Its been real, its been fun, its been real fun


Photo courtesy of Joseph Kamin

Lathes Towns and Joseph Kamin at a tailgate.

When I first came to Tarleton State University, I didn’t understand the purple frenzy which surrounded me. However, after spending four years drowning in tradition and purple, I can say that I get it. The journey from freshman to senior year has not been an easy one, but it has been one of the most rewarding experiences. As I approach graduation, I have started to be increasingly grateful and appreciative of several people and organizations which have had a lasting impact on me as a person and on my professional growth.

To be quite honest, I came to Tarleton because in high school I thought I wanted to be a vet and one of my ex-girlfriends had mentioned that Tarleton was a good school for Pre-Vet majors. Combined with the fact that my grades meant that I could get admitted almost immediately, I was sold on Tarleton before I even stepped foot on campus. My first time on campus was during orientation and it didn’t take long for me to quickly question my choice. I remember showing up to campus very early in the morning and Lathes Townes was in a near full purple outfit and was very vocal about how excited she was to be at orientation for the best college in Texas. After seeing the Tarleton Transition Mentors do some chants and cheers and a group of people called the Purple Poo in full regalia with masks on raising the spirit of a duck, I was quickly questioning what I got myself into. This would all change gradually over the next few years though.

Photo Courtesy of Joseph Kamin
The 2018 Tarleton Transition Mentor Leadership team at Duck Camp.

Coming to campus I had nearly no desire to get involved and just wanted to get my degree so I could get a job. However, during my transition week a TTM encouraged me to get involved on campus because you’re only in college for a short time, so make the most of it. Shortly after that I was introduced to a group of guys called Lambda Chi Alpha. It took only a few minutes for me to realize that I wanted to rush and I wanted to join Lambda Chi Alpha. All the brothers who I met were the most genuine and welcoming men, this was something which immediately attracted me. Looking back on the four years, I can say with all sincerity that Lambda Chi Alpha has been more than a fraternity to me. It has been my family over the course of my four years, it has been an opportunity to grow myself and an opportunity to contact and connect with a network of some of the best men I have ever met.

After I got involved with my fraternity, I figured that was enough involvement on campus and I didn’t need to get involved more. Coincidentally, this was the same time that I was questioning my major and wanted to swap. Through one of my brothers I heard that the campus newspaper was hiring. Being someone who doesn’t mind writing, I figured that it would be easy cash on the side, all I had to do was write and I would get paid? To me it sounded like the easiest side gig ever. After a semester as a contributor, an office hour position for Sports Editor at The JTAC opened. At the time, I was currently frying chicken for my job, so an office job on campus sounded like heaven. After applying I got the job and then quickly realized that journalism and writing was something which I enjoyed, so I jumped in head first. After changing my major to Journalism, I applied for the Editor-in-Chief position and big surprise, I’ve held it for the past two years.

Before working at The JTAC, I had quite honestly never even read the newspaper. The first edition I picked up, was the first one I had a story in. The past three and a half years at The JTAC have been interesting to say the least. Whenever I wrote a story or Op-ed that people disagreed with, I was surprised how much people got fired up and passionate about Tarleton or a student at Tarleton opinion. Some of the backlash was intense at first, but it quickly made me realize that it was helpful. So with legitimate sincerity, thank you to everyone who commented on my stories about how wrong or error ridden I was. I believe that criticism is something that people need to grow. If everyone in life agreed about everything, life would be boring. Seeing people get passionate and point out my errors was something that made me get passionate in response and fix my errors. It is near impossible to progress if you cant admit where you messed up. So, shout out to all the professors who gave me bad grades, alumni who have disagreed with an article and all the haters at Tarleton, you have had a positive benefit on my life and I’m grateful.

Never having gone to Duck Camp the thought of being a TTM seemed comical. But once again, I was encouraged by my friends after they slowly by surely started slipping the purple Kool-Aid to me. I applied and got the position, something which to me seemed odd, but I dove in. Once again, Tarleton surprised me. The program wasn’t at all what I expected, the purple frenzy was still there and required some emersion to get used to, but I’m glad I did.  The TTM program encourages leadership, sincere connections, genuine encouragement and personal growth in students. I realized that duck camp and the TTM program aren’t all about the exoteric camp experience. These programs are designed to help students succeed in college and in their life after college.

Photo Courtesy of Joseph Kamin
From left to right: Trey Russek, Joseph Kamin and Parker Burns at InterFraternity Council Spring 2019 Bid Day.

I reapplied for the program the following year and got on the Leadership Team. I didn’t really know any of the other people on leadership team, but we quickly all became friends and the following summer was one of the best I’ve had in college. Getting involved with freshman orientation programs was shocking because as a freshman I thought all the TTMs were weird. But after being at Tarleton for three years, I had a deeper understand of what the traditions meant and what the core values mean. Events like Silver Taps aren’t just about blowing out a candle to signify the death, it’s about honoring, respecting and remembering individuals in the Tarleton family. It’s also realizing that one day you’ll pass and someone will be there to hold your candle and call your name.

Throughout my four years at Tarleton, there have been countless individuals who have had an impact on my life. Some people who have made an impact, probably don’t know the impact they’ve made but they have helped me get to where I am today. Coming to Tarleton I did not want to get involved, but as I immersed myself on campus I realized how student driven and truly loving the campus was. Coming to Tarleton I wasn’t looking for a family, but I found one. Looking back on my four years, it went by exponentially quicker than I thought it would and I am grateful for every minute. While I am not graduating till the end of Fall 2019, my time in of these organizations is done and I’m looking to life after graduation. As a freshman if someone had told me that I’d be sad to leave Tarleton, I would have laughed. But as a senior, it hits a little closer to home and while I’m excited to move on to bigger and better things, I’m still sad that my time is over. Most of my college experience was driven by crippling fear of missing out and an excessive amount of red bull, but there’s nothing wrong with that. Don’t forget to get involved and do everything you can, because four years will go by before you know it and it will be time to graduate. Later nerds, Kamin out.