I knew the day I got accepted to Tech, which technically was a day early (thanks Rick), a hell of a ride in the next four that turned into five was coming. Tech did a lot of what it promised to do, and sometimes it fell short, but that is part of doing anything in this version of life. Many forever friends were made.
I had some close calls at times. Two months ago, I even had an outright breakup from what had been the main focal point of my social life on campus for more than four years. Thankfully, it brought me into a much healthier and psychologically safe space afterward. It is crazy how life can change in a five minute span.
I am from a family that had extraordinary college experiences in New Jersey and Alabama. Knowing their stories and how they found so much community and lifelong friends was a huge motivator for me to keep investing in Tech and be with the people as much as I could. It took me time in 2017 to get acclimated even though I only moved 30 minutes from my parents house, but once I was settled around December 2017, I was off to the races.
I do not think I could recall every memory I have of Tech in one sitting. Tech is a place I have never felt the need to leave. I never studied abroad. There was always someone here who needed a friend or needed to feel involved in the slow times. I wanted to be there for them. The density of incredible people Tech has in such a small radius truly is unique. It’s no wonder I have friends that have been working here for more than 15 years. Why leave when there are life-changing people around you every day? No, this is not a recommendation to never graduate…
A beautiful thing about the people on campus, which is likely you the person reading, is that improving one’s own life or some part of someone’s life is always a focal point. We get stuff done at Tech. We try to get so much stuff done that we are fighting for our own attention span. I was lucky to not have many things fall off the wayside while I was here.
Day after day, I would talk to people on campus who truly had more than they should’ve had to carry. More often than not, it was because of the class load weighing against family or life obligations.
I was one of the few that rarely had this problem, but I think a huge part of Tech’s day-to-day rhythm is untenable in the long run, sustaining a burnout culture that is quickly being discouraged in the job world.
The moment Tech takes the student body’s mental health and workload into serious consideration and makes real changes, the rest of the college world will follow suit and be better for it.
My call for you is one I’ve tried my best to emulate: just show up. You wanna be in the room where it happens? Show up. Be available. That may mean redefining what “available” means for you. I gained consistent people in my life because I showed up. But also, when it was time to leave, I did. There is a practical boundary for everything. You will know when it is coming.
To conclude, these are my random nuggets of what has come to mind while writing this: 1) The Campanile is quite inviting after 11 p.m. 2) The roof on the roof of Crosland is an excellent place for lunar eclipses. 3) Our women’s sports are far greater than our men’s in both experience and national ranking. They deserve more love than we give them. 4) Discover Atlanta if you haven’t because Atlanta wants you. 5) Sleep. Feed yourself. Go wild with the youthful energy you have only now. 6) I am always available for my Tech friends. I hope I become one of yours one day.