Earn Your Wings is a week for incoming freshmen at Oklahoma Christian University to acclimate into their new home as Eagles. Earn Your Wings allows students to participate in fun activities and build relationships in order to find their place amongst future classmates and faculty.
Savannah Matthews and Trenton Dobbs, the directors of Freshmen Experience, shared their vision of what they want Earn Your Wings to mean to freshmen.
“It’s so cool for them to get to come a week early and get to experience the campus before anyone else,” Matthews said. “I think it’s so impactful for them because they’re finding their place before the busyness of the school year. It helps them to put their mark on campus.”
Matthews said Earn Your Wings is not only impactful for incoming students who are hesitant or nervous, but it is also widely impactful to the upperclassmen that had chosen to volunteer as well.
“We have staff members that are all upperclassmen that come in and get to return those same joys they got to experience their freshmen year, and now, they are able to return those same blessings to the younger class,” Matthews said.
Through Earn Your Wings, all students are assigned hub groups, a small group of people who bond through activities and competitions. Freshman Maggie Overbey had the opportunity to be a part of the winning hub group.
“The people you meet in your hub have connections with other people, which then, in turn, you meet more people through, which creates a constant cycle of getting to know people,” Overbey said.
As fun as Earn Your Wings is, there may be times where students feel overwhelmed with the constant activities. Lucas Martinez, Director of Earn Your Wings, shared his and Brittany McKnight’s vision to aid both the introverted and extroverted during the week.
“From a director’s standpoint, I think it’s incredible because this year we worked hard to comfort both the extroverted and the introverted,”
Martinez said. “We made sure there were still moments where you got your time to meet other people and if you got overwhelmed, there were people who were overwhelmed too.”
Earn Your Wings is a chance for the Oklahoma Christian community to reignite and find their lifelong friends.
“There’s nothing like Earn Your Wings that shows freshmen the sense of community here at Oklahoma Christian,” Martinez said. “From the staff, to the people you come into school with, to everything we put on, we do our best to show everyone what they’re getting themselves into is essentially a big community they’re going to love.”
Although the theme for Earn Your Wings, This Is Our Year, is heavily related to the movie, Cheaper By the Dozen II, there are many interpretations of this theme. Martinez said he personally took the Earn Your Wings Theme into account.
“I really relate it to the story of Covid,” Martinez said. “I like to think the phrase, ‘This Is Our Year’ says this is the one time we’re going to get it right. We’re not going to have any interruptions and we’re going to finally have a full school year where we can take everything in and really enjoy it.”
Not only does Earn Your Wings equip freshmen for a week to settle in, it is a gateway to student success.
“That’s what this place does. It gives you the opportunity to get involved, to get people to know you, to write your own story and leave your mark on this campus,” Martinez said.
Earn Your Wings may only be a week long, but it is far-reaching in its efforts to transcend into the school year and leave a permanent mark in the lives of incoming freshmen.