Ben 2.0 by Dave McOwen
In a world... spiraling on the brink of an admissions cycle... one man had the courage... to BLOG! (Jerry Bruckheimer was not harmed in the making of this post)
No I’m not a Cylon (or at least not that I know). But for those with memories spanning more than a year it’s simply easier to introduce myself as “the new Ben.” For those who don’t remember Ben Jones I can instead say that my name is Dave and I’m the new Communications Manager for Undergraduate Admissions. That roughly translates into being the person with a hand in anything with words in, on and/or around it that leaves the Admissions office: publications, emails, the web site, tattoos (temporary… for now), etc.
Now I don’t mean to imply that I do that alone (if you listen closely you should be able to hear the laughter coming from 3-107 at the sheer lunacy of the idea). The Admissions office is chock full of brilliant people, some of whom you know from the blogs and others you don’t (but should). They’ve created amazing things over the years, including this website; every piece infused with a candor and respect for our prospective students that borders on the unique and, some would misguidedly say, reckless.
My job is to tell you what MIT is really like and then let you decide if you can’t imagine spending your college life anywhere else. In Admissions we don’t lie about MIT. That kind of Zen-like simplicity is on par with Google’s directive of “Don’t be evil.” It’s a refreshing honesty that I savor even more than Yan’s posts about food (but only just). I revel in the idea that every day I come to work I can discover what fantastical new thing someone, somewhere, at MIT has done. Then I get to learn all about it, work with a room full of creative geniuses to craft the story, and tell the world about the wonders of MIT. That’s a hell of a job, and the day I feel like I need to lie about MIT is the day I’ll start thinking about a career change. Honestly I can’t even imagine it.
What I do need is a crash course in all things MIT, so I’ve spent my first few weeks touring places like the Media Lab, getting lost in the infinite, flailing at a never-ending torrent of projects like Lucy and Ethel at the chocolate factory (ask an oldster or, better yet, YouTube), re-acquainting myself with the mystical ways of the Mac (which has been dead to me since just past OS 7), speaking wistfully and in the past tense about normal amounts of sleep, trying to order a burrito at Anna’s during the lunch rush without getting flustered, coming to grips with MIT’s nerdvanic mutation of the english language, and generally trying to get over the shock that I’m actually working at MIT.
Insert freshman analogy [here].
For personal tidbits beyond my intro you should know that I can have entire conversations in movie references, feed an ever-growing Vietnamese spring roll addiction, have a fascination with aircraft I can’t begin to explain, am a certified SASL (Sarcasm As a Second Language) instructor, and have been known to break into accents I don’t actually have. As a rule I’ve preferred the quirky and unorthodox to the land of cubicles and career ladders. That philosophy has been a two-edged sword, but at the end of the day I’m glad to lead an interesting life and plan to continue challenging myself, even if my friends and family spend most days shaking their head and wondering what I’m thinking.
Probably not too much of a surprise that I’d want to work at MIT. The Institvte is a mental amusement park (occasionally a literal one), creative cruise ship (ditto) and ultimate Choose Your Own Adventure book all rolled into one.
If Dave should…