People who have the best handle on themselves are the ones who realize they don't

Tyler Pugh, Photo credit: Christina Franusich
Tyler Pugh, Photo credit: Christina Franusich

Even though Tyler Pugh is only in his second year at Virginia Tech, he has realized an important truth: People who have the best handle on themselves are the ones who realize they don’t.

It is a deceptively simple maxim, and one that bears repeating: People who have the best handle on themselves are the ones who realize they don’t.

Tyler is a sophomore double-majoring in Industrial Systems Engineering and Spanish. He serves as a Resident Assistant in the Honors Residential Commons. As his nominator said, “In this capacity, it can be challenging for an undergraduate student to take time for themselves. Yet, Tyler has sought out experiences and relationships to ensure he is consistently reflecting on who he is, who he wants to be, and his goals and aspirations.”

Tyler has built a strong relationship with the Honors Residential Commons Faculty Principal, Dr. Pablo Tarazaga. Tyler and Dr. Tarazaga often meet over coffee to discuss life’s big questions, talk about religion, ascertain their individual philosophies, or to converse in Spanish. Tyler said, “Dr. Tarazaga pushes me to think about things differently than I am used to. That is what college is all about.”

His nominator said, “Tyler’s commitment to figuring out the answers to these big questions -- and knowing that he won't have a firm grasp on those answers by the end of the year -- stands out in a community of students who often seek the ‘correct’ answer.”

Tyler said he found his place at Virginia Tech through FLEX, the First Year Leadership Experience. Last summer he studied abroad in Spain. He had never been outside this country and he had never travelled alone. He said, “It gave me a whole new perspective on global issues and made me realize how courageous it is to study in another country, with a different language and culture. It made me aware of the awesome diversity in our campus community. It made me appreciate Virginia Tech’s efforts to broaden the pool of people who come here.”

As an Orientation Leader, Tyler found he enjoys helping others adjust and prepare for big changes in their lives. “College can be overwhelming,” he said. “I like being able to reassure people that it’s going to be OK. We are all going through this together as part of a community that emphasizes growing and learning.”

His advice to others is, “Never assume you know what others are going through. Give them the benefit of the doubt. Other people are trying to fit in just as hard as you are – dealing with, pushing through, setting goals. Don’t hold everyone to the same standard. Everyone has a story. Don’t assume or judge. Don’t jump to conclusions. Be kind. Be humble.”