Let me start this off by saying that I’m not writing this to be sappy and feel-good. I’m writing this because I actually mean it. The people at RPI are my favorite thing about the school.
That’s saying something, seeing as the Institute is renowned for the quality of its education, not for the amicability of its staff and students. And yet, despite all of the things RPI is normally praised for, I find myself most impressed by the quality of those I meet here.
When meeting people for the first time, I tend to be awkward and quiet, trying to pretend that I’m not nervous because I don’t know them. I find it very hard to think of anything to say. If a conversation starts, I can relax a bit, mostly listening (I’m very good at listening) and interjecting at a few points when I think of a response. Generally, it’s not a fun experience, so I tend to avoid meeting people.
At RPI, I feel like I’ve had less of that problem, or that it at least disappears sooner. This could be attributed to many reasons, such as personal growth or maturation, but I think most of all it’s because the people I’ve met here have been, for the most part, easy to get along with. Having similar interests and hobbies with the vast majority of the student body helps too, of course. Throughout grade school, I had very few friends because almost nobody liked the same things as me; things like science fiction or fantasy movies and TV shows, role-playing games (tabletop and otherwise), Magic: The Gathering, and actually reading books. With the average Rensselaer student, however, this is not an issue.
The professors and other staff members whom I’ve had the chance to meet are also great people. I’ve enjoyed the majority of my classes at RPI so far, and their teaching has been a big part of that. They have been helpful when I’ve had questions, and—especially important—have responded quickly to e-mails. Non-teaching staff members, such as deans, have also been helpful and enjoyable to talk with.
Even the alumni I’ve had the chance to talk to have been friendly. I work with the RenXchange program, basically as a glorified telemarketer for RPI, and of the people I call who actually pick up, many are pleasant and engaging, despite the fact that I’m bugging them for money. A few have even offered advice to me!
So, to anyone reading this, whether I know you or not, thank you for making my experience at RPI so enjoyable so far. As corny as it may sound, you are what makes RPI great. Never forget that.