What is it like to be a freshman at Georgia Tech?

Attention class of 2020

Coming into college, there are two words that seem to hold more of a negative stigma than any others: freshman year.

Parents become nostalgic and upperclassmen cringe at the spoken sound of these syllables, as freshman year holds triumphs, accidents, and a whole lot of adjustments. However, at a school like Georgia Tech, the freshman experience presents even more challenges to tackle.

You will quickly learn that attending one the most prestigious institutes in the country is not easy, but you will learn it is beyond worth it. Throwing together the top-ranked over achievers from all over the country –¬†and world – into a rigorous and enriching environment produces quite a few obstacles in addition to the typical freshman worries.

Beyond the chemistry, physics, and English that you will spend countless hours cramming your brain with, you will learn far more than academics at this school.

Here are some things to expect, and frankly, things I wish I had known before arriving as a freshman.

Occasionally, you will feel average

Every single day you will hear of an amazing feat your roommate, hall-mate, or classmate is accomplishing. Someone you know will be winning an award, snatching up a research position, or landing a glorious internship. As the over-achiever you are, you will not be able to help but feel a tad discouraged and incompetent.

However, in these moments, remember one thing: you earned a place at this school just as much as the next person, and you have just as much potential for success as every other student. Do not measure yourself against those around you.

This school will make you

I like to compare Tech to a golden platter. All of the incredible resources to fill your hunger for success are sitting right in front of you, all you have to do is reach out and take them. Whether it be world-renowned professors/researchers, essential 24/7 tutoring opportunities, or recruitment from top-notch companies, this school has it all. Take advantage of these, and your freshman year will be more successful than ever could have imagined.

This school will break you

You will have some of the best and worst days of your life. There will be times when you want to give up and times when you wonder why you continue to what you do. Do not let this school beat you down. You will face failure and defeat, but you must remember these are all important lessons of life. You are being shaped into someone who can take on the real world with grace and dignity.

When you’re done, you’ll be proud and disappointed

When you end the dreaded freshman year, there will be many things you will be proud of regardless of the many things you might have done differently if given the chance. Nine days out of ten, you will be counting your free time to the second, fighting the identity crisis of defeat, or wishing you had handled a situation differently.

However, the tenth day is what makes it all worth it. This is day where you a take a step back, filled with appreciation of the opportunities around you and excited at the possibilities of your wondrous future. This is the day you realize how far you have come, making the long nights and stressful days worth it with the realization that you are slowly building the foundation for the exact life you had planned for.

Always keep your eye on the prize, and never forget your worth. Take graciously from the golden platter of opportunities presented to you, and you will do amazing things here.

Good luck, my young Yellow Jacket. You got this.

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