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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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How to make the most of freshman year

Freshman+year+survival+kit
Photo by Photo by Brandon Holmes
Freshman year survival kit

As a record-breaking total of 11,000 freshmen set foot on campus, new students may be wondering how to adjust to college life.
When figuring out bus routes, adapting to living alone or negotiating a heavy course load, it’s important that students have a supportive community. Fish Camp, Freshman Leadership Organizations (FLOs), fraternities and sororities all provide new students with opportunities to connect. Additionally, a host of pre-professional organizations help students network and prepare for the workforce.
Travis Johnston, biomedical science graduate student is a Fish Camp director. Johnston said he’s passionate about connecting students through Fish Camp, as an Aggie who benefited from the community as a freshman himself.
“I just remember coming into A&M and my anxiety definitely sparked at that time, so it was difficult for me to get out of my comfort zone and want to get involved,” Johnston said. “Just being away from home and having to adjust to this new life was a lot to deal with.”
To help students find their niche on campus, Aggies host events like the Memorial Student Center (MSC) Open House where over 1,000 organizations come together to recruit new members.
“Just being away from home and having to adjust to this new life was a lot to deal with,” Johnston said. “But I forced myself to go to the MSC open house and find some organizations that I thought would fit what I was interested in and some things that I thought I would like.”
Joining together students with passions for anything from recreational sports to arts and culture, Aggieland offers a diverse range of organizations to help students get involved. To discover more activities that are happening outside the classroom, students can browse the organizations online.
“It’s really kind of sad to go through college alone and I think getting involved provides you with a chance to do something that you are interested in doing yourself,” Johnston said. “It really connects you with other Aggies and there’s so much to learn from people around you.”
Stephanie Duck, management information systems graduate student and Fish Camp director, said she first experienced the Aggie family her freshman year on the bus ride back from Fish Camp when she learned her flight back home to New Mexico was cancelled.
“I didn’t know what to do and everyone who was sitting around me offered for me to stay in College Station with them, that they would drive me to Austin, Dallas, Houston, literally anywhere to get to an airport where I could [fly home],” Duck said. “And in that moment, everybody being so ready to help and so willing to help, it made me realize what’s so special about A&M.”
Having seen the benefits of Fish Camp for herself, Duck now works as a director to help other Aggies get connected.
“It makes going to class, coming to campus and staying in school a lot easier when you’re walking through it with your best friends,” Duck said.
Johnston said students that become more involved on campus are often less likely to drop classes.
“Through Fish Camp I’ve had multiple different types of freshman, so you’ll see those that get really involved … and you can just see them excel because they have that support group from their fellow classmates and friends,” Johnston said. “And then you have those other people who didn’t really get involved and were really focused on academics at the beginning … they start to get burnt out.”
To narrow down A&M’s long list organizations, industrial distribution junior Adi Iyer said freshmen should make a mental list of their interests. Students can be a part of organizations based on what they are most passionate about.
“I went to MSC open house and different informationals for different organizations,” Iyer said. “[I] just kind of gauged which ones met with my ideals and what I would like to do and also where I would fit in the most.”
Many students find their place on campus by joining fraternities and sororities. New to campus, Iyer became a member of Alpha Sigma Phi to meet more people.
“I feel like I benefited a lot because it opened the doors for plenty of opportunities,” Iyer said. “I’ve made some of my closest friends there. We’re more like family now and that’s the most benefit I could get from anything.”

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