When I first arrived at Sam in the fall of 2005, there were three things that immediately caught my attention. The first thing was that a good number of the people I saw on campus distracted themselves with their iPods, text messaging and phone calls. Second, I noticed that for every student on campus I saw wearing an SHSU shirt, I would see three wearing the foreign colors of A&M, Baylor or UT. Lastly, I found it a strange day that I arrived in class and my calves weren’t writhing in pain from the vertical hikes around campus. My two years at this university may not have transformed the culture or geography of Huntsville, but I have instead found myself transformed by it.
Most of the phone conversations I overhear on campus consist of repetition of any or all of these three words: yeah, mmhmm, okay. My first reaction is that someone is playing a Lil’ Jon song. Usually, I am wrong and it’s just someone occupying the time between class and their dorm. I am taken aback at how quick students are to avoid being on campus. Huntsville, and specifically Sam Houston State, is truly blessed with beautiful surroundings. The state park and rolling hills are certainly a departure from my old home in Houston that had little to offer aesthetically. What this city lacks in a street lined with bars, it more than makes up for with its natural beauty.
I never did, and still don’t, understand the mentality behind displaying a fervent pride in another university, while not one’s own. Furthermore, I can’t grasp the logic behind Sam Houston students relocating to College Station or Houston every weekend. I mean, I’m no chemist, but I’m fairly confident that alcohol has the same potency in Huntsville as it does anywhere else. Let us just be honest and ask ourselves, ‘what other reason do I have to make this a commuter school?’ My wardrobe may not consist entirely of bright orange, but I will certainly be attending the game in Nachadoches this year for the SFA/Sam football game.
The better part of my freshman year was spent climbing from Jackson-Shaver to AB1 or LDB. I would often find myself stumbling into class and likening my journey there to that of Ernest Shackleton’s across Antarctica. The next year, my situation worsened when my starting point was UPA, and I would ‘frogger’ my way across Sam Houston Avenue every morning. Halfway through my third semester, I had a revelation. After all of the walking I had done, I no longer found myself gasping for air when I scaled AB4’s many flights of stairs. That, and my calves grew about 12 inches in diameter, thus making me very disproportionate.
Even today, there are occasions when I see a wave of maroon-clad students striding across campus, and I fear I have arrived in College Station. When in a rush, I dash from class to class, and from class to my apartment doing my best to ignore the scenery. Worst yet, these past few days have left me wanting for a camel and change of clothes to reach my first class. Despite all of this, I have loved these past two years at Sam Houston State, and look forward to the next two with great anticipation.