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

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

The Battalion

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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
A&M System’s Title IX director suspended after supporting Biden's Title IX changes
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • May 23, 2024
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Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) throws the ball during A&Ms game against Georgia on Friday, April 26, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
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Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • May 23, 2024

The No. 3 Texas A&M baseball team took on No. 1 Tennessee Thursday at 1 p.m. at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium in Hoover, Alabama. Despite its...

Texas A&M pitcher Evan Aschenbeck (53) reacts after throwing the final strike out during Texas A&M’s game against Mississippi State on Saturday, March 23, 2024, at Olsen Field. (Chris Swann/ The Battalion)
Down but not out
May 23, 2024
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Beekeeper Shelby Dittman scoops bees back into their hive during a visit on Friday, April 5, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
Bee-hind the scenes
Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • May 1, 2024

The speakers turn on. Static clicks. And a voice reads “Your starting lineup for the Texas A&M Aggies is …” Spectators hear that...

Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
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Scenes from 74
Scenes from '74
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The Battalion May 4, 2024

‘College is what you make of it’

‘College will be best four years of your life.” I heard this statement echoed perpetually. 

The promise of the “best” propelled me through my senior year in high school; it empowered me to study hard, to excel in leadership roles and to finish the arduous task of completing dozens of college applications. It was the “best” that got me through rigorous AP coursework and caffeine-fueled all nighters. The “best” wasn’t simply a statement — it was a promise, a dream that no matter how good or bad my life is at this very moment, it’s about to get so much better, the best it will ever be. 

My first three semesters at Texas A&M were admittedly not the “best.” I could not force myself into Fish Camp’s mold of hyper-extraversion. I spent too many nights succumbing to the stress of excelling in college courses. I weaved in and out of student organizations. I quickly made and lost the “lifelong” friends that college promises and had my heart broken — not once, but twice. 

I felt mortified and cheated. So much so that I decided to leave the country for Germany for one semester to intern and study abroad. And as fulfilling as Germany was, while I was gone I realized how much I missed Aggieland and what made it unique. 

Looking back at the past seven semesters I’ve spent at A&M, I can assure that A&M seems to promise a lot of things — it promises the strongest network in the nation, a rich history of tradition and an excellent academic standard. Yet these promises should not be measured one-size-fits-all, as their impact is a result of how you tailor them.  

The Aggie Ring symbolizes a lifelong membership in the Aggie family, but it does not promise you a job on a silver platter. Similarly, the significance behind Aggie traditions is entirely subjective and the university’s academic rigor can make or break you. 

Adherence to achieving these promises broke me as an underclassman, yet it was the promises themselves that were perpetually boasted during my time abroad. Our traditions, hospitality and culture were what I yearned for and what eventually made me eager to return. And during my time spent away from Aggieland I realized something vital about the college experience.   

At Texas A&M — as well as at any college in the world –— the best four years aren’t guaranteed to you. The best four years are crafted by you.

The most important piece of advice I can offer is to steer clear of comparisons and relinquish any obsessions of filling in another’s footsteps. Every single student on this campus is going through life with a similar set of instructions — to excel in courses, find a job that fits your standard and most importantly, to find happiness, passion and love in your life. Yet this formula yields dozens of interpretations. Every decision you have made up until the moment you are reading this may have had external influences but it is, and remains, inherently your own. So why go about college and life fixating over filling in someone else’s shoes when you’ve already trodden down every walk of life in your own unique, spunky pair of sneakers? 

Was my time at Texas A&M the best four years of my life? Absolutely. Aggieland was where I met my best friends, role models and lifelong connections. It was where I jumped in fountains at 2 a.m., where I took some of the coolest classes and fed off the minds of brilliant professors. It was where I experienced the sheer breadth of Aggie hospitality, where I got to learn the unique stories of this campus and its people. It was where I found love for myself and my passions. To me, this has been the “best,” no matter how hard school and keeping up with societal expectations may have gotten. No matter how much I thought I didn’t and couldn’t fit in, I decided to craft my own mold. 

To my fellow seniors: the world is going to tell us what we can and can’t do. We will see our peers excelling and we will see them fall. And while it’s important to heed their examples, it’s equally important to not be consumed by it, that if they experienced something, it should and it might happen to me. 

To those younger than me: I can’t promise you college will be the “best.” That is entirely up to your interpretation. All I can say is that with the resources, the people and the rich values that A&M has to offer, you have the opportunity to create the “best” with your own hands. In the end, taking that risk is much more rewarding than beating yourself up for not achieving a certain standard. So take that interesting class, be part of an organization that piques your interest, skip out on a night of studying to help a person in need and just keep creating experiences. College is what you make of it.           

 

Nikita Redkar is a business senior and news reporter for The Battalion.

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