Of course I'm bias
ed here as a Virginia Tech Hokie
, but I'll try to generalize and maybe defend my school a little bit too.
One of the things I heard before I came to Tech as a freshman in 1997 was about how much of a community Tech was. I figured "Sure, OK, that's cool; other schools are probably like that too." And some schools are. But most of the ones I've seen that are as close-knit as VT are small schools (like 1000-1500), where most of the students know each other personally. Some say it's the isolation of this place, way out in the boonies of southwest Virginia, and maybe it is -- whatever the reason, though, being a Hokie isn't just going to classes, having an @vt.edu e-mail address, and spending six fine days per fall in Lane Stadium. It's a mindset.
No, Tech didn't turn your friends into assholes (at least, I hope they didn't become assholes once they got here). Not snobs either -- we leave that job to UVa, because they're really good at it. :) It's really a question of where your, and your friends', closer associations lie. I lost touch with most of my high school friends when I came here -- I've only kept in touch with three or four people (plus my roommate, a HS classmate) from GSGIS through the years, and honestly, that break happened fairly quickly once I got here. I felt like Tech was really my home now (even though I remain a Richmonder), and most of my close friendships quickly became with fellow VT students.
When I've gone back for alumni picnics at my old HS, though, it's like some people never left that environment -- they spend all their college time with their HS friends, even after they've gone their separate directions, so the picnics are just a continuation of social life as it stands every day for them. I enjoy the times I spend with my old friends, sure, but they're not the center of my life anymore. My friends here are.