Tech traditions create ambitious and inspiring students

Freshmen: by now, you have undoubtedly heard that the years you spend in college will make up some of the best days of your life. It was in the graduation cards you received last spring, in the sage words your aunts and uncles shared with you, and in the advice your older friends gave. But did anyone bother to tell you the “why” and the “how”?

The reasons you will love life in university stretch beyond living away from home and finally not having a curfew – although those are some pretty nice perks. Still, those reasons apply to any university with a largely residential campus.

Since you have chosen Tech, though, the reasons your college experience has the potential to be phenomenal are truly endless… but what follow are a few of my favorites.

You have learned about many of our campus organizations at FASET, through pamphlets, and through work of mouth. During the week of August 24, campus organizations will showcase their missions, talents, and events. Take an active role in pursuing membership to a student group, whether it be a freshman leadership organization, Greek life, a cultural club, or any of the other student groups on campus.

Find a cause that you care about and dedicate yourself to it. After all, college is about doing what you love and exploring your interests. Be selective, but make a choice.

The professors at Tech are arguably some of the most intelligent people you will ever meet.

Introduce yourself after class one day, ask them questions, engage in research with them, and say “Hi” to them when you see them walking around campus. They have dedicated their lives to enriching yours.

But to get through some of the tests these professors will throw at you, you will need to study in groups and ask questions of your peers. One of the reasons I love Tech so much is because of the great students I have met throughout my years here.

Your fellow Jackets will go through calculus and chemistry with you; someday, though, they may join the Peace Corps, pursue graduate studies, find a cure for cancer or HIV-AIDS, or run for President. Be proud to be in an academic environment of such high caliber, and in a circle of classmates of such high ambition. (Also: be proud to be a part of the first year in its history that Tech has more than 30% female students!)

Tech is a Division I ACC university. At how many schools can you stand on the floor of the basketball stadium, or cheer on the volleyball team in a gym louder than a MLB baseball game? The spirit of Tech students shines at these events.

Each of our athletic teams has something unique to offer, and student support only helps our athletes succeed. Become an active Tech fan! Attend the Traditions Night (T-Night) on September 9th, and wear your white during our 2nd Annual student-led White Out football game on September 10th. Also, if you haven’t yet, register online for your student season football tickets. Visit the SGA (www.sga.gatech.edu) or the Athletic Association (www.ramblinwreck.com) web sites for more details. Registration for freshmen tickets begins August 20th!

Tech opened its doors in 1885 to the first class of Tech students.

Since then, GT has become a university with numerous rich traditions of which all alumni and students are exceptionally proud. So keep the traditions alive! Pick up a RAT cap at Freshman Convocation.

Know that your school colors are White and Gold. Learn about George P. Burdell and Sideways the Dog. Memorize the lyrics to the Ramblin’ Wreck fight song, Up With the White and Gold and the Alma Mater. And under no circumstances should you touch the Reck before the end of your freshman year.

You can plan out your life at Tech as much as you want: organize class schedules through your senior year and develop a plan of organizations you want to be involved in.

You should know though that it is truly the spontaneous and random moments that you will treasure and remember more than your GPA or a group meeting. So take a 2 a.m. trip to Wingnuts. Watch an entire season of your favorite TV show on DVD in one day. Say hello to other students and learn about their backgrounds. Escape your comfort zone.

I could go on all day long about how Tech is this wondrous place and how it will change your life. But instead, I am asking you to experience it for yourself. Experience it to its fullest. Open your eyes to our campus and take it all in. Your time at university goes by far too fast and there’s no time to waste.