Exploring the College Station Area

By Evie M. ’25, B.S. in Biomedical Sciences

My path through undergrad as a pre-professional student has taught me many life skills, one of those being to set aside time to rest and refresh so I can put my best foot forward in whatever I involve myself with. As someone who grew up in College Station, I’m also frequently asked by peers about my favorite recreational spots in the Bryan-College Station area.

An aerial photo of the Texas A&M campus at sunset including a view of the Academic Building and the Aggie water tower.

I’m an outdoorsy person, so the first thing that comes to mind is the area’s extensive parks system, which is great for walking, studying, getting some exercise, or picnicking with friends. Some parks I enjoy are Brison, which is close to campus and has beautiful, well-established trees, and Mabel Clare Thomas, which has a running track and tennis and basketball courts. I also recommend Lick Creek, which is a great spot for hiking.

Texas A&M has beautiful areas as well, including the Leach Teaching Gardens, the recently built Aggie Park, and, of course, the School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences’ (VMBS) courtyard, with its view of neighboring pastures. 

One of my favorite things to do in town is visit the farmer’s market that meets on Saturday mornings in Downtown Bryan. Local growers let down their tailgates and set up tents, laying out homegrown vegetables, freshly baked breads, homemade soaps, eggs, and much more on their tables. This is a pet-friendly spot, and some of the sellers keep dog treats on hand!

Another spot to check out in Bryan if you want to get some exercise is the Bryan Aquatic Center, which is open year-round for lap swimming; their outdoor pool is kept heated.

If you enjoy being artistic, there are several art studios in town.

U Paint-It has shelves of pottery for participants to select from, paint, and then have fired. The Larry J. Ringer Library offers several recreational opportunities, hosting crafting events and speaking on topics such as gardening; one night, they set up a telescope powerful enough to see Saturn’s rings! The George Bush Library also hosts free community events, including evenings with performances and fireworks or outdoor movie nights.

There are many local artists to support as well, including the Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra, Brazos Civic Orchestra, or The Theater Company of BCS, which puts on musicals year-round for community members to enjoy or participate in. Spirit Ice Arena has figure skating showcases and also offers adult skating lessons and public skating.

Of course, one of my favorite Texas staples is the spring bluebonnets that grow wild all over the region, and there are plenty of them in College Station — you can find lots in the Leach Teaching Gardens, including Texas Maroon Bluebonnets!

A fun early summer activity is to find a local berry farm and pick blueberries or strawberries. Also, just down the road in Brenham, you can visit the creamery where Blue Bell’s ice cream started and the Antique Rose Emporium, a nursery that preserves historic roses.

This list just scratches the surface of things to enjoy in the Bryan-College Station area, with Texas A&M offering many opportunities to participate in groups and events as well.

The next time you take a break from studying, or if you come to College Station for a visit, take a minute to explore and try something new!

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.

Off-Campus Living and New Roommates

Erin H.I am finally a senior (WHOOP) and this is my first time living off campus.

For the first three years here at Texas A&M, I lived in the same residence hall with the same roommate. Fortunately, it was modular style, so it was bigger than some of the other dorms, but the kitchen was not very clean, the sharing spaces were messy, and there was not much privacy in the room itself. However, I lucked out because my roommate and I got along really well and we are still great friends.

While the living conditions were not great, the community and the friends I met made up for it.

I could not recommend enough, especially for freshmen, to live in the dorms their first year. Not only is being on campus much more convenient because of its proximity to dining places and classes, but it shapes you into the Aggie that everyone should strive for; you get involved in so many events on campus, learn about all the traditions, and are surrounded by peers to whom you can relate and connect.

But as three years came to an end, my roommate and I decided it was time to move on. We wanted to find a nice apartment with two other close friends and experience the off-campus living for ourselves.

Boy, has this been a learning curve.

Living with one other roommate was one thing but living with three other girls was an entirely different ball game. All four of us had different ideas of what we considered clean, figure out what temperature to set the thermostat, and establish common house rules…that change weekly.

Not only that, but we were all new to off-campus living so we had to adjust to waking up earlier to get to class on time and set aside time to make food like real adults.

What a time to be alive! I have to say…it is nice to have our own kitchen and our own rooms to crawl back to when we need some alone time, but most importantly, I love girls’ night whenever we get the chance to have one.

Recently, we had a new addition to the “family”…and his name is Khaki. My roommate adopted this Catahoula/Rhodesian Ridgeback mix at 3 months old, and he is one spoiled puppy. He has every toy you could ever imagine and better jackets and clothes than I will ever have, but that’s OK, because he deserves it.

Currently, he is being potty trained and learning new commands every day. He does make mistakes here and there, but he is the one of the most well-behaved puppies I have ever met. I always say he’s an old soul trapped in a little body. We can’t wait to see him grow into a big dog!