- Eternal Flame
Dear Future Me
By: Kyla Scott
Dear Future Me,
Do you know those before and after photos middle-aged women selling pyramid schemes
post on Facebook to prove the latest-and-greatest weight loss product “actually” works? I have always found them offensive to those poor people in the pictures, as if the progress these clients make are completely, one hundred percent attributed to a placebo pill that they take once a day. No one questions if those people changed their lifestyles at all—started exercising, applied healthy habits, or ate more nutritious food? I’m going to show you some before and after photos of YOU to reminiscence on your glory days at West Texas A&M University. No, they won’t be the half-dressed ones you see on Facebook (although, for the record, you did get a little fatter). As you travel through time and re-live these defining moments in your college career, I want you to remember that there wasn’t any “magic pill” that won you those achievements. Knowing you, and trust me—I KNOW you, you’ll deny the endless days of work, opportunities to go dancing with friends missed, tears, blood, and sweat that had your nose constantly to the grindstone.
Welcome to The Ag Gathering (TAG) of Spring 2018, the official end-of-the-year banquet and awards ceremony for the Department of Agricultural Sciences. Being the ‘BUFFSTRONG’ Achiever you are, you were nervous and hoping your hard work in your first year at WT was enough to warrant recognition, however small. You always measured your
personal success this way—not out of narcissism or greed—but an insatiable itch to please and to prove to yourself that you had made a difference. Well, it did pay off; you were awarded ‘Outstanding Freshman’ for the Plant, Soil, and Environmental Science major that year. Emma Schartz did too! Little did you both know that you would become the best of friends and you would even be the maid of honor at her wedding in a few years! Three years later, we have TAG once again to recognize students and faculty achievements during an unprecedented year battling a pandemic. You won Outstanding Senior once again for our
major, proving that consistency and relentless service to your peers was your personal key to
Before: TAG 2018. Original Image by Kyla Scott
After: TAG 2021. Original Image by Kyla Scott
We fast forward just a few months later to your first summer at WT! You decided to serve as a Buff Leader and spread your passion for your university to incoming freshman. You were nervous that your group wouldn’t like you, but you made the best friends and still check in with them every once in a while. Go Teal Team 8! Little did we know that next year, Buff Branding would be completely virtual and there wouldn’t be an opportunity for chants, games, or a branding ceremony. COVID had caused everyone to adapt to a new normal for a while, until summer of 2021, when we were allowed a masked Buff Branding complete with a drive-in branding ceremony! Despite the changes, the incoming students were overwhelmed with gratitude and buff spirit! Remember the energy you exemplified that week. The exhaustion afterwards couldn’t compare to the rush of hearing the chants of hundreds of new baby buffaloes!
Buff Branding 2021. Original Image by Kyla Scott
Let’s end these progress pictures with perhaps the most important and significant of all. As you walked into your Buff Orientation, you were terrified. Unsure of the future, hoping to find your purpose and create lifelong memories so far from home. So, you did what you always do when you’re unsure of where to begin; you had dived in headfirst to everything. In your first year, you juggled nine different clubs, a full-time class schedule and took on an internship at the Panhandle Plains Historical Museum. Sure, you had some sense after a wild first year and dropped the things that weren’t as important, but you never let fear of failure be a barrier to your success. Only three years later, you graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Plant, Soil, and Environmental Science and a minor in Biology. Racked with uncertainty, we decided two days before graduation to apply for graduate school at WT and will continue to be here for two more years. Always remember how far you’ve come, and never lose the spirit you have as a WT Buffalo. Remember these memories with fondness and go forth into the world relentlessly making new ones.
With Sincere Gratitude,