Finding meaning in the end

Photo courtesy of Alex Dubé Student Publications

When many Tech students reach their graduation, they feel extremely excited and a little relieved to finally “get out” of the Institute. But I am not one of those students. 

As the annual graduation celebrations start up, I can not help but feel a little bit sad. 

If I had my way, I would continue being a student at Tech for several more years — living with my friends, walking around campus, participating in my favorite traditions year after year, playing in the marching band every football season, always writing articles for the Technique. Sometimes, especially during the past few weeks, I have wondered why I can not just always continue my life as a student. Yes, Tech has its many difficulties, and I have definitely had more than a few challenging days on campus. However, I would love to be able to always see the Reck driving around Tech Green or always hear the Whistle blowing around the clock. 

I recently watched the “Good Place,” a sitcom that follows the lives of four individuals, Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani and Jason, navigating the afterlife with two non-humans, Michael and Janet.  

The comedy comments on a variety of philosophies, lessons and life mysteries (something I really love about the show, but that is a topic for a different article). One line has really stuck with me over the past few weeks.

In season four, Michael states, “Every human is a little bit sad all the time because you know you’re going to die. But that knowledge is what gives life meaning.”

It is sad to think about the end — especially the end of favorite things like walks to Tech Tower or games of frisbee in Burger Bowl with friends. But ultimately, significance is derived from denouements. If my time at Tech were to last forever, the meaning of taking pictures with Buzz or going to Midnight Breakfast would probably be lost.

The last regular season Tech football game is almost always against u[sic]ga. This past year, many members of the band were a little pessimistic about the outcome of the game. However, because I knew it would be my last game in uniform at Bobby Dodd stadium, I decided to make the most of it and have a good time no matter the outcome of the game. I have to say, looking back, this past game against u[sic]ga was probably one of my favorite games at Tech (despite the score). Marching into the stadium, I was able to see my family excitedly cheering me on one final time. During halftime, I felt proud to see my name and picture on the jumbotron as part of the senior spotlight. Throughout the third quarter, I enjoyed sprinting around the stadium with the roaming band, laughing off the banter from fans as part of a beloved tradition. 

If it had just been a regular game in the lifespan of many, I probably would have been bogged down in the loss against u[sic]ga. But, because it was my last, I made sure to appreciate everything that makes a Tech football game fun and ultimately, had a great time.I will be honest — it has been hard to grapple with the fact that my time at Tech is coming to an end. It is sometimes difficult to imagine myself no longer living on campus or studying in the library.  However, thinking about the meaning and milestones that endings create has given me some consolation. Without graduation, my experiences at Tech would be reduced to the mundane and nothing sentimental.

In the spirit of Eleanor, I have to say that college is only special because it has an end.