Captain Allan Price, a recent speaker at the College of Management’s Impact Speaker Series, spoke about the qualities of leaders during his lecture about “crisis leadership.” The former Delta Airlines pilot noted that above everything else, a leader is a life long learner. Someone who never stops seeking to know more about the world around them, to improve themselves and those who are with them.
What an amazing idea to run with.
Here at Tech, we get so focused on work, busywork to be specific, little things that don’t inspire us, things that in 20 years most of us will forget. What we will remember, the experiences we had, the friends we made and the times we spent outside of class, exploring the world around us, is ignored, relegated to the off-days and side moments of our lives.
Become one of those students with a dream outside of a GPA, a life goal outside of a Dean’s list letter. There are inspirations all over campus. Many students travel abroad, learning new cultures, studying different ways of life, sight seeing, and marveling at the extent of human kinds efforts. Other follow the Jackets to far away cities, watching our football team fight the good fight. And yet even more Techies sprawl out of Atlanta each weekend to find out what’s in Chattanooga, to wake board on Lake Lainer, to compete in rugby, lacrosse and ultimate frisbee, even to jump out of planes with GT sky diving.
These students have realized that Tech, like any job, needs a work-life balance. In order to succeed at this Institute, you need to leave it every now and again and learn things that no 30-person lecture could teach you.
We never stop, and if you have not begun exploring the world outside of your text books: Start. Grab a friend, attend an event, a random lecture, a meeting off campus! Yes, there are groups of people who do thing off campus. If you want a completely random group try Couch Surfing: All they care about is that you are friendly and come to their in-town events. There is Tree’s Atlanta which helps out city stay green,and Critical Mass which forms a parade of bikes 300+ through the streets of Atlanta.
On campus you can join a dance club, ethnic group, get involved in Campus Movie Fest, involve yourself in your majors professional organization. There are random pursuits, and amazing paths to take. Look at the recent rise of “Only at Tech,” which gave us a venue to vent. Why not go as far as creating your own solution to one of those complaints that comes up so often. The Humans vs. Zombie kids did; I know it looked odd, but I think they were having more fun than I was walking down Skiles.
Explore yourself, explore other people, explore the city, learn from it all, because there is nothing you do which will not teach you something. There is never enough time to do everything, so try to get at least some of it.
Here, let’s start now. Write down what do you want to change in the world, what do you want to do in the world. Now take what you’ve written down, and see how Tech can help. There is probably a mentor on campus who can direct you, a friend who has had the experience or an associate who can and will be a valued resource.
I recently made the goal to be proficient in five new disciplines by the end of the year. I take those awkward hours of the day (Tuesdays and Thursday’s at 11 a.m. for instance) to pursue those goals. I’ve begun to run, swim, and try white water kayaking if the weekend permits. Nothing is stopping you; there is no way that there is no free time in your life, even if you are at Tech.
So learn about the world, explore it, and then keep on learning from your experiences. Tech might as well be a huge play ground, because nowhere else are you allowed to jump from one activity to the next, having it be so enjoyable and so valuable at the same time. Do not let it pass you by while you were held up in your dorm room. Go out there and find something new.