Life as a Georgia Tech Parent and Employee - A Wonderful Conundrum

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Mark Demyanek
AVP, Environmental Health & Safety

Life as the parent of a Georgia Tech freshman student, and as an employee who also happens to be an alumnus, is a wonderful conundrum...It is a very comforting feeling knowing that while I spend my time working here on campus, somewhere within these same boundaries my son is enjoying life as a Georgia Tech student. It is quite a unique situation for a parent to enjoy this close proximity, while at the same time fight off the urge to check-in with him and keep an eye on what he's up to. His mother and I have never been overbearing, and we realize this is his time to develop as an independent adult and chart his own life course. However, I want to help, because of all the things I know this great Institution offers. Also, since I am out on campus a lot, I must admit it is tempting to pop-in for a surprise dorm or classroom visit. I haven't done that yet, and I'm sure I won't. I don't think my son's enthusiasm level would match mine. However, it's nice to know that I could do it if I wanted or needed to.

The thing I have relished the most about working on the same campus where my son is a student are our occasional lunches. Once every couple of weeks or so, I am able to pin him down and we spend some quality time at a local eatery - sometimes on campus and sometimes off. This is my chance to get downloaded on his life - classes, fraternity, relationships, stresses, etc. Like most parents, my wife and I can never be sure if or when our calls or text messages will be answered. I think one of the things that my son enjoys the most about me working on the same campus is the fact that he has a "quick link" to home - if he needs it. He hasn't played this card very often, but there have been a few occasions where he needed a tie, his slack-line, or a sleeping bag - and I know he was glad to be able to take advantage of the situation.

Probably the most enjoyment that my wife and I have had with this circumstance is coming to all the Yellow Jacket football games and being able to tailgate and visit with our son - before he has to run off, in his shirt and tie, to join his fraternity pledge brothers. Before this year, we were not able to come to many of the games because our younger son was involved in sports activities most Saturdays. However, we are now past that stage, and our investment in Georgia Tech football season tickets has been fantastic for our family. It's one of the best ways to stay connected with our son/student, and the Jackets are looking great! We really look forward to home-game Saturdays.

So far, it is going great. Let's just make it through finals - and keep HOPE alive!


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