College experience shaped by activities, friends

It’s hard to believe my college career is just about done as I sit here writing my final “swan song” for the Technique. Most of the time, graduating editors reflect back on their time at Tech, discussing their academic distress before coming to the conclusion that their Tech career was completely worth it.

“….Solely focusing on academics without pursuing your passions can hinder your experiences here at Tech.”

Now I won’t subject you to that torture (though I’m having a hard time trying to figure out how to write a non-sports related editorial for the first time ever), but there is one aspect of my time here I’d like to look back on.

When I first came to Tech in the fall of 2008, I wasn’t exactly what someone would call social. After leaving most of my old friends and activities from home behind, I was anxious to get involved in any sort of extracurricular activity.

Of course, anyone who met me at Tech knows this isn’t the case anymore, but it was really easy to talk my shy, freshman self out of trying anything new in fear that I wouldn’t fit in or would be judged by my peers for my interests.

Even though it took me a while to get out of my shell, I found myself here at the Technique a few years later writing sports and finally finding my sense of community on campus. Being a part of an organization and feeling like I was making a difference within its culture made a huge impact on my Tech career.

Now, I’m not trying to sit here and tell all of you reading to join the Technique, but what I am implying is that solely focusing on academics without pursuing your passions can hinder your experience here at Tech. I know in my case, being involved in a media outlet (albeit a small one) helped me to develop skills that made me more personable and approachable person while slowly chipping away at the super shy nature I once had.

Going into my first post-game football press conference in 2010 after Tech got stomped by N.C. State is one of the most vivid memories I have while working here.

I can’t remember a time in my life that I was more intimidated, sitting around dozens of local media reporters and being five feet away from Coach Paul Johnson (who seemed to have steam pouring out of his ears in frustration). But being around a group of experienced and supportive writers, I slowly but surely learned to be more bold in those situations. Interviewing anyone around campus became one of the easier parts of my job over time. I eventually had enough experience reporting to become the Sports Editor and teach prospective writers those very skills I had learned.

Learning new and useful skills isn’t the only important value that comes from joining a student organization, though. It can be argued that taking your mind off of the academic black hole of stress that is Tech and finding time to enjoy yourself is just as valuable as the time you spend studying or in the classroom.

I don’t think I can remember a specific day of any given class, but I can definitely remember the times I spent hanging out with some coworkers laughing over and over again at the same Key and Peele video, the nights of Outkast’s Hey Ya on repeat forever and the long nights spent neglecting my homework.

In the end, the most valuable and important thing that came out of my time being involved with the Technique would have to be the relationships I formed with my coworkers here.

Forming unforgettable friendships with some of my fellow editors who have been here the whole time I have like Kamna, as well as all the new faces that have come over the years has provided me with a support system that is priceless.

As sappy as it sounds, knowing that I had a home within the Office of Student Publications where I knew I had friends that had my back made all the difference in my well-being as a student here.

I don’t know why I came into Tech thinking that people would be overly critical of me if I displayed what I was passionate about more publicly, but in the end I realized that’s what your peers wind up respecting you for the most.

Reflecting on my own experience, I realize that my favorite part about being at Tech was writing here. Finding that group of peers that shared similar interests and creating a family among them is one of the most valuable things that I could have possibly taken from my time here at Tech.

Ultimately, go out and pursue the interests that will matter to you the most, that’s what the college experience is all about.