The Freshman’s Ultimate Guide to Texas A & M University

Want to be a real Aggie? Pen and Prep has you covered! Alison H., Cram Crew’s fabulous designer and TAMU grad, shares all of the inside info you need to Gig with the best of ’em at A&M.

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Essential Vocabulary
Campus Life
Off Campus

Essential Vocabulary

There are way too many of these to cover in one blog post, so I’m only going to touch on some of the more well-known terms.

  • 2 Percenter: An Aggie who chooses not to participate in Texas A&M Traditions.
  • 12th Man: Refers to Aggie fans, especially the student section. Since football allows for a maximum of eleven players per team on the field at one time, the fans act as the 12th
  • Bad Bull: Anything not in keeping with Aggie traditions or the Aggie spirit.
  • BTHO (Beat the Hell Outta): One of the Aggie yells. The phrase is followed by the name of the opposing team. You’ll see this phrase EVERYWHERE.
  • Gig ‘em: Both a saying and the thumbs up hand gesture.
  • Good Bull: Anything that promotes the Aggie spirit.
  • Howdy!: The official greeting of Texas A&M.
  • Mug down: Kissing one’s date during yell practices and football games (after each Aggie score).
  • Ring dunk: A non-university sanctioned tradition performed after a student receives an Aggie Ring; usually involves chugging a pitcher of beer, water, or milk with their Aggie Ring in the bottom and then catching the ring with their teeth.
  • t-sip: A student who attends The University of Texas; the term is intended to be derogatory, the origin being that while Aggies were off fighting wars, UT students were at home “sipping tea”.
  • t.u.: What Aggies refer to The University of Texas as. Again, it’s intended to be derogatory; Aggies maintain that UT is “a” university in Texas, not “the” university of Texas, so the t.u. stand for “texas university”. And yes, the lowercase letters are intentional.
  • Whoop!: A junior and senior privilege, “Whoop!” is an exclamation of approval and excitement.
  • Wildcat: A noise and hand motion made after an Aggie yell. Each class uses a different wildcat based on seniority.
  • Yell Leaders: Aggies equivalent of cheerleaders. These elected students, three seniors and two juniors, lead the student body in synchronized yells throughout all sporting events and yell practices.
  • Yell Practice: A Texas A&M event that is similar to a pep rally. The most notable yell practices, Midnight Yell, occurs the night before home football games.
    • Freshman: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!
    • Sophomore:  A-A-A-A-A!
    • Junior: A-A-A-WHOOP!
    • Senior: A-WHOOP!

Campus Life

Best Dorm Life: My pick for best dorm life is actually a non-university affiliated dorm, The Cambridge. It offers the freedom of apartment living in a dorm-type atmosphere: numerous group activities, a full-service dining hall, computer labs with free printouts, and even weekly HOUSEKEEPING. Bonus: it’s on the A&M Bus Route!

Best Clubs/Academic Organizations: One of the most widely enjoyed campus organizations is Fish Camp. If you’re an incoming freshman, Fish Camp is definitely a must; you’ll learn everything you need to know to keep you from being a two percenter.

If you’re into running, A&M Roadrunners is a great group. They host weekly club runs, in different areas. The club also participates in several races each year, including the BCS Marathon/ Half Marathon. No experience required!

If you’re a Harry Potter fan, there’s also a…wait for it…Quidditch team. And yes, they’re serious about it. Just ask them.

Best Place to be Quiet/Alone on Campus: The MSC Flag Room is a great place to go if you need some quiet time. Plus, it’s just a really neat, cozy area .A news article on the Flag Room’s grand piano summed up the old 88’s presence perfectly: “Beloved by many spectators, tolerated by a few nap-takers, the MSC piano exudes a cozy feeling, adding to the MSC Flag Room’s reputation as the ‘living room of Texas A&M.’”

Favorite Nonmajor Class: My favorite, favorite nonmajor class was Insects in Human Society (ENTO 322) with Dr. Roger Gold. Not only did Dr. Gold take the class on bug-hunting trips at Lick Creek Park, we also learned the fine art of catching butterflies, made bug collections, and learned how to..uh..cook and eat insects properly. Not only did I learn more than I wanted to know about insects (like that roaches SHED THEIR SKIN), but I had fun in the process!

Best On-Campus Events: A&M is a school of traditions, and Aggie Muster is one of the most cherished. Every April 21st, Aggies gather to pay homage to the Aggie lives lost that year, as well. After a few traditional readings and a keynote speaker, the Roll Call of the Absent begins. As the names are called, a family member or friend of the Absent answers “Here”, and lights a candle in remembrance. The ceremony evokes, in every possible way, the true Spirit of Aggieland.

Transportation: The bus route is the preferred choice of transportation to and from campus. Parking passes are available for purchase, but parking spots aren’t always easy to come by.

Speaking of campus, a caveat: it’s huge, so be prepared. There’s 20 minutes in between classes, and you’ll be using every one to make it to your next class on time, especially if you’re walking from West Campus to Main Campus. Word to the wise: invest in a bike.

Best Gym: The Rec is the go-to gym on campus. It has everything any gym-goer needs, including an indoor rock-climbing wall and the occasional weight room grunter.

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Off Campus:

Best Food in Town (for students): If you’re looking for a good place to hang out with your friends coupled with good food, good drinks, and a good opportunity to do that load of laundry you’ve been putting off for the better part of 2 ½ weeks, I’d reckon to say that Harvey Washbangers is the place for you. Chow down on some of the (arguably) best burgers in town while you’re waiting on a load of towels to dry? Sounds like a winning combination to me. Let me put it this way, if Harvey Washbanger was a guy, I’d mug down with him.

Best Restaurant to Take Your Parents to When they Visit: Hands-down best place to take your parents when they visit, or, if you’re like me, just yourself, is Caffé Capri in Downtown Bryan. It’s one of my favorite Italian food restaurants I’ve ever been to, and I like Italian food. Reasonably priced and unreasonably awesome.

Entertainment Near Campus: There’s always something going on near campus, but one mainstay that offers year-round entertainment is the Spirit Ice Arena on Holleman. Just wait for that random Tuesday evening when you and your friends have nothing to do and nowhere to be. Trust me, ice-skating is where it’s at.

If ice-skating really isn’t your thing (BOO), head on out to the Brazos Bingo hall and see what it feels like to get your tush kicked by a senior citizen. They show no mercy.

Day Trips Worth Taking: Kyle Field, duh. Aggies are serious about their football, so plan to make game day an all-day event. Wear comfortable shoes, though; students don’t sit down during games.

Festivals/Events: Every April, herds of Aggies flock to Snook, TX. for the highly anticipated annual 2-day event known as Chilifest. Chili + Texas Country Music = Love.

If chili and Texas Country just aren’t your thing, head on over to Santa’s Wonderland, located just south of College Station on Hwy. 6. With enough exterior lighting to put Clark Griswold’s efforts to shame, Santa’s Wonderland offers the perfect opportunity to enjoy the holiday season and on someone else’s electricity bill. (Open November to January)

Swimming Holes/Green Spaces: Lake Somerville is always a great place to check out, especially during the spring/summer months.

One of my favorite green spaces is Lick Creek Park. Located on 515.5 acres (yes, you read that correctly), Lick Creek Park offers miles of trails, perfect for running, hiking, horseback riding, and even insect collecting, just watch out for those skinless roaches.

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  • Brandon Michael Garcia

    For a Longhorn like me, it is pleasing to know that Aggies can agree that a “Good Bull” can promote Aggie Spirit. Here’s to Longhorn and Aggie friendship!

    • Emma Lambert

      I completely agree, Brandon! When I went to UT, I was vaguely aware of A&M culture, and the UT/Aggie rivalry, but I had no idea just how many traditions there were. I can easily understand how fervently TAMU grads feel about their alma mater!

  • Max

    I didn’t go to A&M, but it’s interesting to see the traditions and quirks in detail. I will say, though, that my main takeaway is that cockroaches shed their skin. I had to look that up…and it’s as gross as it sounds.