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Freshmen face the challenges of college, adapt accordingly

Special to The Battalion

Published: Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, September 26, 2012 01:09

On a warm August evening 8,000 Aggie freshmen walked their parents to the car, gave one last round of hugs and waved goodbye to the past 18 years of their lives.

A limitless horizon beckoned ahead and what each freshman did during the days and nights of Gig ‘Em Week will forever remain purposefully vague, but as the weeks crunch by and the first round of college tests slam into this year’s inaugural freshman class, that sense of unbounded freedom has largely begun to fade in the face of stark reality: contrary to high school beliefs, A&M actually includes more things besides football, Northgate and free pizza.

One aspect of college life freshmen get used to early on is waking themselves up for class in the mornings.

“I’ve woken up late and ended up missing most or all of my morning class several times already,” said Jon Bumann, freshman political science major. “Before, there was always someone prodding me to act responsibly, but here I need to learn how to do my own thing.”

Making it to class on one’s own volition is a unique experience that every freshman on campus goes through, but the classes themselves are often the point where the first definitive line between “then” and “now” is drawn.

“College takes out all the busywork and replaces it with really big, really hard tests,” said Daniel Kauffman, freshman accounting major, as he studies for a psychology exam. “I need to really focus to motivate myself to read all the suggested homework on my own, or I’ll fail.”

The fate of Kauffman’s test grade remains unknown, but beneath the coursework lays unexpected challenges for many who walk this campus for the first time.

“Saying goodbye to my family was really tough and besides everything else college has been a big emotional adjustment,” said Alexis Luedke, freshman microbiology major. “I was so used to seeing my mom and dad and all of a sudden they’re gone. It’s a big transition.”

After spending four high school years constantly looking for ways to subtly subvert parent’s rule on all social topics, parents are now the number one commodity amongst the freshman class.

“How am I supposed to pay for things?” Kauffman said. “I could always rely on my parents for cash to go out with friends, but now I have to buy every meal, pay for my own gas and really try to limit how I spend.”

Although parent visits can be cause for much groaning and spontaneous dorm cleaning, it is the secret desire of most freshmen for mom and dad to show up and, more importantly, take them out to eat or provide a much needed college stimulus packages.

“My mom sends me money every few weeks” and “the food off campus is so delicious!” are common remarks, especially by those freshmen who are confined to the same culinary offerings on campus week after week. Add these obstacles to never-ending laundry, a massive foreign campus and trying to avoid “pushing it” as a consequence of Aggie Tradition ignorance adds up to hundreds of problems for the typical freshman to try to balance on any given day. But despite this daunting task, ask any member of the Class of 2016 if they’d rather be back home and the reply is always the same: Home? Definitely not. They’re just getting started.


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