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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Be grateful for the challenge

Katy+Stapp+is+the+2016-+2017+managing+editor+and+previously+served+as+the+summer+editor-in-chief.
Photo by Alexis Will

Katy Stapp is the 2016- 2017 managing editor and previously served as the summer editor-in-chief.

This past Friday I was walking back to the newsroom from my last college final. Obviously I had some pep in my step — college was over and my life was about to begin, again.

As I walked past Rudder Theatre, I made eye contact with a guy walking in the opposite direction. As most people do, I thought nothing of it. But as he passed me, he yelled, “Hey, you, high five” and reached out his hand. I smiled and high-fived him, and he said, “Have a wonderful day,” and I said, “Same to you.”

If I could sum up my time in Aggieland in one experience, that’d be it (to the guy who high-fived me — thanks for making my day and for being the inspiration for this column).

Aggies like to help, in small ways like lending a high five to a stranger, and in big ways. On multiple occasions during my five years on this campus, I’ve seen people drop everything for someone in need. Once, my car broke down on campus and not one, not two, but four people stopped to help me. One of them was late for an exam just to help me push my car someplace safe.

I’ve seen people literally run to a door to open it for someone (my mom always says she’s never had to open a door herself in College Station). I’ve seen people hand out free snacks during finals week, or even just free hugs. I’ve seen strangers wrap their arms around each other and sway back and forth, or jump up and hug one another when the Aggies score a touchdown.

I’ve also seen people show selflessness in more profound ways, like standing silent and motionless for students we’ve lost, even in the pouring rain, for Silver Taps. I’ve seen people fall to their knees after seeing thousands of students standing together in the small hours of a November morning to remember the 12 who died in 1999. I’ve seen thousands upon thousands of dollars raised in a matter of hours for Aggies whose families have lost something, or for people who can’t afford an Aggie Ring.

Just walking around campus offers the opportunity to witness the Aggie Spirit everybody’s always talking about. But in my four years at The Battalion, I’ve been fortunate enough to see it a little more up close. Not just in the incredible people we write about and the causes they champion, but in the people who’ve come through the newsroom to tell those stories.

To the small team of Aggie journalists I spent my last four years with — thank you. Thank you for making work in the wee hours of the morning feel like a party, thank you for standing by me during some of my most challenging moments, thank you for pushing me every day to work harder, to be better, and thank you for giving me something to immerse myself into.

I have a few other well-deserved thank you’s I’d like to dole out — bear with me.

First and foremost to my parents, whose unending love and support has granted me the rare and valuable opportunity to discover myself in college without having to worry about money. I am who I am because of you, and I hope you know that each day that I worked tirelessly studying for an exam or writing an article, I looked to your example for guidance, especially during my darkest hours.

To my siblings — thank you for being the driving force behind all that I do. I hope I have set the kind of example you want to follow.

To my friends — I don’t know how you put up with me each day, but I’m eternally grateful that you do. Thank you for challenging me, making me laugh and never giving up on me.

To my cat, Gatsby (yes, I’m serious) — thank you for showing me the true meaning of unconditional love, and for your warm, early morning snuggles.

To the people who’ve taught me — thank you for shaping my mind into something I’m proud of.

To the people who’ve hurt me (and there’s a few) — thank you for bringing to light the strongest version of me. Because of you, I can conquer anything.

I came to this campus with few expectations except to leave behind the version of me that I was in high school (like, way behind), and to enjoy every second. I can say one of those things is entirely true.

You won’t enjoy every second, because college was not meant to be a fun, four-year game. It’s meant to challenge you mentally, physically and emotionally in ways you’ve never been challenged. Be grateful for those challenges, because you will emerge, not unscathed, but stronger.

Learn all you can. Put yourself out there. Be brave, be bold. Push yourself every day. Recognize opportunity and have the courage to take it. Help others. Appreciate the struggles other people are going through. Know you’re not alone. I could go on all day with advice I’d give to people who are either about to go to college or who are currently muddling through it. But Sam says I only have 1,000 words, so I’m going to have to cut this short.

When I walk across the stage in Reed Arena Thursday, I will carry with me the memories of nights spent in the company of my desk lamp, of sitting at a table pitching stories with some of the most talented people I know, of interviewing campus’ most amazing people and telling their stories, of encouraging an already brilliant group of eighth graders to go to college, of triumphing over some of the most painful experiences of my life. And most importantly, I will carry with me the feeling of knowing that I have 60,000 friends standing behind me, cheering me on.

My last thank you is to you, Aggieland. Thank you for the adventure of a lifetime.
 

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