exas Tech is a big school with a big student body and a big ego. Most students emigrate from other Texas towns and mirror the state’s Caucasian, conservative identity. These friendly Texans take part in the sizeable Greek community, intramural sports, or one of the zillion specific-interest clubs when they’re not in class or cramming for exams.
Raider pride is widespread as students excitedly form their hands into pistols when asked to “get their guns up.” Famous for their oft-offensive former basketball coach, Bobby Knight, Raider fans follow suit as some of the rowdiest fans in the Big 12. Campus is huge (like everything in Texas) and students frequently have to book it from one side of the expanse to another between classes. Although Lubbock is in the boondocks of west Texas, students make the most of this quirky college town and the entertainment and nightlife it has to offer.
Texas Tech stands alone in the vast landscape of west Texas,
and with almost 30,000 undergrads, the college is virtually a city in itself. Students say
they feel comfortable with the size, perhaps because Tech is large enough to support a stellar D-I
athletics program and provides endless social and academic opportunities while still giving them a chance to see some familiar faces in class and around campus. As for
the physical size of the school grounds, students sometimes complain about the long
journeys between classes. “This campus is so big," explains a sophomore electronic media and communications major. "It’s the second biggest campus in the nation. While that is nice because everything is so spread out and nice to look at, it is a long walk to and from some classes. I guess that means more time to spend checking out the ladies.”
The university primarily attracts students from in-state, and students
say that the population can be lacking in terms of diversity. A senior who identifies
herself as Asian-American writes, “There is no ethnic diversity at Tech. Some minority students feel that they stand out a lot.”
The majority of students are Caucasian, straight, middle- and upper -class conservatives, but those who don't embody these traits
won’t be ostracized. “There's not really any sort of discrimination between the students at Tech,” states a junior journalism major. “They're surprisingly open-minded most of the time.”
Tech has major offerings to fit any student’s
academic ambition. Undergrads say the workload varies by major, but in general people don't seem to get too bogged down until around test weeks and finals. Like at most large
universities, the classes at Tech are huge at first. The hundreds of
students in gen-eds and intro classes dwindle to around 20 or 30 for
upper-division classes, so becoming friendly with a professor takes a little
extra effort on the part of undergrads. “Professors at Tech are very likely to know your name if you take the time to actually remember theirs," explains a senior marketing major. "By taking a couple minutes the first days of class to introduce yourself, most professors will go out of their way to remember it and remember you.”
Sports are huge at Tech, especially football and basketball.
Students, alumni, and Lubbock townies flock to campus on game days to tailgate
and root on the Red Raiders. A senior communications major says, “There is a ton of that 'Red Raider pride' amongst students and alums. Before every home game the Saddle Tramps wrap the Will Rogers statue (right in front of campus) with red streamers and wrap students' cars that are parked around campus. It gets us fired up for the games.”
Exuberant school pride is a Texas Tech signature, though some complain
that fans can be a little too unruly and that the reputation of reckless, rowdy Tech
fans often proves to be true.
There are hundreds of clubs and activities to choose from at
Tech, but most popular are the Greek houses and intramural sports. Greek
life is a dominant social force at Texas Tech, and the students involved rave
about the benefits. Some say they can see an obvious separation between Greek
and non-Greek students, though others don’t allow the letters to define their social lives: “Though I am not Greek, I do enjoy attending their various events," says a sophomore involved in theater and volleyball. "They normally throw fun organized parties that are a great way to meet new people and have a good time.” There are intramural sports to entertain non-varsity athletes year round,
from basketball and flag football to inner-tube water polo.
Lubbock provides a surfeit of college nightlife opportunities for those looking to take a break from campus. Bars, restaurants, and stores are all
within a short walk or drive, and students learn to love their west Texas
home since it’s the only big-ish city for many miles around. Complaints about
Lubbock usually refer to the smell (owing to nearby cow pastures) and weather
that can swing 40 degrees overnight and unload every type of precipitation under the sun. Students say the town feels like an extension of the
university and that the locals are always welcoming. “If you come from a big city, you're probably used to hearing honking while driving," remarks a freshman from Austin. "The people in Lubbock hardly know what a car horn is. Nevertheless, you'll always see a smile on their faces.”
With its overflowing school spirit, diverse academic offerings, and healthy dose
of southern hospitality, Texas Tech provides a lively environment for a four-year stay.