COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Texas A&M University will greet thousands of Aggies this week during 'Howdy Week' -- Aggieland's official week of welcome.
A week before the start of the new semester, the oldest student organization on campus is gearing up to welcome its' newest members.
The first step is looking the part.
"It's long, I'm ready for the cut," said Jackson Lozano, Huntsville, Alabama native and freshman Cadet or "Fish." "I am excited. I am a little nervous, but I am excited to get started with my fish year. Everyone comes in with a different hair cut and you get to see what they look like almost bald."
It's a tradition as old as the Corps itself - Cadets get "Fish Cuts."
"They are going to get a four-finger white-wall with just a buzz on top and it's a great way to build class camaraderie, they all have something in common," said Anthony Townsend, executive officer for Company D-2 and Texas A&M senior.
A 'Fish Cut' is a cadet's first haircut with the Corps.
"We have been doing this for 20 years at this location and we love it," said Teresa Juarez, a hairstylist with Eastgate Hair Shop in College Station on Sunday. "We love meeting all the new freshman and everything that comes along with the day."
"At worst they are going to wake up every morning with bed head completely covered, because it's not possible with a fish cut," Townsend said.
The "Fish Cut" is the shortest length a cadet's hair will ever be in the Corps.
"As a sophomore, they are going to get more hair as a junior, even more, and then a senior a full head of hair," Townsend said. "It's going to be an awesome thing."
"I see the upperclassmen, and they are really disciplined. I see the seniors walking in their boots. I can't wait to be one of those seniors and get my boots," Lozano shared with anticipation.
With eyes set on earning his boots one day, Lozano has only been on campus for two days, but his love for the maroon is as old as he is.
"I am a second-generation Aggie," said Lozano, a freshman cadet." My Dad was in D-2, so I am a legacy. I have always wanted to be an Aggie. I grew up watching and coming to football games. My sister just graduated last year. We are an Aggie family."
Lozano's father was a member of the Corps at Texas A&M and class of '93.
"He told me D-2 was the best outfit and it's totally true," Lozano said. "He told me to get ready for Rudder's Rangers and they were going to get us in shape."
Happy to be here, Lozano said he's been looking forward to this moment, not only all summer, but his entire life.
"I am so excited," Lozano said. "I always wanted to join to military (and the Corps). My dad is on active duty right now. I can't wait to find a contract."
Nearly 700 freshmen cadets -- also called Fish -- arrived on campus this weekend - the "Fish Cut" is part of the grooming standards with the Corps.
"It's exciting to meet them and to welcome them to Aggieland and to let them know we are here," said Juarez, Lozano's hairstylist, on Sunday.
The buzz brings a sense of pride, something this senior Cadet remembers well.
"Being in boots and just being the one doing the haircutting and not being in the chair today," Townsend said. "It's so surreal. As a freshman, I know my buddies and I, we are like 'we are never going to get there. It seems so far away, but now we are here."
"We let them know they are welcome at our shop any time," Juarez said.
"I can't wait for the season (Aggie Football) to start. I can't wait to get to know my Fish buddies. There's nothing else like it."
Call it the heart of the Aggie spirit upholding this tradition by filling one chair at a time.
"Not to be punny, but there's literally a buzz in the air," Townsend said, regarding the energy surrounding campus at this time. "We are ready to see some Aggie football and do some march-ins and Midnight Yell and everything that comes with being a cadet and being a student and also in the Corps and having that very individual perspective on the university."
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