Photo courtesy of Jamie Howell

“College will be the best four years of your life.” A phrase often repeated by adults with jaded eyes and failing bodies. As students make their way from the locker-laden halls of youth to Bobby Dodd’s unforgiving hill, these words may begin to seem like nothing more than empty promises. And that may very well be the case if one chooses to surround themselves solely with books and their apartment walls. If one wishes to avoid this fate, however, Tech provides a myriad of options to balance out the rigors of its academic curriculum.

First and foremost is exercise. Physical activity produces endorphins that combat built-up stress, leading to better mental and physical health. Thankfully, all Tech students are given access to the CRC, a state-of-the-art exercise facility with everything from free weights to ping-pong tables.

On top of that, organized sports provide a more competitive atmosphere in which to be active. Several organizations field intramural teams in sports ranging from football to bowling. These sports allow for a fun, social way to stay active, while still being casual enough to accommodate busy schedules.

Club sports on the other hand, usually involve a more significant time investment. Many of these teams practice multiple times a week and travel to compete with other schools, making them perfect for students looking for something akin to high school athletics, albeit on a larger scale. Some, such as Tech’s Men’s Lacrosse team, have traveled as far away as California to compete in national tournaments.

Aside from sports, Tech is home to a seemingly endless list of clubs and organizations always eager to take new members. No matter where one’s interests lie, virtually every major has a whole slew of associated clubs that are both fun and beneficial for building a resume. Don’t be afraid to go all out and attend meetings of every organization that might interest you. You won’t regret it in a couple years when you see your friends struggling to find positions in organizations around campus and you’re settled and working up the ladder in an organization that you’ve been in for three years. Go to orgsync.com for a wide database of all organizations and clubs on campus.

While Tech is known for its engineering program, many of its students find time for more artistic endeavors on the side. Organizations such as Under the Couch and many LMC clubs offer students a means to pursue side passions and balance out the barrage of numbers faced in classes.

Campus jobs also provide a way to get out of the dorms and classrooms while providing an always welcome cash supply. The CRC and Student Center provide close, decently paid jobs that usually involve little more than sitting behind a desk. One can also participate in tutoring and TA-ing through Tech’s Center for Academic Success.

While it may seem counterproductive to the goal of countering Tech’s stress, student research can also be an enriching and productive way to spend one’s time. Most majors have a research option that can offer a look at a wide range of disciplines. Research looks great on a resume, provides a deeper look into the student’s field and even gives some students the chance to become published.

Perhaps the biggest and most impactful plunge one can take at Tech is joining the Greek community. Tech, like many larger state schools, boasts a diverse and active group of fraternities and sororities. As such, students of all backgrounds and interests are virtually guaranteed to find a good fit.

Greek life not only fosters strong relationships with like-minded brothers and sisters, but it also gives students the opportunity to participate in numerous social events, philanthropies and schoolwide competitions such as Greek Week and Homecoming. While many see Greek life as too much of a distraction from Tech’s busy schedule, the academic
support provided by most groups can prove to be invaluable, and
it has created a trend of Greek GPA being higher than the Institute average.

Tech’s Greek population is made up of 32 fraternities and nine sororities, as well as a large selection of professional and multicultural groups. While many groups have already undergone formal fall rush, most will offer spring rush once school begins next January.

Most of these options share one common thread: social interaction. Far too many people take Tech on as a solitary endeavor, carrying the weight of the Institute on their shoulders for a full five years. When that load is shared, it becomes clear that the Tech workload is something suffered by all.

These clubs and organizations certainly provide both personal and professional enrichment, but their most important aspect is undoubtably the social connections forged by following a passion outside of the classroom.