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Column: Hey freshmen, OSU’s president is new here too

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Running full steam ahead, OSU President Dr. Kayse Shrum shows no signs of backing down.

The first week at OSU is always chaotic for freshmen.


Most students will scramble around campus after not walking their schedule beforehand –– a handful of whom are going to end up in an organic chemistry lecture when they should be in creative writing. Some forget to call their parents because their professor already assigns them a dreaded test in the first week. At some point, you’ll probably feel like your new world is overwhelming.


As hectic as it seems, keep this in mind: new OSU President Kayse Shrum had a much rougher start when she got here this summer.


Before she even took over, Shrum’s workload was daunting. She had to plan what the school would look like from a COVID restrictions perspective, create a vaccine campaign and further push OSU’s mental health resources to students. Not to mention, she also had to move houses and learn the tedious day-to-day aspects of being OSU’s president. 


It was a lot. Thankfully, it was July, things were quiet on campus and there was no indication any bombshell stories would throw her off track. Yeah, that lasted less than a month.


On July 21, 2021, days after Shrum’s first day, the Houston Chronicle reported Big 12 rivals OU and Texas were looking to leave the conference for the SEC. The story quickly developed from hearsay to grim reality and in the blink of an eye, they were gone. The move seemed especially petty since OU –– a school that usually keeps OSU in the loop with things –– did not communicate it at all, blindsiding Shrum and new athletic director Chad Weiberg. This is like the ultra-extreme version of your new OSU friend group ditching you at a party.


Did Shrum cower in fear after this because she’s the new leader in town? Not at all. In fact, she pretty much crushed it with her response.


“This action was strategic, deliberate and results from months of planning with the SEC," Shrum said. "These conversations, which developed over a long period, are a clear breach of the Big 12 Conference bylaws and broke the decades-long bond of trust between our universities. It is difficult to understand how an Oklahoma institution of higher education would follow the University of Texas to the detriment of the state of Oklahoma."

Shrum’s message showed she’s not messing around with her time here. She could have easily released a monotone statement saying that “OSU is weighing their options,” but she chose to strike back. She didn’t let a little adversity get in the way of her goals to dominate.

And you shouldn’t either. 

When looking at this year, you should treat every obstacle like Shrum did with this OU-Texas situation. Are you going to have exhausted days where you don’t feel ferocious enough to do so? Sure –– finals week does exist after all. However, you should always remember just because you’re new here doesn’t mean you can’t leave an impact. Shoot, just look at Cade Cunningham. The first overall pick of the NBA draft this year was taking freshman seminar class at OSU only a few months ago. Youth does not exclude you from reaching your dreams –– and you can definitely do that at this school. 


College can be a hard place if you let people walk all over you. But if you act like Shrum did this summer, it won’t happen to you at OSU.