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MIT student blogger Hamsika C. '13

Building 46 by Hamsika C. '13


Look at this:


And this:


And this:


And maybe even this:


I am utterly in love with this building. Everything from its 90-foot-high atrium to its bamboo forest to its bold colors to its people. This is Building 46, home to all that is Course 9: Brain/Cognitive Sciences. Which, as of January 15, 2010, happens to be my major.

Generally, MIT students declare their major at the end of their first year; however, each December, the registrar sends out letters to some freshmen, offering them Early Sophomore Standing. The freshmen who choose to accept this are, as far as school records are concerned, sophomores. Which means that they no longer have a 57-credit limit for the spring semester, nor do they fall under the A/B/C/No Record grading system that second semester freshmen are privy too. The greatest advantage to Early Sophomore Standing is that if you know what major you want to pursue, you can declare it and be assigned a departmental advisor, who can guide you through the course selection process. There are so many different requirements at MIT (the HASS requirement, Communication requirement, General Institute Requirements, major-specific requirements) that it sometimes becomes slightly confusing.

I know several individuals so far who have elected Early Sophomore Standing. I chose to accept it primarily because I love the Brain/CogSci department here at MIT – the research being done, the classes offered, and the opportunities presented. I applied to MIT with an interest in Course 9, and nothing I experienced first semester did anything to diminish that ambition.

It did feel strange to declare my major. When I walked out of the Course 9 Undergrad Adminstrator’s office on Friday, I was a little too cheerful and smiling a little too much. I finally felt like I was a real college student and that I was going somewhere in this world. I still have a few GIRs left to complete, but after that, I’ll only have to study what I really want to study.

There’s something incredibly satisfying about that.

27 responses to “Building 46”

  1. L '14? says:

    Looks like a hotel. smile
    It’s good that you are so confident in the major you want to study. I think Brain & Cognitive Science is very interesting too.
    Good luck!

  2. Liz '14 says:


    Out of curiousity, what are the requirements for Early Sophomore standing?

  3. Mr chummies says:

    Heh, Building 46 looks even BETTER in the daytime…

  4. I cannot begin imagine what it is like studying Cognitive Science at MIT. Add on Building 46 (how in the world have I never even heard about this place?) and it can’t get any better than this. I can just taste your joy Hamsika.

  5. Caio '14? says:

    Both Building 46 and Course 9 are amazing!
    And I agree with Mr chummies: The building looks even better during the day.

  6. Mehmet '14? says:

    Studying what you really want to study; I wish I could do that right now!

  7. Cara '14? says:

    I was deferred EA, but I’m still hoping for MIT – and course 9 would be my probable major. What a beautiful building! Congratulations.

  8. Val'14? says:

    Oh my gosh I so envy you. =P

  9. Ash says:

    That is a beautiful building.

  10. AMAZING!!!!! Super super good luck with your major!!! smile That is going to be my major (most likely) wherever I go. If by a miracle I end up at MIT, I am doubly delighted to find that Course 9 is in such an awesome building…I wander around in my school a lot after the last students have drifted out (usually taking a short break from art club or philosophy club) and just look at the architecture for inspiration…That is so beautiful! Congrats, Hamsika!

  11. Congratulations! :D & Good luck with your major.
    (You’re right; the building is beautiful)

  12. Sreyan says:

    Hey Brain-Cog’s my way forward too! And I loved the way you said you’ll only have to study what you really want to study. That’s amazing. and at a place like MIT, that’s just so much more amazing! Lucky you!

    Do blog more about the Brain and Cognitive Science Dept, would love to learn more….. smile

  13. prital says:

    hi..building is awsome..n study on brainn cognitive related stuff is just great..evn m planning to get in d same field in near future… GOOD LUCK

  14. Emilio '13 says:

    Aaaaaaagh I love building 46.

  15. Han '14 says:

    Wow! I love it!

  16. Piper '12 says:

    Note to freshmen –

    “Hey baby, I’ve got sophomore standing” should never, ever be used as a pick-up line.

    It’s been tried.

    be used as a pick-up line.

    It’s been tried.

    <3 Piper

  17. Shravas says:

    Liz – I think the requirements are that you need 96 credits (most classes at MIT are 12 credits), have completed a majority of your science GIRs, so at least 3 or 4 (not sure which) of Bio, Chem, both Calcs and both Physics, and a CI-H (which includes CI-HW).

  18. vishnu says:

    Hey I am VISHNU SHARMA from INDIA.I am student of year).I want to study in MIT for M.TECH
    SO I want to get information about MIT.
    I need your help for that.If you want to help me then please contact me
    [email protected]

  19. Zack Brown says:

    I am wondering. Just how in the world did you get into harvard. What was your SAT score? What was your GPA and class rank from high school? What extracirriculars did you do? Did you win or place in any competitions, if so what were they? What was your application essay like?

  20. tree says:

    Wow, that building sure looks unique, to say the least.

  21. Karen says:



  22. Karen says:

    oh, also have you found the super secret bonus couch area on the 6th floor? you can creep on people in the Atrium and people rarely ever bother you, so it’s a great place to get work done.

  23. Hamsika '13 says:

    Nope, I haven’t found that couch area – I’ll go exploring tomorrow!!

  24. Alum says:

    Building 46 is wonderfully minimalist… too bad I didn’t hang around there often enough.

    I find Building 32 (Stata Center) delightfully postmodern, though rather confusing to navigate.

    The interior of Kresge Auditorium and MIT Chapel is worth checking out.

  25. “I still have a few GIRs left to complete, but after that, I’ll only have to study what I really want to study.”

    FALSE!! This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though. Sometimes, MIT’s way of throwing in wrenches to your (seemingly flawless) plans enhances the whole experience by teaching you how to adjust and make the best of sticky situations. For example, because of one scheduling conflict, I can’t minor in my favorite HASS field. But it might be a blessing in disguise.

  26. Anonymous says:

    it’s so pretty smile