Tami’s Big Do Over: “Howdy” It’s Welcome Week

(Tami Nutall Jefferson, a married mother and grandmother, is going back to school and she has invited us all along to enjoy the ride.  For more posts in this series, click here: Tami’s Big Do Over.  – ABT )

By Tami Nutall Jefferson

In the middle of a conversation about nothing, I said, “Honey, I’m going to Howdy Week.” “What’s that?” While searching for an accurate description, and realizing that I didn’t know myself, It’s a week of parties!” just flew out of my mouth – and with such exuberance. The look I inspired was not a pleasant one. His response, “You can say ‘Howdy’ on Facebook.” I insisted that I must go. I knew I could seal the deal when I mentioned that I was going to the StartUp RoundUp student entrepreneur extravaganza. I don’t think his buy-in increased much. Nevertheless, welcome week — here I come!

The Backstory

There are several opportunities for students to ease into college life during the summer. The first is Fish Camp – a freshman tradition. One that I coveted as a local high schooler. But when I started receiving correspondence this year about it, I was like “just…no.” Then, there is T-Camp. Initially, I was excited about this. A camp just for transfer students – most of whom would NOT be 18 years old. I logged on to the website to find out more. Reasonably priced. Aggie Traditions. Make friends. Sign me up! Then I read the list of ‘items to bring’. The first three items listed were “pillow, pajamas, and blanket.” Wait. What the what?? This is a real damn camp!! I just closed the page. But then, you have “Howdy Week.” A chance to be a part of the Aggie community, participate in 2 hour events, AND sleep in my own bed. Perfect, I’m in!

It’s To Be Expected

I’m going to set out my expectations here. “Universe! I expect you to deliver.” Even though I’m 42 years old, I do have the same type of excitement and brand-newness that I would have had if I were 17 years old. I just don’t have the energy and heat tolerance.

  • So my first expectation is that this week is going to really push me out of my comfort zone – which is everything at my fingertips in a chilled 72 degree environment.
  • Half of me expects to capture my entire experience on social media – the other half of me expects that I will not want to (as I will be living in the moment).
  • All of me expects to never have to pay for food and be fully stuffed on hot dogs, hamburgers, and Slovacek sausage – apparently, another Aggie tradition.
  • I do expect to make at least 1 new friend (who is not a professor or employee). One of 30,000 is possible, right?
  • I expect to not nap during the day. I repeat, NOT nap during the day. That’s called ‘reverse psychology’ for the non-academics in the audience.
  • None of me expects to get ‘college-girl’ wasted. For some reason, that is my husband’s expectation though. Then I’ll be another college statistic. “Really, sir?”
  • But in the end, I do expect to come back with at least one funny to tell you. If not, then I did not do my job as a…well…person. Every person should have at least one funny during any given week, right? And yes, I use funny as a noun, not an adjective.

Well, What Had Actually Happened Was…

So, now it’s the Monday after Howdy Week. Let’s recap, shall we. I made it to Howdy Week on Thursday. So my week, turned into a weekend. For some reason, I just couldn’t tear myself away from my exciting Waco life and my work projects to go and do basically nothing. As long as I’m there for StartUp RoundUp on Friday I’m good. And I was. And it was 6 hours of non-stop free gourmet food and million dollar business advice.

AND, I forced myself (now or never) to do the impromptu open mic business idea pitch contest – 30 seconds, no Q&A. And from that I did make 1 new friend. Later in the day, I made a few more. It was awesome! I did take several pictures, but I purposefully reminded myself not to selfie everything. But, not one Slovacek sausage! Instead of getting ‘college-girl’ wasted I got the equivalent of ‘fat-kid’ wasted. I ate so much this weekend. I don’t want to see food anymore this semester. Coincidentally, my favorite biz idea at StartUp RoundUp was from the guy who created the UniBees app that let’s you scroll through all the free food offerings on campus. Be still my tummy!

And I did get that funny. It’s in my Facebook album along with my photo ops and biz pitch video. My environmental comfort zone needed no pushing, as the weather in Bryan-College Station

was rather lovely the entire weekend. My naps were off the chart though, as all Howdy events were cancelled, and the rain makes one want to caress the bed all day.

Now, It’s Official

I am an Aggie! And a pretty strong and resilient woman. But, in the last five days, I have experienced every spectrum of emotion – loneliness, happiness, despair, hope, sadness, excitement, love, fatigue, disappointment, rejection. A lot of that from me walking around A&M alone.  Experiences ranged from me being dismissed by someone who I thought was a professional colleague to imaginations of my daughter & grandson hailing a boat ride just outside of the doorstop or my sister & baby nieces sitting atop of their second story roof. I can’t begin to imagine what it’s like to be a true college freshman having to face all of these emotions this week – especially since so many of my fellow Aggies come from the coastal area. But my greatest hope now, is that we have no Silver Taps ceremonies for our current or former students. I hope that everyone is able to enjoy the belated semester start date, and I hope that as urban planning, construction, and design students we can continue those Facebook conversations we started about better infrastructure design, and building design, and stormwater management so that this weekend doesn’t happen again. God Bless Texas.

Tami Nutall Jefferson has over a decade of experience in real estate sales and management and currently works as a home and building designer. This Fall she will begin her first academic year at Texas A&M University pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Urban Planning and Real Estate Development while commuting between Waco and College Station. Her hope is that Waco becomes the most attractive, modern, vibrant, and prosperous version of itself as an inclusive city and her professional mission is to help make that happen. Tami is also a 2017 graduate of the Leadership Plenty Institute and volunteers her time and voice to many downtown Waco placemaking and economic development causes and organizations.

To engage and share your non-traditional student experiences with Tami, contact her at [email protected] or connect with her on Facebook https://m.facebook.com/tami.nutall1

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