This was always my dream.
Since before I could ever even think of wanting anything, going to and getting a degree from the University of Oklahoma has been an enormous goal of mine. Through the highest and lowest points of my life, the goal of earning that degree has pushed me through it all.
Today, I will officially receive my Bachelor’s of Arts in Journalism for Public Relations. A Sooner forever.
I fell in love with OU as a kid riding on my Dad’s shoulders through Fall leaves the way many young Oklahomans do: watching Sooner football. The university is in my family’s blood, going back through my Dad’s mom’s side as far back as you can look. Much like my college years, following the football team as a kid took me from Pasadena to Miami, experiencing legendary players and moments along the way.
While my dreams of playing for the Sooners died in high school (5’8, 145 fullbacks don’t cut it at Heritage Hall), my passion for the school didn’t. Through what truly were the most difficult years in my life, I somehow scrapped out a decent enough GPA to let my good ACT score vault me into the school of my dreams, getting admission into the University by a hair in late April 2014.
I arrived on campus in August with potluck roommate, a few basic decorations for my room and a Wii U. I’ll never forget the moment my Mom left my dorm after setting it up and feeling so completely overwhelmed with how alone I felt. Thankfully, my close friends from back home who also went down to Norman were there to help ease the transition. Without them, I don’t know if I’d have the confidence to go out at meet the great people I did at OU.
After a few weeks of realizing I was missing out on Greek Life, I found a family with Sigma Nu, a group of guys who I’m incredibly proud to call lifelong friends and brothers. From setting up tailgates weekly to the random weekday hot tub sessions at Crimson Park, the moments with these guys freshman year are some of my most cherished memories. That set up some tremendous years.
When I wasn’t in class or messing around in Norman that first Fall semester, I was on the road, following the Sooners. No trip sparked my love of road game travel more than that first road game in Fort Worth with Blake, who was years away from sailing the high seas. The game ended in a loss (which would turn out to be the one true road loss I would see), but without that experience I don’t know if I would have ever gotten the spark that made this website.
Fort Worth also spawned a second home for me, and it would be an omission if I didn’t shout out the TCU boys and for showing me around. My life would be much poorer if I had never drank a Wild Acre, had Haim brisket or enjoyed an evening at The Pub.
Over my years, I put over 100k miles on my dear old Honda Pilot in road trips and from the long road trips to every little hop down to Dallas, I enjoyed every trip in every city. Yes, even the Lubbock ones. I’ll always cherish moments like the wild New Year’s Eve in Miami, the thriller against Baylor in the pouring rain, escaping death in Lawrence, spending a weekend in an RV Camper in Ames, and without need for comment, the epic that was Columbus.
I’ll miss Norman deeply. From early morning Bagel Cafe (NORMAN’S IS BETTER THAN THE OKC ONES AND I WILL MISS IT), to nights at O’Connell’s with pitchers and Ranch-hands, leaving that food will leave a hole in both my heart and stomach. I’ll miss the way the trees turn in the fall, the long walks from Chautauqua, not having to pay for parking on gameday and summers at The Cottages pool. After five years, Norman has truly become more of a home than I’ve ever had.
As leave OU, the one project I am most proud out is this very website. When I started this project, I did so as a leap of faith. I wrote, but wasn’t a writer. I had considered doing something like this, but it wasn’t until days before kickoff that I just went and did it. I’ll never forget writing that first article on my phone at Das Boot, terrified about showing my work to the world, laying my talents bare. The same fear was ten fold for the launch of The Schooner Pod last August.
While the clicks, views and listens have never been world-breaking, it was never about that. It was just about making something and having them enjoy it. If even one of you have, I consider all this a success. If we ever do blow up someday, that mission will remain the same. I’m looking forward to keeping this thing rolling into my post-grad life.
As for what I’m doing next? All I know is that there are big things on the way.
I cannot possibly thank everyone who has supported me along the way enough for all they have done for me. It means the world to me. Because of your support, at some time today after 4 PM, the little kid who rode on his dad’s shoulders will achieve something he’s wanted all his life. I guess there are only two phrases left to say.
Thank you and Boomer Sooner!