With a belief in limited campus involvement and an anti-all-nighter mindset, Devin Roach, fourth-year ME, certainly seems like an unconventional Tech student. However, Roach offers valuable advice for stressed-out Tech students and shares co-op stories.

Technique: How involved are you on campus?

Roach: I’m in the GT Barbell Club and Campus Tradition Tours through the Student Alumni Association. I’m not one of those involved kids; I’m actually against over-involvement on campus. I think it’s good to be fully involved in one organization rather than being in a sorority and having to do 18 different things. You can drive yourself insane and get distracted from the whole point of being here. It’s good to get involved so you have an outlet, but it’s not good to get so involved that your primary focus has become involvement.

Technique: What about off-campus involvement then?

Roach: Getting involved in Atlanta has been really good for me, getting off of campus, because campus can be pretty stifling. It cultivates a culture that’s not really realistic, to be honest. If you’re going out and going to certain parts of town, you get to see real, larger cultural aspects of the world.

Going to certain food and wine festivals in east Atlanta or going to art exhibitions … there’s a ton of art exhibitions that are really cool to go to and you meet people. It puts you out of your comfort zone. Cabbagetown is one of the coolest places in Atlanta, with murals and artwork. You go to an art exhibition and can vote on which street art you like the best. A few weeks later, they’ll have a mural of it up.

Technique: Do you have any stories from your co-op at Delta?

Roach: Delta was my dream job since I was a freshman because I found out you could get free flights. Every day I was looking online to see if there was a position open, and I would apply for every single one, probably like 100 positions for delta. Finally, one came through after I called the manager. I worked really hard to get it, but it was worth it. I worked there for three semesters.

The exciting part of the co-op is that we got to travel. Being a first year, I had no idea what I was doing. I was just like, “Sweet, free flights, go wherever I feel like.” So I flew to Dublin[, Ireland]. I had such a sick time, so much fun. I get to the airport [to leave Ireland] on Sunday, and an entire United Airlines flight got cancelled. We were like, “Aww, that’s too bad. Sucks for them, haha.” We get to our gate and they’re like, “A United flight got cancelled, so the Delta flight is full.” So I didn’t make it to work on Monday, but I was like “I’ll email them, whatevs, it’s chill.” But there’s only one flight out of Dublin every day back to Atlanta, so the next day all the other United people plus all the other Delta people were on
that flight.

This cascaded and happened all the way until Thursday when I finally had eaten so much McDonald’s, and eaten so many Powerbars and slept on the airport floor for so long that I was so ready to go home. I got the last seat on the flight with my friend. I didn’t have money to take a taxi back to Dublin, I used all my money and ate all my Powerbars and almonds.

[In] Japan, we went to Mt. Fuji. You look at it, and it’s just a little mountain, nothing too bad. It doesn’t look that big from Tokyo. We take a train, and it takes four hours just to get to the base. Then we take a bus that takes us halfway up. We thought we were near the top because you can’t see the top when you’re on the mountain. We hiked for four hours and didn’t even get close to the top. It was cold and snowy, and it was the middle of the summer. But it’s always snowy up there, absolutely freezing, and we brought tanks and t-shirts. Then it was getting dark, so we sprinted back down the mountain.

Technique: Have you learned anything from your four years at Tech that you want to share?

Roach: As of recently, I stopped focusing on school stuff as much and focused more on mental clarity, taking things one step at a time. If it’s Sunday and I have three huge things like two midterms and a lab, I go really hard on the test Monday, get a good night’s rest, then get up and do the one on Tuesday. Section it off, because otherwise you can get overwhelmed. If you don’t finish it, then you didn’t have the time to finish it in the first place. You can’t stress about it and not sleep. School is like a marathon, not a sprint; you don’t want to get burned out. I think things like all-nighters just don’t work. I long-term budget my time.

I think taking pride in where you live is important, making your house a home. If I came home to my apartment and there wasn’t anything on the walls, you come home like, “This is just another four walls,” unless you personalize it. It does require a little income, though it’s a good original investment.

A lot of the stuff [in my room] I’ve had since freshman year. If I go someplace, I’ll get something that’s a little bit funky and kinda weird. Finding little things that are personal. With Delta, whenever I travelled someplace, I always got something a little out of the ordinary but very cultural. I’d leave in somewhere in my room such that when I arrived home, I felt like I was at my home. The culmination of my experiences became my room.