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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Which class year goes on the ring?

Photo by Graphic by Regan Brunsvold
Aggie Ring class year

The Aggie Ring is made unique to each student who wears it in two ways: by the name etched into the inside and the Aggie’s class year sitting below the eagle and shield. For some students however, early or late graduation dates can complicate the class year they identify with and choose to wear on their piece of Aggie gold.
Kathryn Greenwade, vice president of The Association of Former Students and Class of 1988, said every Ring Day sees a handful of students who fall into the situation of graduating either early or late. These students can choose to get their original class year or their graduating year on their ring.
“Their time at A&M was maybe interrupted and they had to come back later and finish,” Greenwade said. “Today we’re also seeing more that graduate early because students come in to A&M with more hours. When I entered A&M, there just wasn’t the option for as many dual credit classes, AP classes and things like that. I think students now are entering with more of a head start.”
Kayla Fishbeck, Class of 2016, graduated in May of 2015 and is a master’s student of science in public health at Johns Hopkins University. Fishbeck said she received her ring in September 2014.
“I knew well in advance I was going to graduate early, so it was either get my ring before I graduate or wait and get it with my friends when I was no longer in school,” Fishbeck said. “I definitely chose to go ahead and get it, and I stayed with 2016 [for my ring] since that was my class year.”
Christina Gazda, Class of 2016, said after taking time to think about it, she chose to get 2016 on her ring because she believed it was her class year no matter when she graduated.
“Right now I’m living my senior year vicariously through my friends,” Gazda said. “Even though I’m not getting to experience my senior year with my class, I’m still very proud of being a part of the Class of 2016 and really proud of being able to show off my ring.”
Students may also finish later than they originally intended which complicates the process of choosing what class year to put on their ring. One such student is psychology senior Charis Tate Crawford, who came back to A&M 20 years after dropping out.
“I started in 1983, I quit in the spring of 1985,” Crawford said. “When I first got here, within a couple of weeks I met a guy and fell in love. He was in the Corps. He left for bootcamp, and we broke up. And I thought, ‘I’ll just quit school.’ I quit school. He came home. We ended up getting married and very quickly had four kids. Life became raising the kids. I started working, and that was life.”
Crawford said five years ago she went through a divorce and her life changed completely.
“The week my divorce was finalized, my mom told us that she had cancer,” Crawford said. “Six months after that she fell and broke her neck. I was in Fort Worth — and they were in Houston — and so I started going back and forth, taking care of my mom half the week and working the other half.”
Crawford said after having to live such a hectic lifestyle, she decided to quit her job and take care of her parents full time before they died. After they passed, Crawford said she decided to start over and enrolled at A&M. Crawford has even been able to take a few classes with her three kids, who are also Aggies.
“I have done college with my kids,” Crawford said. “It has given me a new perspective on what their life is like.”
Crawford received her ring in September 2014 and even had a ring dunk with her children.
“Ring Day was incredible, and I still look at [my ring] everyday and I still can’t believe I have this on my finger. In a few days … I can’t believe I’ll have a diploma hanging on my wall.”
Crawford said she choose to get the year 2015 on her ring.
“The majority of my college has been with the Class of ’15, and I’m graduating with the Class of 2015.” Crawford said. “I only had 37 hours with the Class of ’87. I have 130 with the Class of 2015.”
Greenwade said from her experience, non-traditional students who finish their degrees sooner or later seem to value the ring even more.
“It reminds me not to take the achievement of an Aggie Ring for granted.” Greenwade said. “It’s especially inspiring when you see someone like [Charis] who has worked so hard to achieve that and did not give up one of her goals and their dreams.”

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