A good way to describe myself would be to say I have a wide array of interests. I like history, movies, physics, music, and entrepreneurship. I value the importance of storytelling in history and movies. I love the way concepts in science can change your perception of the world. And I like to create projects like revenue models for non-profits or rock music.
This is why I chose liberal arts at Tech. I have the freedom to explore my interests while opening my mind to the different passions of the diverse student population. I enjoy brainstorming ideas to problems and actually creating prototypes or solutions for them.
What I love most about the School of History and Sociology is the broadness of their programs. When I first tell people my major, they usually ask what area I am specializing in. But the truth is, I have taken classes as wide ranging as Semester in the City, about the Westside Atlanta neighborhoods, to traditional Asian history. The program really encourages taking classes that interest you. I knew next to nothing about Chinese and Japanese cultural history, so I signed up for a class about it. And unlike for other majors, this class was not an elective but actually counted toward my non-US history requirement for my degree.
With that being said, the degree program also provides you opportunities to focus on subjects you want to pursue in and beyond the major. The HTS degree has some of the most room for electives that any major at Tech provides. So you can easily acquire a minor(s) in subjects that interest you. I am about to take my fourth semester in Arabic, so I am looking into picking up a minor for that.
This opportunity to learn about wide ranging subjects and to pursue new interests is the kind of college experience I really wanted. This program gives you the ability to follow the traditional liberal arts credo of “widening your horizons” and “gaining critical thinking skills” within one of the best technology driven universities in the country. Further, your interactions with so many engineering, computing, and science majors at Georgia Tech widen your horizons in a unique way. This kind of learning experience has been one of kind!
I am inspired by my liberal arts professors, and specifically some of the projects Associate Professor Chris Le Dantec works on with digital media. He has worked with Westside community organizations in ways that I have tried to emulate. He uses a participatory process, which means he develops the project with the people his project focuses on.
My favorite class to date has been the Semester in the City course. We were introduced to many community activists with whom I stayed in touch to collaborate on my Grand Challenges project. We were shown pretty cool digital media projects that documented the local history of the Westside. The class also got to contribute to one of them by doing research in an archive; the project involved collecting oral histories from residents about impactful events from each decade from the 1920s to the 2010s in the neighborhood. I looked up the work of a community activist in the 1980s who fought against the construction of the Georgia Dome.
I had the chance to go on the Leadership for Social Good study abroad in Budapest, Prague, and Krakow. The program is part of the social entrepreneurship program in the business school. We learned how successful NGOs function in Atlanta and compared the NGOs to those in Eastern Europe. While experiencing these places and taking classes, we also had an internship with an NGO.
The trip definitely contributed to broadening my horizons, the liberal arts doctrine. I made a lot of connections with locals and tourists from around the world, who showed me how small my life in Atlanta really is. The culture around work and money is different there. Many stores are closed on the weekends. Lots of business owners travel to the countryside for the forests and the lakes on Saturdays. There are so many independent bookstores and unique shops that would close down in a few weeks if they were located in the States. But they persist in Budapest, even though they probably don’t make much money. Seeing this made me realize how the lifestyle and business culture here is not the status quo around the world.
My main hobby is playing music. I’ve played music for years now but during my time in college, I’ve become more interested in doing it as a form of expression. I really want to understand piano well enough to be able to improvise with people. And Atlanta is a really good city for people who want to do that kind of thing. There are a lot of places to play shows. My band played its first show last year and it was uh.. an experience. Half of us got stage fright so bad we forgot entire parts of our songs! Luckily, our friends in the audience didn’t really notice too much.
In my downtime, I like to ride my bike to Piedmont Park. I actually did that for the first time only last year during finals week. It was the perfect time to go. People say this all the time and it is true: our campus is beautiful but there’s a lot right outside of it that you should venture to see!
My advice is don’t be afraid to take random classes. There’s a mentality of being super focused on your career plan at Tech but this is the perfect time to explore. Taking Serve-Learn-Sustain classes about sustainability from professors in environmental science and chemical engineering showed me how varying disciplines shape the subjects I care about. Taking linear algebra explained to me how applications like Adobe Illustrator work. This time in our lives, our late teens through early twenties, is probably the best time to explore around and not just build our careers.
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