Recognizing the benefits of Tech’s high standards

Photo by Sara Schmitt

As a senior, I am allowed to feel a little nostalgic about my time here at Tech.

I will be the first to admit that I have complained, whined and gotten upset at Tech multitudes of times. My irritation has ranged from the construction, like the awful and dangerous intersection at Ferst and Hemphill and the Atlantic Drive renovation, to the curriculum and even the lack of holidays in the Spring semester. Recently, I realized, that while there may be a lot to lament about, I have taken a lot for granted.

A few weeks ago, I was asked how I would feel about Tech’s rankings. Of course, my response was that I would be unbothered unless there was a dramatic drop. Looking back, I would change my answer — specifically the unbothered part. The fact that Tech is ranked so high affords us so many opportunities. I never have to explain my school because Tech is quite well-known. Recruiters flock to our career fair. Even the funding we get from industry and other sponsors is due to our outstanding performance.

As an electrical engineering major, I have a communication requirement. This probably seems to have little bearing on this topic, but interestingly, the benefits of this requirement are not that common among technical programs. I was obligated to take a course, the end result of which was a well-written resume, a technical presentation and a technical paper.

Our communications department in ECE also takes every opportunity to give us resume advice and professional tips. Sitting through a resume workshop for my GT 1000 class a few weeks ago and hearing the spiel for the millionth time was boring to me and other team leaders. What I didn’t realize was that the professional etiquette, the pristine resume, the career fair tips are so ingrained in me that I don’t question it, and I assume it is common knowledge. Spoiler: it is not.

When I was planning my four years as an electrical engineer in freshman year, after hearing the advisors and upperclassmen, I knew I was going to do summer internships. It was a given. I never contemplated that I may not get an offer or that I would never get hired. Some of my friends at other universities have not had the same luxury, and job prospects are much harder to come by when hundreds of companies are not lined up at the door to snatch up students from your school.

I would say the average intelligence at Tech is quite higher than the norm — we are after all one of the best tech schools in the country. This also leads to a higher level of thought that permeates through the student body. The education mixed with the fact that a great number of us are nerdy in our own way fosters an unique bubble of conversation and a twist on our perspective.

That is not to say we Tech students spend all our hours outside of class contemplating the world and engineering solutions — although some do, and I admire you. Everyone, from the Computer Science majors to the Architecture majors, is passionate about something. Be it the work we do or our hobbies, we get to meet people with interests, cultures and ideas that are so varied and may even oppose our own. Nevertheless, it is an atmosphere that I miss when I am at home for weeks during winter break, and it is something I am not sure I will ever encounter in such great a magnitude again.

This place has changed me, mostly for the better. Although I definitely did not enjoy the experiences of spending 12 hours on a diode lab or finishing a paper in an airport, I still would not want to change them. It is definitely an accomplishment to get through four — or five plus — years here, one wrought with blood, sweat, a lot of tears and very little sleep. Tech is hard and definitely gives us enough to complain about, but I will certainly be proud to graduate in May.