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MIT student blogger Chris M. '12

Decisions, Decisions….. by Chris M. '12

Don't Panic!

Ahh Pi day. It’s an important day for nerds worldwide, but it’s perhaps most important for some future nerds here at MIT (not to be confused with nerds from the future here at MIT). As I’m sure you already know, decisions day (D-Day from here on out) is upon us and for the prospective students that means sweaty palms, quickened paces, and anxiety that WebMD can’t explain (the likes of which you won’t see again until prom) and bandwidth-crippling refreshes of If this sounds like you, then you are who I’m talking to right now. There’s just one thing you need to do between now and tomorrow:

“Don’t Panic”

(and remember your towel)

You see, MIT is a great many wonderful things, and it’s the place I love being at the most (a good thing since I spend most of my waking hours here – most of my sleeping is done when I’m on vacation =] ). It is not however the end-all deciding factor of whether or not you’ll be happy for the rest of your life though. Somehow I missed that when I was applying so I hope you guys don’t. D-day is a day of extremes, lots of people will be ecstatic to get their decision; many more will be disappointed.

If you don’t get it, don’t sweat it. Really. The admissions office is a well-greased machine that is incredibly efficient at figuring out who’s gonna be happy to be here or not. Their job is in some ways to look out for you. There’s a certain relationship the two of you have: Admissions knows MIT very well, but you not so much. You know yourself pretty well (at least I hope you do — you live with you!), but you don’t really know how MIT is. You might think to yourself “oh but I know so much about MIT!” and that might be true, but you don’t know about being at MIT. And that’s what Admissions knows about.

MIT is hard. Almost anyone knows that, but the way it’s hard is a bit more transient. It’s tough now even to explain, but I distinctly remember my first week real week here I thought, “I get it, I know why people wouldn’t want to come here.” It’s not for everyone.

So in short, if you don’t get in, don’t worry. It doesn’t mean you’re not destined to do great things, nor that you’re forced to be unhappy at some other college because you’re not good enough. On the contrary, if you don’t get in it’s a good indication that this probably wasn’t the best choice for you.

From here on out, changes in your life are dramatic and fast. It doesn’t seem like two years ago that I was driving home from the bank thinking about what the computer screen would tell me I’d do for the next four years of my life. Before you know it, it will be you guys who’ll be amazed by how far away just two years ago seems (and I’ll be graduating–EEP!). But no matter where you end up going to school, take it by the horns. Carve out a niche for yourself, join clubs, talk to professors, explore and think. Those are the qualities that will make your life as an intellectual enjoyable no matter where you go, and those are the qualities you already have– just don’t forget about them. MIT is a tool you can use for your education, but there many others that can do the job as well. You’re in charge though; it’s your life. Make something of it.

(also feel free to read what I wrote before decisions last year:

Good luck, so say we all!

60 responses to “Decisions, Decisions…..”

  1. DarX says:

    i will freak out probably, but i already told myself I don’t stand a chance so it’s not very unexpected.

  2. WoW……………………………..

  3. Good Luck Everyone!

  4. Good luck to all, hopefully some of us will be classmates in Cambridge next year!

  5. ADx '14 says:

    Good luck to everyone who have applied.And bless me good luck as well.

  6. Armin says:

    >if you don’t get in it’s a good indication that this probably wasn’t the best choice for you.

    Chris Mills, one question is really screwing me. Is that what you say the only reason for not getting in? This is surely acceptable, but what if some don’t get in just because there are not enough places. I really hate it when such an enormous success and distressful process turns out to be dealing with large amount of chance.

  7. By the way, can people PLEASE stop posting ‘First’ ‘second’ etc. in all of the threads, it gets really annoying >.By the way, can people PLEASE stop posting ‘First’ ‘second’ etc. in all of the threads, it gets really annoying >.<

  8. DarX says:

    I agree on that one. stop being ridiculous.

  9. Armin says:

    @ Mohammad(’14?)

    Some commentators believe it’s a tradition. Only Snively’s blog has a filter to delete ‘first’ comments.
    One other thing, eventhough we have a Captcha form, some posts are duplicate!

  10. Chris M. says:


    you’ve got a good point. Here’s my take on it. You’re right in thinking that there are many more qualified people for MIT than there are spots at MIT. But that means only the best fits get in, which is to say only the people who will be most happy here. Since you’re goal is to be most happy wherever you go to school, it’s in your interest as well.

    This is not the kind of place you can really be too mediocre about. You either love it, or you hate it. So you may be perfectly qualified, but maybe you’d rather go somewhere else.

    You’ll get in wherever you’re the best for.

  11. Ahmad says:

    I wonder why people who go to MIT mispell so badly. Chris Mills learn how TO SPELL! “They’re job is in some ways to look out for you. It should be THEIR ignorant

  12. DarX says:


    I would rather mispell every second word and still attend MIT so don’t be so cocky :D

  13. Chris M. says:


    If the only thing you took from what I wrote is that I made a homophonic grammatical error, I think you missed the point. I’m not writing an essay. It’s a blog. It’s casual writing. I probably have a bajillion excessive commas.

    That being said, I’m happy to correct mistakes when I find them or when others do so for me (some of them I miss), but I do not appreciate being called ignorant. I’m well aware of the difference between “they’re” and “their” (and “there” for that matter), but I’m a human being and I make mistakes.

  14. Aditi says:

    Good luck almost-prefrosh smile

  15. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for this post, it makes me feel better!

  16. Anonymous says:


    I believe you meant “misspell”

  17. Anonymous says:


  18. Felix says:

    I’m pretty sure it’s “misspell” smile

  19. Anonymous says:

    I’m pretty sure someone already told him.

  20. Ki says:

    Thanks for the advice Chris smile Hope the day I can blog similar sort of advice to the ‘2015s would come lol

  21. Nasser says:

    @ Ahmad

    Dont let Pi Day stress you out!!!!!
    Be nice.Chris is cool.

  22. Nasser says:

    @ Ahmad

    Dont let Pi Day stress you out!!!!!
    Be nice.Chris is cool.

  23. Nasser says:

    @ Ahmad

    Dont let Pi Day stress you out!!!!!
    Be nice.Chris is cool.

  24. Hamsika '13 says:

    great entry, chris ~ i remember reading your post last year while waiting for decisions and feeling a lot better smile

  25. Masod says:

    Thank you for your post, Chris!

    Good luck everyone!!! smile

    Let’s go to bed early tonight and wake up early tomorrow and make a Pie (if decisions can’t sweetn things up, I’m pretty sure Pie would) so don’t stress yourself too much. Accept the reality and move on.

    Everyone ‘maybe’ is best for MIT, but MIT isn’t best for everyone!

    Best regards,

  26. K '14? says:

    Thank you for the great post, Chris. And those inspirational quotes from your post last year were also fantastic. I told myself to be calm about Pi Day, but I don’t know what’s gotten into me today. I’m so emotionally confused! But good luck to everyone and hopefully tomorrow’s tears, if any, will be of pure happiness and nothing else! smile

  27. Shivam says:

    Awwww awesome post, Chris!

    Loveddd the “(not to be confused with nerds from the future here at MIT).” smile

  28. Deeni '13 says:

    “When you feel like giving up, remember why you held on for so long in the first place.”

    This is the quote I first read on Chris’s blog last year before my decisions came out, and this is what helped calm me down. MIT isn’t easy (especially next week!), and whenever I feel like I’ve had enough (which I would feel a lot during first semester, but don’t feel a lot now), I think about this quote. It helps.

    Hey Chris, thanks for being an awesome blogger and an awesome 8.02 TA!!

  29. Matt F '12 says:

    Good luck almost-prefrosh!

    MIT loves you all and you are the coolest people in the world.

    never forget that you are awesome.

  30. Jeff Heidel says:

    I’m oh so excited / nervous / anxious about the deadline tomorrow. MIT is my dream school.

    By the way, if any of you are devastated because you won’t have access to a computer at exactly 1:59 PM tomorrow (I intend to be on a mountain skiing), I wrote a program that allows for text message lookup on decisions. Send a text message to 41411 containing “HEIDEL ” and my server will look up the results and send a text message reply. Don’t worry, the script doesn’t store or distribute information in any way; in fact, I’d be happy to share the source code. Note the script allows you to specify if you want the 2nd, 3rd, etc., page of the message in case you are unable to discern your admission status from the first 150 characters or so that the SMS protocol allows.

    Good luck to everyone, both in MIT and other college decisions!

  31. Jeff Heidel says:

    Sorry for double post.
    Correction: “HEIDEL [mymit username] [mymit password] [page (optional)]”

  32. Cindy says:

    Chris M. – thanks for the great post. I’m the parent of a prospective student, and interestingly enough, I just had a conversation a few days ago with my children & said, almost verbatim, what you’ve written; we have to trust the expertise of the admissions staff at each institution. As a parent, I may think my child would be happiest at a particular university, but I can only make that assumption based on a limited amount of information. Granted, I know how to do my research and we know people attending MIT, but my overriding concern is that my daughter attend a university she’ll find challenging & rewarding & comfortable – I want her to be happy because I know that’s key to her success. In that regard, I feel comfortable putting my trust in those qualified to make the best decision for my child – MIT’s admissions staff. Thank you for all of the hard work each & everyone of you do. Best to you all.

  33. Anonymous says:

    do only nerds go to mit..?

  34. Rachel says:

    @Alex-the-captcha-interpreter: Aw man. I have “difficult carranza.” Yeah, I’m out. Good luck to everyone else! About 4 hours to go :3.

  35. Gwen says:

    Everyone knows MIT for its collective brain power, its history-making innovations, its groundbreaking achievements. But Chris, if you are representative of most MIT students, then MIT also should be known for its heart. What a considerate, thoughtful, and respectful blog you posted. That was so, so nice.

  36. val_val says:

    @ DarX
    never count yourself out, or go into battle assuming you’ll lose, many people end up losing that way :D

    I think people who belong there go and get accepted into MIT. I read number 6: selection progress, that might answer your question.

    I just started reading many blogs here they r all great! Very interesting great job! ^-^ @ DarX
    never count yourself out, or go into battle assuming you’ll lose, many people end up losing that way :D

    I think people who belong there go and get accepted into MIT. I read number 6: selection progress, that might answer your question.

    I just started reading many blogs here they r all great! Very interesting great job! ^-^ <3

  37. aleriosg says:

    Thank you. Very much.

  38. Alex says:

    In past years I believe there has been a tradition of interpreting the given captcha as a a kind of prophetic indicator of acceptance or rejection.

    Mine is “Nipples it”.

    I really don’t know what to think.

  39. Hannah says:

    And I understand how things are important in life:
    NOT necessary to BE strong, BUT to FEEL strong

    God bless us all!!!
    Best of luck

  40. Alex says:

    And after refreshing quite a few times, I’m left with nothing much better than “rigorous rhondda”. But now I’ve realized that, without fail, every captcha would make a reasonable hipster band name. But I guess that’s saying more about hipster bands than ReCaptcha.

    Also, excellent luck everyone, it seems that we’re going to need it this year…

  41. Ki says:

    Hoo…. plz plz plz….

  42. Veluz says:

    Ah, quite an inspirational message you have here, while I am quite crazy for awhile today because of the pi day XD

    Thank you for inspiring us :D

    Ah less than 2 hours remaining XD

    captcha: hooey victory! yay!

  43. adhami! says:

    GOOD LUCK everyone!!!! i just wish that MIT could have a bigger quota for international applicants. Chris i lved the first paragraph of the blog you posted!EEEEEEEEEEEEEEE people get EXCITEDDDD to learn about the desicion!!!!!!!!!!!!

  44. Arpit says:

    I know my chances of getting into Mit is bleak …… but still i am hoping ….. hoping against hope

  45. Anonymous says:

    decisions are just an hour away but reading your blog i feel really good n up n going…thanks Chris! really liked your last year’s blog as well….
    PS: u should seriously write some inspiring books!!…n best of luck to all applicants!

  46. Anonymous says:

    Less than 12 hours everyone! Brace for impact!

  47. So say we all. Wise words, my dear. grin

  48. Anonymous says:

    12 hours left, this IS the final countdown. Good luck everyone!

  49. Leonadis '14 says:

    Applicants!, tonight we dine in hell!

    May the great Les’Narab be with you!

  50. Piper '12 says:

    Ahmad – Want to fix up your grammar before bashing someone else’s spelling?

  51. FuLanKe says:

    Thanks Chris for your entry! Similar to what was posted on here ealier by other applicants, I have to say that I am well aware that my odds are very little. Even being aware of this fact does not rid of the nerves, anxiety and (all that you’ve mentioned) that is going on right now in my head. But thanks to you sharing your view, I now feel that I won’t be looked down upon no matter what the decisions for me will be, and that I will always be happy as long as I strive for it. Thanks man! You are an inspiration!

  52. rejection says:

    rejection rejection no no no no no no never got a YES in my life for what I reallllllllyyyyyy wanted !!! :(

  53. Jae Lee says:

    I am very encouraged by your blog, Chris, and I will continue to do my best and be happy wherever I go. I think that’s what really matter in life.

  54. Hana '13 says:

    and yes, I also remember reading your post last year before decisions came out smile

  55. SillyGoose says:

    “”Don’t Panic”

    (and remember your towel)”

    I see what you did there. . . You ARE a sly one:'s_Guide_to_the_Galaxy

    Epic Fail: ReCaptcha = “Brezhnev exposure” (and I didn’t realize they included proper nouns in those things. . .)

  56. Jai says:

    My ideology is simple: applying to MIT is an opportunity, regardless of the outcome. If you are accepted, reap the pure bliss of your accomplishments. Enjoy the pride it brings to you and your family, and most importantly, prepare yourself for the challenge ahead. If you are rejected, take pride in the fact that you took on MIT, accept the fact that it probably wasn’t right for you, and lastly, stomach the somewhat glum feeling of rejection because there are likely to be bigger downfalls ahead.

    As someone applying from Italy to both the UK and US, I’ve had a lot of applications to fill out. My initial thoughts were “if I get rejected then that’s a lot of time down the drain”. However, I now realize that all of these essays and applications are part of a greater learning process. Had I not applied to MIT, I might regret never finding out whether or not it was right for me.

    I’ll be anxiously waiting for my decision today. I have little expectation due to the incredibly low acceptance rate for internationals (~3%), but I know that whatever decision is made will be for the best.

    Good luck to everyone! Only about 5 hours to go!

  57. Val'14? says:

    Thanks so much Chris!=) Such sincere words.
    It is so true that it’s most important to make the best out of your life. You can do well and be happy anywhere if you have that in you mind.
    Still, good luck everyone!

  58. @Anonymous I completely agree! Chris, why don’t you? smile

    I can’t believe it’s been a year already! Good luck to everyone! Thanks for the inspirational post! smile