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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

Technology management sophomore Ashley Mendoza and communication junior Madeline Sturm work at the MSC Help Desk on Monday, Nov. 20, 2023. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
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Texas A&M LB Taurean York (21) speaks during the 2024 SEC Media Day at the Omni Hotel in Dallas, Texas on Thursday July 18, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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Bob Rogers, holding a special edition of The Battalion.
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Chancellor John Sharp during a Board of Regents meeting discussing the appointmet of interim dean Mark Welsh and discussion of a McElroy settlement on Sunday, July 30, 2023 in the Memorial Student Center.
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Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp announced Monday he will be retiring on June 30, 2025.  A figure notorious in state politics,...

Sophomores comment on atypical first year

Photo by Photo by Abbey Santoro

The Class of 2024 will enter the 2021-2022 academic year with a fresh start while being able to experience many freshman traditions on campus for the first time including society, ethics and law sophomore, Katie Hornick.

As fall classes commence, the Class of 2024 faces a unique challenge coming off of a year of college education without many of the key elements of a freshman experience. Missing out on the in-person aspects of events like MSC Open House, Howdy Week, Fish Camp and other introductions into the Aggie Network, the rising sophomores are looking forward to soaking in the traditional back to school season on campus.
For economics sophomore Will Kohmuench, the most difficult parts of the hybrid freshman year experience were the barriers to making friends. Kohmuench said it has been challenging to see the incoming freshman have normal interactions with their peers.
“Not coming in with an already established group of freshmen and friends made the transition to college a lot harder,” Kohmuench said. “On top of that, we were stuck in our dorms, so it’s not like you could go out on campus to make those friends or join those student [organizations] you wanted. It made the transition that much harder. I see all these freshmen having their normal Fish Camp this year, and I can’t help but feel jealous.”
Though this aspect has been difficult, Kohmuench said he is ready to make connections as he returns to campus.
“I’m looking forward to actually making friends in my major, meeting people and going out and doing things,” Kohmuench said. “I’m excited to hopefully have a normal college experience these next three years now that we’re back.”
As a new student on campus, business sophomore Lizbeth Marquez said she is most excited about having more social interaction, even 
just seeing students on their way to class.
“I am looking forward to actually going to class in-person,” Marquez said. “I only have two in-person classes, but I’m excited about seeing people’s faces and being more interactive, and seeing more people on campus in general. I’m excited to see more people and really seeing what A&M is all about.”
Marquez said she is particularly excited for sporting events, but also day-to-day interactions as a college student.
“Most of all, I’m excited about football games, but everything else, too,” Marquez said. “I don’t really know what everything is like in person, like Rec-a-Palooza or even just walking into a classroom and seeing a whole bunch of people.”
Marquez said it was very difficult to make connections during last school year, even as a social person.
“The hardest part, and I’m sure this is a very common answer, is meeting people and making friends. There wasn’t a ton of in-person events, or networking, which is what A&M is about,” Marquez said. “I usually had to force myself to go out and make friends. The masks didn’t help with communication, and people were skeptical about meeting up.”
Kohmuench said one positive that came out of an unorthodox freshman year was learning how to manage his time, and feels this will help him going into this semester.
“It’s very easy to procrastinate online work,” Kohmuench said. “I didn’t really know how to study in high school, so coming to college and having online courses all day all the time was really hard,” Kohmuench said. “If I didn’t set a schedule for myself, it wasn’t gonna get done until five minutes before class or the due date.”
Society, ethics and law sophomore Katie Hornick faced a different challenge last year, as she already had a taste for what normal A&M life was like. Hornick said she had many older friends who attended A&M, and it was difficult to hear from them what she was missing out on.
“What was hardest for me was not being able to do what I was told to do by all of my friends who are older,” Hornick said. “Like how big tailgates are and that whole experience I’m supposed to get from A&M, I never got. That lack of having what everyone hyped college about, everything I looked forward to was all modified — it was not the same.”
With the challenges of limited interaction, Hornick said she learned how to advocate for herself and ask for help, and encourages others to do the same.
“Don’t be afraid to reach out to people. With COVID-19, it was something I really had to learn, to put myself out there,” Hornick said. “And, don’t be afraid to ask for help. I know that’s stupid, everyone says that to incoming freshman, but that’s how I got a job and anywhere I was freshman year, because I asked other people for help.”
Kohmuench said he feels it is important to reach out to others, while acknowledging that being new to campus comes with a lot of pressure.
“Get yourself out there,” Kohmuench said. “The biggest thing [I’ve learned] about college is that no one cares. No one cares at all. You’re gonna be walking around campus feeling self-conscious or feeling a lot of anxiety, but I can guarantee you that no one is looking at you, and no one could care less. Sit in the second row, ask your dumb questions, no one cares.”
While Hornick looks forward to making new friends, she said she is most excited about returning to Kyle Field alongside her peers.
“I think I’m most excited about football season, just because I think that’s gonna kick off everything the right way,” Hornick said. “I think it’s gonna get better from there, but it’s a guaranteed normality. The SEC already said everyone is in the stands, so that means we’re having Midnight Yell and tailgates are back, and a lot of kids are vaccinated so it’s just something that’s gonna kick off the year right.”

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