It’s been easy to be cynical about the current moment. I’m not graduating under ideal circumstances. I don’t have a job lined up after college. I’m the most out of shape I’ve ever been and badly in need of a good old-fashioned drunk.
However, it’s been a hell of a lot easier to appreciate my time in Aggieland before it comes to an end.
The shame is what I’ll miss is what I already have been missing for the last seven weeks. No, my senior semester wasn’t unfairly taken because someone ate this or that halfway across the world. I’d make a stronger case for the lot of you who can’t seem to stay home, but I won’t. I’ve experienced more good than any bad half a semester can bring.
But I’ve loved my time here in College Station. I loved frigid mornings headed out the door and evenings so humid I’d kick back the sheets to keep from sticking. I loved the toll of Albritton on Sundays, the bustle of Dixie pool tables on Thursday and crushed cans of High Life on any damn day of the week.
It’s hard not to be romantic about Texas A&M. There’s history here, and each graduating class is ready to make their own. More often than not — truly, more often — I met Aggies who cared deeply about making this university a home for all. I can’t begin to tell you how many of them came from our student newsroom. Contrary to boomer belief, we never chased headlines with the intent to send them slithering to their keyboards; we wrote about what mattered — anyone with something to say.
Graduation brings with it a melancholy all on its own. Accepting I won’t edit alongside these storytellers is another grief entirely. You would never know it, because Battalion staffers are locked in a basement five days out of every week, but these editors, my friends, transcend what it means to be a good Ag. They’re beautiful people, and I only hope I carry myself with an inkling of the grace they’ve shown me.
And as my final week at this institution passes me by from a family couch in Mission, Texas, I’m reminded of a conversation I had with another graduating senior and friend. “I love this university, but I hate so many of its alumni,” she said. “Now, I’m about to become one of them.” As a soon to be former student of Texas A&M, I intend to be the kind of alumnus this university needs. A supportive one. One who does not question where the hell my alma mater went, but the kind who looks on and says, “Thanks and Gig ‘em, Aggieland.”
There’s not enough I could say here to encapsulate my time at Texas A&M, so I’ll end it here, with a few words you can thank Hunter Stockton Thompson for:
“Let us toast to animal pleasures, to escapism, to rain on the roof and instant coffee, to unemployment insurance and library cards, to absinthe and good-hearted landlords...and to the ‘good life,’ whatever it is and wherever it happens to be.”
Hollis Mills is an English senior and life & arts editor for The Battalion.