When I was five, I wanted to go to Penn State because it was my mom’s alma mater and the only college rural-Pennsylvanian-little-me had ever heard of.
When I was 10, I wanted to go to Harvard because I may or may not have been influenced by a certain Reese Witherspoon movie.
When I was 14, I wanted to go to Stanford Law School to become the next President of the United States.
By the time my senior year of high school came around, I was living in England and felt like the world was at my doorstep. I didn’t know where I wanted to go to college simply because I wanted to apply everywhere.
Newsflash to 18-year-old me, the world can wait.
I ended up applying to seven American universities along the East Coast hoping to major in finance because I wanted to be the next girl boss bonds broker on Wall Street.
I additionally applied to Texas A&M because tuition was cheaper than all of the East Coast schools I applied to and I had some family ties in Texas, though contrary to most Aggies’ stories, it was not, to say the least, my top choice school. But after eight months of filling out applications from across the pond, discovering I’d rather work for the United Nations than ever breathe on Wall Street and receiving seven out of eight acceptance letters (let’s take a moment to hiss a certain Tarheel school), I took a picture with a banner that said “Howdy!” and enrolled in my New Student Conference.
I had never even stepped foot in College Station before.
Although A&M was originally my cost-effective college choice — which many may laugh at, until you realize every other school I applied to cost over $50,000 a year — three years later I have never once regretted my decision (not even after the time my friend and I accidentally walked onto the Quad during Howdy Week freshman year looking for a dining hall and instead got screamed at/hit on by a bald fish in combat boots who pulled out of his rank).
There have been ups and downs, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.
My high school didn’t have any traditions that weren’t straight out of “Harry Potter,” — no, I’m not kidding — so coming to THE Texas A&M University was like a dream come true to me, a pseudo-military brat who’s never before had a place that’s felt like home. From Fish Camp, to Midnight Yell, to Bonfire Remembrance and more, I’ve tried my hardest to get the full Aggie experience during my time at A&M, including joining The Independent Voice of the Student Body (wink wink, The Battalion). Even though COVID-19 disrupted some of that experience, such as a study abroad to Paris and my first “Whoop” in Kyle Field, getting my Aggie Ring is that last tradition which will solidify Aggieland as my one true home.
Despite my random journey to A&M, the one person who knew from the very beginning this was where I belonged was my dearly missed grandmother. She told everyone she met that I was an Aggie, and she was so excited for me to get my Aggie gold and, eventually, my diploma. Unfortunately, she will not be there for either occasion, but I know I’ll make her proud this Friday.
From Lechner Hall to Help Desk Central and everything in between, this campus is my home. I’ve loved every class I’ve ever taken for my major, I’ve made lifelong friends thanks to student organizations and the ever-powerful Aggie Network and along the way, I’ve built up a pretty decent resume, too.
My Aggie Ring symbolizes my place in the world, because even though I’ll be leaving Aggieland in about a year’s time, I’ll forever be an Aggie.
Myranda Campanella is an international studies junior and managing editor for The Battalion.