As pretty much anyone I've crossed paths with can attest to, I am one red-ass Aggie. Both of my parents went to A&M and quite a few other family members. I wore an A&M onesie as a baby.
I go to every football game, tell (yell) at people to UNCOVER (take their hat off) or get OFF THE WOOD (step off bleachers), say "Howdy" every chance I get and even date a cadet! I love Texas A&M with all my heart.
I can't imagine my life without Texas A&M. I love almost every aspect of my school, but there are definitely things that could be improved. I'm not holding back, so here we go.
Dear Texas A&M Board of Regents,
It's time to stop ignoring your students.
I chose to write this now because the enrollment numbers for this semester came out a few days ago: 68,625 students. I honestly can't wrap my head around that number. I don't even know what that would look like other than it's what Kyle Field would look like at around 60 percent capacity. We are easily one of the largest universities in America.
Now let me tell you why that's a bad thing.
I think it's safe to say that the higher-ups at Texas A&M are a little out of touch with their students. Have you ever tried to find a free parking spot on campus after 9 a.m.? It's practically impossible.
I, along with many others, end up having to shell out anywhere from $2 - $12 to be able to park where I need to be, and I have a parking pass. I have been late to so many things just because of the horrible parking system this university has chosen to create. I had my car towed about 3 weeks ago because I couldn't find a parking spot for my 50-minute class and settled with parking across the street at a CVS.
I was not too thrilled with my school during that grueling day.
Have you ever tried to find a table to sit at in the MSC or Sbisa or the Commons during normal meal times like oh, I don't know lunch and dinner? It is not a simple task. You have to scour the cafe and hover like a pest around a table you believe may clear soon. I have sat on the floor to eat my meal too many times for my liking.
Have you ever tried to leave campus at 5 p.m. or go to campus at 8 a.m.? College Station was and still is meant to be a "small town." The train still runs at least once an hour and there are only traffic lights all around the university. I've sat for 15 straight minutes waiting to turn onto George Bush from Wellborn.
Have you ever tried to get into an organization on campus? It sucks.
There are so few spots in each organization, so suffice it to say the competition is fierce. I was lucky enough to have been a fish camp counselor this year, and I had to tell my wide-eyed freshmen that there was a high chance of rejection. A&M advertises that there's "a place for everyone" on campus, as do other schools, but that really isn't very true.
The system is somewhat rigged in that the same people get into tons of "elite" and competitive organizations because they are the ones with networking access. If you don't get into an organization within your freshman year, it makes it exceedingly difficult to be accepted to one with no other organization affiliation.
Have you ever tried to register for classes?
It's like a shark feeding frenzy. Everyone eagerly awaits their registration time and has to type at lightning speed to get the classes that not only do they want, but need.
That's right, classes that are required for your degree fill up, and cause a loss of hope and certain panic as you try to figure out how to graduate in less than 6 years. I know tons and tons of people that have had to delay their degree simply because there are not enough spots in necessary classes.
Isn't this what the university's job is? To get you in the classes you need so you can learn, develop, and graduate?
Have you ever tried to weave through campus between classes? There are people swarming everywhere. The chances of literally running into someone or vice versa is very very high. Take it from me, who ate it on her bike as she scrambled to get around a car. Take it from me, someone who has learned to simply walk in front of a bus and wait for them to stop since there's no chance you can cross any other way.
I saved the worst for last (that is, the last of those I wish to emphasize, there are many more items I could criticize and beg to be looked at).
You can say those two words and any Aggie will groan with pain and fury. I can't tell you the number of classes I've been late to because the buses run behind. It's not even a scheduling issue, it's that there aren't enough buses to accommodate the students.
Each on-campus bus route has an average of 2 buses running at all times. 2 buses. 7 routes. 60,000 people. What could possibly go wrong? And that's not even the worst part. The lines to take a bus to get to your off-campus home are hours long. Fortunately, I've never had to experience this, but I can only imagine how infuriating it is.
I've hit the big ones. Now, I'd like to take a deeper, more heartfelt look at the what the student population is doing to Texas A&M.
Aggies are known for being friendly. We've been named one of the nation's friendliest schools for years now. Actually, Aggies are more than just friendly. They're family. We treat each other like our own flesh and blood. We love each other.
But that doesn't mean that everyone needs to be in the family. Unfortunately, some new family members have brought some bad blood with them. They don't understand why they should be, nor how, to be a part of this family.
Not all Aggies love their school and embody the Aggie Spirit. I heard a recent recount of some really bad bull displayed by 2 Aggies. It was after the Alabama game, where our boys put up a good fight against the #1 team in the nation but ended up running out of time in. Allegedly, two disgruntled Aggies started yelling and cussing out some Bama fans and even went so far as to hit someone in the head with a bottle.
My heart sank when I heard this story. This is not the way Texas A&M is supposed to be. We've opened our arms to too many people at this point. We've chosen money and numbers over quality Ags that define the Aggie Spirit I hold near and dear.
We've lost touch with what Texas A&M is really supposed to look and feel like.
Traditions seem to be falling through the cracks at an alarming rate, and any old Ag or good Ag will shed a tear hearing that. I've had to get on so many people to take their hat off in the MSC, to not walk on the MSC grass, or to get off the wood when a player is injured. Normally this is fine and I am happy to do so, but I've been met with some very rude responses. It's taken me aback many times, as this is not the Texas A&M I, among countless others, know.
Texas A&M has begun to lose the values we were founded upon and this really isn't the student's fault. The more people you accept, the more disrespectful jerks you allow in. It sounds harsh but A&M needs to up their standards.
The board wants to have 25,000 students in the engineering program by 2025. I don't know how the board can think about passing this when this just dilutes the value and prestige of our degrees.
If just about anyone can get a degree from here, then why is it special?
It's becoming increasingly concerning to me the way the board of regents and many other executives are steering our university. If we keep growing, a degree from A&M will mean next to nothing. People who don't really care about this school will continue to come in, and continue to sour the traditions and values we wear with honor.
We'll become so overcrowded it'll make finding buses, getting classes, eating, meeting people, and so much more incredibly difficult on the students.
We must raise our standards once again. It is no longer acceptable to continue accepting the number of students we have and to continue growing. There are too many students here, and it's a plain old fact that it needs to be changed.
Texas A&M Board of Regents, the time is now. I am tired of being ignored over the sound of money being counted. I can promise you I am not the only one that feels this way. Either something changes, or A&M as we know it could fade into a distant memory. I beg of you, save the school we love so much.
The Good Ags