With offspring attending both the University of Texas in Austin and Texas A&M in College Station, I have been granted unique insight into the differences between these two great institutions.
While separated by only one hundred miles of cow pastures, the two universities are as different as seaweed and sassafras. Lettuce and tomatoes. The first three Star Wars and those that came later.
I have no insight into which is better than the other; I can’t even find the measuring stick to compare the two. All I’m going to say is…they’re different.
UT: Stop and go traffic followed by a trip through the barrio. Scenic graffiti.
A&M: Trip through the country and a stop at Buc-Eees, scenic cows.
UT: Hip eateries, the State Capital, slums, grunge-chic stores, and Whole Foods.
A&M: Suburban America. Best Buy. Target. Walmart.
Dining Out – The Waiter
UT: Dreadlocks and a spray of piercings.
A&M: Crew cut and a remarkable absence of tattoos.
Dining Out – The Choices
UT: Cool beatnik places with low ceilings and funky, uneven floors.
A&M: Chili’s. PeiWei.
UT: Diversity exploded. In fact, the Big Bang of Diversity.
A&M: Closely resembles the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
The Parental Tour
UT: Parking Nazis monitor your every move. The students ignore you, as they’re engrossed in their phones.
A&M: Students stop you and say, “Howdy, are you lost?”
UT: Music, art, museums, historic landmarks, libraries, the Capitol.
UT: A&M who?
A&M: We’re gonna whip those tea-sipping Commies from Austin or die trying.
UT: “Woo-hoo” my son/daughter go to Austin.
A&M: They paint their babies maroon and sing the Aggie Fight Song to them in the crib.
Ordering a Drink
UT: The waiter offers you one of 18,000 craft beers made locally.
A&M: “Here, drink this purple Kool-Aid.”
This is by no means a comprehensive list of the differences. Time will tell which school I wind up preferring to visit, as they’re equally hard to reach from Dallas. I can only hope I don’t accidentally wear burnt orange to College Station and walk down any dark alleys—say behind the maroon-striped Whataburger.