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MIT blogger Cami M. '23

A Recap of My Junior Fall by Cami M. '23

stream of consciousness

My semester has officially ended and I can happily say I’ve wrapped up the most successful MIT semester I’ve had to date. I’ve gone through a series of ups and downs this semester, but I think it’s been overall a net positive and I really want to take the time to reflect on everything I’ve learned. (Because, honestly, I’ve learned A LOT.)

academics

This semester I took 6.034 Artificial Intelligence, 21G.704 Spanish IV, CMS.300 Intro to Videogame Theory, and CMS.616 Games and Culture. I decided to try something new this semester and take three HASS classes and only one technical.

This ended up being a super great idea because I ended up really, really loving the content of all of my classes, especially my HASS classes and found myself more engaged than ever.

I’ve realized that I need to start choosing more classes I’m interested in, rather than just trying to fulfill random requirements. Though this conclusion is rather obvious, I am happiest when I’m taking classes I care about over classes I feel obligated to take.

I learned so much about video games this semester and really learned to think critically about the games I’m playing. I learned to view games not in a vacuum, but as greater sociotechnical works and pieces and better understood how they felt within society and culture. I also got out of my comfort zone a lot and played a lot of videogames I didn’t think I would enjoy, such as Oxenfree and Ori and the Will of the Wisps. Doing these classes also helped me realize that the idea of pursuing an PhD or Master’s in media is not so farfetched and I’d honestly love to come and study once I have the funds for it.

It was also super refreshing to be in these games classes since you could often make nerdy references to really niche indie games or speak in Twitch chat terms like poggers or sadge or copium and people would understand what you meant.

careers

I think this is the part where I kind of have to turn my brain off and lose nuance because I’ve been thinking about this a lot.

This semester I was pretty successful in my job search. To recap, here’s how my internship hunt went:

  • Rejected by Datadog PM (final round)
  • Withdrew from Duolingo APM (round 2)
  • Rejected by Google APM (final round)
  • Rejected by IBM PM (didn’t get passed resume screening)
  • Accepted by Salesforce APM
  • Received return offer by Microsoft
  • Withdrew from D.E. Shaw (round 2)

And maybe some others. But I was interviewing a lot this semester and I honestly became sub-human because of it. A lot of my time was spent interview prepping. I was doing mock interviews nearly every night, reading Cracking the PM Interview, watching mock interviews, and doing endless research on PM positions. I was utterly heartbroken when I got rejected by Google and I even cried about it for a couple of hours.

It hurt even more when I saw other MIT students get the position and I started asking myself “Why them and not me? What did they have that I didn’t?”

It was overall just a really rough process and it honestly became my personality for a longtime. There wasn’t anything I could really talk about except interviewing, companies, and interview prepping.

I poured a lot of myself into interview prep because it helped me feel less like an imposter at MIT. Whereas I nearly failed every single computer science class I’ve ever taken at MIT save for 6.034, internships were something I could actually get, as proven by my past two internships at Microsoft. Internships were feasible and within reach. I began to become obsessed with prestige and pay, where Google was the end goal that I failed to reach.

It took a long time for me to realize that jobs are jobs at the end of the day, though, and that internships are just smaller versions of jobs. Jobs do not have to be a large part of my life; instead, they’re just a means of making money. And as long as I somewhat enjoy what I do and have other outlets for fulfillment in my life, I’m okay with that.

Realizing this helped me cope easier with my rejections, and I understood that, at the end of the day, I would just be clocking in my 8 hours for money and that’s it.

extracurriculars

I’ve loved, loved, loved living in DPhiE this semester and I really found a lot of love through my sorority. While I was initially really hesitant and afraid to live in the house, it ended up being a great decision for me. I’ve grown so close with so many deephers inside of the house and outside of it. While I know that sororities do have long, difficult pasts that are built on racist and sexist foundations, I do believe that my specific chapter is working on rebuilding those foundations and making sure all members of the sorority are aware of the implications of being in a sorority.

I even took on a leadership position for this incoming year of Vice President of Academic Affairs and I’ll be in charge of hosting events, mixers, and planning spring formal!

This semester I also joined Student Events Board, a group on campus in charge of throwing fun events for graduate and undergraduate students alike. We hosted BEAM this year, a light show experience to help students unwind and we’re currently in the midst of planning really really fun events like SpringFest, where we bring in a popular artist to come and perform for our school.

social

I am honestly really proud of myself for how I was able to maintain my social life, despite being in a pandemic. I traveled so much this semester with Raymond. We went to Chicago, Seattle, and San Francisco, as well as did a retreat with all of our friends to a cabin in New Hampshire. I loved really bonding and getting closer with my friends, as well as making so many new ones through my sorority and classes.