Howdy!: Aggieland presentation leaves student with mixed emotions

The+engineering+juniors+and+seniors+give+the+gig+%27em+sign+at+Texas+A%26M+University.++Photo+courtesy+of+Texas+A%26M

The engineering juniors and seniors give the gig 'em sign at Texas A&M University. Photo courtesy of Texas A&M

Lucia Hruby, Photo Editor

Since the beginning of the August, I have been feeling an intense pressure to get serious about my college search.  The thought of SAT and ACT scores, college essays, and my GPA makes my breathing speed up and my heart beat faster.  Currently, I don’t have any clue what I want to do with my life after I graduate high school.  I never doubted that I would get into any of the state schools in Texas, but after my visit to Texas A&M, I started to lose confidence.

The junior and senior engineering girls, myself included, made the two hour journey to College Station to visit Texas A&M University on Wednesday, November 18.  As new members of the Texas A&M EngAGE program, Ann Richards and Anderson High School students participated in a one-day campus engineering experience to learn more about the Dwight Look College of Engineering and about the university itself.  The Engineering Aggies Gaining Experience (EngAGE) program provides partnered high schools with information and opportunities in the engineering fields at A&M.

After a student-led tour, we were directed into the Mechanical Engineering Office Building for an admissions presentation. Tajuanda Montreuil, the program specialist at A&M, talked through a PowerPoint presentation and addressed the application requirements, the scholarships offered, and how to apply specifically for the Dwight Look College of Engineering.  Ms. Montreuil made it sound like Texas A&M was a really prestigious school that everyone wanted to attend.  I started to become concerned that I wouldn’t be automatically admitted to the state school of my choosing, and began to realize how competitive Texas A&M is– and even more difficult to be accepted into the College of Engineering.  With the rapidly rising cost of college tuition, more and more students are applying to state schools, making these schools more competitive.  I looked around the room and began to see everyone as a competitor in the race to acceptance.

Following the admissions presentation, we were introduced to a group of five engineering students.  I soon learned that each student considered themselves to be “the loudest and the proudest member of the Texas fightin’ Aggies.”  Several students studying engineering at A&M stood up and introduced themselves with the traditional Texas Aggie “HOWDY!”  They all showed their enthusiasm with a high-pitched “WHOOP.”  During the student panel, they tried to get us excited about becoming a future Aggie, but I had mixed emotions when the students described the difficult nature of the engineering program.  Many of the students mentioned the frequent “all-nighters” that they’d pulled in order to study for exams.  Their honesty was enlightening, but their accounts of stress also worried me.  I started to ask myself, “Do I have what what it takes to be accepted into this program and succeed?”

Overall, the trip to Texas A&M was an eye-opening experience that showed me that college is quickly approaching.  In less than a year’s time, I will be well into my college applications, which means that I should start devoting more time to my college search now.  Spending a greater amount of time preparing for college will help relieve some of the stress that I am currently carrying on my shoulders and allow me to enjoy my last year and a half at Ann Richards.