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  The Vista Online  
story image 1 Dr. Jim Bidlack

My Turn featuring Dr. Jim Bidlack

by Dr. Jim Bidlack
April 16, 2001

As President Webb and Chancellor Brisch address UCO’s increased funding allocations, students are preoccupied with finals week. We all wonder what it will take to get through finals, eventually graduate, and progress towards a rewarding career. Final exams in the Spring are, perhaps, the most difficult for students because of the warm weather, concern about summer employment, and the reminder of how 16 weeks of learning will be resurrected during a 2-hour exam that determines the final grade.

Perhaps knowing that your performance on final exams can change your future will make a difference. Moreover, as state leaders work behind the scenes during finals week to promote the prestige of your degree, you will appreciate what UCO does for your future. It’s a team effort among students, faculty, staff and administrators to help you get the most out of your education.

It was not long ago that I went through the same dilemma of the big question, ‘to study, or not to study,” for finals.

I don’t recall the year, but I sure do remember the cascade of events that forced me to study for finals. There was this place a few blocks from the Student Union called the Arboretum, where students went to study on the lawn, play Frisbee, watch the girls in swimsuits, and listen to rock bands that occasionally played on the hill. I had just purchased a motorcycle and couldn’t wait to grab my backpack and cruise out to the Arboretum. It was my intention to have an afternoon of fun in the sun, rock-and-roll, and biochemistry with the girls playing Frisbee.

On the way to study for this big biochem final at the Arboretum, I passed what was soon to be the new Molecular Biology Building and saw a few of my classmates headed for the library to study. They flagged me down, and I ended up studying with them that afternoon in the library and, later on, at McDonald’s down the street.

It was one of the most productive study sessions I had ever had, and I managed to get a good night’s sleep and go to the final more prepared than ever.

While I would have been satisfied with a “B” for the final grade, those friends helped me earn an “A” in a pretty tough course.

In retrospect, I probably would have been satisfied with the “B,” but acing that final made the following week of celebration, and completion of the degree, much more rewarding. And, to my amazement, I was actually able to remember the stuff I learned in biochem during my final oral exam for a Ph.D. several years later. That study session with colleagues paid off.

Those same students who helped me with the biochem final have been friends ever since. They went on to find jobs and now include a full professor at North Dakota State, a NASA scientist, a Research Associate in Virginia, a Minister in Iowa and a substitute teacher / McDonalds employee in Florida (we kid the guy working at McDonalds). We keep in touch and promote the school that awarded our degrees.

As a result of our efforts and many other alumni, the university has continued to gain credibility and funding has been good. In turn, our degrees have gained prestige, and the good grades we earned promote credentials for our careers. This kind of school spirit supports new students seeking reputable degrees that earn them jobs in today’s market.

Your hard work at UCO before and during finals week is significant. Graduates from UCO have catapulted this university to regional and national recognition. Exemplary performance of UCO students on CPA exams, top teacher placement in local schools, participation of art students in renovation of the State Capitol and superior acceptance rates into medical schools around the nation are just a few of the many credentials that follow UCO graduates into the workplace.

Remember this as you prepare for finals and continue to make a positive difference for you, your career, and society. UCO’s recognition and reputation benefit from your academic performance, persistence and enthusiasm.