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A Different Voice by Allan K. '17

some words about MIT, by someone who's not me

we’re a strange bunch.

the news articles ascribe to us an almost mythical legitimacy–we’re those kids. the ones that grow up to be new articles ourselves. but in between the late night pranks and the casually vulgar conversations and the stupid, stupid things we care about–we’re just kids.

kids who start their own businesses at nineteen, twenty years old. kids who do research in government labs and kids that expect themselves to work for multinational companies by their sophomore summer. kids that build roller coasters in their backyard and computers in their spare time, in between doing homework and writing papers and trying to stay alive; sometimes we forget to eat, and sometimes we forget to sleep.

we’re just kids. our jokes are a mix of violence and bathroom humor and we throw things out the window because we think it’s funny, and we’re still exploring our identities and our sexualities and our fashion sensibilities and making stone-cold mistakes about all of them. we’re still growing up.

whenever i hear variations on the theme of “i was torn into a million pieces and then put back together again”, it’s never about a school. it’s about a lover, or a religious experience, or something romantic like that. nothing as harsh, or as emotionally dry as “the Institute”. but this place–this place really does that to you. it wrecks you. it tears you down; makes you reevaluate your confidence and your dreams, and through that, you end up reevaluating yourself on a wide lens you didn’t know you could look through. this place hurts.

and then something goes right. and then you ace that test, you land that job, your project works and your research is published and you change your mind about yourself, again. success here is so hard to find and so gratifying when it’s finally grasped that it makes you feel as if you’re redefined every time you succeed, and that’s what drives us for more.

reality check–at the moment, i’m 10 hours away from a 2.004 exam that i am so, so not prepared for that i really shouldn’t be writing this. procrastination is like hard drugs–comforting, if only for the moment, after which it completely f–s you over. and my procrastination takes the form of socializing, writing, and incessant online window shopping…i really, really need some knee socks. right?

well, i’ll figure it out. march on, march on.

guest post by Piper (’17) — a new friend, and a close one.