Out-of-class experiences key for Tech

I’ve never had the chance to write an editorial before. I’ve always wanted to for some unbeknownst reason; perhaps it’s the ability to write freely without an editor telling me what to write about or how to write it.

Now that I’m finally a part of a newspaper publication and I finally have the chance, I’ve no idea what to do with it. I want to make this editorial something I hope students can read and take away something profound. Maybe ‘profound’ is a bit too strong – how about just insightful? Hopefully this doesn’t end up horribly clichéd because the hipster part of me will be disappointed.

“No plan survives the battlefield and Tech, as much as I love this school, is most certainly a battlefield.”

I can remember coming to Tech and having a plan to bust on through it, just hammer it out. I wanted to get my degree, get a job, make bank, drive nice cars and live like a Tech grad is meant to: like a boss. I came in as a varsity scholar-athlete and had the student-athlete attitude that went a little like this: go to class (most of the time), go to practice, train, eat, sleep less than I probably should, compete and repeat. Throw in the occasional weekend party or family get together just to mix things up. Thank God I didn’t stick with that dreadfully monotonous mindset.

No plan survives the battlefield and Tech, as much as I love this school, is most certainly a battlefield. My first year was spent on lots of swimming, lots of classes and lots of staying on campus. Looking back it was kind of depressing. Our campus is smack-dab in the middle of Atlanta and I never got out to go see it. I’m a native to Georgia and a student in the city, but I never got out to see anything.

On top of that, I didn’t even get involved in anything on campus; as you all know this school has all sorts of things to do. Incoming freshman this will be made very clear to you at FASET. I had such a strong initial drive to just crank out work like a machine that I neglected to see almost everything around me that could enhance the college experience.

I feel like this happens to a great deal of students here. We’re smart people, driven, ambitious, a bit prideful and, when we’re not procrastinating, we’re very direct. Tech students are known for getting stuff done and getting it done right. If we spend all our time cranking out work like there’s no tomorrow, hanging out on campus getting bored and going to the same parties over and over, then what’s the point? The world demands people who are dynamic, and that game plan just doesn’t seem to cut it.

And so, in my second year, I finally got my butt in gear and switched it up. I picked up DJ-ing and photography as a hobby,  became an operator at 91.1 WREK,  started writing for the Technique as a contributor and am now set to be the business manager next semester.

This experience showed me that joining on-campus organizations is imperative. Do it. Network and get to know people, don’t be afraid to get to know people in a variety of groups; this school takes pride in its diversity for a reason. For those of you going through FASET, join everything that seems interesting. Everything (especially the Technique). You don’t necessarily have to commit to it all but at least get your feet wet. If anything, you’ll develop more than one circle of friends and contacts, which will be something you’ll be thankful for, when inevitable college drama hits one circle. There’s more fun to be had in college than just the weekend – or weekday for some – party, and if you still end up feeling a creeping boredom then get out and go places.

At the same time, I got my car on campus and drove around Atlanta. Photography gave me a platform and reason to go out into the city to see what it has to offer, and this city has an incredibly underestimated culture; there’s so much great architecture, so many characters around town and stories to be heard. There’s a stigma when it comes to the homeless, in any city, but I’ve had the fortune to talk to some and learn some Atlanta and life facts from a radically different perspective from what we’re used to. I say get out there and get to know you’re city. You’re going to be here for at least a couple of years, you might as well get familiar with it.

For me, doing all this may have made me super busy but the stresses that have come up are good stresses. I love the fact I that I have things to fallback on if one area doesn’t go the right way and I definitely love the experience I’m creating for myself. I feel significantly more productive and like an actual part of this school; it feels good to be a part of something as big as a university.

Now I’m only a rising junior, and in light of that fact some of you readers may be thinking this is something a senior should be writing. Maybe some of the editors think this should be more of a “swan song” final piece. However, I’m too impatient to wait another two or three years of schooling. I simply felt the need to impart this to readers because this past year has ended up being pretty significant and I think it’d be pretty cool if this leads to even one freshman having a better first year than me, or older students to have better years to come.

Whatever you do, just make your time at Georgia Tech an experience to remember while smiling, not cringing.