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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Why I chose OU, why I still care about Mountain Home

Posted Thursday, May 31, 2012, at 2:33 PM

I figured here was a good place to talk about my decision in-depth.

When I was getting ready to apply for college, my decision making had two fairly unique dynamics to it.

1. Cost was not really an issue, thanks to the G.I. Bill my mom and dad earned and gave to me (Thanks, Mom and Dad! <3)

2. My parents were not likely going to be anywhere near me during college. (Sure enough, they received order to Japan shortly after I was accepted)

After a lot of research and struggle, I made the decision to go to the University of Oklahoma.

I wanted to have some family support near me when I left my parents' watch.

This has panned out perfectly. Every holiday, my relatives invite me to join them. They call frequently to make sure I'm okay, always reminding me that if I need something, they will be there quickly to help. Easter Sunday I got to go to church, enjoy a nice dinner and spend time with my aunt and uncle. They let me stay the night before move-in so I wouldn't have to get up super early to drive from Arkansas. I get to see my grandmothers. Instead of being along at the scholarship ceremony, I had family cheering for me in the audience. Though my parents are 21 hours worth of travel away, I still get to feel that welcoming family atmosphere. I couldn't trade that for anything.

OU's journalism program has some of the best opportunities for me

This is what I want to do for the rest of my life. Every day I leave work at the Oklahoma Daily, I feel so right.

OU is home to one of the best journalism colleges in the nation, and the newspaper that serves the university (separate from the college), is nationally-ranked.

I've had, and will continue to have, the opportunity to work with some incredible people. Had I stayed in Idaho, I could not say the same- the journalism programs are good, but not this great.

Beyond that, OU is just an incredible school. Between my fraternity family, my coworkers, and friends, I never, for even a second, regret moving here.

This is my line in my fraternity. (Left to right) Darrian, my little; me; Kyven, my grandbig; Victor, my twin; and Kevin, mine and victor's big, after Darrian's initiation.

Some of my fraternity brothers (I'm in the pale blue shirt) and the people who run Closer to Earth after we dug up a front yard to turn it into a garden. We worked with Closer to Earth for several service projects.

It kept me close to my boyfriend

After 3 years in high school together, it would not have been so easy to stay in Idaho while Ryan moved back to Arkansas, and I couldn't ask him to stay in Idaho when neither of us had family there (his mother was preparing to move back to Arkansas as well, since her husband retired from the Air Force in 2010.)

Ryan lives with his mother, 6 hours away from OU. His extended family, which I consider my own as well, are always welcoming when I come to visit. I get to see his nephew fairly frequently, which makes me so happy, because I've known that baby since he was born and it was hard to watch Ryan's sister move away in early 2011.

Me and Ryan at our first OU football game!

Ryan and I have survived our first year living in separate states, and we are the stronger for it. I honestly don't think I would have changed the situation- being together in separate states allowed us to focus on school and get settled in the grown-up world, because the dynamic of a high school relationship is different.

Though my experience at OU is not one I plan on trading, I still care very much for Mountain Home.

I explained this in a comment on my last blog also.

Mountain Home is my hometown. I was not born here, nor was I here for the majority of my life. But I spent 6 years in Mountain Home, longer than anywhere else. I, honestly, grew up here. I had my first legitimate boyfriend here, I learned a lot of really hard life lessons here, I found the job I want to do for the rest of my life here, I made some incredible friends here.

I met Ryan here. I learned to drive here. I graduated here.

Me and Ryan at graduation.

I don't want to live in Mountain Home, or even in Idaho, when I graduate. There are some people in Mountain Home I wouldn't want my family growing up around, that I don't personally want to be around (I know this is true for just about anywhere, but in a small town like Mountain Home, it's hard to avoid those people). I don't like cold weather, and I don't ski or snowboard. The opportunities for work as a journalist (me) or a teacher (Ryan) are diminishing quickly in Idaho.

But some of my friends are still there. Many of them will remain there. Because I love Mountain Home, care about the image associated with it, I want to remain proud when I say I'm from there. I want to visit my friends and see that their families are happy and growing in a good environment.

I blog on this website because of those feelings. I blog on this website because I love the discussions we have on here.

My dad will probably not live in Clinton, Oklahoma my mother retires (actually, I'm fairly certain since his plans as of now are to open a bar on a beach in Florida). But he still reads their newspaper. He still watches or listens to his high school's football games when he can find the broadcast, and he gets excited and cheers them on.

That's why I haven't left Mountain Home News' blogosphere.


Comments
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Apparently, my earlier comment got deleted or I was too ditzy to save it.

I think that you are a very wise young lady. I have appreciated your insightful blogs.

Coming from a small town in Idaho and moving to a large city was quite a culture shock for me. I miss those days where you recognized everyone. I miss the friendly waves.

Enjoy all of your adventures.

-- Posted by KH Gal on Thu, May 31, 2012, at 8:45 PM

Your a strong young lady with strong opinions. Sounds like you have a great life and career ahead of you. Stay strong, keep the good memories, and don't let the little buggers get to you!

-- Posted by royincaldwell on Thu, May 31, 2012, at 5:55 PM

Happy to hear from you Melodie. You're right, it's pretty much the same everywhere. I grew up in Mountain Home, raised kids, and now my kids are raising children. Life is what you make it, and the rest is a learning experience. I hope you visit, and who knows, maybe you'll be back!

I've heard LOTS of people "Can't wait to get outta here!", so often, the ones that want out the worst, are the quickest to come back. Don't let others ruin your memories here..... You're doing fine!

-- Posted by jessiemiller on Thu, May 31, 2012, at 5:36 PM


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A Different Perspective
Melodie Lettkeman
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I'm a staff writer for the Tiger Tribune, and I have a lot to say! Music, books, movie reviews, my opinions and updates around the high school.
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