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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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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Freshman follies

Being surrounded by new faces on a campus rich in timeless traditions can be intimidating for new Aggies, but no one said surviving the first year was an easy task. During this time, many want nothing more than to fit in and belong to the Aggie family. Many freshmen will conclude their first year forever haunted by embarrassing moments no friend would let them live down.
Stephen Perry, a senior speech communications major, arrived in College Station after attending Fish Camp in 1998. Armed with all of his luggage and with his father by his side, Perry had no time for sleep. He had to go through his new student orientation restless and half-hearted.
“I was really tired after Fish Camp, so I told Dad that I was not going to go to every meeting, only the mandatory ones,” Perry said.
Sleeping the way through most of his orientation, Perry realized later how important those meetings were.
Perry was unaware until his sophomore year that he had a curriculum to follow.
“I thought we just took classes we wanted until we were here long enough to get a degree,” Perry said. “No one told me as a freshman, and I never talked to an advisor, so I was surprised my sophomore year when someone told me I had to follow a specific curriculum. I should have gone to those meetings.”
Unlike Perry, most freshmen realize the curriculum requirements from the beginning, but that does not stop them from committing other acts of humiliation.
Chris Maupin, a junior industrial distribution major, frantically was trying to finish his homework on a Sunday afternoon. He went to the civil engineering lab to work on a project. The doors were unlocked and the lights were on, so without hesitation, he entered the building.
“No one else was there, but it was only two o’clock, so I sat down at a computer to begin my lab,” Maupin said.
He entered his username and password, but the login was incorrect several times. Disgruntled and tired, Maupin decided to leave and finish the project later.
“As I was leaving, I walked out the doors and all of the lights started flashing and sirens were sounding,” Maupin said. “I had set off some kind of alarm in the building.”
Scared and afraid of authorities, Maupin ran back to his dorm and has not been back to the civil engineering computer lab.
Like Maupin, virtually all campus neophytes have fallen victim to being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Jason Rathke, a sophomore general studies major, moved into his residence hall the Wednesday before classes began in Fall 2000. He quickly experienced the nightmare of parking on campus. With herds of freshmen moving in and not an empty parking spot in sight, Rathke faced a common dilemma on A&M’s campus.
“I had no idea where I could park legally; all I knew was that there were no empty parking holes in sight,” Rathke said. “Finally, I found a spot in a yellow lot by the Corps dorms.”
Rathke parked and slowly moved his belongings into his dorm. The next day he went out to the parking lot to get his car and to run errands, only to find the car missing. He called his cousin who was an upperclassman and knew the ropes. She quickly unmasked the Parking, Traffic and Transportation Services (PTTS) as the force behind the towed car.
“I did not know that the yellow lot was only for teachers, (because) I did not know what any of those colors meant,” Rathke said. “I could not believe that they towed my car on my first day at A&M.”
After Rathke had been blatantly introduced to PTTS, he picked up his car and the charges were removed.
“I was new here. I did not know the regulations on parking, but now I am cautious about parking on campus,” Rathke said.
Marie Fontenot, a sophomore business major, came to A&M as a freshman, and as many freshman girls do, quickly noticed the wide variety and availability of the opposite sex. On one humiliating occasion, she and a friend went to the grocery store to pick up a few items.
“A few turned into a whole buggy full of groceries. It was loaded down and making the corners was tough,” Fontenot said. “I saw a really cute guy standing at the end of the aisle that I needed to turn down and he was in my way, so I had an excuse to talk to him.”
“I was trying to be all cute, so I said, `excuse me,’ with a little laugh and my sweetest smile,” Fontenot said.
To her dismay, when she tried to turn the heavy buggy, it kept turning and the buggy crashed into the aisle and knocked a whole shelf of groceries over. The canned and boxed goods fell on her, her friend and the object of her swooning.
As the attractive guy walked away without helping Fontenot pick up the mess, she was mortified and humiliated. “My friend and I picked up the groceries, but I decided to tone down my pursuing tactics in order to spare myself the embarrassment,” Fontenot said.
Freshmen can spare themselves embarrassing moments by doing one of several things. They can talk to an upperclassman about what they should know before coming to A&M or about some of their own humiliations that can be avoided. There are also books available on campus or at local bookstores that provide information on Aggie life, such as traditions one should be aware of, common phrases and events taking place on campus.
As a freshman, whether it is one’s first encounter with PTTS, a disastrous flirting attempt or just being in the wrong place at the wrong time, all students experience moments they would rather forget. Such times may be some of the most embarrassing, humiliating incidents in one’s college career, but they make for good stories and can help build one’s character in the end.

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