20 Things Only RPI Students Understand

Getting into a school like Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and making your way through the difficult course-load is tough. As one of the proud students of RPI, you have come to find that there are certain things that those who go elsewhere just won’t ever get.

20. No, you don’t go to RIT/WPI/MIT. Going home for the holidays, every relative is going to ask how school’s going up at RIT… or WPI… or MIT. For some reason, no one can ever actually get that you go to RPI.


19. The Ratio. This one’s actually gotten better in recent years, but it still stands that RPI’s male to female ratio is a wonderful 65/35. It’s slightly offset by Troy’s other college, Russell Sage College, which is basically all girls.


18. Mascot? RPI’s had numerous mascots over the years, from the Engineers, to Puckman, to the Bachelors, and the Redhawks, it’s hard to keep them straight.


17. Shuttle Problems. RPI’s shuttle service can be really annoying. Even though there’s an app that lets you track their locations, you almost always end up watching it leave the stop and have to wait 15 minutes for the next one.


16. Frat Parties or No Parties. Being an engineering school means you have limited options for parties.. Luckily there are around 30 fraternities at RPI, most of which have nice houses and throw great parties. So where’re you going on Friday night? ZOO?, RSE?, Phi Tau?


15. Archies are a Myth. If you become an Architecture Major at RPI, you’re basically condemning yourself to a life of no sleep, and indentured servitude. The Greene Building (the architecture building), is your second home, and your friends will always be surprised when you text your group saying you’re actually free for once.


14. Psychology Classes. RPI’s classes are NOT easy. However, the lower level psychs are often GPA boosters for all the poor engineering and science students, who only dream of getting As in their regular classes.


13. Commons. Unless there’s a special event, the food there is not really any good. Mystery meat and Chinese food is always on the menu. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, try the pizza bagels, if you’re lucky you’ll get a cinnamon raisin bagel…


12. The Approach. The bane of any students who live in downtown, the Approach is a huge staircase that leads up Troy’s big hill to RPI’s campus. Composed of an ungodly amount of stairs, if you’re not winded and sweating by the time you’re done lugging your heavy science books to the top, you’re inhuman.


11. Humans Vs. Zombies. It’s basically a giant game of tag with a Walking Dead theme. The random guys running around with guns and bandanas on their arms aren’t gang members (unless you’re in South Troy), they’re humans who’re fighting their zombie counterparts. If you’re lucky, one of them will disrupt your class, radio-in-hand, yelling some gibberish about a horde by the Sage building.




7 Things You Learn When You Move Up North

While there are those who will forever call Maryland part of the North, the Mason-Dixon Line technically puts the Old Line State in the South. Growing up right, smack-dab in the middle of Maryland, I never realized how much of a southerner I was, until I made the 7 hour drive to upstate New York to begin my college education. I was suddenly in a new world that made me feel quite out of place. However, I did come to adapt to my surroundings and also learned a few lessons along the way.

7. “Y’all” Is  Not In Their Vocabulary.

When saying “y’all” is something completely normal at home, and you don’t think twice about it but, you say it up north and get a very different reaction. You will get looks like you’ve just made up some sort of gibberish and others may giggle in response; neither will remove the word from my vocabulary. Which brings me to my next lesson learned:

6. You’ve Got an Accent.

Even though my accent isn’t the strongest, not even close actually, northerners are quick to point out the slight twang I put on certain words or the stronger drawl that comes out when I speak quickly. But at the end of the day, you know that Southern drawl sounds a whole lot sweeter than anything the north has to offer accent-wise.

5. It’ All About Hockey.

Coming from a little suburban town, football games under those Friday night lights was what it was all about. Up north, hockey rules all and you better figure that out as soon as possible so you’re not that Southerner asking “When’s halftime?” It was a brand new experience for me; I ended up having just as great of a time in the hockey stands as I did in those football bleachers.

4. My Goodness, It’s Cold

Going from the middle of Maryland to upstate New York, I knew I was in for colder weather; and oh boy did I find it, and then some. I definitely came to appreciate the ridiculously large coat my mother bought me, that I swore I’d never need, as well as the snow boots that aren’t the cutest but certainly get the job done and keep me from sliding around and falling on my butt when walking down a set of stairs.

3. Not All Tea Is Sweet Tea.

This was a fact that I was not ready for. Not that it’s super difficult to add some sugar or honey, but when you’re expecting some of mama’s sweet tea and get a big gulp of the unsweetened stuff, it’s just not the same. Northerner’s don’t know the bliss they’re missing; to each their own, I suppose.

2. They Weren’t Lying About The Pizza.

The fact that I have ordered pizza from a Pizza Hut or Dominos, or any other pizza chain for that matter, horrifies just about every New Yorker I come in contact with. But for good reason, the pizza up here deserves all the praise it gets. While on the subject of food, they know what they’re doing with those bagels too. Who else is hungry now?


1. You’ll Miss That Southern Hospitality.

This isn’t to say that everyone is rude (not that there aren’t exceptions to that rule), but the gestures aren’t the same. Northern hospitality is family centered while the South extends theirs to the whole community, including the complete stranger on the street. Regardless of where you are, a smile from a passerby or a door being held open shouldn’t be reserved as just a “northern” or “southern” thing. Share the love. Now, whether I’m in the Albany area or around Baltimore, I feel at home.