I know I haven’t written anything lately. Portraying MIT feels a bit weird now because my boyfriend, a sophomore in mechanical engineering, has just taken a leave of absence.
Taking a break from the Institute is not unheard of here. I can think of several people I know who are currently taking time off, have recently come back, or have returned, realized MIT was still not what they wanted, and left again for good.
So there’s something I want to convey to you. MIT is not for everyone!!
It’s not that there’s anything intrinsically wrong with the Institute. But it’s just impossible to satisfy everyone, you know? For example, if you really wanted to pursue a career in advertising, then you might be able to find someplace better.
A lot of emphasis in choosing colleges goes towards student life. Are there enough places to eat? Do our traditions seem cool to you? Can your dorm/FSILG make you feel at home? While these are all extremely worthwhile questions, they shouldn’t overshadow the most important question of all:
What are you going to study?
Would a degree from MIT really be worth it if you spent the years unhappily toiling through a course of study that’s not even vaguely within your interests? I don’t think it is (but I’m sure there are people who’d argue..). You can stay undecided for a certain amount of time, but there comes a point in time when you need to decide on a major (sometime during sophomore year) and then study the heck out of it with awesome MIT skill.
Most areas of study here revolve around engineering. Anything else besides science/engineering tends to feel like some “other” major (I’m in such a major!). That said, the other programs here range from amazing to fantastic (I really really love my major). But there are only a finite number of them.
My point is, think long and hard about what you want to study before deciding where. Ask yourself questions — enough to make yourself see your own personal truth. Here are a few to start off:
- Do you enjoy being worked (read: challenged) over and over again? At least you’ll be happy while you’re hosed.
- Do you despise the thought of working through *Magic Algebra* repeatedly? Then you probably don’t want to become an engineer.
- Do you prefer hands on work or theoretical studies? You’ll want to figure out how MIT’s department learns a given subject.
This is not to say that answers are absolute. People change over time. MIT is especially great at showing you just what unbelievable feats you are capable of. But in the end you are you, learning is not one-size-fits-all, and your studies are a central part of your college life, wherever you choose to pursue it.
My next entry will probably be about MIT’s School of Architecture + Planning (yes, with the plus sign). Stay tuned!