Enthusiasm, attitude, openness to change improve college experience

As the third week of the Semester winds to a close, the organizational recruitment begins to slow, football is in full swing and the fall weather has clearly arrived. Seniors, those on a victory lap and myself are busily preparing for the Career Fair on Monday. Overall, another busy, exciting fall semester at Tech.

With fresh thoughts of fall in mind I would like to share the four most important themes I have learned and experienced during my time at Tech.

First, attitude is everything! Your attitude will go a long way in influencing your opportunities in life from your scholastics, your career, your friends, and even your health! Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The only way to have a friend is to be one.” Stay positive and watch your positivity affect those around you. Help those in need and brighten up their day. Thank your professor after a lecture and ensure your friends know that you care. While it is easy to fall into a rut of negativity and self-loathing, try being positive for a week. Yes, Tech is difficult, but always remember that you decide the direction that your life is going to take.

Second, community is critical. Tech is truly a unique microcosm of America, a community filled with motivated students and faculty engaged in cutting edge research, teaching and other various pursuits. Get plugged in! This is one of the few opportunities in life where you will be surrounded by intellectual peers and supported by a faculty and staff that have one objective: improving your chances at success. A great way to get involved is the Residence Hall Association through Hall Councils in every building on campus.

Continue to build a community with those around you and seek out new people to learn from. Dale Carnegie puts it this way: “Become genuinely interested in other people.” Life is relationship-driven, and these communal relationships will help challenge your thoughts, guide you through crises and truly make Tech a place to call home. Never stop engaging those around YOU!

Third, try new things. It is cliché to say that college is a time to try new things, but, really, it is. Attend lectures, programs, and events; engage with someone who you have nothing in common with and build your community ties. The possibilities are almost endless.

One of my most memorable life experiences was travelling abroad. While I had never been out of the country, I still decided to travel 10,000 kilometers to New Zealand. I learned more in New Zealand about life and who I am in six months than I would have learned in two years at Tech. New experiences help broaden your horizon and provide you with the perspectives and maturity that are critical to becoming a successful, contributing member of society. As Wayne Gretzky said, “You’ll always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Be proactive in encountering, learning, doing and experiencing new things every day!

Finally, and most importantly in the entirety of the college experience—especially at Tech—is to find something that you love. Some may enjoy the benefits of the strong undergraduate research program, while others may choose to be student leaders. While for me that love has been student leadership and volleyball with friends, some will simply enjoy time spent with others (especially in the library), while many will get involved with athletics in various form.

The bottom line is that only you know what you love, and it is your job to get out there and discover what that “what” is. Your passion will help make your experience that much better and will give you something outside of academics to sink your teeth into. It also comes in handy for full time job interviews.

Overall, as Rihanna said, “Life’s too short to be miserable.” Even if Tech gets you down, keep up a positive attitude, try new things, build your community and most importantly find something you love! Trust me — it will make your life better!

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