Oddities of Tech bring about tolerance

While the new school year marks a new beginning for some of us, for the majority it means the second, third, fourth, fifth or even sixth year beginning. This fall is the beginning of my fifth year as an undergraduate, and I have to admit, as tired as I get just thinking about all of the sleep that I will be missing next semester, I get equally excited to come back to all of the things that I miss about campus while I am away during the summer break.

While I did have a great time during my internship this summer, I found myself missing some of the unique and quirky culture that can be found at Tech. It is very rare to find a group of people that do so many interesting and sometimes dorky things. No one at work, besides fellow Techies, caught my jokes about LAN parties and Humans vs. Zombies games. Being away from the campus really made me appreciate what an open campus we have and how receptive students are to things that some campuses might make fun of because it is not “cool.”

I mean, let’s face it, we can do some strangely unique activities on Tech campus that would be ridiculed at other schools, and we’re quite proud of it, as we should be. Tech has consistently defined its own unique culture since they opened their doors. What other group of students would actually complete double the school work just to ensure that a fictitious student became an engineer?

To me, the line between “geeky” and “normal” is blurred on the Tech campus. We all have so many things that we could be considered “dorks” about. This creates a culture within the campus that is very tolerable of things that many campuses would not find “normal.” There are very few campus cultures that consider a fixation with robots the norm, and very few campuses that would consider the release of a new World of Warcraft expansion or patch a valid excuse for missing class. Here we have a little space in the world where we can do some frankly geeky things and not feel weird about our activities.

Students undervalue the unique opportunities that Tech culture offers. It took me almost four years to stop referring to the different activities and hobbies that I saw around campus as “weird” and embrace the fact that I am surrounded by a group of people that pick their hobbies because they truly enjoy them and not always because it is considered popular to do so. There are too many of us who are still hung up on the fact that the new things they see people doing on campus are weird. Just because an individual Tech student’s hobbies are not understandable, does not mean that they are not as equally enjoyable as others.

Over the years I have missed out on several opportunities to participate in really interesting things on campus simply because I was too busy making fun of the other activities people were doing that were not familiar to me.

If I had been more open to other new activities throughout my last fours years at Tech who knows what kind of other friends I could have made or what other things I could have learned.

One of the most important things that we can do as students is learn more about the other people that are surrounding us, that includes not being judgmental about what other people are doing to fill their free time.

If you do not feel that the anime club is the best fit for you that does not mean that you should not listen to what people have to say about the subject nor does that mean you should make fun of it. In many instances, the best way to become involved on campus is to embrace the sometimes wacky culture that exists here and utilize it to create a better experience while pursuing your college career at Tech.

All Tech students owe it to themselves and their Techies to work to help support the unique culture on campus that allows students to freely express themselves through their interests around campus. Every Tech student should give a club, organization or new hobby that they see being pitched around campus in the upcoming week a chance. Even though it may be something that you would never be caught dead doing in high school, the new school year is a great time to give a hobby a chance that you may consider strange.

And who knows, you may genuinely enjoy something that is only available within the unique culture of hobbies that Tech offers.