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From the warmth of Starbucks, I took a sip of coffee and watched a storm of flashing blue and red lights engulf two cars with fresh dents. As police and bystanders responded to the accident, I caught myself staring and attempted to return my focus to my homework.

Frazzled and concerned, a girl carrying a laptop walked from the crowd outside into the coffee shop and sat at the table next to me. Noticing her “Class of 2025” T-shirt, I realized she was also a student and leaned over to offer my help. “We’re fine outside,” Kelbi said as she introduced herself. “But it’s my New Student Conference, and I’m supposed to register for classes in 15 minutes.”

My heart stung as I relived the intimidation and confusion of starting college. “I’m a student here—I can help you register,” I offered. Instantly, her demeanor softened, and she opened her laptop with relief. We searched for classes, rearranged her schedule, and laughed together as we talked about her apprehensions and goals for college.

Thirty minutes later, Kelbi walked away registered for her first semester at Texas A&M University, and I walked away with one of the most treasured pieces of my Aggie story. Though I was the one who helped Kelbi, our brief interaction gave me more than I could ever give her.

I started college at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, and as my abnormal freshman year ended, I still struggled to find my place in Aggieland. My small moment with Kelbi changed that. For nearly a year, I had desperately hoped that, just like in the movies, a football game or a student organization would help me feel like I belonged. But our chance encounter taught me that I didn’t need any of these experiences to feel at home at Texas A&M.

That day, I discovered the truth about what makes Aggieland feel like home: It’s the shared connection that happens when an Aggie supports another Aggie. After all, being a Texas A&M student is not just about calling Aggieland home; it’s about making it a home for others.

Ryan Williamson ’24 is a junior business honors major from El Campo, Texas. In his free time, you can find him frequenting College Station’s coffee shops or spending way too much money on his vinyl record collection, which ranges from Taylor Swift to Prince and anywhere in between. Though his career goals are constantly changing, he’s certain he will one day travel the world and backpack across Europe.

  • Dunae Reader '15

  • Assistant Director of Marketing & Communications/Spirit Editor/Maroon Co-Editor
  • Call: 979.321.6343

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