Photo by Casey Gomez

In the midst of the effects of Hurricane Irma earlier this week and the imminent approach of midterms, it is important to reflect on the aspects of Tech that students are most thankful for.

No matter how hectic and challenging student life may be, many are able to remain optimistic with the help of great friends, engaging classes and the comfort of specialty foods.

Many students’ favorite thing about Tech is the positive learning atmosphere that the institute fosters. “Everyone is passionate about something here on campus. It just makes the campus a much more exciting place — it really is a great quality of Tech students,” said Ryan Jacobs, fourth-year ME.

Students across all majors feel the same — and often, taking tough classes and being surrounded by motivated peers helps students achieve their goals. “One of my favorite things about Tech is that everyone here is really motivated,” said Meghan Toler, fifth-year MSE. “It’s something that’s really different from the type of high school that I came from — it’s really nice to be surrounded by people who have the same kinds of goals and motivations for the same types of things that I have.” Toler thanked Tech’s positive atmosphere for helping her strive to complete her degree.

She elaborated: “Being an MSE major, it’s really, really small which is really nice. Everyone’s willing to help each other out and study together, and it’s not cutthroat. Everyone is just really helpful and really positive, and everyone is there to help you succeed.” She said that many students in her major also use platforms like GroupMe to help each other out with homework and test preparation.

For those who have endured challenging transitions at Tech, the intersection of passion for academics and compassion for others is invaluable. “I started off at Tech and fell flat on my face, but I was able to turn it around. My friends helped me get back up on my feet, and I switched my major and realized what my passions were. It’s nice to always have a support system that I feel like I never really had before,” said Kaley Findley, fifth-year CS.

“Tech has definitely challenged me in a way that I’ve never been challenged before,” Findley continued. “I’d never been around people that were this smart because I came from such a small town in Florida, and most people just wanted to stay in town. That challenge definitely motivated me to improve myself and realize that I could do a lot more than I thought I could. I didn’t think I was all that smart when I came here — everyone has, like, been coding since before they could read or something. I didn’t even know what computer science was until I came here, and then I realized that I could actually be pretty good at it — and I never would have noticed that if I didn’t have people around me challenging me,” said Findley.

In addition to feeling supported by each other, Tech students also feel supported by our stellar faculty. “There’s a lot of things I really love about Tech, but I have to say my favorite thing is the faculty that I’ve interacted with. They’re all so passionate, they’re all so happy to be here, and they want the best from us,” said Maryellen Malone, third-year BCHM. “The chemistry department as a whole, in particular, has just been amazing. I’ve had great interactions and they’ve really pushed me to be my best and provided me with opportunities I don’t think I would’ve had anywhere else,” continued Malone.

Malone also gave a shout-out to Dr. Liotta, one of her organic chemistry professors. “I love him! He’s amazing; he’s such a great teacher. He made it make a lot of sense for a lot of the people I took that class with,” she said.

Tech students appreciate the faculty members in every department on campus. Third-year CMPE Alison Kennedy recounted similar experiences:

“I’ve had a lot of professors that actually helped keep me at this school — it’s not normal how good our professors are.”

She also praised one professor in particular. “Dr. Wills in my coding class helped me and brought me into her office so many times just because she genuinely cared,” said Kennedy.

Robert Leon, third-year BIOL, shared similar sentiments.

“If you’re interested in learning more in a field or doing research, most professors are more than willing to help you any way they can,” said Leon.

Tech also has an abundance of resources on campus for students seeking to go beyond class requirements.

“The Invention Studio is great — you don’t have to be an engineering major to use all its resources,” Leon said.

In addition to the features that make Tech a top-ranked academic institute, our campus also has plenty of beloved recreational features. Sporting events are a great time for students to socialize and support their fellow Yellow Jackets, as well as to participate in traditions like singing Tech fight songs. Harshil Shah, first-year CS, was particularly enthusiastic about one such tradition. “I love Buzz! I love all the things he does during the games — I want to find out who Buzz is,” Shah said.

Students also love recreational sports on campus, and it is not a surprise why: the CRC, our fully equipped fitness center, is available to use every day of the week. Shrey Jain, first-year AE, said:

“My favorite thing is playing at the CRC with my friends, and meeting new people and having fun over there. It’s really cool; I play badminton in the Badminton Club, and I also like to play basketball and racquetball with my friends.”

Of course, in order to participate in such a variety of sports and academic pursuits, students need sufficient fuel; thankfully, fueling up is easily achieved through the various food venues around campus. Madhu Sridhar, third-year ME, is a fan of Blue Donkey coffee in the Student Center; in addition, she is one of many who enjoy the weekly Farmer’s Market on Tech Walkway. “My favorite thing at Tech is the Farmer’s Market every Wednesday, since it’s a time where students can meet each other and socialize, and also try out different kinds of foods,” said Sridhar.

Food trucks are another favorite around Tech’s campus.

“I really like the food trucks at Tech. There are a lot of different options and it’s always fun getting stuff from food trucks with my friends,” said Jack Amling, third-year MSE. He recommended Bento Bus and Pickle as quality food truck choices.

As the semester continues to roll full steam ahead, it is important to take advantage of all that our school has to offer — from food trucks to academic support — and to be thankful for the people and places that make Tech so great.