I got this video in an email from Troy Coons this morning. As I watched it on my iPhone, stuck in beyond awful Asian rush hour traffic, as the audio boomed through the FM transmission and out of my cheap Chinese made car speakers, I almost drove off the road I was laughing so hard.
Watch and enjoy!
For the remainder of today, I kept thinking about why I loved that video and my days as a student at Georgia Tech so much.
Here are five such reasons I love my alma-mater, the Georgia Institute of Technology:
- Lack of a “cool factor” –I loved going to a school where being cool took a serious back seat to that of academic and life achievement. Having come out of an athletically charged high school (which I loved), Tech was a tremendous and challenging change of pace. Gone were the days when jocks and the physically well-endowed ruled the scene. Tech has a culture where working hard in the classroom and raw intelligence is THE virtue. Even in the Greek system, I was challenged to perform my best academically. It was also nice to not have to sweat what I was going to wear whenever I went outside of my dorm room.
- Little to do other than study – While I was at Tech, only 19% of the students were women. 19%. Now there were some great ones in the midst of the 19%, but only a few. As a result, the social life at Tech was scaled back from your typical university setting, to say the least. Though I didn’t want this as a hyped up, girl-loving 18 year old, this was something I desperately needed. I had coasted through high school without being forced to learn how to study. Tech demanded it. Like so many others, my first semester grades were brutal. I had to learn discipline and strong study skills quickly or I was going to need to pick a different school. With very little to do other than study, I was able to grow massively in this area throughout my days on the campus.
- Strong environment to form deep friendships – Georgia Tech people never talk of graduating, but rather of “getting out.” Seriously, when I meet another Tech guy, we will quickly ask “when did you get out?” It was a brutal, war like mentality. Few of us enjoyed being there at the time, but all of us are grateful to have graduated (um, gotten out). Like anything else where groups of people are forced to perform beyond their natural abilities in order to succeed (football, military life, missionary service, etc.), those that make it to the other side generally have life-long friendships formed. Most of my best friends today are men with whom I “went through” Georgia Tech. In the process of the hyper competitive classrooms, the group commiseration owing to the lack of women, and the desperately poor athletic teams, bonds are formed which genuinely last a lifetime.
- Nerdy arrogance – This video personifies one of the qualities of “Tech Men” which I hold most dear. Those of extraordinary intelligence . . . nerds, if you will, are celebrated as heroes. Maybe we can’t roam sorority rows in Athens and Auburn and turn heads, but we do have an alarmingly high number of impactful patents, space missions (as referenced in this video), and otherwise other impressive graduates in all fields of science, engineering, and business to our credit. The kid in the video will not need to worry about tuxedo prices for all the sorority functions he won’t get invited to these next three years, but I’m pretty sure he will do just fine in life beyond college. This can be echoed for pretty much all the students in the clip towards the end.
- Academic Darwinism – I arrived at Georgia Tech thinking I was smart. I had taken all advanced classes in high school, done pretty well on the SAT, and it had all come easy to me. Well, from the first class my freshman year in the Physics Building until my final one five years later in the IC Center, I was constantly surrounded by people way smarter than I thought possible. On top of this, Georgia Tech infamously grades on a bell curve. Translation; for every A there will be an F. For ever B, there will be a D and the bulk of every class will receive a C. Coming in with a fairly pristine academic record, I was shocked to find myself scrapping for C’s in classes I had always dominated growing up. On top of this, at the time I was in school, only 51% of the students who enrolled as freshmen graduated. Put this all together, and it was totally Academic Darwinism. To survive, others had to fail. Everyone understood this and it was brutal. However, I can honestly say, that I am grateful for this. It truly has prepared me well for life well beyond my college days.
I know this is a different blog post than I am accustomed to writing. This is probably for two reasons; 1) I thought this video was hilarious and needed to be seen. 2) I’m stuck in an Asian hotel room armed with nothing but bad TV and an uncomfortable bed.
Hope you enjoyed the video and have a great week!