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Opinion: Spirit of Aggieland complete

Matt McCullar: Renovated MSC reinvigorates Aggie experience

Published: Thursday, April 26, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 21:07



Many aspects of the MSC Flag Room remain the same, even with renovations. The grand piano, cowhide couches, add flags add to the communal atmosphere.

I sat in the newly renovated MSC on a warm Sunday afternoon. Although the building was crowded with students former, present and future, there was a familiar tone in the air.

The baby grand was being played as if it never missed a note while students studied for the final exams of the semester in the Flag Room. In my mind, the Memorial Student Center had not closed for three years — it seemed that I was engaging in a tradition that had filled my collegiate life day-in and day-out.

In truth, I had not set foot in the MSC since May 2009. Three years had passed since I set eyes on the cowhide chairs or lazily strolled past the wooden panels.

Without a second thought, my hand removed the cap from my head as I presented myself to the building. As was my custom freshman year, I wandered through the bookstore before beginning the real studying. And although the fringes of the flags, the lights of the chandeliers and the brown of brick never left my mind, my memory returned to an age when I was but a newcomer to Aggieland.

In an instant, I relived watching my family drive away as I masked the fear of being on my own with a high-five to my best friend. I reminisced the days when I knew but a handful of people within a 90-mile radius… 90 miles. There was a time when A&M was a world away from everything I knew and loved.

Again, my mind took a seat in my very first college classroom — which was the wrong one — and once more I had lunch at Sbisa, or united with a group of freshman for a midnight game of capture-the-flag.

If I knew then what the next four years would hold, would it make a difference? Would I believe that I could find the unity and a sense of belonging that I found with Impact?  Would I understand the frustrations that would come studying ancient Greek? Could I express to my freshman self what it means to yell the Aggies through both victory and defeat — what it’s like to find those quiet corners of campus to call my own, or the feeling of accomplishment and utter pride that comes with slipping on my Fightin’ Texas Aggie Ring for the very first time?

There’s a spirit here can ne’er be told. As a freshman, I would not have been able to understand how this place could change my life. As a senior, I cannot express how this institution has built me into the man I am today.

I came here ready to be a student at Texas A&M. But with every penny placed at Sully’s feet, every ‘Here’ at Muster, and every backward step taken as a tour guide, that ‘I’ has slowly been reshaped into the plural.

We are the Aggies. The Aggies are we.

Though the Memorial Student Center is newly opened, newly renovated and newly designed, students enjoy it the same now as the generations of Aggies did during the past six decades. Our individual experiences, memories and stories are as unique as each student that walks across this campus. They are also the individual brush strokes that together paint the masterpiece known as the Spirit of Aggieland.

Matt McCullar is a senior communication major and guest columnist.

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