generations of both sides of my family went to the university of texas, so you could say that i was born with burnt orange blood running through my veins. so it came as a surprise to some family members when i decided to go to texas a&m for my undergraduate education. some may have thought that i made a conscience choice to go there, that it was a well thought out decision made after many college tours and meetings with admissions counselors. or that i was rebelling against my father in some way by not choosing his alma mater. but what they did not realize was that my behavior and poor decision making skills had earned me the right to go to two schools: texas tech university or texas a&m university.
you see i spent a year and a half at a boarding school in austin. no i was not shipped off, it was my decision to go away to school to get a better education. i had been in private schools most of educational career, but there was no private high school in midland texas. so the only option was to either go to public school or go off to a private boarding school. yes, i learned to study, but i also learned how to drink. now, i did not look 21 by any stretch of the imagination, but we spent alot of time in bars on 6th street, at fraternity parties and sneaking alcohol into texas football games. my parents caught wind of what was taking place and i finished the remainder of my high school days in public school at home under their watchful eye.
so understandably, my dad was a little reluctant to let me return to my old stomping grounds for college, which is why the university of texas was not on the short list of schools i could attend. i chose texas a&m without ever setting foot on the campus. fortunately, it was a good decision and fit for me. i received a great education, had some fabulous professors that i have stayed in contact with over the years, made good friends, had a full social life, was involved on campus and had some unique educational opportunities. i also loved the tradition that was part of the student culture. i can honestly say that college was a great experience and i loved every minute of it.
after college i left the state of texas and began to realize that no one really cared what side of the texas- texas a&m rivalry you were on, that is was just an age old college rivalry. as i attended graduate school, i took an interest in social justice issues, began to understand sexism and racism, and started to form my own political ideas, which is no surprise since my masters degree is in political science/international relations. i also began to reflect on my alma matter and my college experience.
i don't regret my decision to attend texas a&m, it was the right place for me at the time. but it has been almost 15 years since i graduated and my values are more concrete then they were at 22, so i can see it my alma matter for what it is, a place where i got a great education, experience, and doors opened. i can also see the underlying sexism that exits, the conservative nature that goes along with being a former all male military institution, and a hatred of a rival school that is too intense for words. how many schools have a fight song about beating their arch-rival?
the culmination of this rivalry is the texas- texas a&m football game which is always on thanksgiving day.......