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MIT student blogger Bryan O. '07

Are you sure you don’t want to cancel? by Bryan

Double whammy.

“The author has filed this entry in the ‘Life After MIT (Careers & Grad School)’ section; check it out for further reading on this topic.”


Get ready folks, this is not an either or entry. You get both. Careers AND Grad School.


Wake up at 5:05 AM. Board taxi to Logan Airport. Fly to Houston, TX for a day long interview. Now keep in mind, I have the GRE on Saturday. So I intended to study the entire flight; instead, I slept. Land in Houston. Now, here was one of the most exciting parts of the trip. I exit baggage claim, and there someone is holding a sign that reads: “Mr. Bryan O.” I wanted to take a picture of him and tell him it was for my blog, but I thought that would have been awkward.

Arrive at Alden Hotel. MY ROOM HAS A KING SIZE BED. Now some people would not think this is that important, but when you’re rocking the twin extra long for three years, this is like LUXURY. Even better, the company that was interviewing me sent me free room service including red and yellow jelly beans that resembled the colors of their logo…and no it was not McDonalds, although it would have been exciting to interview to be the next Ronald McDonald.

Any resemblance?

Study, study, study.

After enough studying, I went out to dinner with my potential employers, and then met up with my family for another dinner afterwards at one of my favorite restaurants, Spaghetti Warehouse.

Me and my brothers. The little one on the far left is just my neighbor.

Me and my mom.


Continue studying.



Wake up at 6:05 AM the following day. Play theme song and prepare for 5 hours of interviews.

Finish interview at 2:05 PM and head to airport for 3:55 flight. I like to cut it close.

Flight is delayed for 3 hours…study?

Ride taxi home and arrive home at midnight. GRE in 12 hours.


8 am wakeup. No theme song this morning. POWERPREP Time. Leave for testing center at 11:30 am. For those of you who don’t know, the GRE is a computer based test, so there’s testing centers located around Boston. There’s one in about a five minute walk from my house; instead, I went to one further away. Logical.

Where I should have taken my test:

Where I went to take my test instead:

While being a little lost in South Boston, I saw the Federal Reserve Bank and saw some street performers, but I had to be at the testing center by noon, and I was a little lost.

Arrive late. Do not pass go. Empty everything I had in my pockets; the GRE doesn’t let you even use your own pencil.

Begin GRE, and I was kind of nervous. After completing 2 essays, the math section, and a verbal section, I am offered to do a non-scored, experimental section. Offer declined. I was nervous enough as it was. The GRE scores itself, so at the end, it asks you “Would you like to see your scores?” There were two options, “View Scores” and “Cancel Scores.” I paid $130 for the test; heck yea, I wanted to see my score. After pressing “View Scores,” it asked me was I sure that I wanted to see my scores.

Screen 1: Are you sure?
Screen 2: Are you really sure?
Screen 3: Are you really really sure?

Cue internal monologue
Am I really really really sure?
Response: Yes. I was sitting in the same chair for 3 hours. I paid $130, and I did not want to take the test again.

Dear Computer,
Yes, I am sure.


Quantitative: 800
Verbal: < 800


One less thing to worry about.

23 responses to “Are you sure you don’t want to cancel?”

  1. Sanja says:

    Just for the curiosity, is that THE Brass Rat on the pic with your mom?

  2. Bryan says:

    Why yes it is Sanja.

  3. Mollie says:


    800s on the quantitative section of the GRE unite!

    …and you didn’t even use my GRE prep books. smile

  4. Jenny says:

    Congratulations on your GRE results and I’m happy to hear the king-sized bed didn’t disappoint! I’m so glad you included pics of your mom and your brothers – what a photogenic family.

  5. Richard says:

    Verbal doesn’t give an exact score?

    Is the interview for an internship next summer or for a job after you finish grad school?

  6. Bryan says:


    Verbal does give an exact score. My score on it just was not an 800, and thus I’m not as excited to report it.

    As far as the interview, I’m a little hesitant about just applying to graduate schools with the expectation that I am going to get in, so I’m also applying to jobs just so I don’t put all my eggs into one basket.

    – Bryan

  7. Richard says:

    Are your plans to do a PhD program at MIT or at another school? or Master @ MIT, then PhD somewhere else?

  8. Bryan says:

    Hey Richard,

    I’m applying to the MIT PhD among other schools. An important feature of the graduate school application process is also selecting schools based on the type of research they do, so that’s a really important dimension of all the decisions I’m making right now. I highly doubt that I’ll want to do a masters at one school and a PhD elsewhere. I’d like to spend the time dedicated to one project that I can spend a considerable amount of time on, and then see it through.

    – Bryan

  9. Richard says:

    Like you, my research interest and current project in on biomaterials and tissue engineering. Are you planning on continuing on that path? If so, will you say in Dr. Linda G. group or go to another one (pending you get into MIT grad)? I know at my school is uncommon to stay in the same group, but it happens? Sorry for all the questions.

  10. Bryan says:

    Too early to answer those questions. I’ll go where I think the opportunity is best.

  11. Thuita Maina says:

    Hi Brian,

    I think your GRE experience is similar to my mine when I was sitting for SAT 1 exam last Saturday but one. Only that I am applying for undergraduate admissions in top colleges and the examiners don’t never gave me an opportunity to choose whether to view my scores right there after finishing the exam. I am nervous about my results as I prepare for SAT 2 – I just don’t know whether I will meet MIT standards.

  12. Kevin says:

    Great Blog Entry! Nothing like a good short story right before you’re about to bless the MIT Undergrad. App. and send it off for EA. Thanks.

  13. blizz says:

    Hi Thuita, don’t worry about it. Most likely if you are thinking about MIT you are going to be within the SAT range, also that isn’t the most important thing. Not to mention the SAT is mostly how to take a test instead of knowledge… MIT knows that. but shhh don’t tell anyone. smile What SAT IIs are you taking?

  14. Jean says:

    That sounds like an intense experience Bryan! Congratulations! By the way, I had a question for you, what classes @ MIT did you take in prep for you professional carrer, if you wouldn’t mind sharing?

    Sounds kind of like my SAT experience. Just took the SAT IIs as well. Three of them in a row! Brutal. But my worries seem to pale in comparison to yours!

    Again congrats!

  15. Minh says:

    Yay, congratulations!

  16. l0ngL says:

    wow, it’s like reading a suspense fiction.

  17. Thuita Maina says:


    Thanks for your consolation. I’m sitting for 3 SAT II subject tests: Maths II, Chemistry and Physics on 4th Nov.

    Thuita Maina,

  18. Thuita Maina says:

    Bryne, your mum is………..I can’t believe the lady in one of the pictures is your mum; she looks so young and beautiful. Sorry for my wierd observation! Among the colleges you are applying for graduate studies, which is your first choice? Is it MIT?

  19. Thuita Maina says:

    BRYNE, just interested – is any of your brothers at MIT or wishes to join MIT?

  20. blizz says:

    Good Luck Thuita! wink

  21. awesome job!but remember one thing, i will teach you thisright now, i’ve got brains myself! maybe you might have some competition! well congrats!

  22. Bryan says:

    Hi Thuita,

    I don’t have a first choice school yet. I will go where the best research opporunities are for me. None of my brothers are at MIT, but I suspect my youngest brother wants to go here.

    – Bryan

  23. I’m very interested in entering into MIT, but now I’ve just started my 9th grade. Still 3 years left.

    Your scores are great!