I was excited and scared and a little overwhelmed when I arrived on that huge campus. Of course the decision to be here was made during high school. Read that explanation under my Will Rogers High School Page at THE BIG DECISION ABOUT UNIVERSITY page.
Rogers had been a big school for me after El Dorado, Arkansas, but this one was really big! First I was put in Vance House Dormitory with a stranger roommate from Oklahoma City, since I had no close friends going there from Will Rogers High School. I was never close to this first roommate or my second one in Sequoyah Dorm, but we got along okay and at least neither one was one of the wild drinking boys that I soon discovered there were a lot of there! I ate my meals in one of the school dining halls and did my laundry at a public washateria down the street, off-campus I think. I was in a new world of independence with lots of adjustments to make, but generally liking it!
Menu – My 3 Semesters at OU
- Freshman Year Whirlwind
- Losing a Medical Career or Gaining a New Purpose?
- The Big Influence of 2 New Friends
- The Directions BSU Gave My Life
- My “Mission” at Oklahoma Baptist Children’s Home
- The Life-changing Seattle Summer Mission
- The Impact of Multiple Jobs at OU
- Adjusting Sophomore Must Change Schools
- GALLERIES: OU Scrapbooks, Photos, Letters
- GALLERY: Seattle Summer Missionary ’59
- Limited Family Visits While at OU
- Letters Home Tell a Story Too!
My class schedule turned out to be more overwhelming than the bigness and wildness of the campus! (Both were overwhelming!) 🙂 A counselor for Pre-med students put me in these advanced science and math classes and I was nearly destroyed during my first semester! I later decided that these counselors did this on purpose to “weed out” some of the too-many Pre-med students. And he succeeded with me! By the end of second semester I decided to switch from Pre-med to a general degree or what they called a “Letters” degree, which basically meant you did not know what kind of work you were going to do – though I was getting a pretty good idea in my head that it would be some kind of church-related ministry, just not a medical missionary as I had decided in high school. 🙂
You see, after the shock and wildness of the dorm, I found the BSU, Baptist Student Union, and started going to activities there and it was without a doubt my new “home away from home” complete with a resident “Mother” who was maybe called hostess, and the BSU Director, Art Driscoll, became a friend whom I later worked with at the Baptist Sunday School Board and went to church with at First Baptist Nashville before he died there. Also there was an Asst. BSU Director, Rony Ryan, whom I also became close to as a friend all the way through my youth ministry in Miami where he spoke at a summer camp for me! But maybe even more influential on my life were two other freshmen boys who both lived at home there in Norman and were strong leaders in the BSU, Willis Moore and Gary Stringer. Willis was an OU Geology Professor’s kid and Gary the son of the local Baptist Association Missionary (title then for association director).
They quickly became my best friends for my three semesters at OU and I’m not sure why they accepted me so quickly and so fully, but we were almost “the three musketeers,” at least around the BSU with Gloria Valouch the one girl who ran around with us (and later married Willis). Because I was still new there and still a little overwhelmed by everything, I was the follower and the two guys my leaders, though mainly Willis, the strongest of the three personalities. Before long they had me performing in silly skits, leading prayer meetings and devotionals, and even going out on a team witnessing to other students in various dorms. I went on a BSU Retreat at an the big Oklahoma Baptist Camp, Falls Creek, working on mission activities at the state Baptist Children’s Home (orphanage) and we even went to Fort Worth for the seminary’s World Mission Conference which I said at the time changed my life forever.
At the BSU I was overwhelmed in a positive way that I really liked. With my difficult time in advanced science classes I was losing the “medical” from my dream of “medical missionary” and beginning to focus on just the missionary part, realizing that there were many ways I could serve or minister to people without being a medical doctor, which may also have been an excuse for the poor grades. Not sure of everything going on in my mind and soul at the time, but the way words are just pouring out of my head as I write this, it was evidently a major turning point in my life.
I wrote this “Summary” first and will now try to write more details in the menu articles with photos added where possible.