By Miguel Alberto Novoa, MPIA 2015

College Station is a city with a unique culture. The identity is clearly Texan, but the university is so integral to the society that it adds a distinctive element to the native character of the state. I believe this is caused not only by the traditions of the institution (which can, at times, reach a point of hopefully unintentional, uncomfortable overemphasis), but also by a strong academic ethos (based on ingenuity, leadership, and a love for learning), as well as an influx of cultures from outside Texas. This is the spirit that supposedly cannot be told, and which to me is special, due to the gracefulness of its mixture, rather than due to the originality of its parts.

Nonetheless, my perspective of American culture is perhaps limited by my position as an international student. For this reason, I decided to find out what others inside The Bush School thought about College Station.

An Epic Quest

My search for an interviewee is a story in and of itself. In summary, after the mere mention of an interview with The Public Servant, what followed mimicked a scene involving Wile E. Coyote chasing Road Runner. Ultimately, at fault here are Wile E. and myself, but that sure won’t stop us from making future quixotic attempts in search of positive results.

Luckily, the hero of this epic quest for a greater understanding of College Station showed up in the form of my dear friend Christopher Young, who comes from the mystical and faraway land that is the eastern United States. Chris is an individual with a diverse background and experience. A self-described “big city person,” among the places Chris has lived in the United States are New York, Washington D.C., and Tennessee. He is a person with strong beliefs, a receptive mind, and deep care for society.

Life in College Station

Chris has been living in College Station for about eight months, and his greatest adjustment has been regarding the size and dynamics of the city. He considers College Station to be “a small town,” and finds the weather to be quite unpredictable. “Ever since December, the weather has been constantly changing up and down, down and up,” he comments. Chris has also found the food to be rather unpleasant. “Since I’ve been in College Station, I have cooked a lot more than in the past,” he mentioned prior to explaining his dislike for the local cuisine. After being asked about what he considered his biggest contribution to the city, Chris exclaimed, laughing in between sentences: “My money, they’ve taken my money! That’s what my contribution has been.”

In many ways, Chris’ perspective reminds me of small things I had forgotten, or maybe adapted to, over the years. For example, the weather patterns of this time of the year are indeed special, and a nice break from the natural oven that the place becomes during the summertime. Not surprisingly, the interview about College Station naturally progressed to become about Chris’ time at the university, specifically the Bush School. This matches my view that the university is an integral part of the local culture; what else is there to talk about?

Concluding Thoughts

At the interview’s conclusion, Chris mentioned that he does feel College Station has taught him an important lesson: “I have learned to accept people for who they are.” Despite it all, maybe that is all that really matters.

If you’d like to voice your opinion on the subject, feel free to message me your views (or contact me in person) and tell your story of how you are adapting to College Station.