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everything is cool by Masha G. '24

tl;dr I want to study too many things

The theme of my (very short) MIT experience so far has been that everything is so cool. SO COOL. And interesting, and exciting, and !!! (unintelligible excited noises). Imagine this scene: young me (aka me from three weeks ago) is sitting at her computer, trying to choose classes, looking at course listings, and suddenly. She realizes. That everything is interesting. EVERYTHING. I’m exaggerating, of course, but only a little. There are genuinely so many different areas that I had never even thought about before this summer, and all of a sudden, they all seem like the most interesting things in the world, and I’m feeling lost and confused in the best possible way.

List-making is one of my top-ten01 haha get it... top-ten... like a list... personality traits; so, to best convey my point, I present to you the not-at-all-exhaustive and not-at-all-definite list of things that I want to explore during my time at MIT, arranged vaguely in order of decreasing personal importance:

  • Physics. I’m taking 8.02202 the mathier version of physics ii - electricity and magnetism right now, and it’s really reinforcing the fact that I just really enjoy learning physics, doing problems, etc. Physics speaks to my curiosity about the fundamental working of the universe, and I love the feeling of seeing something real emerge from a sea of math. I’m not sure that I would want to pursue pure physics research as a career, but I’m pretty sure that I want to major in it.
  • Computer science / programming. My relationship with CS is funky. I’ve never actually taken a formal CS class, and yet I have spent the past four years working on one computational research project after the other. Which is to say, I know how to program, but I don’t always feel like it03 and my code is lowk ugly . All that being said, I’ve really enjoyed usefulness of programming and its problem-solving aspect, so I want to explore it further. Plus, all the CS classes seem so cool. And a major in CS is the sort of thing you could do anything with, and seeing as I don’t know what I want to do…
  • Foreign languages. Learning languages is a big hobby of mine. I love the process itself; just the feeling of getting better and noticing yourself getting better and being able to express more and more… *chef’s kiss* nothing compares. German is my current project, but if I had infinite time I would totally also learn Korean04 i actually learned hangul last summer during my blackpink/k-pop phase but have since forgotten it all rip and/or Chinese and/or something else. I’m considering a minor in German, but we’ll have to see if I can make that work.
  • Earth science. Atmospheric science and climate science, to be specific. I’ve done a lot of research in atmospheric science in high school, and it’s a field I feel rather invested in. I love just thinking about the atmosphere – it’s so big and beautiful and fluid and wowww. Actually, fluid dynamics are so cool in general ughh. I could easily see myself pursuing a career as a researcher in some earth sci-related field, using my skillz in physics and CS. If MIT still allowed triple majors, this would totally be it. Alas.
  • International relations / foreign policy. Now we’re getting to the area of unexpected whims. I took an international relations class during my senior year of high school because I really liked the teacher, and it ended up being my favorite class that year. I particularly enjoy the more analytical and theoretical bits of the field: I’d never really considered how formal and rigorous the humanities can be, but I’m so glad I discovered that. I would love to take some foreign policy classes at MIT, or maybe a UROP05 research project , if only I could fit it into my schedule…
  • Aerospace engineering. I’m not much of an engineer06 funny, considering this is basically engineering school and i think my cs degree would have the word engineering in it. and yet. , at all. I’m not particularly passionate about doing things hands-on or building things. But I also think rockets are super cool. And I’m a sci-fi geek. And I kinda wish I lived in the Star Trek universe. So, you get the picture. Plus, there’s room in aerospace for less hands-on things: a lot of modeling and CS, some data analysis, etc. There’s also the intersection with fluid dynamics, which is gorgeousss. Lots to explore here.
  • Writing. Continuing the series of ‘classes I took in high school,’ I was really moved by a short story creative writing class I took last fall. For the first time, I really enjoyed the process of writing creatively, and I’ve been meaning to continue since then, but… who am I kidding. I really haven’t been able to make the time, and I’m not sure that I will any time soon. (taking a class would be an easy fix, though…:)
  • Architecture and design. This is a funky one, too. At some point last spring I was like. Hey. You like art and you like STEM… isn’t architecture in the middle07 spoiler alert: it is ? And so I ended up doing an architecture FPOP, and now an architecture seminar (Art and Architecture of the MIT Campus!!), and an architecture discovery class. In general, I want to use college to reawaken my passion for art and related fields: I used to be really into it, and then high school came around and I had no time and I was doing science but now I can maybe finally rediscover that bit of myself. Crossing my fingers.
  • Urban studies. I went through a phase in March of being really really interested in urbanism after listening to Sidewalk Labs’ “City of the Future” podcast (highly recommend!) and discovering that there’s so much research and thought that goes into how we build cities. I’m a city girl through and through and I’m finding that I’m really enjoying thinking about cities in a formal way and exploring how technology can shape and change them08 i'm actually taking a really cool discovery class rn about transportation and sustainable urbanization that touches upon these themes!! . MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning just seems like a really cool place, and I’d love to take a class, or do a UROP, or get involved otherwise.
  • Linguistics. Fun fact: I helped start a linguistics club at my high school, though it kinda withered and died by the end of my time there. I think linguistics is really interesting because it lets me formalize what I know about languages from my experience learning them. At the same time, this is something I could totally just read about on my own, unlike the other fields, where I wouldn’t even know where to start.
  • Civil engineering. This is barely legit lmao (as in, it’s not a pursuit for me at all), but I just like the types of big-picture problems civil eng addresses (bridges! sustainability! sustainable bridges!), and I would totally take a seminar or something to learn more. But also I’m not an engineer, I swear.

As you can see, this list is getting away from me a little. And I’m letting it, because ~college is a time to explore~ and the closer I get to my future the less I actually know what I want that future to look like, and that’s okay because I have time and I have the opportunity to learn anything and everything and aaaaa. I’m excited. If you couldn’t tell. It’d be cool to see how much of this I actually get to touch on/experience in the next four years; so… who knows, I might post an update in the spring of 2024:)

  1. haha get it... top-ten... like a list... back to text
  2. the mathier version of physics ii - electricity and magnetism back to text
  3. and my code is lowk ugly back to text
  4. i actually learned hangul last summer during my blackpink/k-pop phase but have since forgotten it all rip back to text
  5. research project back to text
  6. funny, considering this is basically engineering school and i think my cs degree would have the word engineering in it. and yet. back to text
  7. spoiler alert: it is back to text
  8. i'm actually taking a really cool discovery class rn about transportation and sustainable urbanization that touches upon these themes!! back to text