Studying Engineering at Georgia Tech – What is it Like?
Studying engineering anywhere is demanding. At Georgia Tech, however; it feels doubly that way. The students at GT don’t have the same level of pedigree that those at MIT and Stanford do. They don’t necessarily see the connection between stellar grades in a challenging major and later success in life. Of course, they were some of the smartest in their schools and were attracted to engineering, but they’re often not sure where that’s going to get them post-graduation.
You have to rely on yourself most of the time
The professorship at Tech isn’t particularly supportive. Students are not assigned specific advisors who take an interest in their individual success. Many professors don’t seem interested in sticking around after class or at office hours to answer students’ “stupid” questions. 200+ student lecture halls where TA’s do the real instruction are not uncommon.
GT has cultivated its difficult relationship over time. Both of my parents were in the same entering class back in the day. At their intro, they were told to look in front, to the back, and to each side. Of the five freshmen, only 2 would graduate. This was said with no small degree of pride. While the graduation rate has steadily improved over the decades, it takes time to change culture.
Homework is hard at GT
There’s a reason graduating is called “getting out”. Schoolwork at GT is a slog. It’s hard. It takes long hours. It turns your brain into mush. But there’s a lot of camaraderie that comes from that. You’re working with your fellow GT students long into the night, bashing your head into the wall against a homework assignment with a single problem that you’ve spent 10 hours on.
Life – School Balance
At least while I was there, Tech had the distinction of being the only school in the country on the list of schools with a drinking problem but not on the list of schools with a party problem. GT is the perfect mixture of serious and fun… the students know how to get out and have a good time (this may look like a LAN party for some while for others it’s a night at the club) but at the end of the day, they all know they need to be back to bed at a half reasonable hour for their test the next day. They aren’t as irresponsible as the student bodies at most state schools (looking at you U(sic)GA) but they don’t take themselves nearly as seriously as the students at the Ivies.
It is Fun After All!
Like any other good university, being an undergrad is fun. Your days are mostly yours to do with what you please. The energy on campus is incredible. It’s a fun time of life and it shows it the demeanor of everyone around you. Parties, late nights staying up with friends, football games, ordering in junk food, cramming for tests. It fills your life and commands your full attention at the time, but looking back on it, it was a very care-free time in my life.