Getting Involved On Campus As An Undergrad

By Will ’26, B.S. in Animal Science

Coming to Texas A&M, I was told the traditions and culture here were unmatched and that the wide variety of organizations, with over a thousand to choose from, provided a home for everyone and anyone.

As a senior in high school, my Aggie dad encouraged me to attend Fish Camp; I was reluctant, but I conceded. As soon as I got to Reed Arena and saw the counselors covered in temporary tattoos, hair dye, and full of energy, I realized I was in the right place.

My Freshman Year

Fish Camp introduced me to life at Texas A&M, the traditions, the culture, and it also provided me with advice on how to succeed in school and how to get involved. To top it all off, my camp also won the Yell-Off.

A few weeks after Fish Camp, I moved into my dorm. I was living in the University Honors Living Learning Community in Lechner Hall. Even the dorms had a large sense of community. I remember having trivia nights, Layne’s vs. Cane’s chicken taste tests, and scavenger hunts around campus. It was incredibly easy to meet new people, and everyone seemed to walk around with open arms.

Then, the Freshman Leadership Organizations (FLOs) began to recruit. I met with staff members of the 20-plus FLOs, went to a couple informational meetings, and then applied for Freshman Leaders Advancing in Service and Honor (FLASH), the FLO I seemed to get along with the most. During my interview for FLASH, I ended up singing “Beautiful Girls” by Sean Kingston to them. A week later, I checked my email, and I was accepted!

Throughout my freshman year, I spent a lot of my free time with my new FLASH friends. FLASH puts on all kinds of events — service, professional, and social — and I competed on over 20 intramural teams. We had retreats, formals, LinkedIn workshops, professional headshots taken, and several volunteer opportunities.

At the same time, I became involved in Pre-Vet Society. Texas A&M offers tons of professional organizations, and being pre-vet, this seemed like the most fitting one! The meetings and seminars every week provided me with volunteer and experience opportunities, as well as input and lectures from veterinarians with different kinds of work, from avian and exotic; one speaker even got to work with the Baylor Bears!

At the beginning of second semester, applications for Fish Camp counselors opened. Though I was reluctant to apply, I did and was accepted! On “Rev Night,” or reveal night, they sit us down next to all of the other counselors in our camp, and our colors, sessions, and namesakes (the individual who is, essentially, sponsoring our camp) are revealed.

Over the next several weeks, I spent time getting to know the other counselors through lunch dates, hangouts, and even study nights! Through the summer, our camp had two road-trips, two work weekends, and then camp! I ended up winning the Yell-Off again! The feeling of winning alongside some of my new best friends was one of the most incredible things I have ever experienced. I’m definitely going to go for round three once applications open this year!

My Sophomore Year

Going into sophomore year, I knew I wanted to stay involved. I applied to be a staff member for FLASH and was chosen to be a mentor for the Community Outreach committee, which handles service opportunities with external organizations.

As a staff member, I now have the opportunity to provide the freshmen with the same experience I was granted. It’s an incredible feeling to know that I’m not only making a difference in the lives of others, but I am also giving back to the community that I get to call home for the next few years.

I’m also a member of the university’s Animal Welfare Judging Team. For this year’s competition, we are flying to Wisconsin to judge farmed bison, non-caged laying hens, and zoo tortoises! The international competition is hosted by the American Veterinary Medical Association, and it provides competitors not only a chance to develop their knowledge of welfare and public speaking skills but also to meet professionals in the same industries we are interested in. 

Texas A&M has a place for everyone, regardless of your background. The organizations available provide excellent opportunities for students to meet others and develop in all aspects. It’s incredibly easy to work alongside an organization to fit your schedule, your classes, and your other priorities. No matter what you’re interested in, there is a place for you. My involvements have shaped my experience in college, and it has definitely assured me that I made the right choice in coming to Texas A&M.

Feeling Like an Aggie

It’s hard to believe classes started a month ago. It almost feels like it was only yesterday that I was on Lake Erie, enjoying the nice weather.

The transition from Michigan to Texas was rough, but I feel I am handling it well. I have at Constance V.least one day a week that I devote to calling my family or friends from my hometown.

I’m still trying to perfect it, but I feel that, overall, I’m handling it well.

Helping with that have been the many amazing people I’ve met and the routine I have established with some friends. To take a break from school, for example, we have a list of local restaurants that we are interested in eating at, and every Sunday, we go to a different one.

I’m also trying to get involved in some of the different clubs the college has to offer. Currently, I am signed up for the Student Veterinary Response Team (SVRT) and the internal medicine and theriology clubs.

I’m still working on the right balance for school and social life, but so far it seems I’ve been doing well.

I’m very grateful to all of the second-year veterinary students (2VMs) whom I have meet so far. They have all been so willing to answer any of my questions, no matter how small.

I’m really starting to feel a part of the Aggie family, and I happy about my choice of school. Now it’s time to go to studying for the upcoming anatomy test.

Staying Involved with Aggie Traditions

As an undergraduate, I fell in love with all of the amazing traditions at Texas A&M. Once I began veterinary school, I worried that I may not have as much time to participate in such events, but I’ve found the opposite to be true! There are still plenty of opportunities to experience what makes this school so great.

One of my favorite traditions, Silver Taps, is a somber memorial in which A&M students gather to remember the students who have passed away in the previous month. Families are invited to join students in Academic Plaza for a 21-gun salute and the playing of “Silver Taps” (a special rendition of “Taps”) to commemorate our fallen Aggies.

Even though I find myself very busy with studying most days, it’s easy to take a short break to attend Silver Taps and show mourning families that they, and the memory of their loved ones, will be with the Aggie family forever.

Another tradition that I love is, of course, Aggie football! While I can’t attend as many games as I used to, it’s good to remind myself that I can relax and have fun sometimes.

Hanging out with fellow students in Kyle Field and cheering on the team turns out to be a great study break! Gamedays are full of all sorts of exciting things to see, as well, like watching the Corps of Cadets march-in, hanging out at the Parsons Mounted Cavalry tailgate, and seeing the “Nationally Famous Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band!”

All in all, it is so important to maintain a healthy balance in veterinary school, and I’ve found my way of doing so by keeping up with all things Aggieland. It’s just my way of remembering why A&M is so special, which gives me even more motivation to do well in school!

What it Means to be an Aggie

Priya at an Aggie Football GameIt’s that time of year again!

Texas A&M’s football season has kicked off and Saturdays are now reserved for watching the Aggies play their hearts out at Kyle Field or on TV if it’s an away game. The university has many traditions that have been organized and carried out throughout the years and one of the most treasured traditions that comes from football is the legacy of “The 12th Man.”

The 12th Man—what the student fan base is collectively known as—is a tradition and that came to be almost 100 years ago. On Jan. 2, 1922, Texas A&M was playing highly ranked Centre College at the Dixie Classic in Dallas. Not only were we losing, but our team was also plagued by multiple injuries that caused head coach Dana X. Bible to remove numerous players and their substitutes from the game. After halftime, Coach Bible noticed that the entire team was down to just 11 players and if just one more player had to be removed from the game, Texas A&M would have to forfeit to Centre College due to the lack of a full team.

It was at this moment that Coach Bible realized he needed a 12th man, someone who could step in and play when needed if another player were to be removed from the game. But Coach Bible was also aware that not every man knows how to play football so he couldn’t just pick a student at random and get ready and put on the uniform. Then, a light bulb flashed over his head and he remembered a current student and former football player who was sitting up in the press box. That student, E. King Gill. Gill, used to play for Coach Bible at Texas A&M but decided to take a break from the sport that season to focus more on basketball and baseball. Coach Bible quickly called Gill from the press box and asked him to suit up and be ready to enter the game. So, Gill wore previously injured Heine Weir’s uniform and stood on the sidelines as the 12th man of the football team.

At the end of the game, Texas A&M miraculously came out victorious against Centre College with a score of 22-14, and Gill never even had to run in to play in the game. However, we still honor him today because he was ready, waiting, and willing to play for his team if they needed him. Gill’s willingness to carry out the Aggie core value of selfless service in the football game, when his team needed him the most, has come to represent Texas A&M’s student section over the years and defines what it means to be a 12th Man.

kyle field gamedayAs a result, whether we win a game or simply run out of time (because Aggies never lose), you can always find the entire student section, rain or shine, standing throughout the game and yelling along with the Yell Leaders in support of our team and our university.

Said best by Texas A&M University itself, “The power of the 12th Man is echoed in the unity, the loyalty, and the willingness of Aggies to serve when called to so. And it is the reason that Texas A&M has earned a name that embraces Gill’s simple gesture of service: Home of the 12th Man.”

It’s hard to believe that I only have two more football seasons as current student before I start attending games as a former student! The legacy of The 12th Man is one of my favorite traditions at Texas A&M and a key factor that drew me to pursue an undergraduate career here all the way from Georgia. The traditions are what makes Texas A&M so unique from other schools, and I always feel so blessed to be a part of the Aggie family and to be able to call College Station home.

A Big Saturday in Aggieland

March 24 was not a regular Saturday here in Aggieland. In addition to the veterinary students in the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences holding the 25th annual open house, it was also the day of one of my favorite annual service projects, The Big Event.

The Big Event is the largest one-day, student-run service project that allows us college students to say “thank you” to the residents of Bryan and College Station. Originally, The Big Event started at Texas A&M in the early 80s, but it has slowly spread to other schools across the country that participate in this project with us every year. This year, more than 20,000 Aggies came together for a fun-filled day of selfless service. These 20,000 Aggies registered with a group and then were assigned a site, tools, and specific tasks that the resident of that site is requesting.

This year, I was the job site leader for my small group of five. As site leader, I was in charge of checking my group in, checking out the required tools, and making sure everyone was making the most our this amazing experience.

The Big Event begins with a kickoff ceremony to get everyone hyped about helping the community. This year’s ceremony featured fire works, free food, and a send-off speech from new head football coach, Jimbo Fisher. After the ceremony, we all dispersed to stand in long lines for our tools and then shuffle over to our assigned resident.

My resident was a sweet 90-year-old grandma who lives by herself and, due to physical disabilities and a recently broken arm, had trouble with tending to her yard and reaching high places inside her house. So, our job was to lay down mulch, rake leaves, plant flowers, mow her lawn, organize her house, bring down dishes she couldn’t reach, and dust out her air vents and cabinets.

Because we were able to dedicate four hours to making her life a little easier, her yard looks amazing, with fresh mulch and flowers; her house is extremely clean; and she can finally use the supplies in her house that she couldn’t reach before. We were also able to re-organize the majority of her house so that she wouldn’t have to store things in places she couldn’t physically get to. She was extremely grateful and rewarded us for our hard work with amazing homemade pizza!

By the time I dropped off my group at their respective apartments and returned the tools, I was exhausted, covered in mosquito bites, and super sweaty. However, I was also happy and satisfied, as well. I got the amazing opportunity to get to help out the community that I live in and make a true difference in someone else’s life. The added job allowed me to have more responsibility than last year and more insight into group organization.

Overall, this year’s Big Event was a huge success! So many Aggies were able to help out the community through various chores and say “thank you” the most impactful way possible while representing the Aggie Core Values of unity and service!