MIT Admissions

Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Selam G. '18

May 25 2018

Designing a Calculator with FSM Logic

Posted in: Miscellaneous



My friend Robert V. '20 is a Course 6-3 (Computer Science) sophomore, the MIT African Students' Association's webmaster, and has TA'd an interesting IAP class called 6.148, a web development class and competition. He's a really smart guy, and I found out about this cool post he put up on Medium and asked if I could reformat it and post it to the blogs. Robert is passionate about web design and development, and is also really great at teaching. He's always the first person that many of our Course 6 freshman friends reach out to for help in their introductory courses. Robert lives in Maseeh Hall, was born in Goma and grew up in Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I hope you enjoy his post as much as I did! 


As far as I can tell, making a calculator is a classic first time programmer’s challenge. So, as I was helping some of my fellow underclassmen learn web dev, I suggested making a calculator! For best practice purposes, I also suggested starting off... read the post »


May 14 2018

MIT Moms

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Today I wanted to thank a very special person in my life, someone who is still the smartest person I know, and who I wouldn’t be here without:

My Mom

mom and I in Shanghai!

Yesterday was Mother’s Day, so I thought this would be an especially good time to recognize my mom for her importance in my life and at MIT. We all talk about a lot of stuff happening around campus, but for many students, family is still a huge part of their lives, even if they live an ocean away. I call my mother at least once a week, and probably more frequently depending on how stressed out I am....

...and she has become intimately familiar with the different stresses, nuances, and vibrant culture of MIT life through my phone calls.

My mom has always been my strongest advocate, and pushed me to be a better version of myself. She helped me tremendously academically, and tutored my brother and I from preschool all the way through AP Physics C in high school (which I found to be one of few high... read the post »


May 4 2018

it’s ok that it’s not ok

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Content Note: This post contains mentions of death, depression, and anxiety.  


In Infinite Jest, which I’ve been reading with a group of MIT students this fall, the characters talk about two types of depression. One is “anhedonia”, or the inability to feel anything, unable to feel happiness or pleasure. It is described as a type of numbness, a numb feeling where a person loses the ability to even understand what happiness is, or how to go about acquiring it.

The other type of depression is psychotic or clinical depression (at least in the ‘90s, when “anhedonia” was probably not considered “enough” to be clinical) in which a person feels actively bad all the time. They feel awful, no matter what they do--just standing, or sitting, or doing work. They don’t simply feel unable to feel happiness; they are in acute anguish in all the small tasks of daily life.

The more I read this description, which is provided by the narrator via a depressed character, Kate Gompert, in the... read the post »


Apr 20 2018

The Muti Water Project

Posted in: Best of the Blogs, Miscellaneous

If some of you have been reading the blogs for a while, then you may know about the Muti Water Project, an initiative I had been busy working on since my sophomore year. I worked to design and build a longer lasting water source for a town, Muti, in my father's home province, Kafa, where he went to middle school and where some of my relatives still live today.

I've written two blogs about it already, “A Story About Muti” and “Why is There No Water”. This was a long, arduous process, seriously affected by not only logistics, weather, and funding, but also politics. Several months of delays occurred due to the state of emergency announcement in Ethiopia in 2016. (You can get the full story in those two blog posts + this podcast).

But finally, against many odds, the well is actually finished!!!!



Photos of the well I received from our contractor (finishing touches of concrete being placed!)


It was actually finished some months ago (last semester, November 2017)... read the post »


Apr 8 2018

[email protected]: The Accra Experiment

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Emmanuel A. ‘18 is a member of my own class year (as is Pelkins A ‘18, who I covered last week) and therefore someone I’ve interacted with a lot while at MIT, from freshman orientation until now. I did not have the privilege of sharing a class with him, but we would meet at all our different community events and (of course) occasionally when working on psets at the student center. Emmanuel is also highly active in the African community at MIT, serving as Vice President of the African Students’ Association and the President of Sakata Afrique, an African dance team at MIT (trust me, he’s got some sick moves!)


Emmanuel and other members of Sakata Afrique, in a photoshoot to publicize their spring show, "AfroShake"


When I first sat down to talk to Emmanuel, that feeling of responsibility I’d observed across so many people was there again, unquestioning.

“I mean, you know, giving back,” he said simply and nonchalantly, and went on to describe his ongoing project in... read the post »