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Yuliya K. '18

Mar 13, 2017

In Anticipation of Pi Day 2017

Posted in: Best of the Blogs, Miscellaneous, Freshman Applicants, International Applicants, Process & Statistics

Dear MIT Protofrosh,

If I had a time machine, I’d travel to my senior year of high school. I’d tell myself not to worry about college admissions.

I was a staunch planner back in high school, one of those people who knew exactly what they want to do with life. I was terrified of the unknown. And not getting into the “right” college meant that the future was suddenly the unknown.

So if I had a time machine, I’d tell myself that dreams change. I’m not a Math major, as I had planned. I found a different field to love, Political Science, and thinking of my thesis experiment now keeps me up at night. The Political Science department here is excellent, but three years ago, I wouldn’t think MIT was the “right” college to major in social science.

If I had studied social science prior to college, perhaps I would not have applied to MIT, but rather a college that was “right” for the field. And I would have overlooked the Institute that was right for me—the one where I am unafraid to experiment, where I can always find support for new ventures, and where I can combine my interests in STEM and liberal arts. In another place, perhaps I wouldn’t have dared to turn my dreams upside down and study something I had no prior experience in. I would’ve gone to the “right” college for the wrong reasons.

So why write about this on 03/13? Tomorrow, you are going to be able to access your admissions decisions. And if the response is negative, you might think you simply weren’t good enough for MIT and that now you won’t ever achieve your dreams. But I’d like to tell you this: eventually, you will get to the place that is right for you, not just because of merit, but also because of fit. And the MIT decision does not reflect your worth, since you likely qualified just by applying. You are a part of the MIT protofrosh community, and so I know that you will be ok.

Let me illustrate how fit is more important merit with the following “proof” by contradiction: consider how we perceive our admission to an “elite” college: MIT accepted = succeeded; MIT not accepted = failed. Or, more generally, consider how you perceive your acceptance into the three “tiers” of schools: reach, match, and safety (the popular division). You’d probably be disappointed if you couldn’t get into your “match” school, right?

During my senior year, I didn’t technically select schools to apply to in the College Board-recommended “tiered” manner, but I had a sense of how my applications could be sorted into reach/match/safety-ish. I did not get into my “match” school. I did not get into some of my “reach” schools. But I got into MIT.

I’d felt compelled to apply to the "match" school because it seemed like the “right” place for what I wanted to do. But somehow, the Admissions office knew I wouldn’t fit in. It was liberating for me to understand why I didn’t get into the "match," and I hope this story helps you think of your own decision tomorrow, regardless of what it is.

If you get in, know that you will find your place, even if right now you’re unsure you can handle the challenge. Otherwise, know that you do not need to take it personally. If it helps you, think, in the most cliché way possible, “It’s not you; it’s MIT.”

In the meantime, I hope you take the time to breathe. Tomorrow isn’t the day your life will change forever. Enjoy 03/14.

Lastly, I have compiled some randomly sorted links from other bloggers who have written about Pi Day or things you can do to relax. I highly recommend reading their perspectives. We all want to wish you the best, and we all say it in diffferent ways. 

Hope to see you in the discussion threads tomorrow. Comment below or email me if you need immediate support.

Have a wonderful day, MIT PROTOFROSH CLASS OF 2021!!!

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