My 10-year-old brother recently asked me what an Aggie Ring is and why it is so important. When I told him about it and showed him a picture, he said, “Wow. I want one.” For a long time, I shared that same sentiment.
Last summer, I took 13 credit hours to be able to hit the 90-hour mark at the end of the fall semester and get my ring a semester earlier than I should have. Little did I know, my Ring Day would not look like I had planned.
Over Spring Break, I was just over a month away from that long-awaited day, and everything was normal. Then it all changed.
Instead of receiving my ring among family and friends in Aggieland like countless Ags before me, I received mine through the mail at my mom’s house in East Texas.
It would be easy to make this all about the coronavirus and the ways in which my Ring Day was “ruined.” But that’s not what any of this is about. I worked hard over those 90 hours to earn this piece of gold, and by golly, I’m going to celebrate that.
As a first-generation college student, and by default an Aggie, Aggie Ring Day is a concept that is alien to my family. No matter how many times I try to explain it, they just don’t get it. I guess it goes back to our little saying in Aggieland: “From the outside looking in, you can’t understand it. From the inside looking out, you can’t explain it.”
It also doesn’t help that all my family are fans of that little school down in Austin, and I betrayed them by drinking the maroon kool-aid (and no, I am very much not sorry).
But for as long as I can remember, I have been an Aggie at heart. I think it started when I decided at a very early age that I wanted to be a veterinarian (thank God that didn’t pan out though because my math and science skills are LACKING). When I found out A&M has one of the best vet schools in the country, I decided College Station was the place for me.
I’m on a much different career trajectory now, but one thing has remained constant: I am an Aggie.
Over the past three years, I have found a second home in College Station. My ring, which was delivered last Thursday, is just further proof of that.
I will forever be indebted to College Station and Aggieland for the things they have given me. In Suite L400 of the MSC, I have gained a closer group of friends than I could have ever imagined, and my time as a sports writer for The Battalion has provided me more opportunities than I thought possible.
When I took my first journalism class my sophomore year of high school and began to realize that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life, I could have never imagined that I would get to work for an award-winning student newspaper for starters, or that the experience would allow me to cover football games in pro stadiums.
For me, this ring serves as a reminder of all the memories I’ve made, from long nights covering games at Kyle Field to longer nights editing in the newsroom. For my brother, I hope it inspires him to keep pursuing his dreams even if they seem out of reach.
It was in College Station where I found a place I felt I truly belonged and I will wear a reminder of that on my right hand for the rest of my days.
Hannah Underwood is a journalism junion and sports editor for The Battalion.