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MIT student blogger Bryan O. '07

Don’t Worry, Be Happy by Bryan

A few words of advice.

So the title is pretty obvious, I’m modeling this entry after Sam’s.

Back in the Fall of 2002, I set out on a journey that is still ongoing. I started applying to college. I went into the whole process knowing that I wanted to go to college, and I had a few ideas of where I wanted to apply and that was it. And so, what did I do, I procrastinated.


Because of state laws. Back in TX, if you were in the top 10 percent of your class, you were guaranteed admission to a state school, so I figured, since most of my friends were going there, I might as well too.

After about a month, those thoughts changed. It wasn’t until late in my fall semester that I actually started asking for recommendation letters of my teachers and started writing my application essays. One can say it wasn’t the best idea, but it’s what I did.

I decided to apply to about 8 schools ranging in geographic location, areas of expertise, and just overall “it factor.” MIT was one of the schools I applied to because it was “that school.” To me at that point, it was like this castle in the sky. I didn’t really know what kind of people other than “smart people” went there. I’d never met anyone from MIT until my MIT interview. Still, I applied. On December 30th, I went to the airport post office late at night with my mom, handed the envelopes to the post office worker, and went home to the rest of my life.

Now I didn’t know about the Pi-Day mailing date tradition or anything of the sort, but I did know that sometime in the spring, I’d get a yes or a no. There were a few times when I freaked out about my college applications and thought to myself that I wasn’t going to get in anywhere especially since I made the decision not to apply to any state schools.

So back in March 2003 when the blogs didn’t exist and all I could track was whether my application materials had been received, I kept enjoying my senior year dressing up like Quailman with my underwear outside of my shorts and trying desperately to find a date to prom.

Then one day, technology stepped in, in a big way. So my mom and I have a pretty cool relationship where sometimes we can argue and it’s okay. So one day, I’m sitting at home and the phone rings. I look at the caller ID and see it’s from an out of state area code starting with 617.

My mom says to me, “Aren’t you going to answer it? That looks like a Boston area code.”

Me: “Mom, that’s not a Boston area code.”

(Phone continues to ring)

Mom: “Are you going to answer it?”

Me: “It’s probably (other school) trying to get me to go there. I didn’t get into MIT.”

(Phone is no longer ringing)

Mom: “Why do you have to be so hard-headed?”

Me: “I’m going to my room.”

(Unbeknownst to Bryan, Mom calls number back).

(Mom knocks on Bryan’s door.)

Mom: “Telephone.”

Me: “Who is it?”

Mom: “MIT.”

(Cue screaming yelling and running down the street in my pajamas)

Clearly, I was excited about all of this; I’d gotten into MIT, “that place.” What I ask myself now is, would I have not done the same for getting into any of those schools? I think I would have. It’s college for goodness sake. All those dioramas and vinegar/baking soda volcanos had to be good for something. The years that I’d worked hard to get into college had paid off. I never really worked through high school with the intention of going to a specific school. That wasn’t me. I just worked hard and expected destiny to lead me where it may.

So what does this mean to you, you might ask?

So as Matt said, today, at 2:52 pm, the mailman came to collect those big envelopes you’ll be waiting at your mailbox for. Many of you will receive those letters, and some of you will not. One piece of advice I have for you all is, the mail will come. Waiting at the mailbox is not going to make it come faster, so just keep on enjoying yourselves. Go to a movie, go bowling, do something. The mail will be there when you get home.

I was very excited to get into MIT, and every day, I’m still amazed by the fact that I’m here, and I’m thankful that I’m still here. I’m also glad just to know I’m in college getting an education, so just keep that in mind too. I know this a lot to think about, and this will be an emotional weekend for us all, but just remember to have some fun. (Have some fun for me since I’ll be studying all weekend).

For those of you who did not get in, it’s not the end of the world, I promise you. I have friends who didn’t get into MIT, and they’re enjoying their college experience where they are as well.

For those of you who did get in, congratulations, but the work isn’t done yet. You should try to come to Campus Preview Weekend, and get a taste of what may lie ahead of you for the next four years. Talk to as many people as you can. Get lost on the campus and try to find your way around. Have fun. See MIT.

And for anyone who doesn’t fit into those categories, Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

Feel free to email me at [email protected] or leave a comment, and I’ll get back to you.

9 responses to “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”

  1. Sam says:

    Oh my God, you have Quail Man in your blog entry. Ten million bonus points.

  2. nhien says:

    Hello fellow Hitchiker!

    Thank you for your amazingly cool advice and anecdote (I hope that was properly spelled). I am a a nervous wreck and I feel like it’s natural because I do want admission to MIT so BADLY! It’s a castle in the clouds for me too.

    Thank you once again!


  3. Ryan says:

    Your advice helped calm me down. Thanks, and good luck studying this weekend.

  4. thekeri says:

    Doug was such an awesome show!

    Quailman = best. Thing. EVER.

    My EA admit nearly involved my breaking into a mailbox. It’s a long(ish) story, which can be found at my LJ. Click on the link that is my name. (Wow, that last sentence sounded awkward…)

  5. Adam says:

    Well then, so long as you are sharing your fascinating exeperiences, I might as well set mine up for everyone to read. lol.

    Mkay, like you Bry, I hadn’t started filling out any applications until about….. October 2005. I am probably one of the biggest procrastinators in the history of the world, mostly because I soothe myself by saying “I work best under pressure.” So anyway, MIT was the first school I applied to, Early Action of course, because I wanted so badly to hear the bad news that I was not accepted early and get on with my life. After finishing up the admission for MIT, I finished up my FIT, RIT and Tulane University (all back up schools) applications, and awaited those in the mail. It tooke only a week to get back my FIT decision, the “You’re In” letter with a $12,500 per year Deans Scholarship, a Tulane University “fat packet” with $22,000 a year, and an RIT “congrats” with no gift aid. Naturally, I was excited to see this, because it was set that I WAS going to college.

    More weeks past, Thanksgiving was great, and then we were up to the last week before Christmas break. Monday around noontime, I am sitting in my study hall, oddly enough, discussing my MIT decision with my best friend (Who got Valedictorian… damn him!).

    (Phone in the classroom rings)

    Teacher: Hello? (listens to receiver)… What’s he done now? (continues listening)… Adam, you’re wanted in the office, and it sounds bad.

    Adam: Not as bad as a teacher who drives a van… (walks out of the classroom)

    I’m standing on the stairwell, looking into the office, and there I see my mother clutching a poster tube in her hand. Immediately, my worst thoughts are confirmed… “Oh… they sent me a poster… like ‘Congrats, you didn’t get in, but here’s a poster nonetheless'”

    Mother: OMG! Adam, it’s from MIT.

    Me: It’s just a poster mom, chill.

    (opening tube… couldn’t get the paper out, so I turned it upside down….. out falls confetti.)

    A chill runs up my spine…

    Me: Nooooo waaaayyy…..

    I ripped out the confirmation, and immediate to my knees I went. I couldn’t stand, my legs just gave out, and there I am sitting on the floor, the principal rushes out, and yells “ARE YOU OKAY!”

    I held up the letter, and he looks at it and says “Wow… impressive counterfeit… You’re going places kid.” My mom then continues to verbally abuse the principal, trying to convince him it isn’t fake.

    After regaining a state of anti-euphoria, I race up to my study hall, slam my paper on the desk, and to my math teacher, I say “And you said I would never amount to anything! HA!”

    That’s my story… enjoy.

  6. mee says:

    nice stories, both of ya!

  7. Masha says:

    Haha Adam that story is amazing. Im looking forward too meeting you smile

  8. Adam says:

    Hey thanks! I’m looking forward to meeting you too Masha!

  9. daryl says:

    When I found out I got into MIT I was at a track meet. I called my dad and had him check online for me. My first word was “really?!?!?” and then I started screaming, and my teammates thought I was crazy.