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Paul B. '11

Mar 14, 2008

One for sorrow, two for joy

Posted in: Process & Statistics

This past week has been a mixed bag on many levels. On the one hand, I've gotten a lot of work done (three problem sets, one group project, and one revised essay) while still finding a decent amount of time for club meetings, having dinner at my fraternity, playing Brawl, and generally hanging out with friends.

On the other hand, I didn't get much sleep, which sort of sucked.

It did, however, give me a little bit of insight into how you all might be feeling right now - how, to be perfectly honest, I myself felt precisely one year ago. I've grown a lot since then...emotionally, socially, academically; as a friend, as a student researcher, and as a human being. And the road has not always been smooth; I've been faced with potholes, run into ridiculous roadblocks, turned down dead ends. On some occasions I've made bad decisions solely of my own accord; at other times, it feels as though things are simply completely beyond my control.

But that's the way life is. The real world is so much bigger than what you know now - so much more vibrant, so much more real. And I trust that will be true wherever you finally find yourself for college, whether that happens to be Cambridge, California, or China. Four of the greatest years of your life are directly ahead of you.

I know many of you find it hard to picture yourselves anywhere but MIT right now. I understand that completely, because I felt the same way one year ago. And while I fear this will sound hollow, I just wanted to take this entry to assure you of one vitally important fact: being in college will be a wonderful experience, no matter what university you finally choose. And I mean that with all my heart.

But in the long run, college will only be as rewarding as you are prepared to let it be. Take advantage of every opportunity you can find to pursue what matters most to you - and if those opportunities don't seem exist, just make your own opportunities. Dedicate yourself wholly, totally, completely to your greatest passion and deepest desires. Claim your place, or strike out and discover a whole new territory. Make your mark in whatever way you can - on your friends, on your professors, on the random people you sit next to in class. Lead a life someone would want to remember.

No matter what anyone else tells you, never surrender your dreams.

Only sixteen hours left. I'll be thinking of you.

Comments (Closed after 30 days to reduce spam)

first!

Posted by: Kelly on March 14, 2008

Nice, Paul!

So, how was the Pi event?

Posted by: Daniel Barkowitz on March 14, 2008

Delicious, thanks for asking! I'll blog about it in the next few days...

Posted by: Paul on March 14, 2008

14 hours? My clock says 16 hours.

Posted by: Gautam on March 14, 2008

Nice catch. Real MIT students don't know how to tell time. wink

Posted by: Paul on March 14, 2008

Can I expect a reply from the Financial Aid office in the next working day, if I mailed them a few minutes back..??

Posted by: Anonymous on March 14, 2008

All the best.

Posted by: 0 on March 14, 2008

My thoughts are with you guys! Just remember, a school is a school and anyplace is what you make it. Whether you attend MIT or the local extension of a regional university, strive for your personal best. When it all boils down, years from now, when we are grey-haired and wrinkled, the matter will not be where we attended college. However, we will view our lives based upon the merits with which we have made into our livelihood. Coming from a high school sophomore, this may seem juvenile or even biased. I truly believe that with or without MIT, our generation is filled with great intellectuals capable of bringing great impact to society. Sure, we all dream of MIT and all that it symbolizes, but please keep in mind that life has a way of working out even amongst turmoil!

Best wishes and congratulations to ALL of you!
Who knows, maybe this skinny math nerd could see you in a few years at CPW!

-Cody Dean

Posted by: Cody Dean on March 14, 2008

Most student's don't how to tell time either Paul :D

Posted by: Bassil on March 14, 2008

I vote that Mr. Cody Dean up there gets admission into MIT AND a spot as one of the bloggers. That is one of the better entries I have read in a long time. Good luck everyone. 15 Hours and about 30 minutes. If all goes well, we will all be seeing each other in a few months.

Posted by: Hopeful '12 on March 14, 2008

Well, thanks so much! That did help, well I don't know if this would be or practical, but still I can try, well I don't know what the decision will be but is it in any way possible to get a copy of the short summary the readers of my application wrote for me? Why.. To understand the reason why I was selected/rejected.. And obviously promise not to leak it out. And to improve in either cases, as I believe that all successful people are not from MIT, but it's a fact that most from MIT are successful people at what ever they do.

Thanks again for the nice post.
So should I try ?

Posted by: Anon on March 14, 2008

Very much appreciated.

Posted by: Javal on March 14, 2008

Never.

Great post, btw!

Posted by: Tanmay on March 14, 2008

wow. That was really good....

Posted by: Agneta on March 14, 2008

Paul! I thought you were gonna write about the pi day celebrations, the "Is it Pi" contest, and the delicious pie...

jk... Have a nice weekend!

And all the best to the prospective '12ers...

Posted by: Basant on March 14, 2008

I'm dying right now i spent all spring break anticipating tomorrow morning and now I'm so afraid of it

Posted by: 0 on March 14, 2008

Let's keep our fingers crossed...

Posted by: Yihe on March 14, 2008

::crosses fingers::

Posted by: SD on March 14, 2008

Thank you Paul.
All the best for everyone.
Let's see what's in store for all of us.
14 hours, 8 minutes, 7 seconds left.

Posted by: Libin Daniel on March 14, 2008

I've got two great things going tomorrow. I might get accepted to MIT and our school basketball team is in the state championship. Either way, I'll still be watching basketball tomorrow afternoon.

Posted by: MattD on March 14, 2008

Good luck to everyone! I'm so nervous, I'm getting on a plane that takes off at 12:05 EST, i hope i can check on my phone before we take off!

Posted by: Morgan on March 14, 2008

thanks for that blog.

thanks for that blog.

<3

Posted by: Leanna on March 14, 2008

I completely agree. No matter how things turn out tomorrow, I know I can keep on learning about and researching number theory, the field which (at least, for the moment) I am crazily passionate about, at any school. What if they don't have any number theory courses? Well, learning it on my own will make me into an even more awesome mathematician! See? Win-win!

Good luck everyone.

Posted by: Zev Chonoles on March 14, 2008

http://whitehatdesign.com/chat/
mit chat room!

Posted by: 0 on March 14, 2008

I'm all lonely in the chat room >_>

Posted by: 0 on March 14, 2008

Thanks Paul!! smile

Do have some caesar's salad on my behalf if you can :D

Posted by: Shruthi on March 14, 2008

you know what, I was feeling pretty crappy after a long week of finals and college stress. but this entry definitely made me feel a little better.

Posted by: Anonymous on March 14, 2008

I'm dying right now i spent all spring break anticipating tomorrow morning and now I'm so afraid of it

Posted by: 0 on March 14, 2008

Thank you Paul, what you express in your entries is so full of meaning and great.

Posted by: Rick on March 14, 2008

I love that poem-rhyme-thingy!

"One for sorrow, two for joy,
three for a girl, four for a boy,
five for silver, six for gold,
seven for a secret never been told"

And hey, good look to all of ya'll applying! (I know I'll need all the good luck I can get next year.) ^_^

Posted by: Rachel '13 hopeful on March 14, 2008

Radical Dreamers.

That's what we are.

Posted by: Laser on March 14, 2008

Indeed VERY TRUE!!!!....Thanks for your precious wordings Paul!!....I personally do believe truly that we should give our dreams a chance to materialise, but NEVER get bogged down if they don't do so instantly, rather concieve that we can live our dreams in reality at any stage of our lives.

Posted by: Disha on March 14, 2008

So, Monday, what will the price of gasolline in the United States be? What will it be when we graduate? What will it be when we do our magic?
What will we do? Wherever we go, whatever we do, we will matter. We will shape the future. Here there and everywhere.

Posted by: MattD on March 14, 2008

As much as I feel for those who are waiting (and I do, I do), I want to address a different aspect of this entry.

It's really a wonderful thing to see an MIT student admit that they genuinely struggled and made bad decisions, especially in such a public forum. Far too many of us look around at the people we know and think, wow, they're so perfect, they've got everything together and they know exactly what they're doing all the time. I wonder what I'm doing wrong, because I sure don't feel like that. And nothing could be further from the truth. We are fallible; we have the same stupid foibles as anyone else; we struggle and cry and bleed and react badly and do dumb things.

And yet...you don't need to be perfect to do great things. Go out and do all the things in the last paragraph. Make college what you want it to be. Live your dreams. No one said only perfect people are allowed to live their dreams.

(By the way, I'm not only speaking of intellectual geniuses with personal flaws. You don't always have to have all the answers, even just in the academic sphere -- indeed, if you do have all the answers, you're probably doing something wrong. Julianne Dalcanton of Cosmic Variance addressed this <a >"cult of genius" problem far better than I can.)

Well said, Paul.

Posted by: Alioth on March 14, 2008

12 hours, 28 minutes,10 seconds

Posted by: Jan on March 14, 2008

can I hug you?

Posted by: Matt on March 14, 2008

11 hours 39 minutes

Posted by: 0 on March 15, 2008

@Paul at 8:11 PM
Also, real MIT students don't how to use verbs either. wink

Posted by: duketipquantumelephants on March 15, 2008

http://whitehatdesign.com/chat/
mit chat room!

Posted by: mit hopeful on March 15, 2008

@duke: This true. :D

Posted by: Paul on March 15, 2008

How much time left??

Posted by: Anonymous on March 15, 2008

sorry, I double post a lot.

Totally unrelated question:
Does the observation that a particle interferes with itself (double slit exp) guarantee that we can never determine which slot it actually went through? I mean, if the information (entropy) that the particle went through one slot or the other can never be lost (second law thermo), then doesn't that mean that it will always be retrievable? Don't forget, we can force the particle to choose one path immediately by putting a particle detector there, even if we never use that direct evidence!

This means that at least one of the following must be true:
1)The presence of the detector does not make an interference pattern impossible.
2)The particle detector does not force the particle to make a choice.
3)The realization that the particle chose a path results in an increase in entropy, which allows the entropy of the particle's decision to be lost (I think this causes a logical loophole).
4)That information is permanently irretrievable (boo hiss).
5)As soon as we determine which path it chose, the history of the universe changes and the interference pattern never occurred (that would be cool).
6)The fact that at some time in the future we will determine the choice makes the interference pattern impossible (basically the same as #5).
7)Logic and/or QM is screwed as we know it.

If we assume that all of the above are false, then (1) the pattern will happen in the first place, (2) the particle makes a choice, (3) the info is not lost, (4) we can retrieve it, (5,6) and our observation does not cancel the existence of the event.

What is wrong with this argument? I think that (1) is true, but why should the presence of a certain configuration of matter make it impossible? (Don't forget, this is QM.) What if the equipment is faulty? Can this affect whether it is a wave or particle signature? What if the "conscious" observer on the other end is found not to actually have a soul? XP

Answers please?

Posted by: duketipquantumelephants on March 15, 2008

Living in Mountain Time Zone, it's less than 12 hours and then, I guess, I'll be presented by MIT with the fork in the road, or not. Whatever the decision process has yielded for me, I'll be disappointed - inevitable. But not crushed. I want choices in life, that much I know. So, I went into the college app process with my top 4 schools. Where ever I am accepted, and where ever I choose to go (should I be fortunate enough to have choice), I know the headiness of that small achievement will be tempered by knowing that the road in front of me is a pave-as-you-go proposition. Thanks Paul B. for the honest offering of empathy and reminder that what awaits me as a freshman is probably like high school on steroids. This waiting thing is a want-to-know/dread-to-know proposition.

Posted by: Mike on March 15, 2008

my first comment on the MIT boards, but I thought that was a very beautiful post. Thank you for the heartwarming words.

Posted by: Cory Wang on March 15, 2008

What follows is completely unrelated to this post:

I am curious about what percentage of the MIT class of 2011 you know personally. At a school as small as MIT, I bet you can get to know, a pretty big chunk of the student body. Do you find this to be the case? If so or if not so, what effects does this have on your experience at school?

Posted by: 0 on March 15, 2008

ten hours left...

Posted by: 0 on March 15, 2008

good luck guys. hope to see yall next year. im out for bed.

peace

Posted by: enewts on March 15, 2008

Wow, that was deep. Nothing like a heart warming statement 3 o'clock in the morning

Posted by: Akeem on March 15, 2008

How much time left for decisions?

Posted by: 0 on March 15, 2008

I went to be at 10:pm Eastern time, but I just woke up at 3:30am because I just thought about the MIT and all the comfort & inspiration bloggers have on me.
This is nice. Good luck everybody. FOr now I don't care much about my decision, because I understand it is not the end of the world. Get denied does not mean you have to go back while others going straight, it just means that you have to take the sideway to get to the same point. But still, good luck every applicant of MIT, I think we have been great & I'm proud of us.
And again, thank you alot for the MIT because you have given the best application process I've ever experienced.

Posted by: Trungle on March 15, 2008

8 hours now.
I don't know, I have been stressing about this the whole day. Yeah, it's a bit silly but I have been trying to convince myself that I won't get in because I got crappy SAT scores, so that by the time decision is out, I will be all calm.

I never knew I would be so attached to MIT. It's been like a fantasy, or perhaps we are just day dreamers afterall.

Posted by: Qinxin on March 15, 2008

8 hours now.
I don't know, I have been stressing about this the whole day. Yeah, it's a bit silly but I have been trying to convince myself that I won't get in because I got crappy SAT scores, so that by the time decision is out, I will be all calm.

I never knew I would be so attached to MIT. It's been like a fantasy, or perhaps we are just day dreamers afterall.

Posted by: Qinxin on March 15, 2008

8.5 hours to go!

Posted by: 0 on March 15, 2008

Thanks Paul, much appreciated. And all the best to everyone who applied.

Posted by: 0 on March 15, 2008

best of luck every one.

Posted by: mcvs on March 15, 2008

I guess we all find out soon. good luck everyone!

Posted by: OmarA on March 15, 2008

last 5 hours baby...good luck.

Posted by: Trungle on March 15, 2008

I think life gives u want u want and only if u want it badly I think i want to get into MIT and I surely will .

Posted by: Arun on March 15, 2008

I'm a high school junior, who won't be applying until next year (EA of course), and I can feel the excitement/tension/anticipation in the air (or wireless internet connection, I'm not sure how excitement propogates). I can't even imagine what it's like for seniors out there.

And is it a bad omen for decisions to come out on the Ides of March? Pi Day is so much more appropriate.

Only 3 hours and 45 minutes to go.

Posted by: Paul on March 15, 2008

Good luck for every one not only in today but through out whole life. If I got rejected of course it would be painful but I think pain will make me better. As one good man said - when one door closes another opens, so don't look at closed one...

Posted by: Go '12 on March 15, 2008

I didn't even sleep. Still, I've had all these random occurances of MIT in my life. It constantly shows up even though I'm not looking for it. I figure this is either a sign from God or one of his silly jokes. I'm prepared for whatever the decision is. Either I go to MIT or I go to my state Honor College and still be near friends and family.

Posted by: 0 on March 15, 2008

http://whitehatdesign.com/chat/
mit chat room!

Posted by: mit hopeful on March 15, 2008

3 Hours...

Posted by: 0 on March 15, 2008

goooood luckkkk everyoneee!!
i was in the same position back in december....counting down the endlesss minutes til noon...then it got to be noon and i sat there, terrified to check, because my future was held behind that simple username and password login....
but what i have realized throughout these months, is that decision was not my future....my future is what I make of it....no matter where i go, its what i do while im there! so in these next 2 hours and 40 minutes, tryy to be calm, breathe easy, and realize that whatever happens, happens, and is meant to be....everything happens for a reason, so take it in stride and do something great with it, whether you get in or not....and i mean this for anyone who gets in as well....if u are granted admission to one of the top universities in the countryyyy like MIT, u darn well better use that to do something great because countless other people would killll to have an opportunity like that.....but anyways, whether you get in or not, remember, YOU make your own future by the way you play the hand that you're dealt!!

Good luck in these next 2 and a half hours, and beyond that in the rest of your lives!!
My prayers are with you!!
No matter where you go, you'll still be the Class of 2012 somewhere, which i guarentee will be the best class ever in the history of ever!!!!!
go 2012!!!

goooood luckkkk everyoneee!!
i was in the same position back in december....counting down the endlesss minutes til noon...then it got to be noon and i sat there, terrified to check, because my future was held behind that simple username and password login....
but what i have realized throughout these months, is that decision was not my future....my future is what I make of it....no matter where i go, its what i do while im there! so in these next 2 hours and 40 minutes, tryy to be calm, breathe easy, and realize that whatever happens, happens, and is meant to be....everything happens for a reason, so take it in stride and do something great with it, whether you get in or not....and i mean this for anyone who gets in as well....if u are granted admission to one of the top universities in the countryyyy like MIT, u darn well better use that to do something great because countless other people would killll to have an opportunity like that.....but anyways, whether you get in or not, remember, YOU make your own future by the way you play the hand that you're dealt!!

Good luck in these next 2 and a half hours, and beyond that in the rest of your lives!!
My prayers are with you!!
No matter where you go, you'll still be the Class of 2012 somewhere, which i guarentee will be the best class ever in the history of ever!!!!!
go 2012!!!

<33333
Lizz

Posted by: Lizz Class of 2012 on March 15, 2008

2 hours 25 minutes!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: ohhh yeahhhhh on March 15, 2008

thanks for the paul...it was very thoughtful and helpful.. grin

Posted by: 2012 hopeful... on March 15, 2008

2 hours, 8 minutes

Posted by: 0 on March 15, 2008

Hi All,
Just want to wish everyone who has applied. ALL the BEST.

Applying to MIT has been a process of self discovery for me. Gosh! I've learnt a lot. Whatever the outcome, it's all good!

Its just about 2 hours away!!!!

Posted by: Lionel Vaz on March 15, 2008

For those without something important to do, try a rendition of Bach's T&F in D minor by Frederik Magle.

16 MB, so a slow connection may take too long.

http://www.magle.dk/music-forums/23-bach-toccata-fugue-d-3.html

Very calming.

Posted by: Sceth on March 15, 2008

2 hrs...

Posted by: Harnur on March 15, 2008

I've got a track meet right now. I just want to say that I have immense respect for all of you, and I hope that we meet again as Beavers. I'll see you all...on the other side.

Posted by: Twilight Bob on March 15, 2008

1hr 30mins!

Posted by: 0 on March 15, 2008

40 minutes!!! unfortunately I am going to be on a flight back home...I have to wait even more...

Posted by: Jessica G. on March 15, 2008

Long Live Baby Paul smile

Posted by: Jaimpal on March 15, 2008

That made me feel so much better. thank you.

Posted by: Shantini on March 17, 2008

Comments have been closed.

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