- Class: Senior
- Major: Chemistry
- Gender: F
- High School: Hathaway Brown, Shaker Heights, OH
- Transfer Student: N
There are a lot of unusual things about MIT that few people know. One of the best, in my opinion, is the amount of freedom the students are allowed to have. It seems like the higher-ups trust us to take care of ourselves. There are many dorms where you are allowed to paint the walls however you want, have cats, and generally you're allowed much more privacy than in many of the other college dorms I've visited. Another unusual aspect of the social scene is that there's a pretty pronounced split between "east campus" and "west campus". The personalities of the living communities are very different, allowing you to make a choice about the type of college experience you want to have - its almost as if they're two different colleges. The east campus culture is very well-developed; it's a great community, and a lot of fun. I don't know much about west campus. MIT is very challenging. While I loved the experience, you're definitely going to learn to manage your time, and you're going to have to learn to relax to some extent. MIT will teach you, above all, that you can't do everything perfect, and you're not the most clever person in the universe. Cambridge is a great place to spend time, and there are so many other college students in the area - Boston is almost like one huge college itself. If you manage to get out much, you can meet so meet a lot of great people; more than you could expect of most college towns.
Your academic experience at MIT depends a lot on your major. I started out as a Course 1 (Civil and Environmental Engineering) major, and the classes were extremely small, though they were sometimes frustratingly disorganized. When I switched to Course 5 (Chemistry), the classes became much larger, but the lesson plans were well thought out, and I knew more of my classmates. MIT is too large, in general, for your professors to know you if you're not going to make an effort. You can definitely slip by unnoticed, or you can choose to be extremely involved in your department - organizing events, doing undergraduate research, and spending a lot of time asking questions and becoming familiar with your professors. Like many other aspects of MIT, its mostly left up to you; there is a lot of independence and responsibility - no one is going to look after you, which is usually a good thing.
My experience with the students at MIT has been mostly positive. I don't think there are many students that would feel out of place here, as it is an amazingly accepting community. Pretty much any eccentricity you could have, no one would mind. We're used to it. Or, you can choose to be pretty normal (a normie, even) and you can have friends, too! Another great thing about the MIT student body is that you won't find as many "rich kids" here. Its definitely a bit more diverse as far as financial backgrounds go than many other prestigious schools. I should add that MIT is much less politically aware than a lot of other colleges - I'm not sure why that is, but its quite pronounced. People don't know much about current events. However, they tend to be pretty liberal, and talk reasonably intelligently about political issues, when they happen to come up.
The Best Things
There are a lot of interesting people creating amazing things everywhere.
The Worst Things
Sometimes there is a lot of pressure, and teachers aren't always understanding.