sometimes. And you wonder what crazy stories you’re going to read in the group chat the next day.

5. Academic FOMO
Part of the college experience is being surrounded by successful, smart people. It’s exciting, but it can be anxiety-producing when you hear about everyone else’s GPA, scholarships and post-graduate plans. You have to wonder if you’re on the right track. Should you should switch your major to something more academically impressive? Should you try to join every honors society? How do people even cram in all these classes and meetings? Do they sleep? How is that guy doing five summer internships AND volunteering at a soup kitchen?

6. Social anxiety FOMO
You’ve made plans, but your brain is messing with you. You’ve tried everything to calm down enough to be social. But you can’t shake it. And the worst part is that you WANT to hang out with your friends, you WANT to go meet new people, you WANT to go have fun. But you cancel, sit in bed, and feel terrible instead.

7. Traveling FOMO
It’s summer break. And if you have to see one more oversaturated study abroad photo, you’re going to lose it. Why is everyone and their dog in Italy? Did Karen from honors history just post ANOTHER picture by the Trevi Fountain? Good lord. But also, that’s pretty cool. Should you take a gap year and travel? Should you start saving up to go to Italy, too? Should you call the study abroad office? Like, now?

– Drew
Twitter: @drethegirl

The most Oklahoma things ever

Every state has its culture. Here are the most Oklahoma things ever:

1. Using adrenaline from tornados to text your crush
There’s nothing like the thrill of hearing a tornado siren. There’s also nothing like the terror of sitting in a half-lit shelter, wondering if you’ll see daylight again. But with this fear comes a whole lot of adrenaline. And what a good way to channel it? Text your crush, of course!

And after the tornado, use the relief from not dying to text them again.

2. Having a favorite TV meteorologist for severe weather
Are you a David Payne type of person? Or maybe you prefer Mike Morgan. Oklahomans differ on who we trust for premium weather coverage. But I think we all can agree on one thing: no matter who we watch now, no weather man will ever replace channel 9’s Gary England.

3. Making friends in the storm shelter
Severe weather usually lasts for a few hours, so that means a lot of time underground. If you’re in a public place when the tornado hits, this means hiding in supermarket storage rooms or gas station bathrooms. Spending three hours sweating and laughing nervously with strangers is good bonding. If you’re lucky, your company will be “Seen it all before. We’ll be fine” type of people and not “If the Lord wants to call us home, there’s nothing we can do” type of people.

4. Having five million people text you if you miss church one Sunday

Maybe you’re sick. Maybe you’re out of town. Or maybe you just don’t feel like going. But you know what skipping church means: a text asking where you were from your best friend, youth pastor, head pastor, usher and worship leader. And there’s never a good answer. Missing church one Sunday causes everyone to assume you’re going through a spiritual crisis. Expect many “praying for you” texts. Also expect to be drowned in hugs, love and pure joy when you return the next Sunday.

5. Not being able to tweet certain things because your youth pastor follows you on Twitter
Oklahoman young adults: remember being 14, scrolling through Twitter, and coming across a funny post you wanted to retweet, but it had a curse word in it? Remember wondering if you could get away with sharing it without your youth pastor questioning you at Wednesday’s youth group or telling your parents? And don’t even think about blocking him. He would find out. And then you’d be (lovingly) called out on Wednesday for sure.

6. Your high school math teacher was also a coach
You walk into the classroom. You see a 42-year-old man in a track suit and New Balances. He’s talking loudly to a star athlete in your class. He’s teasing the tennis girls. He has a poster of the football schedule on his wall. He keeps athletic equipment in the classroom. He calls everyone by their last name. He’s nice, but let’s be honest — he probably doesn’t know much about math. He hands out worksheets and devotes the rest of the class to “study time.”

7. Trash-talking Oklahoma to your friends but defending it to outsiders*
It’s easy to be angry at Oklahoma when your school’s funding is cut by the year, racism and homophobia are normal, and every road you drive causes damage to your car. Odds are, you’ve spent countless hours with your friends and family complaining about this state’s problems. But when an out-of-stater says something negative about Oklahoma, your response probably goes something like this:

“This is God’s favorite state! Ever heard of Southern hospitality? I’m sorry people in your state don’t treat everyone like their long-lost child. Remember when OKC got bombed? Oklahoma was nationally known for having helpful citizens. Ever been to Pops? What about Turner Falls? Do you know the joy of four-wheeling down backroads or jumping off the Eufaula Lake dock? We are the home of Reba and Will Rogers! Carrie Underwood sat at my table for Sunday dinner last week, and Baker Mayfield bought me a drink at Logie’s! Boomer Sooner, baby. Our education system may be trash, but our school children say the flag salute every morning AND have a moment of silence! It’s not brainwashing! It’s patriotism!! Call me when you’ve survived three EF5 tornados.”

*submission by Christina Lewis

8. Saying “yall’dve,” and “all y’all”

“If yall’dve cleaned your rooms, you wouldn’t be grounded right now.”

“I’m going to the movies with Sarah tonight, but all y’all can come, too!”

9. Talking with your friends about what your mom used to spank you with
Sydney got the hairbrush.
Kaylee got the wooden spoon.
Jake got the belt.
Will got the old-fashioned hand.
Lynn’s family is from Southwestern Oklahoma, so she had to cut a switch off a tree.

10. Having to “come out” to your parents as liberal, even if it was a single-issue belief

“Mom… Dad… I kinda think single-payer health care could be a good idea.”

11. “Are you OU or OSU?”
This one is far too complicated to chronicle in one blog post. The school-rivalry awareness started as early as kindergarten. It ripped friends and families apart. If you went to your OSU friend’s house, you better not have been wearing crimson. There was never a break. If you liked OU, you were elitist. If you liked OSU, you were a redneck. And the tension didn’t stay at home, either. High school homecoming weeks often had the theme day “OU and OSU,” where students wore their gear from one of the two schools. This day left the school divided. And bedlam was the source of town-wide Facebook fights.

– Drew
Twitter: @drethegirl, @drewatOU

Women in Engineering — OU

Women in the OU Gallogly College of Engineering experience underrepresentation in the department, even though percentages of women in Gallogly are above the national average for engineering departments.
The Gallogly College of Engineering has a gender gap. According to the OU Fact Book’s latest data, women compose 24.8 percent of the engineering college. However, the OU engineering gender disparity is less severe than the national average – a Payscale study found that women make up 18.4 percent of engineering majors nationwide. But OU engineering women still report an increased awareness of gender-related factors in their studies.
OU sophomore Katy Felkner is a computer science/letters major. Computer science is one of the most male-dominated programs in the engineering college, with only 17.8 percent of its majors identifying as female. OU engineering slightly beats the national average – a recent study by the American Society for Engineering Education found that women make up 14.3 percent of computer science majors nationally.
Felkner said she felt confident to enter an engineering field because of her high school math courses and her family’s encouragement.
Since arriving at OU, Felkner has been harassed and witnessed harassment by male engineering majors. She said the most extreme case was a boy who regularly taunted four of the five women in her former physics class.
Felkner said men and women engineering majors are different because men are expected to go into a STEM (science, technology, engineering or math) field, but women aren’t – which usually makes women in STEM more passionate about their major.
“When you’re a girl, you don’t just end up in engineering,” Felkner said. “You make a very conscious choice to be there, and you have to fight for that degree every day.”
Felkner is also vice president of her sorority, Alpha Sigma Kappa – a sorority for women in technical studies. Felkner said Alpha Sigma Kappa is one way women in engineering can stick together.
Lisa Egede is also an OU computer science sophomore. She said her high school left her feeling unprepared for a STEM field, but she loved computer coding and decided to pursue the degree.
Egede said she thinks women don’t usually choose engineering fields because they’re intimidated by the gender gap. Egede said she experienced this same intimidation but was lucky to have had a woman as her first professor in OU’s engineering department. This professor, Egede said, didn’t tolerate gender-related discrimination in class.
Morgan McCoy is an OU chemical engineering sophomore. At 37.9 percent women, her major is one of the less male-dominated in the engineering college. Again, OU engineering is ahead of the curve – the national average for women chemical engineering majors is 32.4 percent, according to the ASEE study.
McCoy said women in her field bear the burden of living up to the expectations of their male counterparts.
“With having so few girls, especially in engineering, there’s definitely a pressure to be as good as the boys or not seem weak compared to them,” McCoy said.
She also said the lack of women in her classes is strange, but it breeds comradery.
“We all kind of clique together,” McCoy said. “It’s really crazy to see [the gender disparity] because you hear a lot about it . . . but you never imagine it until you walk into a classroom and there’s only a couple girls.”
McCoy said being a woman in engineering is tough, but it will pay off in the job market because companies look to hire women engineers. She said this is because women bring forth a different skillset that can expand the company’s success.
McCoy said another advantage of being a woman in engineering is the support she gets from the other girls.
“There’s an unwritten code that [women in engineering] back each other up, help each other out, study together – we all just boost each other up because we know it’s a challenging field,” McCoy said.

Oklahoma’s criminal justice reform

Hey, everyone! Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signed a series of seven criminal justice reform bills Thursday, April 26.

The bills’ goal is primarily to alleviate prison overcrowding. I read the seven bills and outlined what I thought were the most important changes. To see the full bill, click the link.

SB 649
– An amendatory bill relating to sentencing second-time offenses
The bill states that no person can be sentenced as a subsequent offender if:
-10 years have passed since the person completed the original crime’s sentence.
-the person hasn’t committed a felony in the ten-year meantime.
(Also states that a previous drug possession charge can’t be used to enhance punishment.
Before this bill passed, a person could be sentenced as a subsequent offender if he/she had committed a misdemeanor within ten years of his/her first sentence completion.)

SB 650 — An amendatory bill relating to expungement
The bill states that a person can file a motion for expungement if:
-he/she has been pardoned from a nonviolent felony
-he/she hasn’t committed another felony or separate misdemeanor in 7 years
-five years have passed since he/she completed the original felony sentence

SB 689 — An amendatory bill relating to sentencing
Courts can modify a prisoner’s life without parole sentence if:
-the crime committed was nonviolent
-the prisoner has served ten years of his/her sentence
(This bill states that the victim’s testimony must be heard in court and considered when modifying sentences.)

SB 786 — An amendatory bill relating to burglary
-Breaking and entering cars, trucks, trailers and vessels is now third degree burglary instead of second.
-Third-degree burglary sentences can’t exceed five years.

SB 793 — An amendatory bill relating to controlled substances
-The bill exempts marijuana from Schedule I classification as it relates to transporting/possessing with intent to distribute — with this legislation, distributing marijuana isn’t in the same category as distributing cocaine.
-Prison time for transporting/distributing a Schedule I or II substance can’t exceed 7 years for a first-time offense.
-Prison time for transporting/distributing a Schedule III, IV, or V substance, or marijuana, can’t exceed five years.
-Anything past a first offense for drug trafficking must be served out for 50 percent of the sentence.

HB 2281 — An amendatory bill relating to stolen property, pawn shops, embezzlement, etc:
-Stealing or otherwise illegally obtaining property valued at less than $1000 is a misdemeanor.
-Stealing or otherwise illegally obtaining property valued at $1000 or above is a felony.

HB 2286 — An amendatory bill relating to the Pardon and Parole board
For crimes committed after Nov. 1, 2018, a person is eligible for parole after completing one-fourth of his/her sentence, unless that sentence is life without parole. The person must be 60 years old or older.

– Drew
Twitter: @drethegirl, @drewatou

Benefits of Switching Majors

Through high school, my biggest activity was theatre. Looking back, I don’t remember football games or homecoming weeks. I just remember long nights of rehearsing, reading and cutting my performance pieces.

Theatre was everything to me. All my friends were performers, and most of them wanted to act professionally. But I was always hesitant to pursue it.

When the time came to apply to colleges, I set aside my performance background and aimed for the University of Tulsa. I didn’t know what I wanted to do there, but I knew it was a good private school. However, I had two friends at OU Drama, and they encouraged me to audition for the program.

So, I did. And I got in, along with 23 other students from across the nation.

I began my first year at OU as a drama major.

Looking back, I knew deep down drama wasn’t going to work out. I dreaded performing until I was actually doing it. I worried constantly about where I was going to move after graduation. And I knew I didn’t have the right personality type to excel in a rigorous arts program. I needed more structure and less pressure.

On top of that, I had a lot going on in my personal life. I wasn’t mentally healthy, and I felt stifled and unfocused. I lived my life in constant fear and emotional instability. The transition into college had been a nightmare. And studying a subject I didn’t feel passionate about was the cherry on top of a terrible first semester.

So, I decided to leave.

I emailed my acting professor with my news. She emailed me back asking me to come into her office the next day.

The next afternoon, she and I talked over my decision to leave the School of Drama. She asked me what I was going to do next. I told her I had no idea.

She asked me, “What pulled you to drama?”

My first instinct was to say “the rush of adrenaline from being onstage.” But the more I thought, the less true that became. And I realized drama had hooked me because I loved to make people understand. I loved to be in charge of telling a story. I wanted to help open minds. And I was satisfying that with the characters I played.

When I told this to my professor, she listed off possible careers: psychology, creative writing… I can’t remember if she brought up journalism at the time.
But I left the meeting feeling hopeful.

Christmas break, I had just gone through a terrible breakup. I was turbulent and restless. I didn’t want to spend a semester with my major undeclared. But I still had no idea what I wanted to study.

I’ve kept journals since I was in first grade. I’ve never gone more than a couple months without writing in them. And during break, I wrote about how lost and alone I felt. It was the only thing that made me feel like I had any power or direction.

But my final decision to switch my major to journalism was completely random and based solely on instinct — which, if you know me, is very rare.

I was scrolling through a site about the top programs at OU, and I saw something about the Gaylord College of Journalism. I clicked the link, and I felt happy and excited for the first time in months. I yelled to my mom in the kitchen, “I’m going to try journalism!” She expressed her support immediately — but to be fair, she’d been so worried about my mental health that she would have enrolled me in clown college if that would’ve made me happy.

So it was decided.

The next semester, I started my first journalism class.

I tried to leave theatre behind completely. I thought I was going to be doing something entirely different.

And then I took Gaylord College’s infamous “weed out” class: Media Writing and Storytelling.

When I started the class, I was surprised when I already knew how to tell a story effectively, even in print form. I knew how to use words clearly. My acting professor had stressed the importance of strong verbs, which are key to both acting and journalistic writing. I had also learned not to split the infinitive — in my acting professor’s words, “you can’t ‘to not.'” Most of all, acting had taught me how to tell the truth in an interesting way, which came in handy for reporting.

And it didn’t end there. I found that theatre had helped to develop my networking skills, even in one semester. I knew how to read a room. I knew how to analyze people a little better. I knew how to comprehend others’ motivations. And that was powerful for me, since I’m often pegged as naive.

My point is, I found a way to use effectively what theatre had taught me, even though I wasn’t performing anymore.

I had been ashamed to switch my major. I felt as though I’d lost a semester to theatre. But theatre helped me with journalism more than I thought possible. It helped me in my other classes, too. And later, so did journalism.

My point is, switching majors is scary if you don’t know exactly what you want to study. But it’s a sure-fire way to create a liberal arts curriculum, even though you may tack on a semester to your college time. If you’re unhappy with your major now, just know what you’re learning WILL come in handy at some point in the future.

– Drew
Twitter @drethegirl

The Dark Secret of the Shurbaji Administration

Nestled in the back of OU’s Oklahoma Memorial Union is Crossroads. The restaurant –whose mozzarella sticks and cheese fries pollute the bodies of students 24 hours a day — has two main types of customers. The first is freshman — crossroads takes both points and meal swipes, so every meal plan works. The second is student leaders in the SGA office — they’re often nearby in the Conoco late into the night, and Crossroads comes in handy for a midnight snack. SGA President Yaseen Shurbaji falls into the second category.

However, something dark and unholy lurks in Shurbaji’s seemingly innocent connection to Crossroads.

Over my extensive *two-semester* career as a student journalist, I’ve often heard people refer to Crossroads as “Croads,” a nickname that’s both auditorily and articulatorily revolting. But this a mostly-freshman habit, so I don’t usually have to hear it from my friend circle. However, that changed yesterday when I put the following picture on my Snapchat story:

Many responded to voice their agreement, including SGA Congress Secretary Mackenzie Cordova. But around 11:30 p.m., I received a snapchat from President Shurbaji. He responded to my story and said he, in fact, calls Crossroads “Croads.” I, being an upstanding citizen who doesn’t tolerate buffoonery, berated him for this toxic habit. We had a brief argument that ended with Shurbaji saying, “Bet you won’t write an opinion piece on it tho.” Well…

The usage of “Croads” to describe Crossroads is deplorable at best. “Croads” reminds me of the inflammatory bowel issue known as Crohn’s disease. It also sounds like what you’d call a cat’s fecal matter when it’s coated in litter — “I got all the croads out of Fluffy’s litter box.” It sounds like an insult, too — “I caught him texting his ex. What a croad!”

I would like to clarify that I have no personal issue with Shurbaji. He and I have gotten along swimmingly since he’s taken office. Until now, that is.

The SGA president’s crudity and blatant disregard for what is morally and linguistically correct makes me question his capability and character. We need to hold President Shurbaji responsible for his reprehensible choices. We deserve a leader who has enough respect for himself and his constituents not to subject innocent ears to this type of vulgarity. Seriously, Shurbaji, what if a child were to hear you?

“Crossroads” is not that difficult to say. It has two syllables. There is no need to shorten it. But since the “Croads” epidemic is already on campus, the least our president can do is uphold his intellectual integrity and refrain from perpetuating this unholy, ignorant trend.

“Thoughtful criticism and close scrutiny of all government officials by the press and the public are an important part of our democratic society.”
– JIMMY CARTER, Farewell Address, Jan. 14, 1981

“The greatest patriotism is to tell your [SGA president] when [he] is behaving dishonorably, foolishly, viciously.”
― Julian Barnes, Flaubert’s Parrot

Reported news story — OU funding decreases, scholarships increase

The Oklahoma Legislature and the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education have made funding cuts to the University of Oklahoma over the last four years, which has caused OU’s need-based institutional scholarships to increase due to a push for private donations to fill the financial gap.

OU has taken a near-$34 million funding cut since 2014. However, funding for need-based institutional scholarships has increased by over $5 million in the same stretch. This is mostly due to a flood of donations, financial aid officials said.

“There have been huge efforts to advertise the fact that our state is cutting back on us, and we need private donations,” said Caryn Pacheco, Financial Aid Services director.

Pacheco said donors contact the university’s development office or the OU Foundation when they want to give. She said some of these funds then become institutional scholarships to help students as tuition increases.

Pacheco said the Office of University Development and its vice president, Tripp Hall, have people who are responsible for recruiting donors.

“I don’t know how many development officers [Hall] has out there wining-and-dining and going out and talking to people,” Pacheco said. “They establish relationships and get those donations.”

Jessica Schwager works in the Scholarship Office. She said Oklahoma’s difficult financial times cause donors to want to give back. She said development officers distribute flyers with info on OU’s financial gaps and ask patrons to increase their donations.

Schwager said the only scholarships donations can’t fund are state scholarships like Oklahoma’s Promise.

OU junior Jake Mazeitis said he wouldn’t be at the university if it weren’t for institutional scholarships. He is a recipient of the Ruby Brakebill scholarship, a Society of Fellows scholarship and more.

Mazeitis said he believes OU President David Boren’s incentives for private donation have helped increase scholarship funds.

Pacheco also said Boren’s connections help increase donations.

“[Boren] is a walking advertisement for us each and every day,” Pacheco said.

Oklahoma leads the nation in higher education funding cuts, according to an Illinois State University study.

Pacheco said she thinks this is because people look at college as a privilege government shouldn’t have to provide.

“The government gets you through grade school, middle school and high school, and you can get out and get a job [after that],” Pacheco said. “It’s a privilege to get to go to college.”

Mazeitis said higher education funding is among the first to go in Oklahoma because many people don’t have an education.

“I think that while the majority of state legislators probably have a degree, the people that they represent don’t,” Mazeitis said. “And there’s a mistrust of higher education.”


Reported news story — Shurbaji appoints cabinet, former opponent to executive assistant

A new Student Government Association president and vice president are adjusting to their new positions after being sworn into office Feb. 2 at the University of Oklahoma. The new president has appointed his cabinet and named his former opponent as executive assistant.

Yaseen Shurbaji and Hannah Hardin are now the head of the University of Oklahoma’s executive branch. Shurbaji has just finished appointing his cabinet. He has named Daniel Williams — his former presidential opponent, who accused Shurbaji of campaign violations and appealed the election — as his executive assistant.

Williams said he appealed Shurbaji’s election because of campaign offenses, primarily a logo infraction. Williams said he’s known as a stickler for the rules and took action out of principle, not a personal issue. He said he accepts the court’s decision to allow Shurbaji to take office.

“At the end of the day, I do feel maybe a little bit bad for delaying their administration as much as I did,” Williams said. “But ultimately, I’m going to work with them not only to remedy that, but to make sure that they have an effective administration to serve the students.”

Williams said Shurbaji most likely appointed him to executive assistant because of his SGA experience and knowledge of the association’s rules. He said his executive assistant job involves keeping the administration tenable to the SGA code and acting as a guiding presence. Williams said his position is unique, as he reports to Shurbaji directly.

In regard to Williams’s appeal, Shurbaji said he admires the democratic process and commends Williams for speaking up for what he believed in.

Shurbaji said mature leadership is about knowing your strengths and weaknesses. He said he believes his own strength is communication and his weakness is lack of SGA experience.

“Vice versa, Dan is brilliant,” Shurbaji said. “He, in my opinion, knows the most about SGA than any other undergraduate student right now. That being said, a weakness of his, I think, is communication.”

Shurbaji said it’s beneficial for him and Williams to combine their strengths and weaknesses to serve the students.

“At the end of the day, we’re both here for the same purpose, regardless of the position and title,” Shurbaji said.

Ingrid Gao serves on Shurbaji’s cabinet. She said Shurbaji and Williams have been working well together so far. She also said Williams’s position is beneficial to the group and an example of Shurbaji’s talent for incorporating different types of people into a functional body.

Shurbaji and Hardin promised to focus on diversity, sustainability and transparency in office, according to their campaign website. Gao said the administration is currently working on all these issues, specifically transparency and diversity.

“We are very hard workers,” Shurbaji said. “We’re the type of leaders where it should have been done yesterday, and we are going to get things done.”

Gao said joining Shurbaji’s cabinet was the best decision she’s ever made.

“I really wanted to learn more about how student government . . . works, and I feel like SGA is a first step for me to probably do more stuff for OU,” Gao said.

The Student Government Association at OU gives students an opportunity to participate in campus politics. The organization is a three-branch system modeled after the U.S. government.

SGA tackles issues like diversity and inclusion, campus safety, student health and other concerns in the OU community.

Campus Activities Council chair, Undergraduate Student Congress representatives and Student Bar Association president are positions now open for the Spring application process, according to the SGA website.