- Class: Sophomore
- Major: Engineering
- Gender: F
- High School: Northside College Preparatory High School
- Transfer Student: N
The best thing about MIT is the huge diversity of people here. There are students here from all over the world and it's a learning experience to get to know about how other students work and live when they're not from your big city / small town. Also, the professors are pretty a-ma-zing here. They definitely live up to the hype and then some. Also another plus: the most competitive thing about MIT is getting in. Once you're in, everyone is so helpful and willing to help you with whatever problem (homework or real life) may come up. Thing I'd change? I think it'd be great if we had a "reading period" to prep for finals, like Harvard does. It would make it less stressful for sure. But then again, I like getting out earlier, and I would probably blow all of that gained time doing something not related to studying for finals. So I would change the shuttle times. It gets unreliable sometimes and it makes me late for class. Pretty annoying. This school isn't huge. I personally think it's a great size. I know a good amount of people in my class (year), and it never feels overwhelming. But there's enough people to where you can blend in the crowd, if that's your thing too. Great size. When I say I go to MIT, I get the "omG you LIEZ" response. Then I get the "whoa, so that must mean you're a genius" response. I don't lie and I'm no genius, there's still tons left for me to learn. MIT keeps whatever ego I might have in severe check. Just as soon as it starts to creep out, here comes a test grade, or here comes an impossible problem set. So while responses are usually very flattering and all, and it does make me proud, I don't let it get to my head. I've done very well here so far with this mentality, and by the off-chance that you're reading this and you're a valedictorian at your high school, I'll tell you this now to save you tears later. You being valedictorian at your high school means crap here. You pulling straight A's in every class you ever took means even more crap here. You'll be overwhelmed like you've never been before. You'll have to (gasp!) ask for help with your work. No one will care how many AP's you took in high school. You'll more than likely fail a test or two (if you're lucky, only a test or two) before you graduate. Guaranteed. But how do you respond when you do? That's the most telling part of whether or not you belong here. I wasn't a valedictorian at my high school, but my high school was tops in the state and I was above average there. It's translated very well to MIT. My transcript would prove that easily - high school and college. Advice: come in with a clean slate and a humble attitude, and with a killer work ethic, and you'll be amazing. It's not impossible to get A's here. Hard, sure, but not impossible. Most of my time on campus I'm just hanging out in my dorm working there. Or I'm in my department's lounge working with other aero/astro masochis-- erm, students. :) If you looked up "college town" in the dictionary (wouldn't that be something?) you would probably find a miniature Boston map next to it. Boston decreases by a quarter million in population over the summer. I'll leave that explanation up to you. MIT's administration is very good in my opinion. They have to deal with so much crap, and yet they do it pretty seamlessly for the most part. When I came back for my sophomore year, I had changed my mind about my major, and the switch wasn't hard at all. It's all very smooth for the most part, never had a problem. The biggest recent controversy here?... Probably the thing with Marilee Jones last year. There was a lot of disappointment with how that all went down, and a lot of people I knew were sad that MIT had to let her go. But such is life sometimes... School pride, it depends. I think we're all proud to be here, but with sports? Personally I don't think our sports are advertised that well. I never know when there are any games. Makes it hard to "show off" my school pride. But you definitely see a lot of MIT gear being worn all the time. That has to count for something, right? Something unusual about MIT: the architecture. Some of it is just absolutely awesome (the Dome in particular is a terrific sight on a beautiful day, especially across Memorial Drive). Some of it is weird (Simmons, Stata, Kresge). But at least we keep it interesting, and we don't have boring little red brick buildings that are all indistinguishable from each other... cough, Harvard, cough. :) One experience I'll always remember: frat party hopping with my girls freshman year. Great times. Also, nothing spells bonding like working until 5-6 in the morning on a problem set, then taking a stroll at that time to go turn it in (and still seeing some people up doing who knows what). Most frequent student complaints? Having to write essays for humanities classes. Well, what do you expect? We're freaking MIT students. Much love for those majoring in humanities though. You guys have all my respect.
Some professors know my name, some don't. But that's mostly on each individual student to make that relationship happen. For the most part, profs are very approachable and friendly. I'm working on improving myself in this regard. My favorite class that I'm taking this semester is my Bioethics class. A class that debates issues like abortion, active and passive euthanasia, and issues in morality when it comes to things like cloning and the such - it's a very cool class that makes you really think about some issues that you probably only glance over. Some other really good classes I've taken: a Comparative Media Studies class featuring professional wrestling (I got to meet JR and Mick Foley, how awesome is that? Mick even signed my book and let me take a picture! very cool), my psychology class last year was great, especially after AP Psych, and I also thoroughly enjoyed the intro calculus classes here. Yes, I'm a math nerd, and proud of it. Least favorite class: biology. I hate biology. Sorry if you like it - someone has to. Just not me. But it's a core requirement here so I'm currently in it. Sigh. How often do students study? I can't speak for everyone, but I hit the books at least 4 days a week, most of the time 5 or 6. I take the weekends light (in other words, we just got Rock Band in my dorm and now my schedule's been rearranged a little bit). Anyways, I need to be more productive. Like reading up on aerodynamics instead of rambling on this site, for one. Class participation isn't great but it's not horrible. Eventually people start to open up, it's not that big of a deal here. We most definitely have intellectual conversations outside of class. Not all the time, but we do talk about ideas. It's interesting to hear what other people have to say about something like String Theory. We definitely engage the material on our own. That's not ALL we talk about but sometimes it's cool to see what other people are learning and to expand your own mind a bit. Are students competitive? Of course, but mostly with each other. It's a very helpful atmosphere here. Extremely helpful. Most unique class I've taken was my pro wrestling class. We looked at the history and evolution of pro wrestling and had lots of speakers come in to talk to us. Great times. I'm currently in aero/astro engineering. It's a great department, very intense though. The workload is definitely hard, and not for the weak. Our intro class weeds out pretenders, as well it should -- it's a 24-unit class that fuses four disciplines together under one subject. You better believe it's hard as hell. I love it though. It's definitely for me. The people in it are also very down to earth and very chill, and so we all slave away together. I personally love MIT's academic requirements (except for the bio part, because I hate bio). I think it gives a solid technical foundation for you, even if you go to some humanities major (there's nothing wrong with that, we have good offerings). The core classes in particular are awesome because you take them your freshman year with all your classmates, and you make friendships that will stand for a long time that way. The thing MIT gives you (besides a shiny brass rat and a piece of paper that flies a long way) that I find the most useful is the ability to learn and adapt to whatever situation comes up in front of you. We're problem solvers in one way or another, and we learn how to handle things when they get overwhelming, and we do it with a level head since MIT has beaten the ego right out of us. I think that's almost more important than the actual formulas and all of those things; we learn how to think here, and you can't put a price tag on that.
The Best Things
The people you meet; you make friends for life
The Worst Things
It's tough and it's way too far away from my family