First-Year Survival Tips
By Julia Faherty Updated Aug. 10, 2018
Incoming first-year students inevitably have concerns regarding college. “Where will I eat? Which classes will I take? How long can I go without doing laundry?” Luckily, Georgia Tech offers plenty of resources to help new students.
Thinking of your needs in a simple hierarchy will help you get settled in. Welcome, new Yellow Jackets! It’s going to be an exciting year.
HEALTH & WELLNESS
As a first-year student, staying healthy can be a challenge. Students may not know how to handle their newfound independence — lost at sea with no parental flotation device to control diet, sleep schedule, or personal hygiene.
1) Exercise. Exercising can be a great form of stress relief and an easy way to stay healthy. Check out the Campus Recreation Center (CRC), walk to a few classes each week, and dance around your dorm room during study breaks. Tech also offers intramurals and club sports for every level of athlete.
Get a jump start on your fitness routine by attending Fitness Class Preview week at the CRC from Aug. 20-25. All fitness classes will be free this week. View the schedule here.
2) Don’t wait until you’ve caught the plague to go to Stamps Health Services. In a residence hall, there’s a special time of year when nearly everyone gets sick. Illness spreads widely and quickly when students are sharing bathrooms, bedrooms, and kitchens. Remember to make an appointment at Stamps when symptoms develop.
3) Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. Even after drinking three coffees, chugging a Red Bull, and taking a cold shower, a student is not at their best without sleep. Rest is necessary to rejuvenate the body and the mind. Young adults should get at least seven hours of sleep each night. Remember to relax, unwind, and catch some Z’s.
4) Clean your clothes. The daunting task of laundry intimidates many new students. Thankfully, all Freshman Experience residence halls have laundry facilities within walking distance. Grab detergent, your BuzzCard (with a few dollars of Buzzfunds), dirty clothes, and some study material to pass the time. (If you’ve never done laundry, take a few tips from Real Simple.)
5) Wear shower shoes. Community bathrooms are a new experience for most first-year students. Wear flip-flops in the shower for foot protection. Invest in a shower caddy to hold soap, toothbrushes, and any other bathroom items.
6) Mental health is important. Find campus activities to get involved in and remember to take breaks. Hang out with friends, explore Atlanta, or take up a new hobby. For professional support, check out the Counseling Center, which offers group workshops and various counseling services. It is located on the second floor of the Smithgall Student Services (Flag) Building.
7) Dining halls. Tech offers a variety of dining halls to fill all nutritional needs. The dining halls include the West Village (West Campus), Brittain (East Campus), and North Avenue (East Campus). The Freshman Experience includes unlimited access to any of these locations. Alternatively, dining points or BuzzCard funds can be spent at retail dining locations including Subway, Chick-fil-A, Dunkin’ Donuts, Highland Bakery, Blue Donkey, and Starbucks.
The West Village offers options for the west side of campus and is home to a Starbucks, Panera Bread, and several quick service dining options.
A C A D E M I C S
1) Georgia Tech will be more challenging than high school. Every student at Tech is smart. Once you accept this fact, it’s easier to cope with the rigorous academic environment. Stay focused and study hard, but remember that grades don’t define a person’s character.
2) Find locations and study groups that work for you. Every student is unique and their study habits vary accordingly. For a silent study experience, visit the upper floors of the Library. Note that the Price Gilbert and Crosland Tower renewal project — known on campus as "Library Next" — is underway. The construction phase includes the removal of the connecting bridge, stairs, and walkways between the two library buildings. Learn more about the full scope of the project and what to expect at librarynext.gatech.edu.
For an active study environment, check out the Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons or the Student Center. Reach out to classmates, teachers, and TA’s for more study tips.
3) Use your resources. Georgia Tech has a lot of options when it comes to academic support. Talk to professors, schedule an appointment with an academic advisor, and check out the Center for Academic Success in Clough Commons. Sometimes it takes a village to earn that A.
S O C I A L
2) Go to sporting events. Many Georgia Tech sporting events — including baseball, softball, women’s basketball, volleyball, and tennis — offer free admission to students with BuzzCard.
For football games, students can purchase reserved season tickets or opt for free single game tickets. Purchase tickets here. These seats are located in the North End Zone. Students have the option to register and sit with an organizational group, the SWARM, or individually. The SWARM includes priority seating and T-shirt and costs an additional $20.
About 2,500 free single game tickets are available for each home game. Online registration begins a few days before every game. Free tickets are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. These seats are located in the South End Zone.
Men’s basketball tickets are free with BuzzCard but are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis with the first 900 students admitted.
3) Greek Life. For women, the Collegiate Panhellenic Council (CPC) hosts formal recruitment each fall semester. Formal Recruitment is a highly structured process that takes students to each CPC sorority, and registration is required. Register by Aug. 16, 2018, for Fall 2018 rush.
There are also two associate member sororities that do not participate in the formal recruitment process. The associate member recruitment process takes place a few weeks after formal recruitment in the fall and during the second week of school in the spring.
For men, the Interfraternity Council hosts rush each fall, and there is also an opportunity to rush for a fraternity in the Spring semester. Georgia Tech also offers fraternities within the Multicultural Greek Council and National Pan-Hellenic Council.
4) Go to campus events. Tech offers many opportunities for first-year students to get to know each other while becoming acclimated to campus life. For example, R.A.T.S. Week is a collaborative effort across campus divisions, departments, and organizations to showcase the many opportunities at Tech. Events will occur during the first week of classes so be sure to check a few of them out.
P E R S O N A L
1) Call your mom. It’s easy to get caught up in things. Between a full schedule of classes, new friends, extracurricular activities, and the adjustment to living on a college campus, there may be little time left for parents and siblings. However, it is important to take a few moments to catch up with family. FaceTime is a blessing!
2) Discover the real you. College is a great time for students to explore aspects of themselves that they may not have in high school. Every first-year should do at least one thing that scares them. Georgia Tech offers students a unique opportunity to learn, innovate, and mature. Take advantage of it.
3) Time flies when you’re having fun. Your first year will be over in the blink of an eye. Make a photo album, keep a journal, or just take amazing mental notes of each new experience. Get ready for a great year!