Ring provides financial obstacle for some
Published: Thursday, September 19, 2013
Updated: Thursday, September 19, 2013 00:09
The Aggie Ring is something that Aggies — and non-Aggies — recognize and respect as a unique symbol of the excellence in character and academics that comes with an education at Texas A&M.
Many students will purchase their ring before they graduate, signifying the end of their college career. For some though, the price makes buying the ring a
“I was on the fence about getting my Aggie Ring,” said Kyle Baldock, senior community health major. “I was unsure if I should get it because it costs over $1,000. I just kept thinking, if I drop that much money on a ring, I could use that money for something else.”
Cole Baldock, Kyle’s older brother, graduated from A&M in 2010 without purchasing his ring after he decided that it was too expensive. This decision ultimately influenced Kyle.
“My brother didn’t get his ring,” Kyle said. “He never told me he regretted it but every now and then I think he wishes he had one. I grew up looking up to my brother my whole life, so a lot of what he does influences me.”
One lure of the Aggie Ring is its networking ability, often helping students find jobs in a market that is sometimes unstable and unpredictable for young, college graduates.
“As I am sure many people have told you, the ring just kind of promotes the Aggie network and whatever career I end up in, no matter what I do, a priority of mine will be to build relationships,” Kyle said. “Aggies will help you get a job if you are in need. Having an Aggie Ring is a great way to build relationships.”
This summer, Kyle flew to Denver, Colo., to visit his older brother and sister-in-law.
“I flew to Denver to see my brother and a guy on the plane had a ring on,” Kyle said. “We got to talk and it just made me realize how much the Aggie Ring can help build relationships. People see it and they respect the fact that you went to A&M. “
Kyle said that no matter what decision someone makes about the Aggie Ring, it ultimately has to be about a person’s priorities.
“I would say I respect either decision,” Kyle said. “If you don’t want to drop that much money on a ring, it is just a piece of jewelry. It is obviously one of the biggest traditions at A&M, so it is understandable either way. You just have to figure out what you want.”
Other students knew that they always wanted to get a ring, but the price did make the decision more difficult. Elizabeth Bruns, senior kinesiology major, received her ring a year ago.
“I really wanted to not want it but it is just such an important part of A&M,” she said. “It is expensive but it is worth it. I really think it does a good job of symbolizing the Aggie family.”
Corey Burnham, Class of 2010, was born with Aggie blood. His father, Class of 1979, did not push A&M on Burnham or his sisters so they grew up not being the most dedicated of fans.
“My dad made a deal with me back in high school that I could either get a high school ring or a college ring,” Burnham said. “Little did I know that picking a college ring would be so monumental at the time. I didn’t know much about the traditions of Texas A&M, especially the importance placed on getting your Aggie Ring.”
When Burnham was a freshman at A&M, his older sister received her ring. It was there that he began to understand what the ring meant and what it could do for his future.
“One of the main events that swayed me to get my ring was when my sister received her Aggie Ring the spring of my freshman year,” he said. “I got to be there for the excitement of ring day and I learned about not only the history behind the Aggie Ring, but how it also connects so many Aggies across the world.”
Several years later, Burnham came across an A&M graduate as he traveled through Europe.
“I was in the Czech Republic at the time, touring Prague castle with a friend, when I heard an older gentleman behind me say “Gig ’em Ags,’” Burnham said. “He had noticed my maroon Texas A&M hoodie from behind and had come to say hi. Even though I do not remember his name, I remember seeing his class year of ‘63 on his worn down Aggie Ring.”
This encounter spawned a 20-minute discussion about A&M, with the Class of 1963 former student reminiscing about the old days. He even stopped to give Burnham some words of wisdom.
“He told me that he had met so many people over the years by just seeing an Aggie Ring on their right hand and some of whom he was still close friends with,” Burnham said. “I had always heard that Aggies are everywhere and this experience proved that saying true for me. The instant connection that we had, even with such a large age gap, really impressed upon me the desire to get my Aggie Ring.”
When the time came closer for Burnham to order his ring, the cost inevitably became an issue. His father, as promised, did help him pay for some of the ring expenses, but the rest was up to Burnham.