What it means to be a Horned Frog
My story is way too long for this Blog. With that said, I’ll give you what my impressions of what being a Horned Frog means to me. I hold three degrees from TCU; my undergraduate degree, a Master of Business Administration (MBA), and my Doctorate in Education (Ed.D.). I am working on my second Doctorate at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. It is a Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA).
TCU is the only university in the world to have a Horned Frog as its mascot. Well, we are actually a Texas Horned Lizard. We’re a reptile, not an amphibian. Think back to what Mushu said in Mulan, “I’m a Dragon, I don’t do the tongue thing.” Yep, we Horned Frogs don’t do the tongue thing… OK, I digressed. Horned Frogs are lizards that survive in some of the harshest elements. They are cunning and resourceful. Their defense mechanism is to actually break capillaries and squirt blood from their eyes. Each of these facts make the Horned Frog unique. I see the entering class of freshmen at Frog Camp and Orientation and realize that the class I’m seeing is better than the class that preceded them. The beauty of TCU is that our community gets better with each New Year. It is either a new incoming class that exceeds the one prior, a rising criteria for incoming faculty due to the administrations search for those who will expand and challenge the thinking of the student body, or the honed TCU experience to incorporate one of the premier athletic departments in the country. Each student here is unique, each student contributes to the success of every aspect of this campus. What I’m trying to say- when you’re a Horned Frog, you are among the best. Your high school friends are just that, your high school friends. Your Horned Frog friends are the lifelong friends. They are the ones you will be married with and buried with. You will be a Horned Frog for Life, HFFL!
Failure: don’t run from it, learn from it
Failure is the greatest teacher. Embrace failure and learn from everything you do. If you walk through life and you have never failed, you have either never tried anything outside your comfort zone or you are afraid of failure. Edison invented the lightbulb on the 1000th attempt. What would the world be like if he stopped, gave up, or quit after the 999th attempt? Winston Churchill said, “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” This from a man who rallied a country when defeat was on their doorstep.
Professors: they are not “teachers”
Teachers will teach to a specific standardized test. Their job is to prepare you for graduation as mandated by a state board of education. Teachers never get the real credit they deserve. Each person can point to a specific teacher who had an impact on them. Professors are different. Our job is to increase, enhance, and develop a very acute skill set that you possess. Professors develop the critical thinking, analytical skills, and communication skills in their students. Professors will not hold your hand and work from a remedial aspect. We will work diligently to help you uncover the strengths and weaknesses in the skills you have. We yearn to see success in the students and will take great sense of accomplishment when we see the “light” go on in your educational journey.
This is where TCU greatly outdistances itself from all other universities (in my opinion). If you walk across the stage at graduation and receive the “Golden Handshake” from Chancellor Boschini and you do not know three professors on a first name basis, you have missed the educational experience at TCU. The faculty at TCU truly wants to get to know their students and help them. We are the ones whom employers call looking to fill a need at their companies. When seeking admittance into a graduate program, admissions counselors will ask the faculty what type of student the applicant was. TCU faculty will make themselves available to help their students at any time. Remember, we love to see the light bulbs click on!
Our mission statement is: “to educate individuals to think and act as ethical leaders and responsible citizens in the global community.” What better way to put our mission statement into practice than to live it? When students study in a foreign country, they learn to adapt their lives and learning styles to become successful. The experiences they will bring to their future employer can pay dividends. There are opportunities for students to explore the world and expose themselves to educational environments that will act as a multiplier on their learning.
Most importantly: get involved
TCU is YOUR community. Each member of this community plays an integral part in education. There is a life you learn with and a life you live with- make them intersect early. Most of the learning is done outside the classroom. When students take leadership roles on campus, their skill set is developed and honed for the future. The path to success is forged through the efforts developed on campus. The microcosm of college efforts are a laboratory setting where students can experiment and develop abilities in a controlled setting. The best part is college efforts are seen as a safety net. Get involved and make TCU a better place.
Dr. Bob Akin is the Assistant Professor of Professional Practice for the Neeley School of Business’ Marketing Department. He serves our university as an advisor for the American Marketing Association, a member of the Celebration of University Pillar Awards Committee, and a frequent Frog Camp faculty facilitator.