The keys to lock down a great Tech experience

Photo by Casey Gomez

Looking back at my last four years at Tech, it has been quite an eventful time full of adventure, learning and awesome people. Was it without its trials and tribulations? Absolutely not, and I wouldn’t change any of it for the world. Tech has afforded me more amazing opportunities than I ever could have dreamed of, and for that I am extremely grateful. If you had asked me my first year here if I could see myself doing half of the things I’ve done in the last four years, I would have looked at you like you were crazy. How on earth could I possibly work two on-campus jobs, be involved in two student organizations, and still have room to fit in classes and studying? As it turns out, carefully.

For those who have been around me in some capacity, you’ve at some point in time heard the jingling of my “murder keys” as I’m walking around. My keys have been attached to my belt since the day I got them, and rarely is there an hour that I could be caught without them. These keys have unlocked a number of doors, both in the literal and figurative sense. Over the last three years (since I got my keys), I’ve been one of a few people responsible for dealing with after-hours outages for outages of internet and television in residence halls. Part of that responsibility is being issued keys which get me into the data closets, maintenance areas and hallways of every residence hall on campus.

One of the more adventurous places that my keys have taken me is the data closet in the attic of Brown Residence Hall. Brown, as many people know, is a very old building that wasn’t really designed with data closets and internet in mind. This means that the only place to put the data closet is in the far corner of the building in the attic. Getting up there is quite an adventure involving a “ladder,” several 3 feet by 3 feet fire stop doors to crawl through and a narrow path of boards down the center surrounded by ceilings of the floor below. Pro-tip: If you’re ever going to the Brown data closet, try not to miss a step and fall through the ceiling. You’ll probably spook the residents — it’s not every day someone drops in through the ceiling, even if it is just to say hello.

My keys also opened a door for me at OIT working with the Network Services team over the last year. Coming into Tech, I knew a decent amount about enterprise networks (wired/wireless), switches, routers and the like. I had done some small office deployments, but nothing even remotely close to what we have here at Tech. The mere thought of anything more than a gigabit uplink was fantasy to me. That fantasy was quickly shattered after my first week at OIT when I learned that our backbone was being upgraded to 40 gigabit links because we needed more bandwidth. In that same week, I got to venture down to the sub-basement of Boggs at 5:00 in the morning to help install some fiber distribution switches. The sub-basement is about what Hollywood would portray as a dungeon. It’s dark and dingy with plenty of ominous creaking noises from the equipment down there. We were down there working on the upgrade for about two hours, and every few minutes an air compressor would go off quite loudly. Every single time, I almost jumped out of my seat, while the other guys were laughing. Looking back now, I don’t fault them in the slightest — it was actually pretty funny.

My keys also helped me meet awesome people. I met one of my best friends working at ResNet, along with lots of amazing individuals I’m happy to call friends. A few of these friends are involved with RoboJackets, a student organization that competes at the collegiate level in robotics competitions across the world and mentors middle/high school students interested in robotics. Through RoboJackets, I was able to volunteer at robotics competitions across Georgia, judging at FTC and running A/V at FRC tournaments to spread the joy of robotics with the next generation of Yellow Jackets.

These four years have been, without a doubt, as fun-filled and memorable as could be. Whether running around fixing the internet, having a great time with my friends or learning from the awesome professors in the College of Business, there was always a new adventure to be had. Hopefully everyone can find their own “keys” and make the most of their experience at Tech. It’s the memories and friendships that are made here that will last a lifetime, so why not make the most of it?