Wednesday, June 01, 2005

HomeFront: The Rhythm of College Life

Family Handbook? If you have not attended your New Student Conference you can still get a head start by downloading the 2005 Family Handbook. This is a terrific guide put together by the Department of Student Life - New Student Programs.

The 2004 Handbook included an informative sidebar entitled Just Like Clockwork: The Rhythm of College Life... The page 9 piece was adapted from Helping Your First-Year College Student Succeed: A Guide for Parents. While the information was not specific to the Texas Aggie Corps of Cadets, it did include some solid monthly events to think about:
  • August/September: Excitement, Anxiety about roommates, professors, classmates
  • October: First Test grades returned, Midterm Exams
  • January: "Fresh Start" mentality sets in with new term, Homesickness
  • April: End of semester pressure
  • May: Final exam anxiety, Realization of how college influences life decision
You can still find the 2004 Handbook on line, but you have to search Google. Go to www.google.com and enter "the rhythm of college life"+tamu in the search field. Be sure to enter the words in quotes and the+tamu. Google returns one link which lets you download the pdf file from the Texas A & M server.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Planning: Boots...the Real Boots!

George C. Scott marched onto the stage with a massive U. S. Flag draped behind him...and so began the 1970's film classic "Patton." Scott, attired in cavalry boots and saluting in front of our flag is probably the most memorable image of the film.

But....Scott and the legendary George Patton's cavalry boots don't compare to the Fighting Texas Aggie Corps of Cadets Senior Boots.

You march in these boots...you don't walk. Where ever you go on campus, it's not walking. It's very much like marching. There's something about the heel taps and how they hit the ground. Perhaps it's the custom fit to your calves. Maybe it's that deep Maroon shine or the Serge boot pants...whatever it is, there is nothing quite like walking across campus in your Senior Boots.

So why talk about Senior Boots before your cadet's Fish year?

If you want your cadet to wear the best Senior Boots, you plan now! That's right...this summer. When you are on campus for the New Student Conference, walk over to Northgate. You are looking for Holick's Boot Makers at 106 College Main. Check out Laura Hensley's terrific article on Holick's, who have been making Senior Boots since 1891. They make a certain number of boots in their College Station shop each year, the rest are subbed out of state.

The Class '09's Boot Ledger is open and taking orders -- 12 '09 cadets have already placed their order. Holick's is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. You want to allow about 15 minutes for getting your questions answered. Most importantly, you will enjoy watching the terrific folks at Holick's enter your '09 Fish's information into the '09 Boot Ledger. There is a lot of tradition in Holick's!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

HomeFront: Keep a Scrapbook - Part 2

We mentioned Jane Edelen in the last entry. Jane didn't realize the impact her scrapbook suggestion would have on Sq. 3's Fish Dads.

We had several Dads who loved taking pictures and videos. 35mm cameras, no problem. We shot rolls and rolls of film. Did you say, "digital camera?" The price of digital cameras has dropped and the quality of the image increased...these cameras were out in numbers. We even had miniDV cameras and other camcorders at most events. Our poor Fish probably thought they lived in a fishbowl with all of the images snapped and videos recorded.

Greg Smith, one of our Sq. 3 Fish Dads, started the year by posting FOW pictures. You'll learn FOW (Fish Orientation Week) is one of those rights of passage. Greg posted pictures in our Yahoo Group. We then started migrating to other locations. Jerry Runk, one of our upperclassman Dad's, routinely posts his pictures on Kodak's site. Jerry creates photoalbums of all major events. I loved it when I saw a picture of our son as "spoon" during the Corp's March to the Brazos. I missed that event and was so happy Jerry took the shot.

So Dads...this is a great way for you to help preserve your cadet's time at Texas A & M. You don't want your Fish to be like my D-2 Fish Bud Warren Russell and I...working diligently to find those very few polaroids or other pictures shot 30 years ago. Your Fish will thank you for it in 30 years.

HomeFront: Keep a Scrapbook - Part 1

Pictures, movies, pod recordings, doorplates....that's what I was looking for!

The Corps is great about placing a doorplate on your cadet's door. A plastic sign with your cadet's name ("fish _____"), an outfit statement and their class year. Capture the plate for safekeeping (unless your cadet takes it back to school next year). It's one of those memorable items like Fish Spurs that you will want to help them preserve. All four doorplates, one for each year in the Corps, go great in shadowboxes or scrapbooks.

Speaking of Scrapbooks, Jane Edelen one of the Sq. 3 upperclass parents who helped get our Fish Parents Class squared away, recommended a scrapbook. Little does Jane know the impact she had on our class.

Last August ('04) Jane recommended Fish Parents keep a scrapbook..."a wonderful way to share your thoughts and memories with your Cadets. We [Jane and Marty] have been blessed with many families sharing photographs, videos, and messages." Since we do not live in Texas, "1200+ miles from campus, we are unable to attend many of the events in which the Corps participates. Without these wonderful Aggies sharing with us, we would be at a loss."

Jane makes an outstanding point. Many Aggies are from out of state. Their parents are not able to make it to many of their cadet's activities. Starting a scrapbook, even a digital version, forces parents to take pictures and videos. When you do, share them with the out of state parents. This is a great way to help all Fish Parents stay connected.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Planning: Reflections on moving out of the dorm

Final Review '05 was terrific!

And....after Final Review there is moving out of the dorm. I have to admit. I thought FOW Processing was a major change for the better...from August 1971. Dorm moveout was a major change from May 1975...and for the better!

Corps Housing had what I remembered as the Quad Parking nightmare well in hand. These folks deserve kudos. So...here are some thoughts to consider for Fish '09 parents.
  • You might consider a two step moveout if you are moving your son or daughter home. We moved a good part of the gear out a week ago. It was easy and quick to load the remaining gear in one short evening. Of course, if your son or daughter is moving out on their own...this won't apply.
  • Remember to allow enough time for room checkout. Each cadet completed a form the day they moved into the dorm. There is a specific checkout process that needs to be followed before the cadet can leave campus. Rooms need to be mopped, racks (beds) need to be in their original setup, mirrors need to be clean. The CO will make the final inspection, take up the room key, and sign the cadet out. Each cadet receives a room checkout sheet so they will know what needs to be accomplished.
  • Be sure to have your cadet listen for when the CO is available to closeout the rooms. You don't want to make plans only to find there is no one around to check your cadet out.
  • We took our time this year. We ate dinner, stopped by a bookstore and electronic store before returning to campus. The street along the dorms was packed so we decided to park on the Quad. Corps Housing had entry and exit lanes set up. Several students completed Quad Parking forms so there was no delay. We parked at the Dorm and had our cadet loaded in no time. This left time to complete most room cleaning. The CO let us know the next days time frame...all our new sophomore had to complete was mopping the floor and he was done.
Dorm moveout should be easy with your cadet's forward planning. The good news...Corps Housing and the CO's work to make this a straight-forward and uneventful process. We had a positive experience this year!