There are many, many reasons I love being an Aggie – 96 to be correct 🙂 (It’s an Aggie thing.) I love collegiate rivalries. ISU/IU; UF/FSU; Army/Navy; Ohio State/Michigan; Notre Dame/USC; Purdue/Indiana; OSU/Oklahoma and on and on. In a rivalry game, no matter the sport, all bets are off. Rankings don’t matter. Season stats don’t matter. Post-season doesn’t matter. It all comes down to who wants it more. Plain and simple.
From the time I set foot on the A&M campus as a 15-year-old 4-Her, I knew I wanted to be an Aggie. No question. The older I’ve gotten, as a former student, I realize that coming to Aggieland was one of the single best decisions I ever made. Honestly, I made lifelong friends in College Station. I think it’s appropriate as we prepare for the biggest football game of the season, that I pause to give thanks for my love of all things maroon.
TOP TEN: WHY I HEART BEING AN AGGIE
1. The friendly faces. People still say ‘howdy’ when you greet them on campus. If you look lost, someone’s bound to stop and ask how they can help. It’s just part of who we are.
2. The traditions. I realize some may scoff at them and how we brainwash incoming freshman. Scoff away. I know they are what sets A&M apart from any other university. You can have your fancy roll call of former students, or your picturesque campus. I am honored that every month, Aggies silently gather on campus to remember current students who have died. I am humbled that every year on April 21, Aggies “call the Muster” while comrades answer ‘here’ for any Aggie who has left this life for the next. I think it’s pretty freaking awesome that we don’t have cheerleaders. Everybody else has those. We have five extremely handsome boys in white that can yell their pants off. Just check out a game at Kyle Field. With one hand motion, the student body can belt out a yell and cause havoc on the field for the opposing team. I love that we honor our seniors at Elephant Walk. And that we so proudly brainwash our freshman at Fish Camp.
3. The stellar Catholic campus ministry. Universities around the country – Ivy League, land grant, public and private – all flock to A&M to see how we’re doing it. Just how have we fostered more than 150 vocations to the religious life? How do we so wonderfully prepare hundreds and hundreds of couples for the Sacrament of Marriage. How do we get so many students to Daily Mass? It’s pretty fantastic.
4. The network. Just ask anyone who graduated from A&M and they’ll proudly show you their Aggie ring, first introducing themself with name, followed by their class year. That coveted ring is one of the most recognizable symbols of a former student. My favorite Aggie joke is this, “What do you call an Aggie four years after graduation? Boss.” We take care of our own. We’re always proud to meet another Aggie upon first sighting of the ring.
5. The community. It’s the smallest big university you’ll ever visit. With more than 40,000 students on campus, it might seem intimidating. I never did feel like a small fish in a big pond, though. A&M always seemed like a big family. Still does. There is a camaraderie that is difficult to put into words.
6. The excellence. We are the only university in Texas to have all three grants – space, land and sea. Some of my non-Aggie friends may be saying ‘so what’? I think THIS VIDEO says it best.
7. The pride. I was a sorority girl, proudly so, but always considered myself an Aggie Chi-O, never the other way around. A&M allowed me to stretch my leadership wings and find my place, but it also helped me understand how we were stronger working together, than splintered apart. We also just so happen to be the only insitution, aside from the military colleges, to send more cadets into the armed forces than anyone else. That is a major source of pride. Like it or not, there are a ton of Aggies protecting your hiney tonight. They do it well.
8. The spirit. While Scott and I weren’t on campus when Bonfire fell and killed 12 students, we weren’t far removed. A fellow classmate, Chris Breen ’96, was one of those who died. And, Scott’s brother was on stack with his Corps outfit shortly before it fell. It’s difficult to put into words how much Bonfire was a part of the A&M culture. It’s life lessons were many. There is this “feeling” that bubbles up when you sing “The Spirit of Aggieland” and it gets me everytime. Nobody else has that. Aggies own the trademark.
9. The history. I had the privilege of being a part of the Campus Muster Committee and Aggie Hostel (a former students’ program that brought older alumni back to campus for a week during the summer). Both allowed me to meet ‘ol Army Ags. Like, real ‘ol Army. It was such a life lesson. Those men had so many honorable and fascinating stories of life at A&M when it was all-male, all-military. Our roots are deep. I so adore that about A&M. Even though we’ve grown to 40K+ and the Corps is only 2K, their influence on the culture at A&M is undeniable.
10. The comfort of knowing who we are. I have plenty of Longhorn friends who razz me about the whole “farmers fight” schtick. But, A&M got it’s start as the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas (TAMC). We were about educating the common man, sending him home to make his community a better place. We’ve never left that core belief. I don’t think there’s any reason to apologize for that history.
So, tomorrow as we enjoy the Thanksgiving feast and give thanks for the many, many blessings in our lives, I’ll be adding in a special prayer for my Aggies.