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

Opinion: Black sheep of the family

 
 

When I was in high school, I shared a truck with my dad. It was this half-ton white-and-dust colored Dodge that was consistently filled with tools I didn’t know the names of and empty cans of dipping tobacco. My dad had gotten it from a guy who worked in construction that had rigged the truck to beep when you threw it in reverse.
I loved that truck.
I’m big on things that have “character.” That’s why I like my house in north Bryan so much. I tell people it’s nice because the neighbors are friendly or because the 20-minute drive to and from campus makes me feel like I’m really commuting somewhere important.
But that’s only because it’s easier to explain those things than to tell people about the time some shirtless guy sporting what looked like a prison tattoo of a bull stood in front of my mailbox and asked me if I knew anything about his slashed tires. (I didn’t.) Or the kids down the street who either don’t have a wagon or just really, really like dragging each other around in boxes.
Or that 13-year-old kid who passed by my house on his red scooter the other day, taking drags from a cigarette between his kicks against the pavement. He was scootin’ and smokin’ and looked as if he knew exactly where he was going. I don’t know if he was headed to a good place, but I can bet you it was probably more interesting than anywhere I’ll ever go.
So with all of this in mind, it may come as a shock to those of you who wear those “Keep College Station Normal” T-shirts that I didn’t exactly feel like I was quite Aggie-material for my first few years here. I believe more in a strong English curriculum than a strong football recruiting class. I feel conflicted about whooping because I don’t like the idea of celebrating the death of a poor little kitty cat, wild or not.
And I just will never, ever be able to do the sorority squat, so I am that awkward person in the “Aggie family portrait,” the one who always forgets what they usually do with their arms as soon as a camera is pointed in their direction. I usually end up painfully aware of my hands and curl them up against my side and look something like a tyrannosaurus rex with self-esteem issues. It is less cute on me than it would be on a dinosaur, I think.
I have a sneaking suspicion that this wouldn’t be a problem if I had just attended any old university. But we’ve got this whole “family” thing going on here and I’m a third-generation Aggie. Maroon is supposed to be running through my veins or something, but I’m pretty sure my blood is just the regular color. My heartbeat is supposed to thump to the drum cadence, but I think it just does its own thing most of the time. (I don’t really know. I haven’t been pre-med for almost three years.)
What I do know is that I’ve got my mom’s eyes and my dad’s ears, but I still think I might have been adopted. I read poetry and I walk around barefoot and I sure don’t vote Republican. I am everything my parents warned me about.
The Aggie family never made sense to me, because I couldn’t fit into it and neither could a lot of people that I cared about. I’ve seen Aggies say and do some pretty nasty things to each other, just because difference was seen as grounds for punishment. Not only did I look like a lumpy, maroon potato in a 12th Man jersey, I wasn’t sure I wanted to look good in one in the first place.
But this is an agricultural school and I grew up on a ranch, so it would be a cryin’ shame if there wasn’t at least one black sheep in the family. Someone has to say the wrong thing at the dinner table to keep it interesting. Pretending family means similarity and constant agreement is like eating tuna fish in class – just plain wrong.
I grew up on sitcoms, so I came into college with a rather warped definition of family. And in a cheesy, Lifetime-movie kind of way, it took me almost the full four years away from home to realize what the word “family” really meant. Four years of disagreements and feminist rants and finding my niche to understand that just because you don’t understand someone doesn’t mean they aren’t your sister or brother.
And just to be clear, I’ll probably keep rolling my eyes when people say mushy things like how we’re all so close and a family and sentimental junk like that. But that doesn’t mean, somewhere, black-lung-in-the-coal-mine kind of deep down inside of me, I don’t kind of want to say the same thing.

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