As the 2013–2014 academic year swiftly comes to a close, my time at RPI goes with it. My time as an undergraduate here has been far quick, but I like to think that I’ve learned a lot and grown tremendously as a person. While 400 words certainly is not enough to convey everything that I’ve picked up over the past five years, it will be good enough to talk about some of the things I’ve picked up, as well as my sentiment towards RPI.
When I applied to RPI, I honestly don’t remember what was going through my mind. I had gone through the tours and accepted student days like most, but my choice to apply early decision reflected a gut feeling that I would enjoy RPI out of all the schools I visited. Now that I’ve finished my time here, not only am I glad that I came here, I can put in words what I felt when I visited during accepted students day.
What I like most about RPI is the sheer variety of people that I’ve met. While it’s true that many campuses across the country, I think it’s especially true here. Here at RPI, I’ve become friends with the “traditional” nerds, geeks, and gamers that people expect at a tech school. But beyond that, some of my closest friends have ranged from a programmer who plays hockey, to a track athlete who just went with me to PAX East. I know a capella singers to fraternity brothers who play D&D. I not only know engineers and programmers, but also artists and musicians. And where else can I meet someone who graduates a biomedical engineer but ends up in journalism for a career?
I also can’t deny the impact that The Poly had on my life and experience. Even though I haven’t been as involved for the past couple years, I was the photography editor for a couple years and almost the sole photographer for at least one. The Poly is what enabled me to meet all those people: many people know me from covering almost every event and many sports games on campus. In a sense, The Poly helped me achieve my goal with photography: go everywhere and meet as many people as possible. I owe The Poly more than can be conveyed in a notebook, so thanks guys.
Since college is about learning, this notebook wouldn’t be complete without mentioning some of the big lessons I’ve learned while being here. The biggest lesson that I’ve learned is that asking for help and asking questions isn’t a sign of weakness. The right question can unlock the key to an assignment, and asking for help from a TA or your professor is great for not only learning, but also getting to know your professor. Knowing when to stop and take a B is also okay is something else I’ve picked up. A few extra points isn’t always worth losing sleep over and stressing over, sometimes what you have is good enough. I also learned, somewhat by accident, that forming a close group of friends is something every student should do. Not only is it great for just studying and suffering together, having that group works wonders for letting off steam.
While I can’t mention everything I’ve seen or done, I can say that I’ve enjoyed all of it. My time at RPI has been a journey filled with photography, people, and learning. I can safely say that I’m going to miss this school and the life I’ve led for the past five years dearly. I’m going to miss showing up to the Union late at night and just sitting down with a group of people to hack. I’m certainly going to miss the college lifestyle, and the random nights where you stay up to 3 am just talking with your roommates. But five years is almost too long, and it’s time to move on. See you, nerds.