Thoughts on Graduating from Georgia Tech

This weekend I graduated ("got out" in GT lingo) from Georgia Tech, bearing the honors distinction no less. I have been looking forward to writing this single blog post for years. Ever since I started my Georgia Tech journey some 4.5 years ago, I knew it was going to be a Sisyphean challenge. I remember logging into the class scheduler my freshman year and having it automatically assume that it would take me 5 years to graduate. 4.5+ years is the norm at Georgia Tech, by and far, with students taking co-operative education routes, changing majors every other semester and/or just taking it slow so they don't fail everything. My journey started out in ECE courses studying circuit design and digital signal processing. It has come to an end with me completing coursework for the Bachelor of Science in Computational Media degree.

Georgia Tech Fall 2008 Commencement Graduation

CM is a relatively new program at Georgia Tech offered collaboratively by the College of Computing and the School of Literature, Communication and Culture. I worked in a curriculum that let me take classes in my own interests. I've had user interface design, online community design, interaction design, information design, visual design classes alongside courses like educational technology, film, object oriented programming and media device architectures classes. While I wish Georgia Tech had some more cutting-edge web development classes, at least I will actually be able to use what I learned in college in the real world. This is becoming less and less the case these days with people just getting a degree in whatever and working in a completely unrelated field.

Paul Stamatiou at Georgia Tech Fall 2008 Commencement Graduation

I have taken 11 semesters of courses at Georgia Tech, including 2 summers spent here at an empty, boring campus. In the coming year I will have to start paying back some of the 161,397 USD out-of-state tuition, housing and associated fees that my stay here has incurred (give or take a few thousand, to the best of my calculation), but I'll worry about that later.

Georgia Tech Fall 2008 Commencement Graduation

Georgia Tech Fall 2008 Commencement Graduation

As for Jay Sellers' Skribit question about what class at Georgia Tech has impacted my life the most, it is a tie between an interaction design course and information design course that I took together. With what I learned in those classes, I started looking at problems in interfaces more closely as well as information architecture. It was with the latter course that I really got interested in PHP and MySQL and fiddled around with web app development. It was also around this time that I came up with the idea that would eventually become Skribit.

The most painful/annoying class I took at Georgia Tech is a three way tie between PHYS 2211 (Physics I), CS 1050 (Constructing Proofs) and CS 2340 (Objects and Design, SmallTalk coding). The first for the horrendous online homework assignments, CS 1050 for being too mathy for a 9 AM class and CS 2340 for the nights I spent in the College of Computing working on projects for the class. CS 1371 (Computing for Engineers, MATLAB/Java coding) is a runner up because of its distant location in the Management Building that caused me to be consistently late.

The cherry on top of this celebration is that I graduated at the same time that I was featured on the homepage of Georgia Tech's website. My picture was tied to a great press release from Georgia Tech's Communications and Marketing department (written by David Terraso) that talks about myself and continuing my work at Skribit (which sprouted from a CNN article that discussed Startup Weekend and mentioned Skribit as well). I also mentioned in What's Going On With Skribit that I will be working for Skribit full-time now.

Picture 3

I can confidently say that Georgia Tech has made an impact on me. Hopefully I've made an impact on it. I don't often look back, but I can't imagine how many things in my life would be different if I didn't attend college here. I applied to 11 universities and I'm glad I chose Georgia Tech. The people I've met have shaped my life in so many ways. My freshman year hallmates got me interested in Linux and it was with that curiosity for new platforms that I ended up taking blogging after tinkering around with WordPress for a while. The rest is history.

Thanks to everyone of my professors, classmates and mentors and of course, my family. I'll be putting my education to good use. And for the record, I can honestly say that I have only ever skipped/missed less than 25 classes (<1 absence per class) my entire college career and maintained perfect attendance for most courses.

To Hell with Georgia. 45-42.

As of this writing, Georgia Tech is ranked seventh nationally among public universities for undergraduates.