Orientation has begun. Convocation starts in less than an hour, where the Class of 2021 will gather and President Reif will give a welcoming address. At that time, the Class of 2021 will officially be freshmen.
MIT can be overwhelming will all the advice you hear left and right. But I think the advice that has helped me the most is the advice from upperclassmen. So I asked some of my closest friends who were graduating if they had any advice they wanted to give to the upcoming class.
Advice from Graduating Seniors
John P. ’17 MIT is a great opportunity for personal growth, and a big part of that is understanding your limits. Find your breaking point, and learn how to make time for yourself in order to recover. Trust me: You’re better off learning to balance ambition and happiness. I spent a semester burned out because it took me a long time to learn this balancing act. Focus on it early.
Andres A. ’17 Try to find a way to serve the MIT community. Not only will you meet amazing people along the way, but you will grow in ways that are not possible in a classroom or lab setting.
Isaac G. ’17 Don’t be afraid to put more on your plate than you think you can handle during P/NR – it’s how I exposed myself to a lot of things at MIT I wouldn’t have found otherwise! However, at the same time, never do something just because it fills your resume or you think your calendar is looking a little too bare. Try to figure out what you enjoy doing, and dive headfirst into that. Your time here will come to an end before you know it, and you’ll invariably look back and wish you had spent more time doing this or taken that class with so-and-so professor. Might as well do what you actually enjoy :)
Rosé D. ’17 YOPNRO – You only pass/no record once.
Juan H. ’17 Use a monitor while doing work or studying. Being able to type while reading on a different screens did wonders for my productivity. I wish someone had told me sooner.
David D. ’17 You’re coming to MIT, one of the best universities in the world. This adventure will give you unprecedented and unparalleled opportunities over the next four years as long as you go out and actively seek them. I can’t encourage you enough to find programs, positions, and initiatives that sound interesting to you even if they do not have a place in your original plan. Some of my most transformative and eye-opening experiences have been things I never imagined I could or would do before as an incoming freshman.
Paul K. ’17 I quickly found that my favorite thing about MIT was the people. From friends to PSET and explore Boston with, to professors and UROP supervisors to learn from, I found a lot to gain from getting to know as many people as possible. I also quickly grew comfortable with the fact that I didn’t know much and was more ready to ask for help. I’m thankful for the community I am now a part of.
Martin M. ’17 Focus on getting educated. Learn to talk. models for thinking . Use your time at MIT effectively so that the world is happy you were brought here and when you leave you’re a mental heavyweight/champion in your art. Think of MIT as your training period. And realize that you have a certain perspective, and type of brain to succeed in a tech field but maybe not the field you originally thought you would be good at. TLDR; Focus on getting competent and building excellence in something not everyone can do that matters.
Anonymous Don’t be afraid to ask for help: office hours, staying after class to chat with the professor and tutoring services are among the many resources MIT offers to get the little bit of extra help on difficult material.
Look into the tech areas that are changing the most (eg Blockchain, CRISPR, Deep Learning, etc) and research that is only happening at MIT. So when you leave MIT you have an edge on what the world is going to be –> giving you a competitive advantage.
I learned a lot from my FSILG (consider joining one), and at times that knowledge has been more useful that what I learned in classes.
Use the best tools at your disposal when learning (When studying concepts go to youtube for a visualization, or to watch a significant person in the field talk about it) 5) Get a Video Speed Controller plugin for Chrome (you can watch at 1- 4x speed) (It saves a lot of time and allows you to iterate on material faster)
Focus on doing things a semester at a time (don’t overload, and if you get overloaded drop commitments early). You have time to do everything you want to do, just not in a semester.
Erick P. ’17 You’ll grow a lot during your time here, but some things will never change.