Editorial Notebook

Comfort, confidence gained through growth

By Tyler Carney May 2, 2018

Everybody has a story to tell, but does every story need to be told? I faced that question when I sat down to write this notebook. I have a story about my time at RPI and on The Polytechnic, and I was unsure whether anybody needed or even wanted to hear it. I decided that I would write an abridged version—hopefully it suffices.

I do not remember much of my first semester at RPI, only brief moments of normal life. However, I do remember the general feeling of unhappiness I had. I was uncomfortable with who I was, in a completely new environment, I was having difficulty in courses, and I was upset my family was not there. At this time, I really hated The Poly. I would have quit, but I wanted to finish my term as associate Features editor. Thankfully, I stuck with it long enough for Chris Leong to convince me to stay for the following semester.

It was that next semester that I changed dramatically for the better. I walked into Commons and I saw an attractive girl sitting by herself eating. I thought to myself, why not ask to sit down with her? The answer I gave was that I was not good enough. I did not have any confidence in myself, and in reality this had propagated to all of my interactions with everything I did. After that, I made it my goal to have the confidence one day to have sat down with her.

The first thing I did was completely overhaul how I looked. I got a new haircut—I hadn’t cut my hair once during my first semester—and a completely new set of clothes. The clothes were the single biggest confidence boost I had. I still remember the day the first clothing package arrived, and it was night to and day my confidence level. I remember I got a compliment a couple weeks later on one of the shirts I had bought; I was giddy the rest of the day after I heard that.

I never did get a chance to sit next to the girl, but I know now that I could. It still would not be easy, but I could.

Sophomore and junior year I did not really have any major changes, just gradual growth. Throughout this time, I slowly realized I was more capable than I had originally given myself credit for. I took on larger and more important roles in The Polytechnic, and I joined RPI’s Design/Build/Fly team. I transitioned from being somebody who was mentored to being the mentor myself. Being able to pass on my knowledge and help new members, especially in the layout department, was a great feeling.

I joined a good group of guys from my major who studied together for almost every test. That group and the interactions I had with them helped me immensely with being more knowledgeable in not only the subject we were studying, but also just general socialization. I had no real friends in high school, so to have something like that for the first time was great.

My senior year has had its good and bad moments. I’m confident in myself and my abilities, I have gotten good at school so I have not been worrying about it like I had my freshman and sophomore years, and I was just comfortable to do as I wanted. The main rough bit has been the job search, but with the help of others, I landed an interview with my dream company last week, so things are definitely looking up.

To the current members of The Polytechnic, I wish you all the best of luck with the upcoming transition; I believe you will do great. If you ever need anything from me, I will be here to help.

My time at RPI, while not the most enjoyable at points, has been a great period of growth and change for me. I think I will look back at my time here fondly, but I am ready to see what the future holds.