Not like the movies, but better?

By: Julianne Tran

I remember around this time last year, as I wrote college application essays and noted every single volunteering event and club I participated in, I envisioned what it would be like in college. I thought of all the movies and shows that depicted a young girl beginning the “best years of her life” in college. I thought of Rory starting her freshman year at Yale in Gilmore Girls, Melanie going on a road trip with her dad before leaving home for the first time in College Road Trip and Elle Woods preparing to graduate and go to law school in Legally Blonde. Although not the most Academy Award-winning movies and shows, they were embedded in my mind as images of what college could be like – a time filled with excitement, leisure and change.

A beautiful view of McFarlin in the morning
A beautiful view of McFarlin in the morning

Now, as I am nearing the end of my first semester at TU, I can truly say that college is not like the movies. But that’s actually not a bad thing.

College: so much more than a career launchpad

What many of these shows and movies never depicted was all the class time and hours spent studying. While studying is not the most glamorous activity present on a wide, glossy screen, my time spent in class has been especially exciting, sometimes in the most surprising ways.

My favorite study spot in the library!
My favorite study spot in the library!

Looking back at my schedule and all that I have learned, I realize just how expansive my classes have been. If someone had told me I would spend much of my first semester of college discussing Aristotle, Socrates and Cicero in class, I would not have believed them. I would not have believed them if they told me I’d be learning Spanish Linguistics while memorizing animal phylum, while learning how exercise affects the body, while learning about social entrepreneurship. I would have told that person that I am going to college, graduating and moving along with my life. I remember once saying in the midst of college application stress, “I just want to skip college and go right to having a job and a life!” Now, that exclamation itself makes me wince.

Fall with friends in Tulsa, OK!
Fall with friends in Tulsa, OK!

I have now come to the realization that college is more than simply a launchpad to a career and the rest of my life. It is a place of intellectual growth, of curiosity and of learning to be a good person, a good friend and a good citizen in our society. While that is a flowery sentiment that would have made me roll my eyes in high school, I wholeheartedly stand behind that description of college.

Setting up an impromptu friendsgiving in a study room in Lottie
Setting up an impromptu friendsgiving in a study room in Lottie

Learning, growing, discovering

During my first semester at TU, I have learned just how valuable it is simply to learn – to learn from some of the greatest thinkers in history; to learn about how to lead a healthy, balanced lifestyle; to learn how my attributes are significant within the community; to learn that there is so much – so much – more for me to know about the world (biology has most of all shown be that you can always look deeper, though I may not always want to go into all that detail). I am not simply in college to rush through, complete required classes, and move on with my life. It is through this time that I can fully grow into the person I want to be.

Heading off to study on a nice fall day!
Heading off to study on a nice fall day!


Julianne Tran is from Mustang, Oklahoma. She is majoring in exercise and sports science on the pre-med track, with a minor in Spanish. Julianne loves dancing and trying to make entire meals in her dorm room microwave. “I hope to finish my time at TU as a kinder, smarter and better-equipped person!”