An Unexpected Goodbye to Tech

Photo courtesy of Allie Ghisson, Student Publications

Just over four years ago, I sat in my childhood bedroom anxiously awaiting admissions decisions from Georgia Tech. This room saw me tug at my hair as I nervously typed my application to this school, and it saw me scream and cry with excitement when my acceptance finally appeared on Buzzport.

I never imagined that my time at Tech would draw to a close within the same four walls in which I filled out my Georgia Tech application as a senior in high school.

There is something magical about the full-circle nature of it all. The walls that are covered with high school memories and the Georgia Tech pennant my dad bought for me when I received my acceptance letter are now seeing me out of the place that I have called home for four years. My RAT cap hangs on the wall and a gold and white scarf with the words, ”To Hell with Georgia!” sits atop my dresser. Georgia Tech has left its mark on me in more ways than one, and it feels almost special that my time here is ending exactly where it began. 

However, when that magic subsides — which it did about two days into this new routine of working from home — I am left with a sense of uneasiness. How am I, after four long, challenging, incredible years at Georgia Tech, finishing like this? Online classes and Facetime conversations are replacing walks on campus, lasts with my friends, laughter in the Technique office and lunch at the Campanile. The very things that enhanced my life at Tech are gone without a proper goodbye; it feels wrong to walk away without a conclusion to the place that has shaped me into the person I am. 

Four years ago, I sat in this same room and dreamed of this moment — the moment of walking out of my last final victoriously and turning my tassel with all of my classmates as the gold and white balloons fell and our families cheered. Yet, the reality of this moment is much, much different than my dreams. 

However, despite the sadness and the disappointment, I am okay with how it is all turning out. 

Here at Tech, we stand in solidarity and proudly call ourselves “helluva engineers” (even though some of us are not engineers in the traditional sense). What makes an engineer is not the coursework — it is the ability to adapt, to solve problems, to take a challenge and face it head on. If there is anything my time at Georgia Tech has taught me, it’s how to overcome adversity, even when it seems impossible. 

These are unprecedented times, though, and unfortunately call for unprecedented circumstances. Even if those circumstances are our last goodbye to the Institute that has become our home, Tech has enabled us to do this. Despite how big this situation feels, I know that it is not the first time I have faced a challenge that seems like an impossibly tall mountain during my time at Tech, and I am sure I will face even more once I leave this place for good in a few weeks. 

If there is anything I know, it’s that this Institute has prepared me to look those challenges in the face and know that I am capable of overcoming them, even if it seems impossible. 

Though I have always been proud to be a Georgia Tech student, I will forever be thankful to be a helluva engineer.