FEATURE: Top Twenty Freshmen reflect on first year at OSU

By Courtney Brown

The proudest moment of Derek Gabriel’s freshman year isn’t on his resume.

His greatest honor wasn’t placing in every Greek show, a bragging right only his fraternity can claim. His biggest accomplishment wasn’t accumulating 280 hours of community service.

“I think the thing I’m most proud of from freshman year is pulling two consecutive all-nighters to get a 15-page paper done,” said Gabriel, one of OSU’s recently named Top Twenty Freshmen Men. “I worked really, really hard on it.”

Gabriel is one of the 20 freshmen men selected for the honor—along with 20 women—from the 2012-13 school year. OSU’s chapter of Mortar Board is in charge of the application process, after which an interview process determines the final group who will later receive the Top Ten award.

“A Top Ten Freshmen Woman or Man is someone who truly dedicated themselves to the campus and community during their first year at Oklahoma State University,” said Mortar Board President Jana Gregory via email.

Students dedicated themselves to the campus in various ways. Some were heavily involved in Greek life while others focused on keeping a perfect GPA. But almost all, like Gabriel, found that some of their greatest moments came not in the great undertakings, but in the little things.

Some students, like Top Twenty Woman Emmie Humphrey, enjoyed looking back on their accomplishments.

“The community service (made me the most proud),” Humphrey said. “I had no idea. I hadn’t written it all down in one place, but through all the different events and everything (I saw) how much I had accumulated without even really knowing.”

“I’m just proud that I wasn’t in 47,000 things and didn’t stretch myself too thin,” said Lyndi Thompson, a Top Twenty Woman. “I was really involved in just a few things.”

For Top Twenty Man Brett Humphrey, his satisfaction was rooted in the intangible.

“The reason I love (what I’m involved in) is because I can be intentional,” Humphrey said. “What I’ve realized, being in a fraternity, is that a lot of freshmen guys don’t have someone that’s there for them. I want to be that guy that takes intentional time to pour into a freshman.”

Humphrey said his goal for his sophomore year is to act as a guide and mentor for freshmen.

He isn’t the only one wanting to offer his experience to the youngest members of the Cowboy family. Top Twenty Man Matt Gallagher encouraged freshmen to break out of their normal routines and try something new.

“A lot of that stuff, like Freshman Follies, that’s something I’ve never done before in my life,” Gallagher said. “So that’s something that I really am proud of, that I was able to step out of my box and my comfort zone. Get out there and try something new.”

Daniel Anderson, a Top Twenty Man, emphasized the importance of service to other students and the entire campus.

“Have the mindset of, ‘How can I serve someone?’ Rather than ‘What can this university do for me?’” Anderson said.

Humphrey echoed that sentiment.

“Realize that you’re on this campus to serve other people,” Humphrey said. “At least, that’s what I realized. Really have the mindset of putting others before yourself, and when you do that, you’ll find great gratification in your work.”

Though each top freshman varied in involvement and interests, one priority was consistent with each student: relationships.

“I’ve done a lot of different things, but (I like) just being able to share that with somebody or help somebody for no reason,” Anderson said. “No matter what you accomplish, if it’s just for yourself, it’s just in vain.

“Never take a relationship for granted.”

For a full list of OSU’s Top Twenty Men and Women of 2013, click here.

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