My first surprise on getting to Clemson was to find my roommate was someone I didn't expect. The college had assigned me a roommate, but that fellow had found another roommate, so I had George Sidroney, a Yankee from Metuchen, NJ, but we got along great.
I knew only one other person at Clemson that fall, a high school classmate, Fred Cleaves, so everyone I met that fall and everything I did was new. Every day was a new adventure. Only for the first week or so in the Army have I had so many new experiences all at one time.
Clemson had a very active "Rat" program for freshmen back then. It began right after each student got his freshman picture made for the school yearbook and lasted, traditionally, until the Clemson-South Carolina football game. Every freshman got his head shaved and had to wear a Rat Hat (beanie) at all times when on campus outside the dorms. Further, each "Rat" could be called on by upperclassmen to lead cheers in the dining hall during all meals. Punishment for Rat infractions was meted out by a Rat Court and could include having a Block C being shaved in whatever hair had grown back on the offenders head since the start of Rat Season.
Rat Season traditionally ended after the Clemson-USC football game if the Tigers won (and lasted until Thanksgiving if we lost), but 1960 was a problem because that was the first year the Big Game was played at the end of the season (rather than at the State Fair in mid-October), so the 1960 Rats were not happy about the additional several weeks of Rat Season.
In the retrospection of 50 years, it is easy to see the good that Rat Season did. In addition to building an esprit from shared sacrifice, it allowed all incoming freshmen to start on an even (bald) field with each other. Without hair as an influence it was much easier to get to know guys as they really were, rather than being influenced by hair style.
We all survived Rat Season. For most, our hair grew back (though for some it was a temporary process), but the spirit we learn in those three months was permanent. I kept my Rat Hat handy for 45 years. I could probably even find it today.