Think of your favorite book. The plot twists, the character development, the dynamic storyline that never fails to keep you interested. Whatever it is that makes the story your favorite is an answer that is very much your own, but I have to say, I don’t know many people who read books for the sexy punctuation or salacious grammar.
Likely, it is an engaging, highly variable adventure which forces you to turn the page.
With this book in mind, imagine for me if you will, this year at Tech as a novel.
You’re now three weeks in, beyond the Labor Day holiday and just the first home football game, sitting comfortably at the end of the prologue. Your classes are long past the awful death march through the syllabus, and your clubs are long past interest meetings about free pizza. Places all over campus are beginning highlight the upcoming Career Fair as an unofficial sign it’s time to get down to business, as a solid start to the first chapter of this year.
For some reason, however, I can’t help but think that this can’t be the plot line for everyone. I mean think of the freshmen. With their quizzical minds filled with hopes and dreams, it almost seems rude to start their stories with harsh reality that is the Career Fair.
Thinking on it further, however, you may realize that the fourth week marks the beginning another semi-annual and equally anticipated (or perhaps equally dreaded) social recruitment event: Humans vs. Zombies (HvZ).
Frequently, this organization is criticized for disrupting classes, blocking pathways and just generally making getting around campus a pain.
While I’m not going to say that any of these things aren’t true, I think it’s time to step back and acknowledge the important alternative plot line Humans vs. Zombies offers to the career fair.
Take a moment to consider the Career Fair. I’m sure you’re picturing the long lines and the awful feeling of late summer heat seeping through your suit jacket.
Perhaps you’re considering the feeling of dread when approaching a big name recruiter. Maybe that bit of white space on your resume is bigger than you thought. No one, at least not anyone that I’ve met, talks of their fond memories of armpit sweat and barren resumes.
Similarly, many people I talk to rarely have anything good to say about the brief mention of HvZ in his or her annual college tale. Unlike the true zombies who talk about career fair, however, there are select few individuals whose eyes light up at the mention of Tech’s most famous MMRLRPG (Massive Multiplayer REAL LIFE Role Playing Game).
Furthermore, almost anyone can supply you with a hilarious anecdote of some poor freshman being attacked by the hoard, even if it only makes a passing appearance at the beginning of paragraph three.
When it comes down to it, the HvZ portion of your story will find some silly and childish way to make you smile.
Like many other aspects of Tech life (i.e. classes and academic fraternities), the Career Fair is just a reminder of the real world that lies beyond the end of your college story. It is the necessary setting descriptions and stagnant characters required to drive the story towards a sequel.
When really comes down to it, however, few people choose to read books for the dynamic characterization of someone like the farmer from Jack and the Beanstalk or for the pages upon pages of setup found in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
HvZ and every other silly organization and activity on campus are what serve to make your story unique, like adding a chose your own adventure option if you will. Just like this quirky style of story writing, your college year will be what you make it.
You can choose the “yellow brick road option,” following the carefully laid plans of academia to what will likely be a bright future.
As for me? I think I’ll take the road less traveled, with the reoccurring motif late night runs to WaHo, with the plot twist that sends me into the Campanile at 3 in the morning, and maybe, just maybe, with a chapter on the organization that has a talent for reminding us that sometimes it’s okay to stop and pelt each other with socks.