The Truth behind the Saying "Aggies Commit"

Posted on Sunday, May 07, 2017

Aggies commit...that’s a bold statement to make about 50,000+ people. Even bolder if you include everyone who has ever graduated from our university. To be honest, I’ve never really been one to buy into the whole “Aggie” thing. I love that we have a code of honor, and that we take that code of honor as seriously as we do, but I never thought it really changed the culture of our university or its graduates. Maybe a few decades ago, when the school was smaller and the military roots were fresher, but not anymore.
But coming to Austin has changed that point of view for me. I have met so many A&M graduates, both new and seasoned, and I have seen so many similarities in them. Everyone has had such a great work ethic, and has been so compassionate and moral. People have cared about each other and been natural leaders in their groups. And those traits have been expected in me because of my school. I’ve been wondering why that might be. I think that, whether we want to admit it or not, our college years are still “formative” years for us. When we’re in college, we’re “adults” but we aren’t really in the world yet. We’re living in this dollhouse version of the real world where we basically practice for four years before being sent out without a safety net. And we are very influential during these years.
When we’re young, the things our parents say to us over and over tend to get ingrained in our minds and become part of who we are without us even realizing it. I don’t remember ever actively trying to remember to put my napkin in my lap or keep my elbows off the table, but after years of my parents reminding me to do it, it has just become habit. Maybe those Aggie values work similarly. We are constantly hearing all these wonderful things about “Aggies”, and after several years it just becomes a part of our personalities. I know that I definitely became a little more honest, more committed, and more ethical during my time at A&M, but I just assumed those were all the benefits of growing up.
I also have another theory...maybe part of what makes Aggies so great is just that it’s what is expected of us. I remember hearing during the first few weeks of my internship “Oh, PPIP? That’s a really prestigious program” about a dozen times. I didn’t necessarily think of it that way at the time, but it made me feel like the expectations of me were already very high. Every Aggie who walks into our office shakes my hand and strikes up a conversation with me expecting me to be friendly and open, but also knowledgeable and competent.  Whether I expected to or not, I felt the need to rise to the occasion and match those expectations. Maybe that’s what makes Aggies commit to learning and leading for the rest of their lives, it’s what we all expect of each other.
I like that about A&M. It’s necessary for our alumni program to stay as strong as it is. Much like “Aggies commit,” “Aggies hire Aggies” is a popular saying around campus. And it’s true...Aggies hire Aggies with shocking frequency all over the world, and it’s one of the things that makes A&M so unique. In fact, a lot of us believe that the Aggie network is a lot more valuable than our actual education. The “Aggies hire Aggies” mentality requires each graduating class to uphold the values and quality of the class before them. We need to expect a lot of each other, if we’re going to consider hiring one another.
I have surprised myself with my work ethic during this internship. Each week I hear people say that things are about to get more busy and more stressful, and each week I think that that can’t be possible because I cannot handle any more work or stress than I already do. But every week I do. I love that I am constantly surprising myself with what I can handle. In fact not just handle but excel at. This internship has given me a taste of what the real world is going to be like, and I am incredibly excited to get my degree and go back into the workforce. I am already completely committed to working even harder and succeeding even more each week that I spend after graduation. What’s even better is, I know the other interns in this program feel the same way. And regardless of where that motivation came from, I can confidently say that Aggies really do commit.

Julia Hamilton
Office of State Rep. Craig Goldman
Austin, Texas | spring 2017