Nearly every college student can relate to the experience of moving away from home at a ripe young age and into a tiny dorm where you share a bathroom with people you don’t know. I did all this my freshman year, but apparently it wasn’t enough for me because I also decided to move halfway across the country this semester into a tiny shared living space.
I moved into my overcrowded apartment in Washington, D.C., three days before I started my internship on Capitol Hill. The experience I’ve had working on the Hill is priceless, and I’ve certainly learned a lot from living in a new — and very expensive — city. However, this has been one of the hardest semesters I’ll probably ever have.
Back in Aggieland, I’m only an hour drive away from home, and I share a house with some of my best friends. In Washington, I only talk to my friends between busy schedules and I have to hop on a plane to see my family. Four months isn’t enough time to truly build a community, and although I’ve made some connections here, a lot of this semester has been an independent journey. Basically, I’m homesick.
Merely weeks before I made the move to Washington, I ordered my Aggie Ring. I’ve lusted after that shiny gold since my first semester at Texas A&M. When I ordered my ring, I knew I would have to have it shipped to me, but I would rather go through that trouble than wait even an extra day to get it. My ring will be presented to me at work. The congressional office I work in has a staff of about 10 people, nearly half of whom are Aggies.
The Aggie Network reaches far and wide and has a firm grip on Washington. The alumni group here is big and welcoming. I’ve gone to several events with the D.C. Aggies club, and I can tell you that anyone in that room would be more than willing to buy you a cup of coffee and give you any help or advice you need — whether it’s about your career, being homesick or if you just need to talk. Although I don’t have my friends or my family here, I have my school.
Later this week, when I put on my Aggie Ring for the first time, I will finally be wearing the unofficial uniform of the group that has so warmly welcomed me to a new and unfamiliar city. Like everyone who receives their ring, I will always be reminded of the great times I shared at A&M: late nights studying at Sweet Eugene’s, game nights in my apartment, game days at Kyle Field and squeezing five of my closest friends into one car so we could all sing along to the radio together. However, this ring will also be a reminder of this semester when I learned the real power of the Aggie Network.
Hannah Falcon is a telecommunications senior and former Life & Arts editor for The Battalion.