Published on 2/25/2022 10:31:37 AM
There is likely no greater treasure to a current or former Texas A&M University student than their Aggie Ring. The tradition boasts over a hundred years of history, and more than 15,000 students continue to celebrate it every year.
The individual experience is made unique by the tri-annual Aggie Ring Day when family and friends gather for the moment students put on the ring for the first time. While most Aggies commemorate this occasion on campus, economics major Ashley Keeling received her ring while studying abroad in Prague, Czech Republic. Keeling’s parents had planned a trip to visit her in Prague, and her mom brought the ring along. They explored several major landmarks during their trip, and it was on the Charles Bridge where her mom presented her with her ring.
“I’ve waited since I decided to become an Aggie to get the ring,” Keeling said. “Celebrating here is something to help me hold onto this place.”
Keeling’s mom inspired her to pursue an Education Abroad experience. Hearing stories about her time living in Saudi Arabia piqued an interest that has stayed with Keeling.
“I also took an international communication class with Dr. [David] Tarvin my first semester at A&M,” Keeling said. “He would always talk about studying abroad and was the one to recommend me for the program.”
Keeling comes from an LSU family but is happy with her choice to study at Texas A&M. As a transfer student, she is especially proud of earning her ring and feels it solidifies her stance as an Aggie.
“From the moment I stepped onto campus, I knew this is where I wanted to go,” Keeling said. “[Getting the ring] is an emphasis on my hard work to transfer, and I feel like I am officially an Aggie.”
Keeling participated in a semester-long exchange program at Charles University and took classes that focused on international economics. Spending time abroad is something she said has changed her and that she recommends to every college student.
“I like the expansion I’ve had. This has definitely widened my thoughts and perspective on the world, Keeling said. “People want to get out of college and go straight into the corporate world, where traveling can become too expensive and inconvenient. Now is a perfect opportunity to go, and I’ve been able to take what I’ve learned in the classroom and see it firsthand.”
Looking past graduation, Keeling hopes to travel more, whether it be abroad or in the United States and wants to work in international relations.
“I’ll be back for football season,” Keeling said. “Like they say, we are not alumni, we are former students, and A&M will always have a piece of my heart.”