The academics part completely depends on the department you study in and the faculties who handle your subjects. If you are stuck with people who think providing more marks in an exam motivates the student to study well, you will grow up to become one of those who thinks it is cool to hate engineering. On the other hand, if you have people who actually motivate you to learn engineering and makes you realise your actual potential, these will be the best 4 years in your life.
All departments have research scholars. Choose your mentors wisely. Every department have planned sessions on topics related to their departments. Never miss those sessions to know what you are actually interested in (In case you haven't figured that out already).
Life at SASTRA purely depends on whether you are a day-scholar or a hosteler. My personal advice would be to choose to stay in hostel though your live nearby. The things you learn in your hostel will help you more in your life than the things you learn in your classrooms. Choose your roommates wisely. Also better be ready to lead a rather rough life with frequent power cuts, water scarcity, inedible food, unclean bathrooms and toilets and some highly irritating late night romantics.
There are some stupid rules that might seem irritating initially, but once you get used, they won't matter much. There are a few hostel wardens who think they own you just because they have the attendance register. Though you frequently get the uncontrollable feeling of punching them in the face, never argue with them or else they will do their best to make your life miserable.
There is the inevitable krishna canteen which sells absolutely delicious food at prices you can't even imagine. And canopy which also sells food but preferred mostly by couples as the food here is costlier and the place looks cooler.
Department fests, technical fests, cultural fests, though not as fancy and magnanimous as the other famous colleges, they do try their best to make it a hit and it does become one mostly. If you are talented enough and are friends with the previous organisers, you have a slight chance of making it to the organising team.
Vist the link www.sastra.edu for more information