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Were the Super Bowl ads really that forgettable?

Grant Vassar, February 6th, 2017

screen-shot-2017-02-06-at-4.54.37-pmEveryone seems to be suggesting it – news outlets, bloggers, my Facebook newsfeed, my roommates.

In one sense, I would agree that most of this year’s commercials didn’t have the kind of bizarre punch (read: Puppymonkeybaby 2016) or overt sentimentality that have characterized many past Super Bowls ads. But on the other hand, I felt that this year’s commercials perfectly reflect the climate of America 2017: culturally sensitive, politically aware, innovative, and (in the case of the Stranger Things season 2 trailer), just plain incredible. Here are four of my favorites:

1. Budweiser’s “Born The Hard Way”

This one was beautifully shot and the storytelling was on-point. A lot of people have criticized it for what they perceive as an implicitly political message. Say what you will. No matter what Anheuser Busch’s purpose was, it seems to me like they made an ingenious business decision to run an ad in a country that is now, more than ever, very sensitive to stories of immigrants, no matter where you fall on the political spectrum. At the least, the ad has generated a lot of hype.

2. Audi’s “Daughter”

With its closing tagline, “Progress is for everyone,” the ads follows the hope of a man’s dream for his daughter to grow in a world where women get “equal pay for equal work.” I think Audi did it well here – the storytelling was more a way to illustrate the company’s personal commitment to equality instead of being overtly political or moralistic. The aesthetic of this commercial was neat, too. The ad’s warm hues and autumnal landscapes reminded me of a classic, small-town America.

3. Hyundai USA’s “A Better Super Bowl”

This real-time ad was probably the most emotional ad I saw. Actually filmed during the Super Bowl and released toward the end, it showed real U.S. soldiers across the world being virtually united with their families back home to watch the game live together. No doubt this ad exemplified what seems to be an evolution in industry trends towards real-time advertising, perhaps to hook viewers who have already seen the pre-released commercials and have less of an incentive to enjoy the game. Whatever it takes, I guess. Either way, this was a moving ad that accomplished a lot in just under two minutes: made the day of the military families, wowed viewers with its real-time component and gave Hyundai USA a subtle patriotic connotation.

4. Netflix’s Stranger Things 2 trailer 

Eggo waffles and Stranger Things really don’t need advertising – they are that good; they can sell themselves on their own. But put the frozen waffle brand and sci-fi thriller TV series together…the results are mind-blowing. This one was my personal favorite. I’m already a fan of Stranger Things but after seeing that genuine retro ad for Eggo Waffles, I know what’s topping my list on my next run to H-E-B.

Advertising has a business goal but like art, it has a social function as well. We talked about this a lot in my Advertising and Creative Marketing Communications class during my junior year. The advertising industry can both reflect the culture, but also create it. The Super Bowl is a perfect example of that. Like any advertising, Super Bowl ads are always toeing the line truth and exaggeration, beauty and bizarreness, persuasion and propaganda.

screen-shot-2017-02-06-at-4.51.08-pm

screen-shot-2017-02-06-at-4.54.37-pmEveryone seems to be suggesting it – news outlets, bloggers, my Facebook newsfeed, my roommates.

In one sense, I would agree that most of this year’s commercials didn’t have the kind of bizarre punch (read: Puppymonkeybaby 2016) or overt sentimentality that have characterized many past Super Bowls ads. But on the other hand, I felt that this year’s commercials perfectly reflect the climate of America 2017: culturally sensitive, politically aware, innovative, and (in the case of the Stranger Things season 2 trailer), just plain incredible. Here are four of my favorites:

1. Budweiser’s “Born The Hard Way”

This one was beautifully shot and the storytelling was on-point. A lot of people have criticized it for what they perceive as an implicitly political message. Say what you will. No matter what Anheuser Busch’s purpose was, it seems to me like they made an ingenious business decision to run an ad in a country that is now, more than ever, very sensitive to stories of immigrants, no matter where you fall on the political spectrum. At the least, the ad has generated a lot of hype.

2. Audi’s “Daughter”

With its closing tagline, “Progress is for everyone,” the ads follows the hope of a man’s dream for his daughter to grow in a world where women get “equal pay for equal work.” I think Audi did it well here – the storytelling was more a way to illustrate the company’s personal commitment to equality instead of being overtly political or moralistic. The aesthetic of this commercial was neat, too. The ad’s warm hues and autumnal landscapes reminded me of a classic, small-town America.

3. Hyundai USA’s “A Better Super Bowl”

This real-time ad was probably the most emotional ad I saw. Actually filmed during the Super Bowl and released toward the end, it showed real U.S. soldiers across the world being virtually united with their families back home to watch the game live together. No doubt this ad exemplified what seems to be an evolution in industry trends towards real-time advertising, perhaps to hook viewers who have already seen the pre-released commercials and have less of an incentive to enjoy the game. Whatever it takes, I guess. Either way, this was a moving ad that accomplished a lot in just under two minutes: made the day of the military families, wowed viewers with its real-time component and gave Hyundai USA a subtle patriotic connotation.

4. Netflix’s Stranger Things 2 trailer 

Eggo waffles and Stranger Things really don’t need advertising – they are that good; they can sell themselves on their own. But put the frozen waffle brand and sci-fi thriller TV series together…the results are mind-blowing. This one was my personal favorite. I’m already a fan of Stranger Things but after seeing that genuine retro ad for Eggo Waffles, I know what’s topping my list on my next run to H-E-B.

Advertising has a business goal but like art, it has a social function as well. We talked about this a lot in my Advertising and Creative Marketing Communications class during my junior year. The advertising industry can both reflect the culture, but also create it. The Super Bowl is a perfect example of that. Like any advertising, Super Bowl ads are always toeing the line truth and exaggeration, beauty and bizarreness, persuasion and propaganda.

screen-shot-2017-02-06-at-4.51.08-pm

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Howdy and happy 2017 (A-WHOOP!!!).img_0220 I hope your first few weeks have been going well, despite the rain at first and the perennial struggle of getting back into the swing of things. For me, returning from winter break is usually like trying to roll off the couch after a groggy afternoon nap. I’ve slept too long, I don’t know what time it is and have no idea what’s for dinner.

But it’s been different this semester. Now that I’m on the home stretch, with graduation just around the corner in May, I can’t afford to miss any moment of my last semester as an undergrad.
My classes are going really well. My two capstones – a strategic management course and an English course focused on the historical reception of myths and folklore – are challenging me to draw on everything I’ve ever learned at Texas A&M. I was pretty sure these two courses were completely unrelated until my management professor handed out a case study on Robin Hood’s management of the band of Merry Men. But our class discussion proceeded without skipping a beat: we disputed the various problems facing the legendary outlaw, applied a thorough SWOT analysis and even speculated about Robin Hood’s interior life as a leader faced with life-and-death decisions. My English professors would’ve been proud.

Besides school, I’ve been celebrating friends’ birthdays and my own (it seems like everyone was born in January), experienced Rogue One & La La Land, applied to grad school and have been looking for jobs, too. Every day I’m walking that precarious line between dwelling on important decisions for the future and yet always trying to soak up the present.

The little things are starting to mean more. Earlier last week, I hopped onto my bike to ride off to an 8 a.m. class – those earlier classes I’ve dreaded every semester since freshman year. But this time there was something invigorating about pedaling onto campus just as the sunlight was spreading over College Station. The whole campus was waking up as I flew past the the familiar water tower and the stately Academic Building, dodging the resident squirrels chattering along the paths and through the trees. I had a feeling that this was going to be my best semester yet. I hope the same for you.

So here’s to an amazing semester in Aggieland. No matter what we have planned, I think we can all agree: it’s good to be home.

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Oh no, it’s finals. Run. Hide.

There is some truth to that widespread stereotype that portrays college students plunging into survival mode to pull over-caffeinated all-nighters and trudging bleary-eyed into that 8 a.m. final, or else taking a 24-hour break on Dead Day to binge on Netflix and avoid mounting obligations.

Sometimes those days are unavoidable. But maybe you’re looking for an alternative. Here are four specific tips from personal experience that are helping me not just survive but thrive during our favorite week of the year.

1. Eat healthy food

A generous helping of Bluebell may help you temporarily deal with your sorrows after a bad test, but it’s probably not going to make you more motivated for the next one. I highly recommend eating vegetables (broccoli, spinach, carrots, for example) and fruits (blueberries, strawberries, apples, bananas), and grains like rice, and lean meats like chicken and fish. These will give you will give you more energy and focus than a burger and fries, or even a cup of coffee or a Red Bull.

2. Get your blood flowing

Our bodies are made to be active, not to pore books without moving for hours on end. Even if it’s just for a few minutes, go for a jog, ride your bike, hit the Rec or play ultimate frisbee or basketball. Not only is it fun to move, but it can work wonders in relieving stress and restlessness

3. Be intentional about your breaks

“YES! I typed my essay header and adjusted the font to 12 p. Times New Roman. I think I’ll reward myself with this video of dancing cats!” It’s easy to fall into this. But instead of taking a Facebook break the second you feel bored (which may never go away), consider studying for a focused 30 minutes and then taking an intentional 10-minute break.  

4. Make time for prayer or meditation

For many people, including myself, religious faith keeps them centered and purposeful through stressful times like finals. No matter your spiritual outlook, it’s worth taking a step back to examine and contemplate the more transcendent part of finals week – perhaps the blessing that you can be a student in the first place and even the good that may come from your hard work.

That’s all for now. Best of luck, Aggies and BTHO finals!

 

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The next Ring Day is just around the corner on Nov. 4, and I have one piece of advice: If you’re finally getting your Aggie gold this time around, don’t let it out of your sight.

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My mom and I on Ring Day. How could I ever tell her?

Trust me, I know from experience. When I lost it back in May, just a month after I received it in April, I went into denial.

“You lost it?” everyone cried.

Misplaced,” I corrected, more confidently than I felt.

The memory was fuzzy. I was at work when I slipped it off my finger absentmindedly. That evening back at home, I realized I never put it back on. It wasn’t in the pockets of my backpack or pants nor on my desk the next day.

I was sure I hadn’t really lost it. It was probably in somewhere in my room or car. I turned out drawers and sifted through piles of clothes and papers, dumped out boxes, swept the floors the floors and felt between couch cushions. All I found was a stale cheeto and a penny. I even picked through a week old trash bag — the same one in which I had heard a suspicious thump when I was cleaning out my backpack hastily one morning before a hiking trip. But between the maggoty meat styrofoam, old granola bar wrappers and rotting banana peels, no gold was glinting. My heart sank.

How did I let this happen? I thought. This was my Aggie ring, a gift from my parents that didn’t come cheap and a timeless symbol of my years at Texas A&M. How could I have been so careless?

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At my friend’s Ring Day in August, my ring conspicuously absent.

Days turned into weeks and weeks into months. Finally I dragged myself up to the Wehner facilities office and asked if they had seen a ring.

“When did you lose it?” they asked.

“Three months ago.”

I grimaced. They hadn’t seen it.

I glumly went back home and filled the form on the Association’s website, reporting a lost ring.

Three weeks later, still no response.

School started in full swing and as the weeks went by, sure I was bummed, but I started accepting that I may never find it. Getting a new one was certainly out of the question for the time being, at least for a few more years. I would just have to live without it. It wouldn’t be the end of the world.

Around this time, I woke up one Saturday morning, an away game weekend, when I had a ton of free time. I decided today was the day I would try once and for all to find my ring. I challenged myself: it was not a matter of if I’d find the ring; it was when.

Time to back to square one. I heaved my backpack out to the living room floor and pulled out the crumpled papers and binders and endless dull pencils and began rummaging through the biggest pockets and the front pocket, the side pockets. Still nothing but junk. Finally I reached the middle pocket. I unzipped it — a half-opened pack of tissues, prayer beads, a quarter.

I felt down the curve of the pocket which dipped down into my backpack further than I remembered. Suddenly, like a magnet, my fingers closed in on something solid and cool to the touch.

I pulled my hand from the pocket. Shiny and gold as the day my parents presented it to me in April, it was my Aggie ring.14445046_293134131072658_706904126233866987_o

I was shocked. After four months, it had been with me the whole time. It had been with me on a hiking trip to Arkansas, to Orlando with my family, at the beach, Waco, and all manner of adventures in between.

Slightly dazed that I had found the ring within minutes of starting my search, I leapt up and showed my roommates who were overjoyed with me. I don’t think I had ever been so excited to find something in my entire life.

Taking a cue from the biblical parable of the lost coin, I called over some friends that night to celebrate the finding of the ring that was lost but had been found.

Of course, I can’t say that every lost ring will turn up. But like I had to accept, it’s not the end of the world. My ring really is just a ring. All it is is a symbol. If a husband loses his wedding band, it doesn’t make him any less of his spouse to his wife. No one is less of an Aggie without a ring.

Big as they are, Aggie rings represent something so much bigger. For the rest of my life (knock on wood) my ring will be a symbol of my years at Texas A&M, the friends I’ve made, the amazing adventures I’ve had, the things I’ve learned inside and especially outside the classroom, and the values and traditions of one of the warmest and most genuine student bodies you could ever know.  

Even if you lose your ring, you can’t lose what it stands for.

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Ever heard of Murphy’s law?

It’s an adage that says anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Whether you’re a student or not, this is bound to happen to everybody at some point. For me, this was my second week of the school year. Broken bike – check. Textbooks on back order – check. Car battery that died three times in one day – check. Phone that sporadically shuts down – check. Two essays to write, three books to read, and meetings every night of the week – check.

By midweek, I was at my wit’s end. I had had lofty expectations for being organized at the start of the school year (see my own tips). Things never seem to go according to plan. 

The wisdom of one of my former marketing professors came to mind. She once advised our class to “embrace ambiguity.” Through uncertainty, inconvenience and even mistakes, the best things sometimes happen and our best work is created. Her lesson was for a marketing project, but I think it has a positive application for life as well. As students with an increasing amount of responsibility for our time, we’re also capable of charting our own course and rerouting when we hit dead ends or are unsure of where to go next.

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My week began to turn around when I took a deep breath, addressed each problem one at a time, and still carved out opportunities to redeem the week. For me that looked like watching episode seven of “Star Wars” for the first time, visiting my favorite local taquería on Friday night and joining the 12th Man for some Aggie Football and an amazing battle of the bands at half-time. To top it off, after the game, my friends and I spontaneously took off to Waco because one of us was purchasing an electric guitar. We ended up spending the afternoon uncovering the jewels of Waco – visiting coffee shops and markets, and enjoying random wall art. It definitely pays to embrace ambiguity.

If you’re ever having a rough week, remember that college life is always an unpredictable adventure. Just stay positive and do what you need to do respond to unexpected inconveniences and changes to your schedule and make time to do things you love.

Bad weeks don’t have to stay bad. There’s always hope.

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Things are about to get crazy in Aggieland: Move-in day, Gig ‘Em Week, first day of classes, Aggie football, homework, organization meetings and late-night conversations with your roommates. The only way to handle this tsunami of activity is to be prepared. 

After three years of doing it (mostly) wrong, I think I’ve finally cracked the code. Here are three ways to gear up for the new semester:

1. Get a planner. From personal experience, I recommend not waiting till you’re swamped with three tests, a presentation and 50 organization applications to start organizing your life. Start today. Your phone reminders or sticky notes can only get your so far. If you’re like me with 7 gazillion reminders always popping up on your phone screen, it’s easy for something important to fall through the cracks. Start committing what you need to do to a paper or a digital planner. Don’t overestimate yourself – if you think you’ll just remember something in your head, you probably won’t.

2. Order textbooks early. The first few days of school are too important to waste hours waiting in textbook lines. You could be meeting new people, playing frisbee on Simpson Drill Field or getting a head start on your homework. Beat the crowds and order your textbooks online or hurry to a local bookstore. I recommend checking your professor’s syllabi ahead time for their textbooks or email them if things are unclear.

3. Have a blast. Yes, as the summer comes to a close, you may feel like you have to transition from a nocturnal free spirit to a studious go-getter, but the back-to-school season doesn’t have to be a drag. Check out new restaurants around Bryan-College Station. Go on adventures with your friends – there’s still time for that spontaneous beach trip. Join in on the festivities of Gig ’Em Week. It’ll be hot outside but hey, there will be free food.

That’s all for now, Ags. Thanks and Gig ’Em! 

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Want to know the secret to conquering your to-do list and getting ahead at work or school? It’s pretty simple: Get away and do nothing.

For example, a few weekends ago my friends and I piled into my car and headed off down Highway 6. After a long week of classes, work, job searches and general exhaustion, we had agreed to set off on a beach trip. Like the start of any good road trip, we wrestled with our GPS for 15 minutes to decide to which beach we were actually going. Then finally, after two and half hours jamming to music and enjoying conversation, our car came up over a bridge and we saw the bright blue-green of the ocean, the sparkling white of the sand, and the brilliant coastal sky.

A few minutes later we parked and trudged across the powdery sand and made camp at a little spot just yards from the edge of the water. We quickly spread our blanket, dropped our day packs and leapt into the waves. For almost four hours, we checked out and let go of all the weight of our jobs, homework and other responsibilities.

It may seem counterintuitive, but it’s so important to make time for real leisure, removing ourselves from our smartphones, social media and schedules, and be totally engaged with what’s happening around us. Come that following Monday morning after the beach trip, I was feeling refreshed and 20 times more alert than I would’ve on a beach-less weekend.

282So, in these last few weeks of summer, here is some advice: Take a day or two to trade the fluorescent glare of the office or library for the blazing sunlight. Stop squinting at your inbox and instead be mesmerized by little crabs as they scuttle across the sea floor and the clams as they burrow through little scoops of sand in your palms. Forget your to-do list and planner and just float along in the water and let the gentle current pull all around you. Stretch out across the sand, soak up the sun, drum on bongos and strum on a ukulele and shamelessly belt out “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.”

Work is good and our obligations are real. But sometimes we just need to step away from the daily grind and take off for the beach.

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Overnight, Pokémon Go swept across the world like wildfire. One day it was practically unheard of. Within hours, everyone and their mother was playing it.

If you haven’t heard, Pokémon Go is a free game where players use their smartphones to catch and train Pokémon via augmented reality. Everyday sidewalks, fields, public arenas and even the pavilion at Mays Business School are transformed into a strange world of animated monsters where the virtual and the real collide.

The game, which has practically sold itself, has captivated millions of people around the world and has spurred almost as many conversations about how it’s affecting our culture, our lifestyle and our safety.

But a phenomenon of this proportion should always give us as consumers pause and think carefully about how the purchases that we make – even free downloads – and how these purchases affect our behavior. The most important question is how does it affect the quality of my life and others’ lives?

Full disclosure: I haven’t bought the game yet. And my knowledge of all things Pokémon is pretty limited – I know the lyrics to the theme song and that there is a yellow one called Pikachu. But still, I think the game looks like a blast. The day after it was released, my friends and I were exploring Downtown Bryan – not to check out the boutiques or enjoy the live entertainment, but to catch the little animated monsters. It was a bizarre but entertaining scene.

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Our group and no fewer than four other groups of aspiring Pokémon trainers wandered the street corners, up and down the empty sidewalks, and meandered a little too close to the intersections. Everyone’s eyes were glued to their screens, but instead of ignoring each other, they were teaming up and interacting with the real-world environment in a whole new way.

The appeal of Pokémon Go is totally understandable. It’s nostalgic and clever, gets people moving and brings people together. But like any new fad, we shouldn’t neglect to ask the important questions. Is this helping or hurting us? As we explore our neighborhoods, football fields, playgrounds and public sidewalks, are we putting ourselves in dangerous situations?  Are we more susceptible to criminals? Are we compromising our privacy? Are we spending too much time staring at screens instead of engaging meaningfully with our friends and family?

As consumers, when we make purchases, we have a certain amount of influence and power. We aren’t forced to listen to advertising and marketing messaging – even when it’s word of mouth; we have the power of choice. We can think intelligently about our purchases and how these purchases affect our everyday lives.

Whether you’re downloading a new game like Pokémon Go or getting connected on the latest social media outlet or buying the newest technological miracle, there’s always a sense of adventure and excitement. But we should be careful not to sacrifice common sense and common decency.

Balance is key. If Pokémon is your jam, then enjoy the game for what it’s worth. Just be smart, be safe and remember what matters.

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The souvenir industry is sneaky.

“That concludes our tour – thank you for joining us today,” beams a smiling guide. “The exit is right that way.” Then we unsuspecting patrons are herded through a set of doors to a room that is filled with tacky merchandise – overpriced T-shirts, personalized key chains, pressed coins and commemorative snow-globes. This scene is a familiar one, repeated at the end of every museum tour and roller coaster ride I’ve ever been on. And I have to admit – I’m often tempted to buy something. I love to travel and I always want to capture the memories I make wherever I go.

But years of buyer’s remorse have taught me that maybe just a good photo will suffice. The painted figurine of a Union soldier my parents bought me at Fort Sumter in South Carolina years ago was honorably discharged to an unlabeled bin in my dresser, the small bag of shredded cash from the U.S. Bureau of Printing and Engraving disappeared after an overzealous spring cleaning, and my keepsake from my senior trip to Italy – a two-sizes-too-small A.S. Roma Jersey that I hadn’t bothered to try on before I bought it – is wadded up inside a trash bag of clothes marked for donation to Goodwill. But the photos of my friends and family from all the places I’ve been – I’ve cherished these the most.

So when my family took a trip to Orlando, Florida, a few weeks ago, and we planned to spend a day at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios, I hadn’t planned to change my approach too much.

IMG_4876To be sure, Harry Potter and I go way back. I was in kindergarten when my grandmother picked The Sorcerer’s Stone – the first book in the series – as our bedtime story, while she spent the night at our house one evening. Grandma fell asleep midway through the second chapter so I didn’t quite see how the story ended. But in first grade, I picked back up the series myself and was completely enchanted by the story about an orphaned boy who discovers he is a wizard. Fourteen years later, I’m a self-proclaimed Ravenclaw and easily a veteran reader of the books of at least five times each. And I haven’t even mentioned the movies.

Needless to say, I had high expectations for this park.
“Just enjoy the experiences and take plenty of pictures,” I reassured myself as we spent the morning riding broomsticks, racing dragons, tiptoeing past animatronic goblins, fighting trolls, and dueling with You-Know-Who. We strolled through a village called Hogsmeade, a winding cluster of wooden shops with crooked roofs brushed with winter snow. Nonetheless, it was late June and 90 degrees, so we cooled off with a heaping cup of Butterbeer – a butterscotch-flavored, cream soda concoction sold from giant vats on every corner.

13458520_243087572743981_3285988071051708797_oKids and parents alike were waving interactive wands at storefronts, windows and street signs, making lamps flicker to life spontaneously or rain randomly pour underneath awnings or objects rise into the air. A choir of park actors dressed as Hogwarts students – including a beat-boxing Slytherin – emerged to give an impromptu a capella concert featuring several of choral renditions of the movies’ soundtrack. Even the wizard bank Gringotts was just fun to look at – a dragon crouches on its crooked roof and spouts fire at random.

It was about halfway through our visit that I started thinking that maybe I needed more than a photo. This park had truly brought the story to life.

The countless shops featured Quidditch gear, winter scarves embroidered with the colors of the four Hogwarts houses, and even restaurants that served food from the books. You could even get fitted for your own wand.  The candy stores were even more promising. There were chocolate frogs, pumpkin juice, lemon drops and Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans, which is no exaggeration – lemon, cherry, blueberry, toasted marshmallow, dirt, vomit and soap.

13495487_243087326077339_519774910904339424_oBy the end of the day, I had made up my mind – I was walking out of this place with a souvenir. I wandered through Hogsmeade, examining everything each store had to offer, taking mental notes and making price comparisons. My mom called to tell me my family was waiting impatiently across the park for one final ride in the Hogwarts castle. I knew my time was short so I quickly narrowed it down – a T-shirt with the Hogwarts School crest.
It was pricey and probably could’ve been purchased somewhere online. But at least, it would be a lasting reminder of the fun times I had at the park. After that I crossed the street to the candy store Honeydukes and grabbed a small $10 box of Bertie Bott’s. A few minutes later I was headed down the main street to meet my family, my purchases in tow and my wallet a little lighter.

Within a few days, the cardboard box of jellybeans was empty in my suitcase and my new shirt was in the dirty clothes hamper. But it was worth it. Usually, gift shops seem like the cheap conclusion to a great time. But at Harry Potter world, it was nice to have something tangible to make the magic of the park last just a little longer.

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In the beginning, I had no idea what business was.

“So what are you studying at A&M, Grant?” people would ask. It was the summer before my freshman year at A&M.

“Uh business, probably finance. No wait — maybe marketing,” I’d reply, clueless.

“What are you hoping to do with that?” they’d always ask.

“Oh, you know, I’m still figuring it out.” Like many new college students, when it came to questions about my career goals, I had more questions than answers. My interests were varied and sometimes divergent — literature, languages, medicine, entrepreneurship, art, music — but for various reasons I settled on Mays and the Business Honors program. I had heard good things about the opportunities at Mays and wanted to give it a shot.

But I still had my reservations. All I could think of was suits and ties, crunching numbers, and rows of cubicle farms. To me, the business world was a place of productivity and profit, a place where you did your time 9-5, or maybe til 7, and then left work to get on with your real life.

Was I in the wrong place?

Fortunately, I stuck around. My experiences at Mays and Texas A&M slowly but surely opened my eyes to what business is all about. I took class after class, got involved on campus, made friends, studied abroad in Mexico and just experienced life as a college student. Most recently, at the beginning of my junior year, I joined the Mays marketing communications team as a student worker. Through news articles, press releases, newsletter blurbs and more, I help tell the stories of the fascinating people of Mays, whether they be students, faculty, staff, alumni and guest speakers.

Some days I sit in on a presentation by a Navy Seal and others days a vice president from Starbucks. Sometimes I get to interview local sixth-graders visiting Mays for the first time and others I get to sit down with my business school peers and talk about their latest tweak to an innovative insect farm that they hope will help solve world hunger.

My years at A&M have been transformative, and I can’t wait to see what more I’ll discover. I’ve learned business is much more than profit. It’s about people. It’s about leadership and inspiring and enabling others. It’s about prosperity but also social responsibility. It’s about exchanging ideas and sharing expertise, time and resources. It’s about stories.

In many ways, business is about life.

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