MIT Admissions

Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Michael C. '16

Nov 29 2014

Who needs Black Friday anyway?

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Life & Culture

^"Every patch is a memory, every tear has a tale. These are the stories we wear." - Worn Wear

Buying new stuff is fun. It provides that instant rush of novelty that consumerism thrives on.

And hey, I’m not immune. But there’s also something sentimental about celebrating stuff you already have. It becomes part of you.

My favorite (and well-used) fleece or puffy jacket will always remind me of certain backpacking trips in the Sierras, or favorite climbs in Yosemite. Gear becomes attached to specific memories and stories, the same way that a certain song can conjure up memories of middle school.

That’s something that a shiny new parka will never provide.

Yesterday, instead of lining up at midnight for the Black Friday frenzy and buying new stuff, I decided to take a different approach. I first went with my friend Emily Y. '15 to a Worn Wear gear swap hosted by the local Patagonia (you may have heard of their prominent anti-Black Friday ads). Later I dropped by the local... read the post »


Nov 22 2014

10 reasons why MIT is beautiful

Posted in: Best of the Blogs, Miscellaneous

Sometimes MIT gets a bum rap for not having a pretty campus.  I disagree. Sure, we may not have brick buildings and ivy-covered walls.  But we have wacky (modern? postmodern?) buildings, the best river views in Cambridge, and a whole lot more. 

So without further ado, 10 reasons why MIT is beautiful:

(1) Because I get to see this view every day walking home after class:

(2) Because even the Infinite (Corridor) has an ending.

(3) Because in between classes, I might eat lunch in Killian Court...

(4) ...or take a walk by the boathouse:

(5) I'd show you sailing photos, but I'm not confident enough in my abilities to bring electronics on board.  So here's the boathouse from another angle:

(6) Because sometimes you look up and nothing makes sense:

(7) Because engineering can be colorful:

^from 2.008 Design and Manufacturing II.  I'll write about the final product soon!

(8) Because we get cool toys to play with in class:

^a Form1+ we used in... read the post »


Nov 20 2014

This is my spork.

Posted in: Miscellaneous

There are many like it, but this one is mine.

My spork has been high into the mountains, across desert islands, into Stata Cafe, and everywhere in between.


It’s been used to eat freeze-dried backpacking meals, ice cream, Shin ramen, and sous-vide’d New York strip streaks.

Today I used it to pry a Simmons window shut when the handle failed.

My spork is titanium, light, and little. But what’s not little is the hundreds of disposable plastic utensils I'm not throwing into landfills, because of one simple choice.

Living an examined life starts with the small things. For me, a love of wild and beautiful places demands participation in the fight to save them, and to help reverse the steep decline in the overall environmental health of our planet. Take the #RefuseSingleUse pledge here!

(thanks to Lydia for the, uh, blog challenge to "write about a single object")


Nov 14 2014

I’m studying poetry to be a better engineer, and this is why

Posted in: Academics & Research

^Earthrise, 1968.

This semester, I’ve read over 160 poems, spent 30 hours in class analyzing those poems, and written 5000 words on a few dozen verses. I’ve pored over meter and rhythm, imagery and enjambments, em-dashes and alliteration.


There is a good argument to be made that art for art’s sake is reason enough. As Robin Williams said in Dead Poets Society, “Poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for…That you are here - that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse.”

I’m not going to make that argument. Instead, I’ll start with a thought that passed through my mind the other day:

Poetry is important for the same reason that a bullet is destructive.

Perhaps I should elaborate.

A bullet is not destructive because of the force behind it. (If it were, by Newton’s Third Law the recoil would have an equally deadly effect on the shooter). A bullet is destructive because that force is concentrated... read the post »


Oct 17 2014

How do you know when you’ve chosen the right major?

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Academics & Research

Sometimes I get so engaged by a project that I forget to eat.

Yesterday, I woke up at 7:35am.  Starving, I got a sandwich to-go at the Student Center and then trudged off to the basement of Building 35. Along with my friend Sally M. '16, I spent the next few hours CNC machining two rectangular aluminum blanks into a pair of finely detailed molds and then finetuning injection molding parameters to create some beautiful clear yoyo bodies.

My sandwich lay forgotten until well past noon.

How do you know if you've chosen a major that fits you? Fit is a fuzzy concept, hard to quantify or plot. But this is what it means to me:

Fit is having at least one class per year that I really, really, really look forward to. A class that I wake up thinking about and work late into the night for, not because it's required but simply because it's so interesting.

Fit is finding people who share my passion for design - who see it as so much more than just an aesthetic wrapper, but rather as... read the post »