When I applied to MIT, I had a good idea of what I wanted to do when I “grew up.” Having been a computer nut since age four, I happily wrote down “computer science” on the line of my application indicating my intended major. I was reaching for the top — what better place to study computing than MIT? And so it went. I got in and my dream of being some eminent CS guy was on its way.
Strengthening my plan was the fact that MIT has one of the nation’s top undergrad business schools, and I could even double major in both computer science and business. What a winning combination! Sounds like the perfect training for the next big Internet startup, right?
That’s when I learned about MIT’s department of civil engineering, home to some interesting and important transportation research. Visions of shaping new developments in the world’s train networks were starting to look pretty appealing. And besides, I wanted to keep computing as a hobby, right? Didn’t want to study it to death, else I might start looking at it as a job… so out went Course 6 and in went Course 1. I really couldn’t think of anything else I wanted to study. Transportation just looked so interesting.
And that’s not to say it doesn’t now. I’m just still keeping my mind open. It’s kinda weird, I mean… sometime during last calendar year, my passion for exploring the far-reaching ends of the computer went dormant, replaced by a new enthusiasm for travel. I had built this support structure, this foundation on which my life ran, of computers and servers and networks and programming, and while the knowledge or expertise didn’t vanish, the interest of pursuing it seemed to.
I guess it’s a good thing we don’t have to choose a major until the end of the year. :-)
(It still doesn’t feel like the year is almost half over. It feels like I just got here.)
So what have I been doing since my last update?
Dheera (fellow Third East resident) and I took the bus to Montreal and Quebec City last weekend, taking advantage of the holiday to cover some extra spots on the map.
We saw a lot of stuff — took the metro to various parts of Montreal, checked out some markets, saw a lot of history, and crossed the St. Lawrence more than a few times. ;-)
Quebec City is (one of?) the last walled city in North America. The place looks very much out of a storybook :-) It’s an easy two and a half hours from Montreal by bus or train.
I’ll leave you with a few pictures… (you can see more on Dheera’s website)
In my transportation seminar, we were asked to identify travel options, routes and fares for the Boston-Washington corridor during a specified date period, select the best option, defend our choices, and estimate how many people per day we thought utilized each mode of transport. The actual work of the assignment was pretty simple, but more interesting was seeing what everyone else came up with. I was the only one who would pick the train. :-( My choice, however, was reasonable — the difference in total time between air and rail is only a couple of hours when you consider the hours in advance you have to spend at the airport, the security delays, air traffic control delays, and baggage claim — as there’s more usable time onboard a train. I can get work done for the entire duration of the trip, and at the very end I’m left in the center of the city, right where I want to be. There’s so much waiting and shuffling when you fly.
In my writing class, we’re currently working on an assignment to explore an aspect of modern-day computing and its broader social implications. I chose the subject of college admissions and how the computer is changing the experience for both applicant and college. :-) We’ll see how that turns out.
How are your applications going? The folks in admissions are hard at work reading all your files (for early applicants), but for those electing regular action, you’ve still got a couple weeks. Good luck!