Chapter Two: Wonders of College Life

Sage Cooley, Co-Opinions Editor

Q: What kinds of opportunities have you taken advantage of in college?

A: I would say organizations and career fairs. My second year, I joined Students Organizing for Sustainability, which I loved. Within that organization, I became a project leader and got funding from Georgia Tech to do a sustainable K-Cup project. K-Cups generate so much plastic waste. We bought about a hundred reusable ones and we got a little coffee shop called Blue Donkey to donate two big bags of coffee for us to brew. We had this table out on one strip of campus and I had my sorority help me brew this huge container of coffee. It was really successful; we gave away all of our samples. That was really amazing. It also gave me experience in managing a project.

Now I’m in Engineers Without Borders. I’m going to Uganda at the end of this summer for two weeks. I’m really excited. We’re implementing a water system to get water for close to 3,000 people. I got to work on the technical team, which is more of the engineering side. I was helping build the system on a program and making sure that it would work in real life. I’ve been doing that for almost four years. I’m really excited to finally get to go this summer and meet the community.

Career fairs. Big opportunities that I’ve gotten from there are my internships. My first one was the second semester of my sophomore year. I was not expecting to get an internship because I had only taken one engineering class and it was the intro engineering class. I hadn’t even finished it when I went to the career fair. I got my job for that spring in a big processing plant.

Q: Looking back, is there anything you wish you knew going into college?

A: My biggest advice I would give to myself would be not to stress so much about school. If it’s not working out, then that’s just not what you’re good at. You have to find what you like that you’re also good at. That’s not gonna come from your freshman year of classes, I can almost guarantee that for every major at every school. You’re not going to be like:

“Oh my gosh, I love General Chemistry!”

I remember when I first got into my engineering classes I was kind of overdramatic, but it wasn’t my fault. You get in there and nothing is what you were expecting, and it threw me at least. I wish I had not been so stressed out all the time. It always works out. It’s never as big of a deal as it seems. That doesn’t mean goof around, don’t ever work and expect things to work out, but it’s never as stressful as you’re making it. If you’re doing everything you can then it’s good enough.

One really good piece of advice: as soon as you get there, find a junior or senior in your major and sit down and talk to them about what your major is. What kind of job is it preparing you for? What are the classes like? Also, don’t be afraid to change your major. I don’t know why, but I feel like it has such a bad stigma. If you know your first week of college that you’re going to hate your major, why would you stay with it?

There are going to be ups and downs, but that’s where you learn everything. College is a sea of endless possibilities. I think the free time and the ability to do whatever it is that makes you tick is one of the best parts of college. For sure.