As a first-generation Aggie, there were plenty of traditions for me to learn and even more for my supportive parents to understand. Last winter, I told them I would be eligible for my Aggie Ring this spring. They a had a hard time understanding the importance of the Aggie Ring and I struggled to explain the importance of it to them. An old Aggie proverb tells it best, “From the outside looking in you can’t understand it. From the inside looking out you can’t explain it.”
When I first told my parents about my accomplishment of being able to order my Aggie Ring, one question that came up was, “Why would you get a ring before you graduated?” My mother graduated from the College of New Jersey — Trenton State at the time — and my father graduated from Ohio State University. Neither of them received their college rings for one reason or another.
My parents don’t really care if I receive my ring before or after graduation — they are proud of my achievement either way. But this question made me think about the Aggie Ring. I couldn’t pinpoint an explanation behind the reasoning for receiving my Aggie Ring before graduation. I understand it is the sign that I have completed 90 hours and that I am an Aggie. But, what does this gold I will wear for the rest of my life really mean to me?
For me, it is a physical embodiment of the Aggie spirit. The sign that I’m a part of a family — the Aggie family — one that holds certain values such as selfless services and respect to a high standard. I think the reason that it is so exciting to get my ring before graduation is that it shows that I’m close to finishing what I started, and that I have motivation to continue moving forward on the final stretch to graduation.
The reason you wear your class year facing you, before graduation, is to remind you that you haven’t graduated yet. It is a daily reminder to continue pushing toward your goal of graduation. And upon graduation, you turn your Aggie Ring to face the outside to remind everyone, including yourself, of your accomplishment.
On Saturday, when I’m surrounded by friends and family to celebrate this achievement I hope my parents see why the Aggie Ring is a special ring. One that invites you into the family, holds you accountable for your values and is a physical symbol of the Aggie spirit. And that my proud parents, who will celebrate not only their 25th wedding anniversary, but also their daughter’s accomplishments will continue to provide constant support as I move into my final stretch until graduation.
Alexis Will is a telecommunication senior and multimedia editor for The Battalion.