Black while at Tech

Photo courtesy of Journey Sherman

As I prepare to graduate this semester, I reflect on all that I have learned and experienced during my time at Tech.

These past few years have provided me with so many life lessons and opened my eyes to necessary truths.

When first starting at Tech as a transfer student I felt like I had entered into a new reality.

I believed that my decision to attend Tech would change my life and future for the better. I had no idea how a different world I was stepping into.

A few words of advice I would have given myself is that I’m stronger than I give myself credit for, to never count myself out, not be afraid to look foolish and to simply raise my hand in class more.

Instead of focusing on what I could learn from my professors and peers, recognizing that I too have a unique perspective to bring to the table.

Tech has challenged me both academically and mentally in a way that I have never experienced before.

I’ve taken some of the most difficult courses I’ve ever taken here, but also managed to make friends for life in those same classes.

These past few years have demonstrated that you truly get back what you put in.

During my first semester at Tech, I challenged myself to join at least two student organizations in order to become more involved on campus.

Although I soon came to realize that not every club was going to be welcoming or the perfect fit for me, it was my responsibility to learn something from that experience. I realized that comfort can be found outside your comfort zone.

It wasn’t until my second year at Tech that I decided to start contributing to the Technique. After coming from numerous other organizations that lacked diversity and had no intentions of making much-needed changes, this publication was a breath of fresh air.

The then Editor-in-Chief made me feel like I was a part of the publication family as soon as I walked through the door.

It’s the little things like first greetings that stick with you years later.

The Technique has allowed me to be a part of something bigger than myself.

By providing me with the platform to speak on what my experience at Tech as a Black woman has been life-changing.

Moreover, the subsequent positive feedback I have received in regards to my series from numerous students, professors, and Tech administrators has only solidified my sense of belonging here.

Although I feel closer to the Tech community now, it took great strides to get to where I am today.

Another piece of advice that I would give myself is that no one really knows what they’re doing.

I suffered greatly from imposter syndrome upon arriving at Tech.

I was a Black liberal arts transfer student and I felt like every move I made or word I said had to be perfectly calculated or poignant. This is not the case. It is more than okay to be awkward, goofy or stumble over your words from time to time.

I wish I had known sooner that there is an intersection between confidence and awkwardness.

All the while I was feeling like an outsider, I neglected to realize that at some point, almost everyone around me had also struggled with similar insecurities.

While being Black while at Tech was by no means easy or a walk in the park, I am beyond grateful for the experience.

Although this chapter is closing for me, I hope that other students will feel more confident in celebrating what makes them different.

Before beginning this series I believed that no one at Tech was ready for what I had to say, but I now know that isn’t the case.

The Tech community rose to the occasion and was extremely receptive to my experiences as a Black woman at Tech.