So, this is it. Goodbye.
I was half tempted to leave this space empty besides
those closing words. During the last year and half of my
participation in the ?Nique, I have contemplated all the
things I wanted to say in my closing remarks, in this
last, ?Swan Song? editorial before graduation. I have
been ?privileged? to at least be peripherally aware of
campus politics, events and personalities during my
stay at Tech. Needless to say that I have my complaints
and advice to give them.
Suddenly, though, I don?t care. It all seems very petty to
me right now. All those things that frustrated me, those
secret societies, the elitist groups, the lack of
recognition for the people I felt really deserved it, I just
don?t care about it any more. I mean, I care, I?d like to
see Tech become a better place. In the final hours
before my departure, I guess kind of like a stay of
execution, I?ve realized that all those above mentioned
things don?t make Tech what it is.
So, now at a loss for topics for this editorial, I
contemplated several new titles that would provide
some good advice for future ugly ducklings leaving the
nest to help them experience the great college
?Aerospace engineering rocks.?
This was the single most important part of my college
experience. This is why I am here. This is what I want to
do. This is what I want to be. This is what I love. If you
don?t feel this way about your major, do some
soul-searching now, before it is too late.
?Even if you swore off English in High School,
sometimes its nice to sit around in a circle and talk
about how a book makes you feel.?
I was this person. I came in with my AP credit, I was
never going to take another English class again. I
decided on the spur of the moment to take one more, it
changed my life. Its such an incredible break from
intensive problem solving engineering courses, and it
reminds you that reading is actually fun.
?Join real clubs. Ones that you are passionate about.
Learn to fly, learn to sail, learn to SCUBA dive.?
So many people get caught up in the clubs they
?should? join, like the ones their friends are in, the ones
that are ?powerful,? the ones that give them solid
resume lines. Expand your horizons; there is an
incredible wealth of resources here to teach you to do
new things. You?ll meet new friends along the way. You
just need the courage to try new things. The people in
these clubs have true passion and spirit about what
they do, and you won?t find that in a club you join for
resume padding or political gain.
?Leadership isn?t built through seminars and
workshops, its built through experience and the trust of
We have many conferences here and elsewhere. I
helped plan one. I have been a leader and a follower in
my life, I enjoy being in charge more, but not everyone
does. The one thing I have learned is that you can?t
teach leadership, you can?t teach networking. You just
need to go out and do it. If you want to be a leader, take
charge. You?ll make mistakes along the way, but
eventually you?ll get it right. The best leaders are the
ones that are just another member of the team, the
ones who are selected by consensus, rather than
competition. Be that kind of leader, be the kind of leader
who?s peers just assume you will be in charge. You?ll
never get that kind of respect by attending seminars on
it, you get that kind of respect by proving your abilities
and by hard work.
?Speak your mind, even if everyone thinks it makes you
an arrogant bitch.?
I figure lots of people say this about me. I don?t care,
you shouldn?t either. Sometimes it?s more important to
stick to your ideals and speak your mind, rather than
cower in the corner. In the end, people will respect you
more for being true to yourself. But more than that, its
not what other people think, its what you think of
yourself. If you don?t say what?s on your mind, you will
think less of yourself and your thoughts. Don?t lose your
?Being at school with this ratio turns the most
conservative woman into a feminist.?
Tech is living proof that feminism is not an outdated
concept. The ratio at Tech proves that women still have
a long way to go before they are an equal force in
science and technology. Encourage your daughters,
encourage your peers, encourage the other women in
your life to overcome the odds put in place by the ratio
to succeed in these fields.
?Why, yes, I?m a President?s scholar, and proud of it.
Secrecy is just another way of shirking your
accountability for your actions.?
When I entered as a freshmen PS, I was encouraged
to keep my status a secret. I was told my status would
stir up resentment from my classmates. Other PS?s
even joked about having a secret handshake so we
could identify each other. What nonsense! Be proud of
your accomplishments, don?t hide them.
So, maybe I will mention ANAK here, even if it is
blasphemous to talk about them in a public forum.
Look, I said it, ANAK ANAK ANAK. This secret honor
[sic] society claims an enormous influence on campus
politics. Since I?m not a member, I can?t pretend to
know all there is to it, but the members claim (rather
publicly on their web site), that they stay secret so that
they can work without seeking praise for their
accomplishments. And they have some very good
reasons for their original secret status. The problem is,
now, they claim to represent the best interests of the
students. If we, the students, don?t know what ANAK
members are up to IN OUR NAME, then they can?t be
held accountable for their mistakes, their bad ideas,
and their bad decisions. Through public attention you
get both praise and blame, and its ego on ANAK?s part
to think their efforts would only get praise.
?There?s more to Atlanta than Buckhead.?
So many of us are confined to MARTA our freshman
year, which takes a nice beeline route to Buckhead, we
forget that when we finally get cars we can do other
things too. There are some great little restaurants in the
Highlands and scattered around midtown. There are
great, inexpensive shows, like at Whole World Theatre
and Shakespeare?s Tavern. Go, before it?s too late and
you move to less cultured places, like Houston.
?Road trips rock. Don?t be afraid to go alone.?
During breaks, go somewhere you?ve never been. I
drove to an air show in Wisconsin, across the northern
part of Great Lakes, to Washington, D.C. and more
during my stay here. Don?t be afraid to go alone and
see the world. You?ll never have this kind of vacation
?Take French for eight years and then move to a
Enough said. I?m moving to Switzerland for six-months,
a German-speaking canton. C?est la vie.
?Tech is awesome. If it needs to change, it will be a
grass roots campaign.?
Well, maybe it is just the encroaching senioritis, but I
don?t think anything about Tech?s culture needs to
change. And even if it did, change doesn?t happen from
the top down. ODK can?t start a new program to
suddenly turn followers into leaders. Technique can?t
incite protests. ANAK can?t convince the administration
that the bookstore space should be used for a specific
purpose. That doesn?t stop them from trying, mind you,
they try really hard. This effort consumes the times and
hearts of some of the most amazing people I have ever
met. In the end, the lesson I have learned is that it is all
If you want true change, it comes from within. It comes
from the struggling student who may be a member (just
a member) of one or two clubs, who goes to his
classes, who co-ops, who has some good friends, and
who doesn?t even bother to dabble in Tech politics.
So, that?s my advice. I dispense it for free, anytime
anywhere. Just e-mail me, or come visit me in
Switzerland, or afterwards in Houston, with NASA
Johnson Space Center. Please, I only have one
request, don?t call me to say ?Houston, we have a