Richard Hay

You can take the boy out of Texas A&M
But you can't take the Texas A&M out of the boy...

So I am there, on Kyle Field, on Saturday, May 15, 1993, and I am watching juniors march by wearing senior boots. Much like the boots I had on at the time myself. Only mine were about to come off. My time as an Aggie Bandsman was at an end. Like all good things, it had come to a conclusion. Life goes on though. The life of being in the Aggie Band is unique, but it is not the zenith of existence. It is a building block in the lives of young men and women that tears them down to teach respect for authority, and them builds them back up to become mature adults who have real character. Just look at what a character I had become. I wasn't finished with A&M of course. It would take me until December to graduate. I did feel more invisible amongst the 45,000 students without the distinctive boots in the fall. Less than 400 students are seniors in the Corps, so a booted individual gets noticed, pointed at, held in revered awe, etc... But as a regular old joe student, I was just Richard Hay again. And I would do something else now to move on and grow in life.

The question was, what to do? I wanted to acquire gainful employment certainly. How I would go about doing that exactly, I wasn't sure. By December, I, as the proud owner of a fine parchment degree that said I had completed the requirements to receive a BS in Geography from Texas A&M. But the jobs weren't magically appearing. The best the career center had for Geography majors was a job as a Taco Bell assistant manager. Somehow I passed up that golden gem and I consulted with my profs instead. They said to go to grad school. Of course, it had worked for them. I love to talk, so it seemed like a win/win way to go to be a college prof. I would be able to teach and talk all I wanted then. So I took the GRE. I timed it badly though. I had a final Friday, December 10th, the GRE on Saturday, December 11th, then two finals Monday, December 13th. So I didn't have loads of time to study. I skimmed a GRE test booklet to get an idea of the material for about 30 minutes. And I fully intended to take the test again. This was just the practice run to get a feel for the test, not meant to be the production run. Now I don't know if it was because I was relaxed, or because I got a good sleep, or that the pressure to perform was off, or because I was in the academic "zone" for test taking, but I aced that test. I got a 1360 on the Math and English together, and a 2070 out of 2400. 93rd percentile of all college graduates. And I was sitting pretty for grad school admission. And I was admitted to everywhere I applied (I guess that 3.33 GPA didn't hurt either). But far and away, the University of Maryland was offering the best deal. They'd put me in for a University Fellowship worth $20,000 a year with my tuition remitted. But even if I didn't get that, they offered a departmental assistantship worth $10,000 with tuition remitted. Either way, they were going to pay me to be a grad student. Go Terapins! So I went to Maryland. A little aside here. As a young adolescent in Germany, I remember wondering if I would ever end up going to the University of Maryland in Munich. This was where most of the other college student military dependents went to be educated. Never did I suspect that one day I would actually go to the University of Maryland in College Park. Funny how things work out.

My duties as a graduate assistant included hours of work in the Geography Department's Graphics Lab. This is where I learned Unix, as I had to teach undergrads how to use the workstations. This led to a job in the engineering department when my academic career hit the skids for mainly political reasons. I lost my assistantship in a bet (okay, I got a C on my Thesis Research Proposal, which was hardly universally appreciated, except by my advisor). Anyway, I worked in engineering for the spring, and came to learn much about TCP/IP, Novell, Windows 3.11, Unix, the Internet, and routers while supporting the PhD's in the various branches of engineering. Then my father retired from the Air Force which precipitated a crisis. I had been living with my parents in Alexandria, VA, and with their departure, I had to find real work. So I looked around a bit, and found a nice job in Bethesda with my new skill set. Thus I became a real live Systems Administrator for the first time. And I was going to be working for Dataworld.

Working for dataworld was interesting. While I had learned more at a faster pace while at Maryland, this taught me to be a one man team. I was the company tech support division. If I didn't know, nobody knew. And it was at dataworld that I learned about Microsoft Networking products. They were a member of the Microsoft Developers Network, so they got loads of software on CD. We got Windows 95, Windows NT, Exchange Server, Microsoft Office, etc... So eventually, I was tasked to install and support an NT Workstation, and then upgrade it to NT Server 3.51, and so on. And that's how I learned about shares, and NetBEUI, and UNC names, and so on. I learned a lot about administrating a small sized LAN with about 50 workstations, a Novell 4.1 File Server, an NT Server, and a Linux Internet Gateway. Later, we beefed up, and I got to set up a Microrouter 1200i to link us up to the net at fractional T1 speeds. All and all, I learned a good bit.

And I was a good admin. And people noticed. I developed a bit of a reputation. And I started to get a hint here, a comment there, on opportunities to work somewhere else. One such lead formed into an interview, and eventual employment for FC Business Systems. I have worked as the Corporate LAN/WAN Administrator for FC since February of 1997. It is a much larger company, and I am being assisted in acquiring several certifications. Eventually I'd like to have a CNA, MCSE, Cisco Training, and be a certified Solaris Admin. Not bad for me. Never took a computer class (a couple where they were used though). So there it is. I have been a Maverick, an Aggie, a Terrapin, and, of late, an all around network bad ass. Life does go on after being an Aggie, but it doesn't take but a single glance at my office to discern where my loyalties lie.

Return to the Aggie Chronicles Index Page
I am reachable at
Copyright © Richard Hay 1998