The Georgia Institute of Technology is one of the best tech-oriented universities in the country. Not as demanding and stressful study-wise as some other prominent tech schools, Georgia Tech is still famous for outstanding level of education. With more and more students aspiring to enter this university it is important to learn some tips that may help you in the long run!
- Humility: Humility is a beautiful virtue. Top of our high school class, the nerds with all the answers, and, yet, when we enter Tech, we are just another number. If this discourages your dream then you have not dreamt hard enough. Perfection is an illusion and despite all of those SAT’s, ACT’s, AP exams, and report cards, you will never be the top because there are many other beautiful minds in the world. Be humble and realize that you can never exceed your best and be okay with not being the best. More importantly, always congratulate your classmates on their success because the world needs more people like Georgia Tech students.
- Failure: I have grown up in an Asian culture where I learned that success is the only word in the dictionary, but Tech does not only teaches its students how to succeed. It teaches its students how to fail. How to fail hard. This is the aspect of Tech that I cherish the most. If you stumble, just get back up like a warrior and stumble some more.
- Organization: Easier said than done. Georgia Tech students lose a lot of sleep. We pull all nighters and then we blame it on the curriculum and the professors. That is our hypocrisy even though we know it is purely our fault. Always make a planner. Schedule everything out. Use a timer to designate when you should start and stop studying. Google planner is an effective tool along with Google Keep. When I am organized, I reduce my procrastination a lot; if I don’t stay organized, my procrastination becomes drastically worse.
- Saving: In a world of consumerism, being money savvy is difficult. There is a reason why many college students are in debt until they are in their late thirties. Alway ask yourself, “Do I really need this?” Of course you should sometimes reward yourself. I only spend about $200 a month —mostly on food. First years have to apply for Freshmen Experience Meal Plan ($2,000 a semester). So, grocery is not a necessity, but, for future reference, college students usually only spend at most $250 for food a month. Be smart in your money decisions.
- Shortcuts: Sometimes you will have to purchase your own textbooks. However, sometimes you can find these required books and other required readings online in the form of pdf or websites. Although this is a risky move, most Georgia Tech students torrent their books. Actually, all of my friends torrent their books because these books are extremely overpriced. Some people may not agree with this advice, but if you ask any Georgia Tech students, they will say they have torrented textbooks. Caution: Use a WiFi network off-campus. Most students use Georgia Tech wifi but that is too risky, and I would not suggest this.
- Health: College students are guilty of eating instant ramen. Do not follow this common trend. Try your best to eat healthy food. Vegetables and fruits not only make you healthy but it makes you feel good. There are a lot of recipes online on how to make a quick and healthy dish. I jog for about 20 minutes a day per my therapist’s request. This made a huge difference in my mood and in my concentration. I focused a lot better and I am more energized. Ultimately, exercising and having a well-balanced diet prevents depression which is a huge issue here at Georgia Tech. Also, if you organized your time correctly and you did not sign up for too many things that you can’t handle, getting at least 5 hours of sleep really helps your mind and your body recuperate every night.
- Extra Curricular: These are very important—especially if you want to attend grad school. Join clubs that interest you. Georgia Tech has a plethora of clubs, fraternities, and sororities to choose from. Rushing is always good to figure out what you like. Never be afraid to approach people. I say this, but I am sure people are still afraid. Just keep telling yourself that you are good enough and people enjoy talking to you. If it is awkward at first, don’t be discouraged because first meetings are always awkward. Also, don’t ever push yourself too hard to do things that are not within your capacity. I made the mistake of thinking I can take 17 credits courses plus join a sorority because my friend did. Huge mistake because sororities and fraternities require a lot of commitments. Don’t compare yourself to others. Know your strengths and your weaknesses.
- Protect Yourself: This is a public campus in the middle of Atlanta, GA. Don’t expect yourself to be safe 24/7. A Georgia Tech police officer told my concerned mother that this public campus is never perfectly safe—especially at night. Always carry around pepper spray at night. I like to attach my pepper spray to a lanyard that I wear around my neck at night. It is a lot safer that way. There are a lot of robberies at Georgia Tech. Usually, no one ever gets hurt, but they do get their stuff stolen (always comply with the robber). Thus, be smart and don’t walk alone at night. Call a stingerette or use the midnight rambler which are Georgia Tech’s driving services, but never walk alone. Also, Georgia Tech experiences about 1–3 rape reports a year. Some rape incidents are not reported because the victim feels ashamed. If anything like that happens to you, know that you are not alone and report it to GTPD immediately to prevent the rapist from raping other innocent people. Most of these incidents occur during frat parties. Never go to parties alone. Always go with a trusted group of friends, and call the stingerette, uber, or a lyft when you are done. Remember not to drink when you are depressed. That easily leads to alcoholism.
- Therapy: A lot of 18–24 year olds have depression, and Georgia Tech students are no strangers to this mental illness. College is always a rough time because you are away from your family and you experience grown-up problems. Sometimes finals are approaching and you cannot handle the stress. Sometimes you do not know your direction in life. Sometimes loneliness creeps in. These are major factors that cause depression in Georgia Tech students. Keep going. Never give up. Georgia Tech always have counselors on call for emergency. You can also make an appointment with a counselor or walk in to see one. It is completely free (you are allowed 16 sessions until they start charging). If you are concerned about the insurance, they can also give you a list of therapist referrals outside of campus that might be more beneficial to you. STAMPS Psychiatry on campus is also an excellent help if you are in need of medication.
- Career Fairs: Career fairs are always important. A lot of important companies come to Georgia Tech to seek out talented students for an internship, a co-op, or a permanent job position. Even though you are a freshmen, career fairs are still very important. You can go to career fairs to practice talking to the company representatives. You can also get a lot of networking and other connections at career fairs as a freshmen. I was able to get 16 contacts when I was at the career fair. I am a very bubbly and talkative person, so don’t expect yourself to get as much. Most of my friends got around 6–7 contacts, and that is still very good.
- Academic Advisors: Academic advisors are very useful. You can make appointments with them or send them an e-mail if you have questions about scheduling your future courses. My friends and I always talk to our academic advisors to make sure we are on track to graduate on time. I had to drop two courses because I had depression and my academic advisor made the transition a lot smoother for me.
- Be Kind: The people who live on the same floor as you are usually very good to become friends with. Leave your dorm door propped open, so people know you want to talk and to meet them. Always be nice to people. Your heart should always be as big as the mountain, and be able to accept the good and the bad people. If someone is a bad person, distance yourself but know that they are probably going through a hard time and lend a hand when you can.
That was a lot. However, I hope you take my advice. Georgia Tech is a place where you can have an excellent education but also a place for you to learn about yourself. It is a place to start your life over. Remember to always explore your interests but also keep yourself grounded. Be smart, be kind, and stay healthy. You are going to do great things at Georgia Tech.
Despite all the tribulations that may unfurl in the future, remember there is a reason why Georgia Tech chose you.