MIT Admissions

Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Anna H. '14

Jul 15 2016

This is where my decisions have taken me

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Academics & Research, Majors & Minors

“Einen Faden in die Hand nehmen, der in jedem Fall, unter allen Umständen weiterläuft, an dem man sich, wenn es not tut, halten kann…”
“To take in one’s hand a thread which continues always and through all circumstances, to which one can hold tight, when necessary…”
- from Nachdenken über Christa T. (The Quest for Christa T.) by Christa Wolf

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I used to think of decision-making as a complicated optimization problem. There was some quantity I wanted to maximize (say, my happiness, or the good I could do for the world) and would maximize, if I could only be prescient enough to solve for the best combination of choices. Once solved for, I could plan my future by laying these decisions out in front of me; once in place, I could follow them where I wanted to go. 

So there I was one afternoon at MIT, talking to Dumbledore in his office, outlining the pros and cons of some decision. I guess my anxiety gave away my obsession with getting it all exactly right.... read the post »


Dec 1 2014

One new blog, three post-college thoughts

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Hello from Barcelona! I'm here for an astronomy conference. (You may be wondering: who is this girl and why is she talking about astronomy? Does she even go here? The answer is no, I don't go here, BUT I used to. I graduated in June 2014. Now I do astronomy research at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany.) 

Some news from me: I have a new blog now. Here it is

and now, here are three thoughts from The Other Side of college: one on where I live, one on what I do on public transportation and in bed, and one on what I do at work.

on where I live -

It's nice to feel like I live in a city, instead of feeling like I live on a campus. While I was at MIT, I found myself wondering how long it would take me and my fellow undergrads to notice if all of Boston and Cambridge vanished into thin air. So much of our lives revolved around activities, people, and buildings in those 170-ish acres: we not only studied there, we lived there, and I think that an... read the post »


Aug 12 2014

Perspectives from Deutschland

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Guten Tag from Deutschland! I’m writing this from my dorm room at the University of Marburg. In the morning, I will walk for twenty minutes to my German language class, down a steep hill with a beautiful view of the Altstadt (Old Town) and the 14th century Landgrave Castle. Then I'll pass the train station, cross the Lahn river, and enter a building across the street from the 13th century St. Elizabeth’s Church. It’s pretty surreal.

I was a blogger until very recently, so hopefully you haven’t forgotten me, but here’s a quick review: I majored in physics and graduated in June. I’m currently on a one-year Fulbright Scholarship in Germany. After this, I’ll move back to the US for graduate school in astronomy at Caltech. While at MIT I did research on pulsars, which are violently exotic stellar corpses that emit two beams of radio light and spin around like lighthouses. Here in Germany, I’m switching wavelengths and subject matter: I’ll be using infrared data to learn how the Milky... read the post »


Jul 31 2014

Why I wasn’t sad to leave MIT

Posted in: Best of the Blogs, Miscellaneous, Life & Culture

This isn’t really a “last blog post,” since I’m sure that every now and then I’ll swing by to give an update on life from the other side. It’s more of an “I now live a post-MIT life and therefore my weekly updates do not belong on the MIT admissions website” post. At least, that's what I'm saying to comfort myself.☺

Since graduating, I’ve been thinking a lot about two questions: why I wasn’t sad to leave MIT, and why I was keen to leave the Boston area for graduate school. I think that those two questions have the same answer.

When I arrived as a freshman, I signed up for a zillion clubs (it would be indecent to say just how many) and agonized over choosing a major. I was worried that making decisions would lead to becoming narrow-minded. Wasn’t it good to be interested in everything? And to then pursue everything all at once? MIT’s answer was yeah, kid! go ahead and pursue it all, and see what happens.

Here’s what happened: once Pass/No Record was over, I felt like I was on... read the post »


Jul 17 2014

IAP in China through MIT’s China Development Initiative

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Life & Culture

IAP 2013 was a logistical (and medical) nightmare but a fantastic adventure.

I broke my big toe into a bunch of pieces, then flew home to London for winter break, then flew back to Boston and got an x-ray at MIT Medical. After the x-ray, MIT Medical forgot I was there (I realized something was probably wrong after I had been sitting alone in the x-ray room for over twenty minutes...) so the doctor left and I wasn't able to get the results. Oh well. Next, I spent a week in California at my first astronomy conference, then flew back to Boston (I got the results of my x-ray this time) and onwards to China. When I got back to MIT at the beginning of February and classes began, I wrote a summary about my adventures and was full of ambitions to write all about my time in China. I guess I got distracted by zumba and not-zumba, though, because after  publishing Saul’s guest blog post about (extensive) MIT-supported China travels, I realized that I never wrote about mine.

Mine began on... read the post »