Actually, I just couldn't understand why a supposedly "modern" university would include such a ritual, and I had no less than Dr. R.C. Edwards, Clemson's President, to tell me the same late in my sophomore year after I had been named the new Editor-in-Chief of "The Tiger."
Briefly, my own experience was having my head shaved the first day on campus, having to wear the orange beanie, lead cheers in the cafeteria, perform errands for upperclassmen, the latter of which included constant trips to Dan's Sandwich Shop for burgers. Mostly, I was left alone due to rapid involvement on the Cheerleading Team, "The Tiger" newspaper and the Pershing Rifles. And I never hesitated to tell a pesky upperclassman that I didn't have time to polish his dammmm boots, if I didn't.
Some carried the tradition too far, but I believed most knew its days were numbered. It had its place during Clemson's military school days, but none afterwards. Though disagreeing with it, I thought in its own morbidly funny way that it provided a sense of commonality among students...sort of a unified "all in" for Clemson mentality. Most importantly, I never lost any sleep over it and was glad when it was over.
Re: I went through it in 1965, didn't like it, but
Apr 15, 2020, 7:25 AM
I started in '68, and had no clue Rat Season was coming. I had some nice looking hair going on, and looked all handsome and stuff. Suddenly, the locks were gone, and that good looking guy disappeared. The beanie helped, as I only looked stupid, but not as ugly. I never really minded going to Dan's all that much as I liked to be active anyway. However, sometimes if I had an upcoming test the next day, I had to deny their requests. They never liked that, but never really gave me a lot of crap about it. They probably didn't want to get ... well, anyway. Rat Season ended pretty soon IMO, and the camaraderie that was generated was well worth the experience. It was nice to compete to see who could part their hair first. Most of us tried to lie about it. And then, before you knew it, I was handsome again. LOL. Okay, well most of that is correct.
Mike said it best. Thanks for the introspection. I can see much better where lthom022 was coming from. Had hoped he would get back on and post his adventures as well. Don't recall him posting much... But then again until 2 weeks ago, I didn't realize tnet had all these other places you could post to, lounge, politics, etc etc. That doesn't show up under Boards tab.
Thanks to all and to quote dsp, all be well and safe. We'll need everyone in the stands come September!!!!
I came to Clemson in the summer of 1967. Had been before to visit friends from high school who were already there. Checked in for Trig and Algebra in summer school. That dorm was a mixture of all classes so I got a taste of dorm life and what was to come for freshmen. So when I came back for the fall semester I knew my way around campus some. Remember going to Tillman Hall waiting for them to call your name and give you your info packet with your schedule. I was assigned to the shoebox #10 at the time. It too was a mixture of different classes..freshman-senior. Once cozied in several of us went downtown to get our "rat cut." I don't remember where I got my beanie. But I looked so different that I swore I wasn't going home until my hair grew out. My first rat task was to carry some paperwork across campus for a senior to another senior and get a slip that I had delivered it. 11 pm. Rat season lasted until homecoming. All the while there were errands to be run for upper class-men from getting things from Dan's, as already mentioned, picking up laundry at the p-plant, shining shoes. One rat on my hall was summoned to a senior's room and forced to speed smoke cigarettes until his lips were oozing blood. Other things included leading cheers in the dining hall to singing the Alma Mater standing on a table also in the dining hall. The dorm had community showers, urinals didn't have dividers, and toilets did not have doors even though there were dividers. I remember a time or two people asking for a courtesy flush. Talk about a sense of oneness. It was It was all in good fun and there was no harm intended by anyone. For me it created a sense of belonging and a bond to the school which lasts to this day 50 years later. My roomie was from my high school, also a freshman. All of my fellow rats on my hall and in classes felt a sense of oneness and uniformity. I can't imagine that any of us would belittle another. I wish my grandsons would have gone to CU and experienced rat season. On a side note one grandson attended soccer camp and I was assigned to pick up his things from his dorm while he and parents were assembling for final ceremonies. By golly he was on the same floor as I lived on (in 10-302) but 3 doors down. The rooms had hardly changed one little bit in 45 years. I know this is long but just sharing some memories. Please be considerate of others on the board and recognize and tolerate differences of opinion.
Wow, thanks. I kinda wish y'all would share more stories from times gone by. Does the soul good to reminisce. I'm about 10 years your junior. Really really is something in them hills. Thanks again for your words of wisdom.