MIT Admissions

Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Laura N. '09

Dec 20, 2007


Posted in: Life & Culture

There is a whiteboard in Ben's office which was apparently once used for admissions work, but for years it has been taken over by students. It is now covered in graffiti such as witty poetry and linear algebra homework, and it changes regularly throughout the year. Currently written on said whiteboard:

"I hate everyone and everything, including you." -Keri
"Name any topic and I'll tell you why I hate it." -Laura
"I will kill you with a bat." -Christina '10
"It must be finals week!" -Ben

Why am I telling you about my bitterness? Because it's an important part of my life. No, really. To all of the recently admitted, and any other hopefuls who are imagining what life might be like here, here is some important information:

Under most conditions, you will love MIT. You will think, "I Have Truly Found Paradise." You will love the living groups and the fact that you get to choose where you live and stay with something like a family for years, and you will love the way that grades are flexible and dependent on the class average because you'll feel that even if the material is hard you're all in it together with your classmates. Then you will go frolic a meadow somewhere with some bunny rabbits, and strangers will give you cookies without razor blades in them for trivial reasons, and life will be a beautiful place.

Under certain other conditions, however, you will hate MIT. HATE IT.

These conditions might be finals week, the weeks before Thanksgiving and spring breaks, and random other times of the year when life explodes in your face.

Currently, I am in one of those conditions. It is finals week, and I hate everything. In fact, I just got back from my last final (meaning I'm technically done for the semester and will be going home tomorrow), and I STILL hate everything. I hate how the living groups work here because I have to live with the same people for years and years and they're all starting to drive me crazy, I hate that my 2.005 final exam came with about half of the necessary thermodynamics equations so I spent a good 15 minutes during the exam trying to remember if the log of the pressures was related to the ideal gas constant or specific heat at constant volume in the equation defining entropy change in an adiabatic process, I hate that the grades are so flexible that I have no idea how well I did in 2.12 despite the fact that I spent hours staring at the course notes until I finally actually understood the concept behind the inertia matrix and how to use in summation form to simplify Lagrange's equations of motion.

In short, I Hate This eFfing Place.

If you come here, you'll have moments when you effing hate it too.

But the hatred will be temporary, and eventually you'll go back to loving the place in just the way that you imagine you will now, just like I will. Check back in with me in 2 weeks- I'll be back on campus taking Italian, and I'll be so much happier than I am now.

But be prepared- because the more you love this place, the more you hate it sometimes.

Just so that you know.

Comments (Closed after 30 days to reduce spam)

first post?

I still hope I get in MIT, no matter how I may hate it during finals week.

Posted by: lirao on December 20, 2007

One question unrelated to the post itself, but the others blog entries are rather clogged up with replies:

There's a place in Part 2 where you "List Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate or GCSE courses taken or under way". For me, I took around 10 GCSE O-levels 2 years ago, and I've taken around 6 GCSE A-levels this year (still waiting for the results). But there are only 12 spots available for use in this form, so which ones should I focus on? I've already mailed in my O-level certificates, so should I discard a few of my O-levels and list down my A-levels instead? Or is there a way to fill in more of these?


Posted by: Lirao on December 20, 2007

yeah me too.

i'll give five years of my life or suchlike to get in

and i kow what you mean laura. I love my school (yes yes bringing on the cliches) but i hate it just as much , well, occasionally...

but then i guess the more you love i place the more you expect it to be perfect and the smallest itsy deviation from perfectness ( voila finals :( ) makes you hate it...

warped theory , yes...
but one that i believe in!

Posted by: Aditi on December 20, 2007

I sorta got that this semester at my school. There were times when I just walked into the quad thinking, "Everything is going my way!" And then there are other times where I was ready to stick a fist through my wall. But, weirdly, experiencing both meanings of IHTFP sounds kinda exciting. I must be crazy.

Posted by: Mike on December 20, 2007

I hope I get in as I can't even eat at the moment with stress!

Posted by: Medvedev on December 20, 2007

Something never changes...anywhere. I went to college in Asia and the finals weeks were unbearable and disorienting. But 20 some years ago, there was no clearly defined word like hate in any dictionaries. So your generation has evolved for better. You can now understand and regulate your emotion.

Enjoy your holiday break, you've earned it, Laura!

Posted by: A parent on December 20, 2007

I have truly found paradise.

Just remember, pain is temporary :-p And since my school switched to a trimester system, exams magically disappeared...why? Don't know...not going to ask, just taking it for it is smile

Posted by: DHowdy on December 20, 2007

Ahahhahahaha hilarious yet so true. And I thought you didn't get into Italian?

Posted by: Harrison on December 20, 2007

Everyone hates finals week raspberry

Posted by: Judy on December 20, 2007

I hope to eFing Pass

I have to flipping pee

I hate tooling four p-sets

is having twelve fingers possible?

Posted by: Xavier on December 20, 2007

Wow. That sounds a lot like my magnet school around our test and finals dates...

Posted by: Pooja on December 20, 2007


Hate comes from love, doesn't it !

Posted by: HappilyNerdy88 on December 20, 2007

the formula that you refer to was actually on the 2.005 aid sheet.. as it was on the 3rd test.. hmm.

Posted by: 0 on December 20, 2007

Finals are the epitimy (sp?) of miserable existance, yes, but think of IAP coming up!
And if I get a fat letter in March, I'll frolic until my legs fall off, hug the strangers with razor-blade-chip cookies, and marry the bunnies.
And I'm perpetuating a rallying cry from another blog, with the hopes of receiving one someday:

Posted by: E Rosser (With Luck) '12 on December 20, 2007

...well this makes me glad I got deferred...

Posted by: 0 on December 20, 2007

I think I'll definitely feel how you feel some point later on, but I'm sure I'm gonna spend more time LOVIN' MIT than hating it. Finals week is only a week anyway... right? =D

Hackers might make Finals week more lovable, hopefully? =)

Posted by: Jing Jing on December 20, 2007

I agree with Jing Jing!

Posted by: Shamarah on December 20, 2007

Even so... I'd still want to be at MIT.
All is fair in love, right? LOL =p

Posted by: 0 on December 20, 2007

sounds like a good place to be....
-sam r.

Posted by: Sam R. on December 20, 2007

Oxymoron, but to me I still dream to attend MIT.

Posted by: HappilyNerdy88 on December 21, 2007

A love-hate relationship with can happen.

Posted by: C-mont on December 21, 2007

you only htfp because I'm gone.

don't even pretend otherwise.

also, we gotta figure out how to hang out over break. for serious. late night diners? GOOD PIZZA? WARM WEATHER? it's like I died and went to heaven. except, I still had to die to get here. just sayin

Posted by: yuki on December 21, 2007

"Hackers might make Finals week more lovable, hopefully? =)"

Hackers have finals too! lol. But what they did with all those games (especially the Scrabble on Media Lab) before finals week was amazing.

Posted by: Oasis on December 21, 2007

Yeah, I unfortunately experienced more of the negative side of IHTFP this first semester - working for things I wouldn't get, failing at everything, not meeting enough people or developing a social network, living in a place that may have been wrong for me (well, the wrong *part* of a place), not doing things I should've done...

This semester was utterly terrible. It made me question why I was even here, surrounded by people so much smarter than me anyway. Certainly I didn't belong...

But now I get to start over. Whether this semester was for the better or the worse, I get to start over. I can't change the past - but I can fix what I can and move on.

And despite - or maybe because of, in a masochistic type of way - all the crap that went on this semester, I came to realize that ILTFP and it would be wrong for me to go anywhere else. As subpar as I am...

I belong here.

Posted by: Hunter '11 on December 21, 2007

Lol, I know what that's like. When finals come, no matter where you are, you'd hate everything. I'm taking my SATs in Jan, and I have to relearn everything I stopped looking at 3 years ago.. 600+ pages of studying, through Eid, Christmas, and New Year. I can relate raspberry

But the thing about suffering for tests is that once it's over, you'd kinda look back and miss it. Once it's all over, heck, you'll miss all of it.. all those arguments over which formula was correct, all the angry words traded with the guys karaoke-ing in the room next door while you're trying to study. The more you hate it, the more you love it sometimes..

Posted by: Anonymus on December 21, 2007

Yeah, love vs hatred

But if I do not accept all with smiles, I won't make MIT my first choice. As an optimist, I believe in the slightest chance.

Posted by: proAngel on December 21, 2007

I didn't have any moments of IHTFP at all this semester! I loved everything at MIT!!! That's why pass/no record is so amazing first semester to get you oriented to the new (and wonderful) environment. It lets you meet many other freshmen and upperclassmen and try new activities so you can gauge how to balance them with your coursework.

Even during finals week, it wasn't so bad for me. I felt like my instructors and recitation leaders had prepared me very well and given me plenty of resources to study from (old exams, practice problems, past psets...) All in all: first semester freshman year = I HEART THIS FANTASTIC PLACE =)

Posted by: mit 11'er on December 21, 2007

haha, mit 11'er

I also loved MIT first term... all the time. no stress, no problems, plenty of time for having a life.

i started having ihtfp moments second term, frequently, and this past term... quite a few times.

but that's okay
we'll all survive. hopefully.

Posted by: Omar '10 on December 21, 2007

... am I the only freshman who had a terrible first semester?

Posted by: Hunter '11 on December 21, 2007

@Hunter - you're definitely not. I know people who failed half their classes and survived, hating it all the more. It gets better, trust me. Eventually you'll get to take classes that you're really genuinely interested in, and you'll feel better about yourself and your life and your decisions, but they'll still be crazy hard and you will still hate this freakin' place.

But that's all part of it. The important thing to remember is we all hate it too, and we're all going through the same crap you have to go through and we eventually turned out to be semi-normal, semi-adjusted human beings that aren't terribly bitter about how much MIT kicked them down. So yeah, it does get better. At least after finals.

Posted by: Jess on December 21, 2007

For what it's worth, students in U.C. Berkeley's School of Engineering feel exactly the same way.

Posted by: CalAlum on December 21, 2007

I Have To Fart Percussively (Lehigh U).
I Hit Three Foul Popups.
If Hannibal's Teletubbies Fried Peanuts, I'd Have Their Fangs Procured.
Would You Like Fries With That?

Posted by: I belong in Random House on December 22, 2007

Laura, I love your post cause you are being so honest here!!!

Posted by: dotty on December 22, 2007

@Jess - Thanks =). I don't really HTFP - I love it!! There's so much AWESOME right here. But this semester was really hard, and I'm intimidated/unsure if I belong here/am intelligent enough.

Posted by: Hunter '11 on December 22, 2007

I feel the same way about the Navy, except I never love it. =P I think I can deal with MIT.

Posted by: Hawkins on December 22, 2007

Check out this new clothing brand launched locally. Very cool stuff. Worth a look.

Posted by: napper on December 22, 2007

I have truly found paradise. It is located a couple blocks south of Random.

Posted by: Shawn '11 on December 23, 2007

this happens in life and exams are always painful!

Posted by: Muhib on December 23, 2007



Posted by: bob the builder on December 23, 2007

@ Lirao: what exactly do u mean by aroud 10- O levels, I mean it has to be 10 or 9 or 11...hope its nothing in between:S

Posted by: around confused!! on December 26, 2007

The best thing about the MIT blogs is the honesty that you guys write with

I really appreciate the insight! I guess we wouldn't be able to have "success" if we didn't have to really work for things though, right? As long as, to you, the good outweighs the bad in the end

Posted by: Caro on December 27, 2007

Is a 720 word essay too long? exactly one page.

Posted by: Goobie Goo on December 27, 2007

The world is crazy. I am amazed at the new level of masochism here. And yet, here I am, working at 4:30 in the morning. I am not sleeping tonight it seems. Yes, I'll curse the world and everything in it when these nights are too frequent and the pressure is high, but somehow its always with a smile and a laugh.
Because even right now, when I have to be up at 4:30 in the morning because I effing haven't finished this application yet, or any of the others that are due on the first, I really love the world. It is wonderful.
I think this is because I keep things in perspective. Currently- If I were to fail at everything everywhere right now, all I would have to do is anything. You see, I could lose everything, and there would still be libraries, people to befriend, freeboxes, community college, music... whatever. I'll never hit rock bottom. Not really.

Except for the fact that they are now illegalizing public sleeping in my city. And sitting and laying down also. But as I haven't failed at life and lost everything, this is not as of yet an issue.

Posted by: MackenzieSowers on December 28, 2007

I thought MIT students excelled in the area of test taking. You imply that they're just ordinary people who were either lucky enough to get in. Oh wait...

Posted by: 0 on December 28, 2007

Well, I remember that Cp-Cv=R. So IF the log of the pressures is related to the ideal gas constant, then it's also related to the specific heat at constant volume. Am I right???

Posted by: tanmay on December 29, 2007

Everyone is ordinary once you look at them long enough. And i'll bet most ppl, including MIT students have trouble with tests, especially when competing with all the other good test takers wink

Tanmay, discussing formulas AFTER the test with someone who forgot them is a good way to get beaten up :p

Posted by: phreaker on December 29, 2007


Posted by: tanmay on December 30, 2007

If He Took Five Pies,I'll Have To Feel Peeved

Posted by: MooQuack on December 30, 2007

I have totally forgotten physics

Posted by: alum80 on January 2, 2008

Comments have been closed.