Exactly where I needed to be

Photo by Casey Gomez

When I started at Tech, I was a bright-eyed, bushy tailed freshman, full of vim and vigor and ready to run sprints every morning up and down freshman hill. Entering my final semester, I struggle to find the energy to wake up before noon and find walking so much of a chore that half of my monthly income is taken up by scooter rides.

It has been a journey, to say the least. I often think back to that younger version of myself — so eager to take on the challenges of living in a new city and managing college life — and what I might say to him if I got the chance to talk to him. A couple things come to mind:

Double check the timing for your Dynamics exam. Saleh will not show you mercy.

Tempting as it may be, don’t eat pizza and french fries for every meal your freshman year. Your waistline will thank you.

Look both ways before crossing the street. It’s not a good impression on a first date to get hit by a car.

But I think that the single most important thing — advice that I didn’t truly need on my first day at Tech, but something I needed to know and something that it took me a while to learn ­— was this: “You are exactly where you’re supposed to be.”

My freshman year, when I struggled with the workload, with my grades, with my social life, I felt anxious and alone, like I did not belong at Tech. It did not matter that I had been accepted into this prestigious university — I still felt like I wasn’t truly a Tech student. But I was exactly where I was supposed to be. I found my stroke and finished my year with good grades and plenty of friends.

My sophomore year, I found myself unhappy and unsatisfied with aerospace engineering, to the point that I ended up changing my major to LMC. 

I have regretted coming to Tech in the first place, thinking I would have been better served at some other school. 

But I was exactly where I was supposed to be. The LMC program was welcoming and friendly, and I embraced it as it embraced me.

My junior year, I felt overloaded with my chosen career path, baseball analytics. Doors were closing left and right despite working harder than I ever had in my life. I began to wonder if I could even get a job in my field of focus. But I was exactly where I was supposed to be. After months of waiting and applying I finally landed my dream internship over the summer.

My final semester, I have come to terms with my path at Tech. It has been rocky, to say the least — but the road to success is paved with failures. For all of the trials and tribulations Tech has had to offer me, and for all of the hoops I have jumped through and those that I have not, I have put myself in a prime position for the career I want, doing what I love for
a living. 

There were so many times where I felt like giving up — giving up on LMC, giving up on baseball, giving up on Tech itself — but through it all, I have found myself exactly where I am supposed to be. Given the chance, I would love to go back and tell myself to have some modicum of faith in my path — that I would end up doing what I always dreamed of, and I would be happy with my career at Tech. But somehow, given that I am where I am right now — I think that deep down inside, I already knew.