Texas A & M University College Station
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Texas A & M University College Station - Comments and Student Experiences |
First, I am from Arkansas, and attended a small Charter school called Haas Hall Academy with a graduating class of 50. I grew up in San Diego, California and am very Progressive minded with ideologies in between Conservative and Liberal, yet leanly slightly left. My two favorite subjects in High School were Math, and Biology (specifically Anatomy & Physiology) and I am fairly athletic - Varsity Basketball, Cross Country, and Track - as well. I was always asking questions in class, knew my teachers, and knew everyone else in class being in such a small school, so why might you ask did I apply to one of the largest schools in the States? Well, because I didn't have an article like this explaining to me all the hidden nuances, and unusual idiosyncrasies, both the Campus and the people of Texas had to offer.
I was excited with my degree in Chemical Engineering. I was passionate about food and eventually wanted to work in the Food Industry, hopefully to become an entrepreneur, and mass produce my own baking creation. However, at A&M, all they care about is OIL, OIL, OIL. Not an exaggeration. My two professors for my first Intro to Chemical Engineering Class, both had careers in the oil industry, and lectured for an hour and a half about oil fracking and drilling, the rest of the course was about learning the ways of oil, and becoming an expert on the black gold. ...(Problem 1) I HATE OIL. I'm very energy conscience, green-minded, and love the environment. You will not ever see a single Prius in College Station, and if you are to say you hate oil, people will think you're crazy and go into an excerpt on how great Texas is, and how oil is what drives the economy, blah, blah, blah. (Problem 2) Texas Pride. I'm a very open-minded, slightly liberal, progressive person...and was probably the only one on that campus that was. People at A&M lived in Texas there whole life, and want to continue to do so the rest of their life. They are also uber conservative (the most popular organization on campus is Texas Aggie Conservatives), wear cowboy boots, and drive trucks. It's not just a stereotype (like I thought), It's all true. Only 5% of the incoming class is Out-of-State to let you know, which leads to the next problem. (Problem 3) Diversity. Or lack thereof. Coming from California, I had friends who were Chinese, Korean, Hispanic, and Indian, both there and in Arkansas, and we all got along with each other. Here, even though people at A&M do wish there were more diversity and understand this shortcoming, it is all White. But that's not the problem, really. The problem, and everyone Aggie knows it, is that African American's stick out like a sore thumb. It's so hard not to stare at an African American for a split second more than normal, because, why? He may be the first "non-white" you might see all day. I had never experienced this before, and personally, the lack of diversity, really effected me. Most people just ignore and say that's just how Texas is. Lastly, (Problem 4), is Size. I loved knowing my teachers, and asking questions in class, but let me tell you right now: that is IMPOSSIBLE freshman and sophomore year, even if you are in honors (like I was). Teachers are very unhelpful, classes are very large, and quite simply, you'll have to learn how to "learn" without asking questions. My Chem 1 and 2, Biol 1 and 2 were all 300 students. Out of every lecture I ever attended I heard maybe 10-15 questions asked for all those classes combined, ever. Many people simply conform, and settle for a lesser grade, but I had to maintain a 3.5 gpa (for honors) and I simply wasn't able to do that with the way I was used to learning at Haas Hall Academy.
All that being said, A&M was not the best fit for me despite their engineering rankings, and countless reviews saying they have the "happiest student body". The reason that is (by the way), is because everyone is the same - conservative, country, truck-loving, boot-wearing Texans. It is important to note that I do believe their campus pride (much like state pride) is overflowing and somewhat contagious, if I do say so. The Engineering and Business degrees are spectacular and offer great job placement, and I highly recommend them for their Academic Stature. However, if you do not fit in, it will be a long, lonely road to that Aggie degree. I highly suggest you take into consideration these traits of A&M, and I hope they help guide your decision in attending.
P.S. for any further advice concerning dorm life, food on campus, and my experiences in the Honors College feel free to e-mail me at :)
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