If someone were to ask me what my life plan was six months ago, they would have received a response that entailed an answer along the lines of “I have absolutely no clue.” While I knew the general direction that I wanted to take, I had no set and stone plans to follow. A little over a year ago my family packed up our entire life and moved to Alabama. All my plans concerning my future career path, that I thought were set and stone, were changed in an instant, and it was as if I was starting all over again. There was not one single soul in Alabama that I knew, and I couldn’t help but wonder if being an Aggie with no connections, in the land of crimson tide, would put my applications at the bottom of the list. To no surprise, I was able to find a Facebook of former Aggies living in Mobile, Alabama that were more than welcoming to my family and me. The power of the Aggie network is incredible and the welcoming I received in Alabama reassured me that no matter where life takes me, I will always have my fellow Ags with me.
As the months began to pass and my two-year-old son became better adjusted to our big move I began to ponder what my next step in life was going to be. The main question I asked myself was if I wanted to branch out and apply to different colleges here in Alabama, or if I should wait until we move back to Texas and continue furthering my education with Texas A&M. After about five minutes of research I found the perfect program that kept me on the same path I intended to follow before moving to Alabama. Ecstatic is an understatement to describe how I felt when stumbling upon the online masters in Special Education program. Being able to continue my education as planned, through Texas A&M, while living in a completely different state has been an absolute dream come true.
Since sophomore year of high-school I have known my calling in life is to work with, and advocate for, individuals with disabilities. Life threw me a curve ball during my undergrad and this calling quickly became more of a dream than reality. I became pregnant with my son during my junior year at TAMU and instantly questioned if finishing my degree would be possible while raising a child. The support that I received from not only my peers, but my also professors during this time was so encouraging and motivating that I was able to continue my education and graduate with my bachelor’s degree when my son was only a year old. I knew attaining my masters would be difficult while raising a two-year-old, but after my undergraduate experience I knew it was possible, especially if I continued my education through Texas A&M. When I realized my plans to continue my education through Texas A&M became uncertain following my families move to Alabama, the thought of having to go to a different University and not having that same support during my graduate school experience was overwhelmingly shattering.
Currently, I am four months into my master’s program at TAMU and the support and bonds that I have already formed with my professors and peers surpass my expectations going into this program. It’s true, the Spirit of Aggieland is a spirit that can ne’er be told, but once you experience it, you will never be able to replace it. If you are moving to a new place that feels like a foreign land, when you are on one of the highest roller coasters of your life, or when you are taking the next steps towards achieving your ultimate life goal, look around and I guarantee an Aggie will be there to support you, motivate you, or simply be there for you. Once and Aggie, always an Aggie.
Thanks & Gig’em!
Kelly Cockrum C/O ’17
Kelly Cockrum is a Masters student in the Department of Educational Psychology