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MIT staff blogger Dave McOwen

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…

  • geek out, turn to page 2
  • exercise more, turn to page 3
  • eat lunch, turn to page 5
  • join an MIT club, turn to page 7
  • get another degree, turn to page 11
  • flee and go back to his old job, turn to page 13
  • save the world, turn to page 17

100 responses to “Ben 2.0”

  1. Anonymous says:

    When is the application going online for the 2010-2011 freshman?

  2. Haha, a very cool introduction. Pleased to meet you! smile You officially have one of the most amazing, daunting jobs in the world. Kudos!

    (Um, I second Anonymous’s question.)

  3. Nicholas says:

    Hey, you work in the admissions office? I guess I better be friends with you ;D

    -hopeful ’14

  4. Mike says:

    Great entry! I enjoy reading posts by admissions officers.

    I would also like to know when the freshman application will be out. I was hoping to get time to work on it during the summer prior to school starting, but it looks like that may not be the case.

  5. Dave says:

    @ Everyone

    Rest assured that we’re working hard on getting the application online. I can’t give you a definite date (yet), but we should have news early next week. Hang in there!

  6. Dave says:

    @ Anonymous

    Glad to have you visiting! Shoot me an email with the kind of information you’re looking for and I’ll make sure we have things ready for you.

    @ Piper

    Congrats, Piper! Fortuitous name for a pilot, BTW smile Most of my own PIC hours are in the Cherokee. It’s been years and I miss it, so I would earnestly recommend that you find a way to get that license. As DaVinci wrote, “For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.” Smart guy, that Leonardo.

    As for my interests… well that’s probably a post in and of itself. Is “everything” an answer? smile

    @ Liz

    The T-birds are great, though I’m still a Blue Angels guy (don’t tell the Air Force I said that). Sadly I haven’t been to an airshow this season. There are still a few left I hope to catch, though.

  7. Liz ('14?) says:

    You should definitely try to catch one, but then again I guess you’ll be really busy in the fall what with applications and such. What else are you working on, besides getting the application out, right now? Are you presenting at info sessions/making flyers/anything else like that?

  8. Luka ('14?) says:

    You sure have an amazing job!

    As all (’14?)s I’m looking forward to the application being online.

  9. Piper '12 says:

    Yay aircraft! I’m a pilot (I solo’d, but left for MIT before I could get my private pilot license – sort of on hiatus for now). What are you interested in?

  10. Bill Ding says:

    Wow, it’s the prospective 2014s now… makes me feel old.

  11. Liz ('14?) says:

    aircraft ftw :D i assume that means that you like airshows. I got a picture with the Thunderbirds this past weekend. smile

  12. Olive (14?) says:

    LOL, love the “I Love Lucy” reference smile And I didn’t even have to look it up…I think I shall enjoy your blogs!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Hi, I am applying to MIT for the class of ’14, and my family and I are visiting next week just to get our initial feel of Cambridge and the Institute. We know that the summer session will be wrapping up with finals, but can anyone out there give me some ideas as to what resources might be available. Thanks.

  14. VAL '14? says:

    I caught the I Love Lucy reference too. Love the simile. wink

    I’m so excited for the application to go live!

  15. Piper '12 says:

    (Oh, and the “interested in” – I was wondering if you were a fan of some subset of flying or if you were a pilot. I have friends who are obsessed with things but haven’t gotten the opportunity to do them yet. :D)

  16. adcom says:

    The 2010 undergraduate application has been canceled. We are deeply sorry for any inconvenience caused.

  17. Olive says:

    haha very funny adcom. Please try not to give us all .05 sec. long heart attacks in the future lol…

  18. adcom says:

    That was basically my super evil plan to reduce the number of applicants…It failed miserably I guess..
    *sad*

  19. Su ('14?) says:

    “tattoos (temporary… for now)” LOL I understood that! It’s a reference to Ben Jones’ “50 things” blog entry #47 – “Tattoos are permanent. Be very certain.” haha

  20. Piper '12 says:

    @ Dave – Heh. I actually did most of my training in a Cessna 152. I definitely hope to get back to flying (and horseback riding) when I’m done with undergrad. I’ve missed them both very much smile

  21. vedha says:

    when will the 2010 freshman application be up?

  22. @Olive: Gahh, my thoughts exactly. x)

  23. Lauren says:

    Hi everyone! Thought since I am a hopeful ’14, I should start blogging and meet everyone. How’s everyone’s summer been?

  24. Nicholas says:

    @Lauren

    Hi Lauren! My summer has been fantastic; I built a telescope smile How about you?
    I’m a hopeful ’14 also, so hopefully we’ll both be admitted and get to meet in person someday.

  25. Lauren says:

    @Nicholas

    Hi Nicholas! My summer was awesome; I got to stay at MIT in McCormick Hall for 4 weeks with a program called WTP (Women’s Technology Program) and learn about electrical engineering and computer science. You built a telescope? That’s so cool! It would be fantastic if we were both admitted and could meet. Good luck smile

  26. Olive says:

    Hi Lauren, hi Nicholas!

    That would be awesome if we all get accepted and go into our first year already knowing each other! Maybe this will be the lucky blog wink

    Lauren, that is so cool that you got to do WTP! Can you tell us more about it? I did an engineering camp at NCSU which was pretty cool (we built/programed little cars haha), but I’m guessing it was pretty lame in comparison…

    Nicholas, also very cool that you built your own telescope! I think I should put that on my to-do list – it sounds like fun! Are very interested in astronomy, then?

    Do y’all know what you want to major in?

    @adcom: yeah, not much of a super evil plan there. Good for laughs, though! Super evil would be locking everyone out of their myMIT accounts. THAT would produce mass hysteria…not that I’m recommending it or anything, because I am DEF. not! raspberry

  27. Lauren says:

    Hopefully this will be the lucky blog wink

    In WTP, we would go to 3 classes each day — electrical engineering, computer science, and discrete mathematics — for an hour and a half each. At the end of the program, we built a simple motor and measured how fast it spun around (my motor, and the majority of motors, went at 3000 or so RPMs, the winners went at 9000 RPMs). In computer science, for a final project, we wrote a game of Tetris using Python, which was so cool.

    I’m not sure what I want to major in, but I’m really interested in both chemistry/chemical engineering and cosmology/astrophysics. What about you?

  28. Lauren says:

    Oh and I have a question. How does the admissions process work? How many people read your application and how is a decision made whether or not to accept the applicant? Does one person make the decision to accept an applicant, or is there some sort of vote?

  29. Dave says:

    @ Lauren

    There’s a pretty good description of the admission process here. For a few months each year, the entire Admissions staff does little else but read applications.

  30. Nicholas says:

    @Olive
    You definately should! It’s really fun! Yes, I am very interested in astronomy as well as many of the other sciences. I don’t know what I’ll major in, but it will probably be engineering or applied physics or something like that. Have you already decided your major?

    @Lauren
    That’s so cool that you got to hang out at MIT this summer! That makes me jealous. I live in Oregon, so it isn’t really possible for me to attend their cool summer stuff. As for your question about admissions: They have multiple people who discuss your application. Click my name to read more about it.

    So are either of you super-geniuses or anything? I’m not smile

  31. Olive says:

    @Lauren

    Sounds like an awesome experience smile

    @both raspberry

    I’m not entirely sure what I want my major to be, but it’s probably going to be some type of engineering (aerospace, chemical, and mechanical are, for the moment, at the top of my list). I might switch to something involving physics, though, we’ll see…

    @Nicholas

    I am definitely not a super-genius! No cure for cancer here, sorry. I’d like to think I’m fairly smart, and I am a hard worker, so hopefully that will be enough to get me through life smile

    Wow, Oregon is a looong way from where I live (NC)! If you get in to MIT, do you think you’ll be nervous going so far from home??

  32. Nicholas says:

    @Olive
    I’m the same way. I work as hard as I can, and I love science. :D
    I think I would be ok. My excitement as well as my tremendous work load would leave little room for nervousness. I’ve traveled a lot so I’m used to different places, and besides: I doubt MIT is a very scary place to live smile

    New York City? Isn’t that a thirty minute train ride away from Cambridge? lol

  33. Luka says:

    @ ’14 trio

    Hi there! As all of you I’m applying for MIT, but as an international student. I still don’t know what I’d like to major in, but I can tell you I’m interested in aerospace, robotics (mainly), engineering and physics. As for the lcuky blog thing, I hope I’ll be able to meet all of you in person one day wink

  34. Olive says:

    @Nicholas

    LOL, NC for North Carolina, not NYC – but I can see how that would be confusing. I actually just moved here from Ohio, so it makes things a little odd, especially when people ask, “So, where you from?” and I can list three different places…I did visit MIT though, and it didn’t seem scary wink Just exciting!

    I love science too smile But I’m also a very, um, artsy person, so I’ve been torn between the sciences and the humanities. Hence, the engineering compromise. Do you have any non-science hobbies? (Luka and Lauren you can answer this too!)

    @Luka

    Hello!! May I inquire as to what country you’re from? It’s pretty cool to think I’m talking to someone who’s not from the U.S. hehe

    And how was your summer?

  35. Dave says:

    Forgot to ask all the budding astronomers if you had better luck with the Perseid meteor shower than we did. It was overcast all week in Boston.

  36. Lauren says:

    @Dave
    Thanks for your help. I forgot that there was a page about it.

    @Nicholas
    I’m definately not a super genius or anything, but I do feel as though I think differently from how my friends think raspberry

    @Olive
    I think we’re all very similar — hard workers and a love for math and science raspberry

    @Both
    Are you guys applying EA? I am… and I’m anxious for the application to come out so I can start it before school…

  37. Lauren says:

    @Olive
    Non-science hobbies? Hmmm…. well I love playing soccer, I occassionally volunteer, and I’m constantly play with my dog.

  38. Nicholas says:

    @Luka
    Hi! That’s awesome! What country are you from? I’ve always thought robots were amazing smile

    @Olive
    Oh, lol. I guess if you had meant New York you would have said NYC not NC. That’s exactly how I feel!! I’ve always been torn between the sciences and music. Fortunately MIT has both smile That way I can keep studying music while I major in science (or something like that).
    Which arts do you enjoy?
    Hobbies? Well I play the violin and some other instruments and I like to write. How about you?

    @Dave

    Not here in Oregon. No luck with that recent eclipse here either :( Jupiter was amazing about a week ago though (or maybe it was Saturn. It’s hard to tell the difference this year without looking up the position because of the way Saturn’s rings are)

    @Lauren

    Me too!! I definately don’t approach things the same way as my friends. They tend to stick more to the textbook way of doing things, and they like to maintain the status quo while I take the road less traveled. Maybe their way is the better way of doing things, but my way is more fun :D

    Is that how it is with you?

    @(whoever asked this. I forgot lol)
    I’m not applying early action. Unfortunately I don’t quite have a 4.0 (close though), so I’d like another semester of As on my record before I apply.

  39. Anonymous says:

    @Olive

    That’s a good point that engineering is both a science and an art…

  40. Su ('14?) says:

    @ Lauren
    I’m applying EA too! I wanted to start the application before school started as well but it looks like (with school starting in a week) that might be a little difficult. So where are you from? (if you already answered that I’m sorry for being redundant lol)

  41. Su ('14?) says:

    @Dave

    Did you work in the military? I went to CA Girls State this year and most of the girls I met there had family members serving in the US army – it was really sad hearing their stories. I’m raising money at my school to sponsor a disabled veteran for the Ride2Recovery foundation (veteran bike ride) I know MIT has Alpha Phi Omega and I really want to join it (if I am accepted) – Do you know about any major community service projects they are doing this coming year?

  42. Olive says:

    @Dave

    No luck. It was cloudy here, too! I don’t frequently get to see the awesome things going on in the sky, however, as my parents prefer to get their sleep, lol. But my sis and I are going to join a local astronomy club, so I think things will get better smile

    How are things at the admissions office? Crazy?

    @Lauren

    I am definitely applying EA! I know I want to go to MIT, so if I get in (insert prayers here), I won’t even have to apply anywhere else RA.

    I like to volunteer too! I don’t have a lot of free time, so I don’t get to do it a whole lot, but it seems like the volunteers always have the most fun. Maybe that’s not always the case, but it’s been my experience anyway. Haha, and we usually have the best stories…

    @Nicholas

    Music! I wish I could play an instrument (I’ve never had time to learn…), but I do sing. I also love to dance, and I was a competitive figure skater for eight years, soooo that took up a lot of my life! I also love writing, especially poetry. Although a lot of it is apparently not-so-understandable, at least not in the way I intend it to be, since I like to keep things highly metaphorical. Analogy, sybolism, metaphor, all that good stuff = love smile I love to read, and I’m especially fond of classic literature (especially Tolkien), ancient mythology, and most things thought-provoking. Culture and history absolutely fascinate me! Oh, and I love languages, too smile Do you speak any foreign languages (this goes for all)?

    @both

    Yeah, I don’t tend to think conventionally either. I tend to be more curious and philosophical than my friends…Besides, if we all did everything by the book, what kind of world would we live in?

    hmmm…I’m wondering if I should bring sci-fi into this discussion…

  43. Luka says:

    @Olive

    I’m from Croatia [use google earth XD]. I have spent my summer mainly on the seaside with some friends, but I found some time to explore MIT’s application form. I’ve been in France, 2 weeks ago I took the TOEFL and I’ll be going to Malta at the end of the month. My hobbies? I really have a lot of them. Reading, waterpolo, soccer, travelling, web designing, exploring museums, card games…

  44. Su ('14?) says:

    @Olive

    TOLKIEN! Lord of the Rings!! I need to read those again. And your comment about volunteers having the most fun, I would have to AGREE smilesci-fi hmm Brave New World, 1984, Frankenstein (a few of my favs). Languages: Korean, Japanese, and I can read Latin (I qualified for a national level Latin reading competition in Australia) – I remember I had a dream with my best friend to make Latin the universal language lol!!

  45. Olive says:

    @Luka

    WOW Croatia! That is so cool! *gasps* You are so lucky to be able to travel through Europe – especially France! What are your favorite places to visit? Having lots of hobbies is a good thing in my book – it makes life interesting wink That’s a lot of languages, too – I’m impressed! It must be exciting to be able to communicate with so many different people smile

    @Su

    Also wow on the languages…
    Have you read The Silmarillion or The Book of Lost Tales parts I and II? If you haven’t, I would highly recommend them! They’re wonderful.
    STAR TREK! I love Star Trek! My sis and I are watching the original series in chronological order. It’s going to take a while, but it’s worth it. I love how though provoking the episodes are. Did you see the new movie?

    @Nicholas

    I do really want to learn, so I’m sure I will someday smile I already have a guitar and a keyboard, the problem is actually using them…it just hasn’t been high enough on the priority list, I’m afraid. You know, I’ve never read the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – I really should read it!

    @Ellen. Nope, not too late to join in the conversation! J’apprends le francais en ce moment – hopefully I’ll be able to speak it fluently!

    As far as languages go, I speak English fluently (surprising, no?)and I’m learning French. I took two years of high school Latin and I’m hoping that I won’t forget all of it! I really want to learn Italian and Spanish, too – all the romance languages are so similar, it shouldn’t be too difficult.

    And on the sci-fi discussion: other than Star Trek, I’m a big Stargate SG-1/Atlantis fan. My fav. characters are Jonas Quinn and Dr. Rodney McKay. Is anyone else a fan?

    @Dave
    Umm, we seem to have taken over the comments section…is that alright, or would you rather we not hold a discussion unrelated to your blog? I’m really sorry if we’re bugging you!

  46. Su ('14?) says:

    @Dave

    I’m with Olive on this one – I’m sorry for taking over the comments section.

  47. Ellen says:

    @Olive
    Sorry, didn’t mean to imply fluency in French. I’ve taken five years with really good teachers, but can’t claim to be fluent by any means. Also, I feel like it’s sort of poor etiquette to respond to something directed at someone else, but I love the Silmarillion and the Book of Lost Tales (I actually own all the volumes of the History of Middle Earth).

    @Dave
    I’d like to second the apology for comments-hijacking.

  48. Nicholas says:

    @Dave
    Yeah, sorry about that Dave. I take responsibility for filling up your comments with this silly jabber since I’m the one who started it :(

  49. Dave says:

    @ Everyone

    I hereby grant amnesty to all the comment hijackers! I’ve been happily grinning about how well you’ve connected. You have my blessing.

    @ Nicholas

    A 4.0 is by no means necessary, so if you’re really interested in MIT I’d suggest you apply EA. If you get deferred to RA you can include your most recent grades. PS, California is wonderful! Muir woods north of San Francisco is my favorite place on earth.

    @ Su

    I’m a flight medic in the Air Force Reserve, though I have served in both the Navy and Army (long story). The support back home is sincerely appreciated. MIT’s Biomechatronics group may interest you. Their work with prosthetics is unbelievable.

    I’m not sure exactly what Alpha Phi Omega charity fundraisers are in the works this year, but I’m sure they’d be happy to tell you if you contacted them!

    @ Luka

    Correct: all international students are considered as part of RA. This page has some tips and requirements. And of course just let us know if you have specific questions.

    Impressive travel credentials, BTW. Luckily I don’t drink coffee, so I was able to overlook that Parisian flaw and fall in love with the delicious and plentiful hot chocolate instead smile

    @ Olive

    Crazy officially starts on November 1. Right now it’s still the lull before the storm phase. Most of the office will start traveling to a location near you sooner than that. Because I’m new I get to stay local, though learning about MIT still makes things more hectic for me (in a good way?).

  50. Ellen says:

    @Dave
    That Biomechatronics group looks awesome. I don’t really like bio, but every time I hear about work on prosthetics I want to be a bioengineer.

  51. Olive says:

    @Dave

    Oh, good, I’m glad you don’t mind! This has been very enjoyable for me smile
    I’m kind of surprised crazy doesn’t start until Nov. Do you not start processing applications until then, or is it just because everything is non-stop after that? Well, I hope you enjoy the calm before the storm ;P

    @Ellen

    By all means respond to the questions I ask other people! If it’s a general question, I really mean for more than one person to answer if it applies, since we have so many people conversing at once! With that said, I’m so excited that there’s another Tolkien fanatic here!!! :D I don’t own all of the History of Middle Earth (henceforth to be referenced by HME in the interest of ease), but I do have a substantial amount. Which HME book would you say is your favorite? I’m partial to the Silmarillion since it has sooo many stories packed into one, but I also really like the background information and quirky stories in works like “The Unfinished Tales.” Also, did you like the movies, or were you disappointed with all the, shall we say, liberties Peter Jackson took? Are you excited about The Hobbit?

    @Nicholas

    Actually, I think Lauren kicked off the conversation, but she’s been mysteriously absent. Or just busy. lol. We’re all guilty though smile

    @Luka

    Oh my goodness, my head is spinning imagining going to all those places! Especially Italy – I would love to go to Italy! What were some of your favorite places & things to do there? Do you take lots of pictures when you travel? I guess it’s a good thing that I don’t drink coffee; you’d think that there would be plenty of good coffee in a major city like that – but then again, I haven’t traveled much, so I wouldn’t know! @Daves comment – J’adore le chocolat chaud! For me, that’s a big plus smile
    “Quot linguas calles, tot homines vales” hmm I had to pull out my Latin dictionary for that one(it’s already been too long)! Does it mean “As many languages as you know, so many men you (can) influence”? If so, it’s very true! That’s one of the reasons I’d like to learn more languages. Ugh, do you know someone actually got me to translate “Semper ubi sub ubi” once? LOL, I was so mad.

  52. Ellen says:

    @Olive
    Yeah, I think the Silmarillion is best in terms of having all the stories and also being more polished than most of the others. I really like the Lays of Beleriand because I like epic poetry, and the subset for the history of LOTR is also fun although that’s less for reading a story and more for seeing how the story got written. I liked the movies at first and I still think they’re good movies (though I haven’t watched them for a while), but once I got really into the books some of the differences got to be really grating. (Faramir and the whole ‘let’s forge the sword in RotK and then have Elrond run off to Rohan to deliver it’ thing.)

    @ everyone who likes Tolkien
    Since we’ve established that you have good taste in books, I was wondering if anyone here had read anything by Guy Gavriel Kay? He’s sort of obscure but really good.

  53. Luka says:

    @Olive

    Italy is like a second home for me (actually I have 1/8 of Italian blood). All Italy is beautiful, but I’d recommend Rome, Florence and Venice. If you love art Florence is the right place for you. The Uffizi Gallery is a must see, it hosts paintings and sculptures mainly from the Italian renaissance. Leonardo’s Annunciation, Botticelli’s Birth of Venus and La Primavera are incredible. Rome is the right place to hang around and explore on your own. The main attractions are the Colosseum and St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City (I was baptised there ^_^), but there are countless places that are interesting although they aren’t very famous. As for Venice, it can’t be described. You have to see “La Serenissima” with your own eyes. I never travel without two or three digital cameras, so the answer to your question is yes, I take enormous amounts of photos.
    “Quot linguas calles, tot homines vales” means “As many languages as you know, so many people you are worth.”

    @Dave
    Thanks for your answers and your support. Have you ever tried Swiss chocolate? I prefer it over the French one.

  54. Nicholas says:

    @Dave
    Whew! I’m glad you weren’t busy pointing out our rudeness to the other admissions people and putting our names on some kind of no-admit list :O
    Yes, California is very wonderful smile I love how high the freeways are stacked in L.A. and how ironic the connotations of Palm Spring’s name are. Won’t it put me at some kind of disadvantage to apply early? Are first semester grades the only thing that RA has going for it? I always though EA was for the people who were pretty confident about getting in.

    @Olive
    Yeah it started as a conversation between me and Lauren, but I wasn’t about to make somebody else take the blame lol. Since you said we can answer other people’s questions (even though you didn’t say it to me raspberry ) yes I am unhappy with *some* of the liberties Peter Jackson took. Particularly the absence of Tom Bombadil was a major let-down (for me). At the same time though, I understand that Jackson had an obligation to make money from these movies–especailly considering that they had to be payed for–and to make them less than a zillion hours long. Hence, the movie’s added Hollywood-ness and omitted and shortened elements.

    @Ellen
    I’ve never heard of that author, what’s he written?

    @Luka
    Make sure you eat at an In’n’out burger while you’r in California to get the true American experience :D Did you ride the gondola in Venice?

    @Everyone
    I finally figured out why the morning conversations begin before I get here: I live on the west-coast, so I’m three hours behind :D

  55. hamsika '13 says:

    @ dave – hmm for some reason, i can’t comment on your first post anymore – but i just wanted to say that i accidentally forgot to include a subject when sending the e-mail containing my blogger application – so the one that says ‘untitled message’ would be me smile

  56. Lauren says:

    @Su
    I’m from Everett, MA, which is about 20 minutes from Boston. Where are you from?

    @Olive
    Ya, volunteering is a blast smile I hope we both get into MIT EA because I don’t want to apply to any other schools RA raspberry And I think (?) I did kick off the conversation, and I’ve been absent :( I have a lot of summer work that needs to be finished and can’t check the blogs as much as I’d like too. And, I have to look over what everyone else posted, which takes a long time because everyone writes so much! raspberry It’s all so interesting.

    @Nicholas
    Violin? I love that instrument and have always wanted to learn how to play, but never had the time. While I was at WTP, there were 4 girls who had violins and violas and were really good. At the talent show we had towards the end, they played as a kind of quartet and performed Clocks by Coldplay. I play piano, but I haven’t practiced a lot lately. I hope I can get back to learning how to play once I go to college smile

    @Luka
    Croatia? That is pretty cool.

  57. Dave says:

    Mmmmmm, someone just dropped of Ghiradelli squares (and yes, West Coasters, I’m pronouncing it correctly smile

    @ Ellen

    That’s the wonder of MIT: you don’t have to be a specialized bioengineer to work on projects like that. The Media Lab includes life scientists, engineers of all flavors, artisans, management students and others, all collaborating . And since every MIT student takes the same GIR classes, you can all speak the same quantitative language.

    @ Olive

    We’re always busy. It being MIT, there tend to be more creative ideas than time. November 1 starts the reading season, and for a month we all read applications 24/7. The same goes for January/February. We do have to find time for the usual Admissions activities as well (website, publications, email, phone, etc). After all, who do you think stuffs all those EA packets? smile

    @ Luka

    I haven’t had much French chocolate since my trip. Belgian is more readily available in the states. Swiss is superb, but I generally prefer chocolate so dark it can be mistaken for a culinary singularity. Venezuelan is my favorite so far.

    All this chocolate talk reminded me that I wanted to attempt this Dark Chocolate Souffle recipe from Cooking for Engineers. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

    @ Hamsika

    Got your app!

  58. Olive says:

    @Ellen

    Yeah, the Lays of Beleriand is lovely! It really showcases Tolkien’s poetic talent. I’ve never heard of Guy Gavriel Kay – is his main genre also fantasy?

    @Ellen & Nicholas

    The things that really bugged me about the movie was how Arwen was given a major role (yet Faramir’s romance with Eowyn was completely over-looked) and how the relationship between Sam and Frodo was fundamentally changed (seriously, did he have to make them fight?). I can understand how Jackson had to cut most of the story out – really, the movies are already long! Although, I wouldn’t have been upset with 6 movies hehe…

    @Nicholas

    haha, I was thinking the same thing about the no-admit list raspberry
    I got the impression that EA was for the people who really want to go to MIT and probably won’t go elsewhere if accepted. That’s why I’m applying anyway; that, and I’m rather impatient raspberry and would LOVE to know early that I’m getting in (or not…but I prefer to focus on the positive).

    @Luka
    Thanks for the recommendations @Italy. I’ll keep them in mind when I *hopefully* go there smile Are you serious about being baptised at St. Peter’s Basilica? That’s amazing. Are you Catholic, too, then? I’m Catholic @Ellen

    Yeah, the Lays of Beleriand is lovely! It really showcases Tolkien’s poetic talent. I’ve never heard of Guy Gavriel Kay – is his main genre also fantasy?

    @Ellen & Nicholas

    The things that really bugged me about the movie was how Arwen was given a major role (yet Faramir’s romance with Eowyn was completely over-looked) and how the relationship between Sam and Frodo was fundamentally changed (seriously, did he have to make them fight?). I can understand how Jackson had to cut most of the story out – really, the movies are already long! Although, I wouldn’t have been upset with 6 movies hehe…

    @Nicholas

    haha, I was thinking the same thing about the no-admit list raspberry
    I got the impression that EA was for the people who really want to go to MIT and probably won’t go elsewhere if accepted. That’s why I’m applying anyway; that, and I’m rather impatient raspberry and would LOVE to know early that I’m getting in (or not…but I prefer to focus on the positive).

    @Luka
    Thanks for the recommendations @Italy. I’ll keep them in mind when I *hopefully* go there smile Are you serious about being baptised at St. Peter’s Basilica? That’s amazing. Are you Catholic, too, then? I’m Catholic <3

    Ah, thank you for clarifying the Latin! I was really having trouble with ‘vales’ for some reason – none of the dictionary meanings made sense to me except “influence”…

    @Lauren

    Yeah, I’ve probably been posting too much! I’m already back in school (this is my third week), so I’ve been doing x amount of work, getting on blog, doing x amount of work, getting on blog…raspberry It’s been an excellent means of motivation! And if that seems odd, I’m home schooled, which is why I can get on during school hours. muahahahaha wink

    I hope all six of us get accepted; that would be wonderful! Maybe we can even hang out together, too smile Then again, maybe it’s just wishful thinking…

  59. Olive says:

    @Dave

    Thanks, I think I got it smile

    AHhhh don’t mention Ghiradelli squares in front of me, it makes me twitch!:P (but I hope you enjoy them smile) Is it just me, or do Hershey’s products seem unpalatable after having reallly dark chocolate?

    And definitely let us know how the souffle turns out – if it’s good, I’ve got to try it wink

  60. Olive says:

    grr I did a heart grr I did a heart <3 after saying “I’m Catholic” and for some reason it didn’t show up…

  61. Olive says:

    Great, warning: every time you try to post a heart it deletes everything you write after it. :(

    I *tried* to say “grr I did a heart after writing ‘I’m Catholic’ and it didn’t show up”

  62. Dave says:

    @ Olive

    I think you need to use the ASCII (& + lt + wink so it doesn’t think you’re trying to use HTML markup. Let’s test: <3 did this show up?

  63. Lauren says:

    @Olive
    I reaallllyyy hope it’s not wishful thinking. I was reading a blog from last year 5 days before decisions came out that had posts up to when decisions came out. It was nerve-racking seeing all those people worry, but it kind of helped me realize what I would do if I am deferred… or even rejected :( … but I still really hope I’m not :/ And it would be amazing if we all got in and met each other in person. Hopefully that’s not just a dream…
    (A dream is a wish your heart makes… if you keep on believing, the dream that you wish will come true) O_o I’ve resorted to Disney songs… oh no… MIT MADNESS!!! raspberry

    @Dave
    Do you happen to know approximately when the applications are coming out? Tomorrow? Next week? The week after that, on my birthday (Aug. 31)?

  64. Nicholas says:

    @Dave
    Glad to hear that you pronounced it correctly. What about Oregon…Do you pronounce it ore-uh-gun, or ore-uh-gone?
    I like dark chocolate too smile It’s sort of painful to eat I think, but in a good way: like getting shocked with static electricity smile
    MIT has been my first choice college for as long as I can remember, so I’ll look into applying EA, but the idea makes me kinda nervous.

    @Lauren
    Never give up piano! I would love to learn piano eventually. I’ll tell you what: I’ll give you some of my violin skill if you give me some of your piano skill, deal? We’ll trade.

    @Olive
    Yeah, the fighting and the changed relationship stuff is just the filmmakers trying to make more money. More drama = more ticket sales. lol six movies would have been awesome. Which one is your favorite? Yes, wishing for everyone to get in is wishful thinking, but there’s nothing wrong with that smile it’s the best kind of thinking.

    @Su
    You live pretty close to MIT, have you ever visited? To me it seems like a faraway place that only half exists….like Hawaii is until you go there.

    @everyone
    who has started school already? I see that some of you are mentioning that you’ve already started. I don’t start until September 9th!

  65. Nicholas says:

    oops. didn’t mean to double post that uber-long comment :(

  66. Lauren says:

    @Nicholas
    Ok, deal smile And it’s a good decision to apply EA (at least I think so…) there’s a better chance at getting deferred rather than rejected, and then at least all the stress of applying to MIT is over with (until December, when all the stress of getting into MIT becomes apparent). I start school September 2… and that really stinks because I get my wisdom teeth out September 1, the day after my birthday. Such bad planning :(

  67. Nicholas says:

    @Lauren
    I like the idea of being being deferred instead of rejected (of course being accepted would be ok too :D ). Don’t worry too much about your wisdom teeth. People say it hurts, but it doesn’t. You’ll be a little loopy from the anesthesia when you wake up (if they put you to sleep like they did for me) but that’s not so bad :D Just don’t try to drive or anything that day.

    @Dave
    I don’t know if you’re the one to ask about this, but there is no information on my MyMIT page about an EC in my area. Is that being posted later?

  68. Luka says:

    @ Nicholas
    I had a few rides on the gondola the first time I was in Venice about five years ago. Thanks for the tip, I’ll check it out.
    When I’ll start school is still under discussion, but it should be on September 7th.

    @ Dave
    If I’m not mistaken Ghiradelli is the US branch of Lindt. I have a friend that works in a Lindt facility near Zurich so I always have industrial quantities of Lind chocolate at home and I often get to try new products six months before their release on the market. I like dark chocolate too, better if it is with 70% or 80% of cocoa. My favorite is the one from Madagascar, Ecuadorian isn’t bad either. Dark Chocolate Souffle? Sounds delicious. I tried both milk and white chocolate ones, but never one with dark chocolate. I’ll put that in my to-do list. Let me know how it turned out.

    @ Olive
    You are welcome. If you ever get the chance of spending a few days in Italy do it, you won’t regret it.
    Of course I’m serious, I wouldn’t joke about something like that. About me bing catholic the situation is somewhat complicated…

  69. Anonymous says:

    @ Su

    My Japanese is poor and reading kanji or hiragana is out of my grasp.

    @ Nicholas

    I’ve never been to the US before, but I’ll probably visit California next summer ’cause I have some relatives there.

    @ Olive

    I really enjoy traveling and in the last few years I have had the opportunity to see most of Europe. I’ve been to Madrid, Toledo, Paris, London, Oxford, Vienna, Prague, Rome, Florence, Venice, Naples, Turin, Genoa, Zurich, Bern, Liechtenstein… the list is long smile They are all worth seeing, but I guess my favorite is Paris. It’s an amazing city, there are countless parks where you can relax and read a book, the museums are among the best in the world (especially the Louvre) and the sight from the Eiffel Tower is breathtaking. There are just two negative aspects, almost nobody speaks English and there is just on place through the whole city where you can drink decent coffee. Regarding the language topic: “Quot linguas calles, tot homines vales.”

  70. Luka says:

    For some strange reason my previous entry got posted as anonymous =S

  71. Olive says:

    @Dave

    Thanks for the help smile I second Nicholas’ question. Why can’t we contact our ECs yet? Is it because the application isn’t up?

    @Lauren

    Aaaaaaa not Disney songs! Although, it is somewhat appropriate…good luck on the wisdom teeth smile I haven’t had mine pulled, but all my friends who have said it’s painless. And one actually enjoyed the anesthetic lol…

    @Nicholas

    I also would recommend applying EA. At this point, I don’t think you have anything to lose. And getting a second chance at admission? Way worth it.

    @both

    Haha, maybe I can trade figure skating lessons for music lessons…any takers? wink

    @Nicholas

    I always liked the second one better, but it’s been a while since I watched the trilogy. It seemed like there were fewer deviations from the book than the other two. Ah, money: the reason good books become bad movies raspberry Not that LOTR was bad, but it wasn’t anywhere near the greatness of the books!

    I’m the one who brought up school. Sorry. Terrible subject, I know…

    @Luka

    Right. I’ll drop the religion topic…unless you want to bring it back up again. I know it can be pretty touchy…it’s still cool that you were baptized at St. Peter’s Basilica smile

    Why is the starting date for your school still under discussion? Are you home schooled? Or is it some other flexible arrangement?

    @all

    At this point, I think some wishful thinking is just about mandatory raspberry

  72. Nicholas says:

    @Olive
    Sure! I’ll give you ninety cubits of violin for twelve gallons of figure skating. fair? ;D
    The second movie deviates from the book because it ends in completely the wrong place, but other than that you could be right. So who’s your favorite character? Tom Bombadil was my favorite from the book, but in the movies it was Legolas.

  73. Dave says:

    @ Nicholas

    Nuked second post.

    Are-a-gine. I’ve only visited once, though I’d love to go back.

    EC information will be posted when the application goes live. I promise I’ll have news about that tomorrow.

  74. Luka says:

    @ Olive

    I speak Croatian, Italian and English (+ some Japanese, but very litte) and as Su I can read Latin.

    @ Dave

    As an international student I can’t apply EA, right?

  75. Su ('14?) says:

    @Luka

    Yes, I think you’re right. I think international students can only apply RD. You can speak Japanese? „Åì„Çì„Å´„Å°„ÅØ„É´„ɺ„Ç´„Åï„Çì„ÄÇ„Ç¢„É°„É™„Ç´„ɺ„Å´Ë°å„Å£„Åü„Åì„Å®„Åå„ÅÇ„Çä„Åæ„Åô„Åã„ÄÇÔº≠Ôº©Ôº¥„Åß„Å©„Çì„Å™Âãâº∑„Çí„Åó„Åü„ÅÑ„Åß„Åô„Åã„ÄÇ

  76. Nicholas says:

    @Olive
    You can play an instrument! It’s never too late to learn. Just start learning to read music in your spare time (if you have any lol) then get private lessons. And yes you absolutely should bring sci-fi into this discussion as it is my favorite genre :D I really like Lord of the Rings as well as The Hobbit, but my favorite book of all time (the whole trilogy actually) is The Hitchhiker’s Guide To the Galaxy smile Ich kann ein bisschen Deutsch sprechen, aber nicht gut. What languages do you know? Wow, figure skating! That’s really cool smile I’m not much of an athelete myself lol.

    @Luka
    Sweet, Croatia!! I hope you get admitted too! Have you ever been to the U.S.?

  77. Su ('14?) says:

    @Nicholas

    You asked the same question I asked Luka (except in english – “Have you ever been to the U.S.?” smile
    It’s awesome that you know how to speak German! Talking about sci fi – star trek!!!!! (the original series)
    “Space, the Final Frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five year mission – to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.” (I get goosebumps every time I say it :D)

  78. Ellen says:

    @everyone, I guess
    Hi. Is it too late to join the conversation? I’m Ellen, and like all of you, I’m a hopeful ’14. I only speak French and English, and I also love Tolkien (though unfortunately I have now forgotten who it was that brought him and the language thing up).

  79. Su ('14?) says:

    @Ellen

    HI smile Olive brought up Tolkien and language. Where are you from?

  80. Ellen says:

    I’m from Maryland.

  81. @ Lauren

    I don’t want to apply anywhere else, either! But, it’s a good idea smile Besides, not getting into MIT wouldn’t mean our lives would be over; it would just make us very sad! Hopefully, if any one of us doesn’t get in, it will be for a very good (if not immediately recognizeable) reason.

    P.S. My name is Olivia, and I guess there really isn’t any point to using the username Olive. Y’all are using your real names, I’ll use mine too smile

  82. Lauren says:

    @Olivia
    No, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. We’d survive and move on. But it would still be a heartbreaker raspberry If one of us (or even all of us :O ) didn’t get in, it’s probably because MIT believes we wouldn’t be happy there. And we all know how smart MIT people are, so I doubt they’re wrong raspberry

    I guess we’ll all call you Olivia now, but Olive was cool too smile

  83. Nicholas says:

    @Olive
    I’ll also be applying to Cal Tech, possibly Yale, and maybe another similar school like Berkely. Those are my second choices after MIT. If I don’t get into any of those or MIT, I’ll go to one of Oregon’s two state universities and make the most of it I can. There are tons of mistakes in the LOTR movies similar to the fedex truck. Click my name to read about some if you want. Maybe you’ve already heard about them.

    @Lauren
    I don’t think your face actually looks different. It just feels numb.

    @Val
    Hi! I’ll trade you a little rubik’s cube for some of that Bassoon :D

  84. Lauren says:

    @Nicholas
    I’ll trade you some vibraphone and timpani for some Rubik’s Cube. I’ve always wanted to learn how to complete that thing. And my face will feel numb? That’ll be an odd feeling… raspberry

  85. Ellen says:

    @Lauren
    I’ll trade Rubik’s cube for vibraphone. Yeah, face numbing is really weird. Also tongue numbing.

    @Nicholas
    I heard about the truck thing, but I didn’t notice when I saw it in the theater. I wish they’d included it on the DVD. Not necessarily in the movie, but as an extra at least.

    @Olivia
    I think Tigana or The Lions of Al-Rassan are the best of GGK’s books, but one thing you risk by starting with those is mild disappointment when you read his earlier stuff. It’s still good, but a bit less mature. Fake-out deaths and the like. For other schools, I’m thinking Caltech or Stanford, maybe Johns Hopkins, and suchlike. And of course there’s always the University of Maryland. But I would rather not have to go to any of them, although I agree with Lauren on the reliability of MIT’s admissions officers. If they tell me I’ll be happier somewhere else, they’re probably right. But I’m hoping they think I’ll be happiest at MIT.

  86. Lauren says:

    @Ellen
    Deal. And I think we’re all hoping that admissions will think we’ll be happiest at MIT raspberry

  87. Nicholas says:

    @Lauren
    Yeah it is an odd feeling, but don’t worry it’s not as bad as braces if you’ve ever had those.

    @Ellen and Lauren
    It’s really easy actually, you can learn in just a day or two. Doing it fast is the hard part. Click my name if you want to see someone explain how to do it (and I won’t even charge you any vibraphone raspberry although I do think it would be fun to learn) Wait, do you both play vibraphone? Are you in a school band/jazz band type of thing?

    @Olivia
    I was actually thinking about asking you if your real name was Olive, but sometimes people are uncomfortable giving out their name to strangers. Anyway, I like Olivia it’s a nice name.

  88. Su ('14?) says:

    I’ve missed so much while I was away at my internship :(
    I forgot when it was mentioned but I think someone asked if I had visited MIT because I live so close? I have visited but I live in San Diego, CA, I think Lauren lived in MA though.

    @DAVE
    Yay! Some news about the applications. I am so pumped for it to come out.

  89. Nicholas says:

    @Su
    I think it was me that asked that. I thought you said you lived close to MIT, or maybe I meant to ask someone else. I don’t know :D What kind of internship were you at?

  90. Su ('14?) says:

    @Dave, Olivia, Nicholas, Lauren, Ellen, VAL, (and anyone I’ve missed)

    Another question. If I don’t have a 2400 on the SAT and 800s on all my subject tests should I not apply EA? Also, I haven’t built a telescope or anything amazing like that either. I guess I’m feeling a little nervous/not good enough (is anyone else feeling that way? or is it just me?)

    Oh and my answer for my second choice schools. If I don’t get into MIT I’m considering going back to Australia (Sydney University).

  91. Ellen says:

    Oh dear I have no idea how to organize this. So:
    @Olive and Nicholas
    Guy Gavriel Kay writes sort of ‘historical’ fantasy- alternate world but clearly based in reality. For example, he’s got books based on the Byzantine Empire and the Spanish Reconquista, but they’ve got a touch of magic and a different set of events. He’s also done a bit of Tolkien-style high fantasy (trilogy and all. Why is everything a trilogy?) What I really like about him is the well-developed minor characters. And, of course, the plots are well done too (though he does sometimes hold details back a bit too long. But that doesn’t matter on the reread. smile ) Also, as regards the LOTR movies, the second one had the absurd drama of Helm’s Deep and the grievous alteration of Faramir’s character. (Faramir is my favorite character, so that really bothers me.) But I guess in terms of extracted details it’s the best, since the first one lost Tom Bombadil and the last one lost the Scouring of the Shire.

    @Nicholas
    Could I have some of the violin skill too? I’ve been playing violin for ages but I’m afraid I don’t practice enough to be any good. Sadly, I have no piano skill to offer. Would you take French skill?

    @everyone
    I really hope we all get in and get to meet in person. Or who knows, maybe even if we get rejected some of us will end up at the same place.

  92. Nicholas says:

    @Dave
    thanks for getting rid of that second post & Are-a-gine is close enough for me lol. Awesome!! Can’t wait to hear about the application, whatever the news is. By the way…have you ever seen News Radio? ;D

    @Ellen
    Sure I’ll trade for French, but it’s going to cost you seven miles worth -_-

    Guy G. Kay sounds like an interesting author. Maybe I’ll check out one of his books when I finish “Invisible Man”. Ah yes, I had forgotten that they left out the scouring of the shire. That would have ruined the audience’s expectations though because most movie-goers expect a happy ending. Do you ever look for flubs in the LOTR movies? In one scene there’s a fedex truck or some kind of vehicle driving by in the background :D I noticed it in the theater, but they edited it out for the DVD.

  93. VAL '14? says:

    @Olive: I’ll trade two quarts of bassoon for a vial of concentrated poise, extracted from your figure skating concentrate. Fair? smile

  94. Olive says:

    @Dave

    We eagerly await any news you have! smile

    @Nicholas

    Eh, I guess that’s fair ;P I’m actually more interested in piano & guitar, but I would love to learn to play the violin; when played well, it can be just heartbreaking and absolutely beautiful.

    @Nicholas and Ellen

    Oh, I forgot how much they changed the second one, too, especially with the elves coming to “fight alongside men once more” when they totally didn’t show in the books…It’s been a couple years since I saw the movie and read the books…Yeah, the Helm’s Deep scene WAS pretty ridiculous. I guess I’d have to watch/read them again to pick a favorite. In the movie, I really liked Merry and Pipin, and I also liked Legolas (even though his character was greatly reduced from what it was in the book – seriously, when you have Orlando Bloom playing somebody, you’d think giving him as much screen time as possible would be beneficial to the success of the movie!!). As far as my favorite character in the book, it’s hard to say. I’d have to read it again. I’m starting to forget all the nuances which make the characters loveable! Ellen, I agree on Faramir – the movie really didn’t do him justice. Although I did like the actor wink

    @Ellen

    GGK sounds interesting! What book (or trilogy lol) would you recommend for someone who hasn’t read his works?

    @everyone

    I agree with Ellen! What are some of the other schools y’all are looking at (in the unhappy event that we don’t get accepted to MIT)? My second choice is NCSU.

  95. Lauren says:

    @Nicholas
    Thanks for the advice. I’m getting put under anesthesia, so I’m definately not gonna drive anywhere. I’m just worried about my face being all swelled up the first day of being a senior in high school.

    @Dave
    Yay for news about ECs and the EA application!!!

  96. Olive says:

    @Val

    Sorry, I’m not interested in bassoon. Better luck next time! raspberry Do you have any other skills to offer?

    Have you decided to join our conversation?

    @Nicholas

    LOL, now I wish I’d seen it in theaters! The FedEx truck would soo have been worth it…

  97. Lauren says:

    @Olive
    In the unfortunate and unhappy event :( …
    My second choice schools would have to be Tufts University and Northeastern University. I’m probably going to apply to UMASS Amherst, Boston University, and some other schools. I don’t know. I really don’t want to apply anywhere else, though raspberry