The freshman experience can be summed up in six words: perpetually confused and game for anything.
Incoming freshmen arrive at Texas A&M as they do every semester — ready to thrive and hopeful that midnight thoughts about heading home at the crack of dawn become a reality for them too. Soon enough, they will find themselves on that stroll, along with plenty more to do in Aggieland.
Coming from a school that loved its Friday night lights, university studies freshman Zakyriah Reagan said her first year in College Station felt more like home than she expected.
“I went to a big ‘football high school’ where we stood the entire game without even realizing it because it meant that much to us,” Reagan said. “The sporting events and the traditions that came along with it really reminded me of home and helped me to feel like this is where I should be.”
Reagan, who lives on campus, said there weren’t many things as pleasurable as waking up in the nick of time to attend lectures during her freshman year. But the convenience of living on campus can quickly go awry, and Reagan said she soon found herself missing more than a few morning classes.
“I went through this phase where I wouldn’t go to class, but I wasn’t doing anything productive with the time either,” Reagan said. “It’s easy to fall into that hole of not wanting to go to class … but I had now become an adult, and I needed to start acting like it in order to reach the goals I had for myself.”
Political science freshman Aya Hobeika, who also lived on campus, said being close to class and the available dining options made daily life a breeze. And while making it to Rev’s just before midnight is an accomplishment of its own, the trip would be nothing without some friends along the way.
“I had the best roommates,” Hobeika said. “We would always stay up late talking, studying or going out together. Of course, the dorms on campus are super small, but it’s what you make of it. Especially as a freshman, I wanted to experience living on-campus at least once, and I really enjoyed it.”
The choice to attend A&M was once clouded in worry because seeing people that look like her is a motivator when taking on new challenges, Reagan said. With a black student community of only 4 percent, Reagan questioned how she could fit in.
“Although coming to this new environment was hard for me, joining organizations like ExCEL, the Black Student Alliance Council and Liberal Arts Student Council have helped me to develop a community that can give me different perspectives on A&M, other than the ones I had initially had,” Reagan said.
When general studies freshman Olivia Lambert took her first steps on campus to head to class, she assumed she would not see any familiar faces, given the 64,961 students she now walked alongside. However, Aggies have a way of finding each other, Lambert said.
“Texas A&M must be the biggest-little university ever because any time I go anywhere I run into a friend or a friend of a friend,” Lambert said. “This has made feeling at home so much easier because, amidst all the craziness, it really does feel like a close-knit community.”
Among her favorite freshmen experiences, Lambert said there was always a good time to be had late into the night with new friends.
“I have met so many inspiring and fun individuals and learned a lot about [whom] I want to become in my college years,” Lambert said. “Experiencing things like sporting events, Breakaway and Pizookies at BJ’s is so much better when I’m surrounded by these people.”
Also a fan of late-night customs, Hobeika said the glow of Kyle Field during her first Midnight Yell was unlike anything else.
“It was one of the first experiences I had with Aggie traditions, and I’ll never forget it,” Hobeika said.
Coming in from out of state, Hobeika said she may not have been familiar with the university as a whole, but with a few football ticket stubs in her pocket and friends made along the way, she’s ready for another round of Aggie experiences come sophomore year.
“As freshmen, we’ve only scratched the surface of what we’ll experience at A&M,” Hobeika said. “I’m very excited for all the exciting opportunities that await us.”