Diary of a Wimpy Grad Student

    Posted on Wednesday, Oct 19, 2016
    After weeks of memorizing lengthy definitions and working out the same central tendency problems again and again, the day of my first statistics test had arrived. Although I had studied hard, I knew I would need all the luck I could muster in order to do well on this test. While thinking of any final measures I could take in preparation for the test, I realized that this would be a perfect chance to take part in the Texas A&M tradition of “leaving a penny on Sully”. I hadn’t yet had an occasion to join my fellow students in leaving a good luck penny on the base of the statue that depicts former university president Lawrence Sullivan “Sul” Ross. Since I would pass through Academic Plaza where the statue of “Sully” is located on my way to the test, I was determined to leave the shiniest penny I could find at his footsteps. 

    I pulled my penny out of my pocket as I approached Sully on my way to the test. But then, I noticed two people holding something while they closely stood in front of the statue. I sighed to myself, “Well, I guess I won’t be able to leave a penny because I don’t want to bother them”.  I walked passed the statue a little discouraged from not being able to participate in such a core Aggie tradition. Just then, one of the people standing in front of the statue smiled and said “Do you want a penny for Sully”? I was shocked that not only was I being invited to participate in what I thought I was being stopped from doing, but I was also going to be loaned a penny in order to participate. I blushed as I replied with “No thanks, I brought my own”, I then awkwardly walked back to the statue and placed my penny on Sully, then I proceeded on my route towards the test.

    Once I made it to my statistics class, I sunk down in my seat and thought about how terrible my first experience with an Aggie tradition had went.  I should have embraced my fellow Ag’s comradery and taken the good luck penny I was offered on a day I really needed it. It was like I was reliving a scene from the middle school comedy “Diary of a Wimpy Kid”; which follows a 6th grade student through the trials and tribulations of his first year in middle school.  I reflected on how this was not the only experience I had in graduate school which had not gone as I had hoped. There was also the time when I lost the backpack, pen, and mug a librarian had given me about an hour after a presentation he gave about the library.  Oh yes, and I couldn’t forget discovering my jeans fly was left down after spending the entire day on campus. My first few weeks in graduate school started to sound a lot like the “Diary of a Wimpy Grad Student”. 

    A few days later I received my grade on my first statistics test. I rejoiced as I not only passed, but I actually made an A! I thought back to all of the hard work I had put in to preparing for the test.  I wasn’t sure how I had pulled off an A, but I must have had someone looking out for me. Then, I remembered placing a penny on Sully and I was sure that he had come through for me.  I smiled as I thought to myself, “I guess it all worked out in the end”.  As a first year graduate student, everyday can feel like the first day of middle school. Yet, I’ve found that taking the good along with the bad, learning from your mistakes, and leaving a penny on Sully is the key to success.

    Matthew Pfeifer | Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communications

    Howdy!  My name is Matt Pfeifer and I am pursuing a Master of Science in agricultural leadership, education, and communications; I hope that by furthering my understanding of leadership and workforce training I can improve the lives of people in rural America.


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