Jun 28, 2008
Posted in: Academics & Research
My sister graduated college a few weeks ago, which meant two things: 1) I learned the Latin word "vincimus", which means "We conquer" and sounds like a house elf from Harry Potter and 2) my parents, who were in town for the ceremonies, turned to me with their eyebrows raised six inches straight off their foreheads and went, "And what are YOU going to do after you graduate?"
Two years seems like a lifetime to me, although I can't begin to tell you how quickly these past two years have gone by. So I understand if you feel like the time from now to when you graduate will probably take a little longer than Pangea did to separate. Whether you've pre-written your life story or are like me and have very little idea of what you're going to eat for lunch today (update post-lunch: a salad), the Next Big Mailing represents a lot of decisions you'll have to make for the future, and a lot of those decisions involve advising.
When I received the NBM two years ago, I spent just about all my time with the housing booklet. I took that thing to classes and bragged to my friends about how my school wasn't going to stick me with a random roommate like their schools would, roommates that probably had a weird habit of chewing up furniture, or a third leg. I spent weeks debating the pros and cons of Burton Conner vs. Senior Haus, and in retrospect, very little time thinking about advising. Anthony tried to steer me away from this, telling me to go for a seminar rather than traditional, with an adviser that taught in a field I was interested in. Seminars, he said, were ideal, since you'd get to meet and interact with your adviser every week. But this advice was lost on me in the multitude of options - seminar or traditional, residence based advising or regular, not to mention Experimental Study Group, which has its own set of advisers entirely.. the different combinations seemed more like a Sudoku puzzle than a major decision.
There are a lot of advising options for freshmen, and it's very easy to get overwhelmed among all the choices you have to make when starting your first year of college, but my point is this: don't stress out about picking the correct adviser. The advice you need to make good choices will be there if you look for it, and you won't always necessarily feel most comfortable looking to the person who is supposed to give it to you, even if you spend all the time in the world making sure you have the perfect seminar in the perfect department.
That being said- and I promise this'll make sense in a bit, it'll just take a second- really, I'm serious, where are you going? COME BACK- last night the bloggers and Ben went out for dinner to celebrate his last day as a MIT employee.
Nance (who was invited as well for his send-off, but was unable to attend) often tells the story of how, upon arriving at MIT, someone said to him, "Welcome to the family. It doesn't matter if you were born in [as a student], or married in [as an employee]; you're family." Still, there's one thing that those who married in don't get at the end of their time here - a degree. And so Paul had the brilliant idea to make them their own MIT degrees, which we personalized a bit:
Here's a close-up of my design, so you can read the text:
[As a disclaimer to future harried applicants: MIT Admissions uses Facebook in no way to stalk prospective students.]
We made one for Nance as well, and Matt got a little jealous:
All in all, it was a fun time - Keri and Ben made the famous Keri face, and I got to eat some of Snively's fries - because for some reason, even though he was HALF AN HOUR LATE, he got his food first (seriously, Cheesecake Factory, what is up with that):
The beginning of this entry does have a point, however, other than to show off my newfound Latin knowledge, and to dispel a little admissions advice - I'm signing the card. The advice I got from Ben Jones over the last two years has been absolutely invaluable to me, and I will sorely miss the guy who always gave good answers. I would not be the person I am today if not for Ben's vibrant personality and his talent for words, as both my unofficial adviser and my friend, and I'm eternally grateful for everything he's done for me and the institute.
We'll miss you, Ben. Best of luck.