Vincent A. '17
Jun 6 2017
Posted in: Miscellaneous
Right before an exam at MIT, I usually spend ten minutes walking down Mass Ave, from Random Hall to wherever the exam will be held. A lot of times, it’s an exam I’m nervous about. In past years, the class average was probably something like a 50% (I’m looking at you 6.046). There’ll be a great time constraint on difficult problems, and an attendant pressure building in my head that goes something like this:
You’ll have to be real creative real fast, or else you can watch your grade plummet.
It’s mostly nerves. Just the brain talking too much, overthinking things, playing out worst-case scenarios. At some point, I learned to just not pay it any attention. In those ten minutes before I’m scribbling away, I put my headphones on and I play some Taylor Swift. My go-to stress-relief jam is usually Shake It Off, and after several hums of “I shake it off, shake it off, I, I, I…”, I’m bobbing my head and feeling better already. It’s largely the lyrics, but it’s also the vehicle of the... read the post »
Jun 5 2017
With several of the core General Institute Requirements out of the way, sophomore year was really the dawn of my computer science life at MIT. Impostor syndrome started to take a backseat, and taking CS classes I enjoyed and did reasonably well in was a confidence booster. Soon enough though, I had to start thinking about internships, and I couldn’t help but feel the creeping approach of “not-enough"ness.
As career fair drew closer, resume workshops and interview tips began to dominate my inbox. Companies were hosting multitudes of events on campus, drawing us in with tech talks and lotteries for electronic swag, which we could usually enter by submitting a resume. I didn’t have a resume, and when I solicited some sample resumes from my friends, a clear difference emerged. On theirs: Github repositories populated with a multitude of extracurricular code, polished websites, sophisticated projects. On mine: a spatter of somewhat relevant classes and side projects I felt were too... read the post »
Apr 27 2017
Posted in: Life & Culture
Just across the street from Random Hall, less than two minutes away, is Beantown Taqueria, a cozy Mexican Restaurant with delightfully spicy tacos and a reliably lively crowd at 2 A.M. on the weekends. It’s a place so readily frequented by my floor that we have a stash of Beantown coupons attached to one of our refrigerators and an entire system for tracking transaction flow whenever someone covers another in regular mass Beantown outings.
So you can imagine how big a deal it was for us when the restaurant recently introduced a new kind of delicacy--the memelord burrito--which is indeed, as heavenly as it sounds.
It was introduced to Beantown by Lilly Chin, an MIT senior. Earlier this year, she won the Jeopardy College Championship, alongside a whopping $100,000, and rolled into internet fame with her final Jeopardy answer. At this point in the game, she'd been guaranteed to win no matter what, and subsequently decided to grace us with a noteworthy memeable moment,... read the post »
Feb 5 2017
Posted in: Miscellaneous
Every day, we began in the same place. The bathroom, where we reluctantly washed off the vestiges of sleep at 5 A.M., and prepared for the day. We had bathrooms on every floor of the dorm building, and they all looked the same. Long, white corridors—white tiles, white ceilings, white walls, white fluorescent lights—facing six bathroom stalls. The first six people to wake up filled the stalls, and from them, a queue emerged. We went to the bathroom on our floor, found the guy at the end of the shortest queue, and mumbled to him, “After you”, a way of securing our spot. When it was our turn, we hopped into the stall, emerging about five minutes later (take any longer, and we would pound the door, threatening to drag you out naked). Unlike most other boarding schools in the country, the system of stalls meant we thankfully (mostly) never saw each other naked.
Invariably, each morning, we went from the bathrooms to the dining hall.
It was a single large hall on the top floor... read the post »
Jan 30 2017
Some lessons, we learn by virtue of way of life. They’re the kind of lessons that unfold not from pulpits or pedestals, but emerge from the simplicity of daily routine, implicit enough to be anything but noteworthy.
Grades seven to twelve of my education in Nigeria were spent in a boarding school in the country’s capital. Mirroring Nigeria’s religious demographic, we were roughly equal proportions Christian and Muslim. Each day, the Muslim students and staff would gather under the roof of a building opposite our hostels and classes for prayer. And each Sunday, the Christian students would turn one of the classrooms into a makeshift church, often headed by our religious studies teacher.
For these six years in a cozy but fenced-off location, our lives were defined by boarding school routine. Early morning wakeups led to grumbling sounds and shuffling feet; a reluctant shower was followed by breakfast (the opinion of the quality of our dining hall varied, depending on who you asked... read the post »