Freshman Chambers tries to figure out how to make it as an SDSU student

John Hult

John Hult

Tara Chambers isn’t really into this story. Or at least that’s how it seems.

Bombarded with questions about school, her hobbies, her attitude towards leaving Sioux Falls, SDSU classes, Brookings activities (or the lack thereof) and how her parents reacted to her departure, she cops a classic teenage “well, whatever” attitude that betrays the oft-held parental notion of the tentative, uninitiated college freshman.

Indeed, when piling packed bags on the living room floor in preparation for the 45-minute jaunt to Brookings on Labor Day weekend, she seemed more annoyed at the uncertainties ahead than worried about their consequences.

“I heard someone say that they change the room your class is in sometimes,” she said of the registration process. “And it’s like, ‘how am I supposed to know where to go?'”

She makes this sound like a challenge.

Like Lisa Atkinson, Tara’s move to Brookings left her parents with an empty nest. Also like Lisa, she was more prepared for the move than her parents were.

If her mother seemed concerned before the move, she’s doubly concerned now.

“She [Mother] calls me, like, every day. She tells me stuff that I already know. It gets old,” Chambers said after the first week of class. “My dad is like that. I talked to him tonight and he said, ‘Yeah, if you need anything, just call me.'”

Chambers was probably more prepared than most students to move away.

This summer, she spent two months in San Francisco bumming around, shopping and taking in the Pacific coastline.

The California attitude may have rubbed off. Chambers hasn’t decided on a major yet, and doesn’t fret much about it, either. She’s just hanging out and having fun at this point-although she thinks this will be harder to do in Brookings.

The size of the rooms doesn’t bother her at all, but the size of the town does.

“That bugs me. A lot,” she said. “There’s always something to do elsewhere. If there’s anything to do, it’s gonna be on campus.”

There were only a few activities she paid much attention to during her senior year at Roosevelt High School. She only took art classes, and she won second place at Roosevelt’s regional art show for pottery that year.

That pursuit should be easy enough to stick with in Brookings (she’s taking an art class this semester).

Her other hobby isn’t available on campus at all. As soon as the snow fell last winter, Tara was snowboarding every other day.

It was a pretty cheap hobby.

Chambers worked at Great Bear Ski Lodge just outside of Sioux Falls last year.

“That’s where I broke my neck,” she said. “The day after Christmas.”

She wore a neck brace for four months after the accident, but she has no intention of quitting. Her stepfather’s purchase of two 4-wheel ATVs means more high-intensity hobby time, not less. She plays an X-Box, too, but usually only snowboarding and ATV games.

She was always a tomboy, she says. “Yeah [it surprises people], cause I don’t look like one,” she said.

Whether it’s luck, good genes, or an attitude born of adrenaline, Chambers’ practicality should leave her parents with nothing to worry about.

Even her decision to make no decision is sensible. Being an artist is definitely a dream, but she’s not moving back to San Francisco to sketch caricatures on street corners just yet.

“Artists only make money after they’re dead,” she said.

A penniless career just wouldn’t work for Chambers.

After all, ATVs and snowboards don’t pay for themselves.

#1.886903:436232530.jpg:taraandthepissymother.jpg:Sioux Falls native Tara Chambers and her mother discuss what she should bring to SDSU. Chambers is a freshman at SDSU with an undecided major. :