You made it through high school and now you’re ready to take the plunge into
college. First of all, congratulations! If you were anything like me, you are kind of
nervous about your first time at college! I assure you it will blow any good day at
high school out of the water! Just in case you’re still wondering what to expect, I have come up with 20 things people may not tell you about your Texas A&M freshman year. So keep reading these tips if you are an incoming Texas A&M freshman!
1. Comfy Shoes
TAMU is a relatively small campus compared to your other well-known campuses. But there is still quite a bit of walking to be done. The parking lot is quite a distance from the main buildings, so you have to walk from there to your classes. The class rooms are upstairs so you can take the stairs or the elevators, but the elevators are usually packed!
A jacket is a must have for campus, as some professors keep their classrooms frigidly cold!
3. Parking is difficult.
Parking is a HUGE issue at TAMU. All the good parking spaces closest to the buildings are usually always taken. The best thing to do is, if you have classes that start in the morning and continue throughout the day, make a trip out to your car around lunch time. Everyone usually leaves for lunch and that frees up some great parking places! You will also need to get a parking permit ($30) from the business office, or you will get ticketed.
4. Don’t forget an umbrella!
While we are on the subject of parking and walking, it is important to note that if there is any chance of rain in the forecast… BRING AN UMBRELLA! You will get drenched on the way to and from class if you don’t.
5. Keep your schedule organized.
You class schedule is very important. Some classes at TAMU are only offered during certain semesters (Spring, Fall, Summer). It is very important that you meet with your assigned advisor to make sure that you will get the correct courses each semester. If you don’t, you may be stuck waiting a year to graduate because you have 1 course left to take.
6. Find cheaper textbooks!
Now we get down to what to do once you are registered and ready to get your textbooks. DO NOT USE THE BOOKSTORE. They are extremely expensive. I use a website called slugbooks.com. All you do is you go to the TAMU bookstore website, obtain your books ISBN numbers, type the ISBN numbers into slugbooks.com and it will compare the prices of your textbook on eBay, Amazon, Chegg, and many others. You will always get a better deal than at the bookstore.
7. Buy a planner.
Having a planner is a college essential. It helps you keep track of all important deadlines, due dates, and activities. Be sure and note all tests, assignments and deadlines from your syllabus into your planner the first week of class.
8. Always check your email.
Ace Mail is the campus email system. This is where your teachers will be sending you messages, as well as campus closures, important deadlines and activities. If you have a Gmail app on your phone, you can link your Ace mail to it and receive emails that way.
9. Use Blackboard!
Blackboard is what TAMU uses for course materials. Your teachers will post PowerPoints and study materials here so be sure to check it often. Your online classes will also be located in Blackboard. Tip: Blackboard does schedule routine maintenance on a monthly basis. DO NOT ATTEMPT ANY ONLINE TESTS UNTIL THE MAINTENANCE IS FINISHED. It will kick you out, and if your test is timed, the timer continues to run regardless of whether you are logged into Blackboard or not.
10. Use the printer.
Your professors may put study material on Blackboard. I encourage you to print them out and study them. Most of the material covered on a test comes from your textbook and from any study material you have access to. Use them! I promise they will help!
11. Actually read the textbook.
Of all the Texas A&M tips, this tip is important because it can save you money! Your professors expect you to have your assigned chapters read BEFORE you come to class. They will call on you and you will look silly if you don’t know the answer. Some professors even take points off your participation grade. I know it is boring, but, you need to do this! It will also help you on quizzes and tests if you have read the material.
12. Sit in the front.
These kind of Texas A&M tips are kind of an obvious. If you sit up at the front of the class, the professor is going to notice you. This has both its good and bad qualities. (No texting!) The good side to this is that the teacher will admire you for taking the leap and sitting up front and she will remember you when she is grading your papers. You are also more likely to pay attention if you are in the front of the classroom.
13. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Much like you probably heard throughout high school, your professors are there to help you. They are happy to answer any questions you may have! Don’t think that if you ask them a question is gets on their nerves. TAMU is based around student-centered learning. The professors want you to be engaged and discussing the material with them.
14. Know about the Student Support Services.
TAMU has a program that can help you with your studies. This program is called Trio SSS. They offer tutoring for your core classes and hold workshops throughout each semester on topics such as time management, stress relief, organization, and many others! This is a program that is FREE to you!
15. Find a study buddy.
An important and sometimes lifesaving tip is to find a study buddy in each of your classes. Introduce yourself and then ask if they would like to exchange numbers. This way if you miss a day you can text your study buddy and ask for a rundown of what happened in class. You can also study for tests together! As they say, two heads are better than one!
16. Discover hidden “gems”.
TAMU campus is a pretty big place. It is always alive with students and faculty doing something. This is great, except for when you need a quiet place to study. Find spots around campus that are hidden away and peaceful. There are usually tables and lounges on every floor of the main building. The bottom floor of the library also has a common area with table and chairs.
17. Look for bulletin boards around campus.
TAMU has tons of flyers posted all over the place. These flyers are advertising campus activities, upcoming workshops, important information about graduation, and possible job opportunities. I encourage you to look at these boards and flyers once in a while to see if there is anything you might be interested in doing!
18. Get involved!
One of the most rewarding things in college is to get involved in campus activities! Student government, sports, clubs, there are endless things to do! I encourage you to get involved and put yourself out there! You will make tons of new friends and have fun in the process.
19. Relax every once in awhile.
College can be pretty stressful if you are a student, especially if you are working and going to school. Be sure and take time for yourself. Relax and de-stress from your week. This will allow you to start fresh each week with a renewed mindset.
20. Be yourself!
My last tip is probably the most important one of them all! Be yourself. College is an amazing experience. Don’t try and be someone you’re not. You will make plenty of friends and have a blast without pretending to be something you’re not!
So that sums up my list of tips for incoming freshman at TAMU! I hope you enjoyed this post and put some of my tips to use! Congratulations, and I hope to see you around campus!