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An Englishman in College Station

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Frequent Carnival visitor EnglishAg mentioned to me that he was an English exchange student in College Station. This struck me as an interesting situation so I asked him to write it up (with no hope for any ball kicking). Here it is.

- S.R.

_______________________________________

Howdy!

I hope that is the correct version of hello in these parts... everything I know about tu was learnt in College Station and tested on Texags. You have to forgive me if my view is a little distorted.

In short, I was an English exchange student dropped into College Station for a year… fast forward a few years and Sailor has given me free reign to talk about my experiences in the hope that I give the ags a kick in the balls. Unfortunately, I don’t think I have it in me to do it. Not because I ‘bleed maroon’, but because I was dropped into Disney army-ranch and had a great time.

The backstory to all this is that my original choices UCLA and USC chose exchange students with good academic standing, leaving me with my third choice – admittedly, A&M didn’t really want me either, but in the brave world of international academia, they really had no choice.

Being the only student from the Lancaster University in College Station had its perks – no direct academic competition meant that, provided that I didn’t make a spectacular ass of myself in class, I was free to do whatever I pleased.

Consider that for a moment, you are 19 years of age, you have practically no responsibilities, a free pass to do whatever you want …and you are in College Station, the land where the cheerleaders are dressed in overalls, are male and encourage me to squeeze my balls whenever the football team are losing.

The real differences between university in England and America are obvious – American universities are so wealthy – Harvard has greater annual income that all English universities combined, so the facilities really are first rate and the campuses incredible. Admittedly, business school isn’t exactly expensive to run, but there is a whole world of difference between the Lowry Mays School of Business and LUMS. The biggest difference is in the education. An English education is all about the academia. Courses at Lancaster consisted of followed the path of:

1. reading list and essay title;
2. 1 week preparation time;
3. seminar with 5-10 other people discussing / grilling your work
4. repeat 10 times; and
5. final exam with 2 questions to answer in 4 hours.

In comparison, in College Station, a former Enron employee would read you excerpts of Ken Lay’s autobiography before asking you to complete a multiple choice test. One big production line.

Anyway, rant over. College isn’t about studying. It is about binge drinking and girls trying to find themselves. College Station was quite good for that – many will laugh at that statement, but all the girls want is a guy that doesn’t wear dickies. Many people have said that the best place to be a college athlete is Baylor – I agree with that – a never ending supply of baptist guilt ready to be exploited. Well change the words athlete and baptist guilt with exchange student and top heavy country girls in hotpants… you get the general idea.

If the pros of College Station are the girls and lax educational standards, the big con is the eternal hell of aggie athletics. Sailor may allow me to drop by again with my outsider’s views on sport, so I don’t want to give things away too much…suffice to say RC Slocum sent me to athletic hell – not by sucking so bad that I didn’t care, by being just a turnover here and a couple of bad decisions from being good. Imagine, I go back to England throw away my fake id, my girlfriend and everything else I held dear only to be left with an aggie athletics hangover – one that remains to this day.