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MIT student blogger Chris S. '11

For the Not Admitted Students by Chris S. '11

I just wanted to tell you a story. It has a moral, but you don't have to accept it if you don't want to.

I just wanted to say that please don’t give up hope, and I know that each one of you possesses a talent that will make you stars at wherever you choose to go – even if it’s not at MIT.

I want to share with you a story.

Please take it as you will.

Best of luck to you as you seek out the next step.

(and for those that think I’m too verbose, please just read this. Ben has put it more beautifully than any of us ever will.)

ps. I realize that I’m posting this in conjunction with the Admitted blog, which is quite cheery in contrast to this blog, but please do realize that I mean good for all of you and I’m not being trite or superficial. I wrote this on Saturday night, after the decisions came out. Different people may take this decision differently – I’m more of an optimist so I believe in “this too shall pass,” but I hope you will be able to find your own balance. Keep on smiling. I’ll keep you in mind. :)

Long ago, there was a temple in the mountains. The head monk was advanced in his years, and he realized that it is time to pick a successor.

He gathered up this two most successful disciples in front of him, and led them to a steep rock face at the back of the temple. The rock face was full of crags and sharp rocks, and towered over the temple.

He told them, “the first one to use his own strength to climb up this rock face to the very top shall be my successor.”

The first monk, who was young, energetic, and full of vigor, began to climb. However, soon he was defeated by the slippery rocks, which yielded very little handholds nor footholds.

He descended, starting again carefully, plotting his route to the top. However, about a quarter of the way up the slope, a rock fragment that he had been holding onto broke, and he tumbled down the cliff, hurting himself in several places.

Many people expected him to give up; instead, he asked for a towel and some water. After briefly cleaning his wounds, he attempted the summit once more.

Navigating carefully through the cracks and learning from his past mistakes, he was able to get up nearly halfway, when he encountered a particularly big rock in his path. Groping around the stone, he attempted to secure a handhold, when suddenly a gust of wind knocked him off balance and he toppled off from where he was standing, sending him plummeting below.

Fortunately, he avoided the sharp rocks at the bottom of the cliff, although the fall knocked him unconscious. The head monk summoned some novice monks to carry the first monk back to the temple to rest.

It was soon time for the second monk to try his luck at the cliff.

Like the first monk, the second monk soon was covered in scrapes and bruises from head to toe. Many of the younger monks signaled at the head monk to stop this pointless challenge, but the head monk stood impassive.

After another spectacular fall, the second monk rallied his strength and once again climbed up to the rock face. Very soon, he approached the same spot that caused the demise of the first monk.

The stone was there, formidable and unyielding as it was for the first monk.

Attempting to grope around the stone again, the second monk realized that there was no handhold at all around this stone. Sighing in frustration, he momentarily paused to wipe his brow.

The younger monks gathered at the base of the cliff peered anxiously at the second monk, wondering whether he would be able to find a way around this stone, when suddenly – the second monk began to descend, rather than continue up.

The younger monks hurried to prepare towels and water for the second monk, thinking that he had finally given up for good. However, upon reaching the base of the cliff, he walked away from the crowd into the woods nearby.

The second monk trudged through the wood, found the bright glimmer that he has been looking for, and proceeded to follow the stream upwards. After trudging through the woods and coming to numerous clearings, the second monk finally reached a place where the forest ended and he was surrounded by sunlight. Pausing briefly, the second monk followed the sunshine, and in no time at all he was standing at the top of the cliff – the crowd that had gathered to watch the challenge mere dots beneath his feet.

Down at the bottom of the cliff, there was a stream of murmur amongst the younger monks.

“He didn’t climb up the cliff!”

“Didn’t he hear that the instructions were to climb up the slope?”

“Do you think the head monk would be angry at him?”

“Didn’t he just take the easy way out?”

After what seemed to be an eternity, the second monk emerged from where he entered, and proceeded to the crowd.

The head monk, who had been stoic and still up to this point, got up, removed the amber pendant that had been his symbol of power in the temple, and slowly placed it upon the neck of the second monk.

Then, turning to the crowd, he announced quietly:

“I have found my successor.”

The younger monks fell into an uproar – a conglomeration of murmurs that resembled the angry buzzing of mosquitoes on a summer day.

The ex-head monk slowly raised his hand, and the noise subsided.

“I have already known that climbing this cliff with one’s bare hands is impossible.

Yet, why did I ask them to perform this task as an challenge?

I have always taught you that, ‘the wise adapts to his circumstances; the clever stays versatile with his surroundings.’

Climbing this impossible cliff signifies the struggle that each one of us embodies within himself. The quest to fame, success, glory, recognition, wealth, and our inner desires. So intent we are on reaching the peak that we sometimes hurt ourselves on getting there – bruises and scrapes aside, sometimes we get knocked out so severely that we are forced to give up on our quest.

However, I wanted all of you to realize that there is more than one way up to the top. The truly wise will recognize that there are alternative ways to get to the peak, and that is precisely what your new head monk did – he must have seen the path up the river, just as I did when I was younger and tried climbing this cliff.

Climbing this slope was merely a test of whether you are able to pick yourself up from your defeat, analyze what was the problem, and find a new way in getting to where you want to be.

It is true that perhaps your new head monk doesn’t possess the ability or the capacity to climb up this cliff using his sole strength, but to me, his versatility of seeking an alternate solution and still getting to the top is what matters – not only to this temple, but also to life and the challenges that come with it.”

The remote temple was silent, and for a moment the faint chirping of birds was all that was heard. The head monk gathered up his robe, and began to return to the temple. Pausing briefly, he turned back at the young monks and said,

“Remember this: if the mountain doesn’t move, then let the roads move; if the road doesn’t move, then let yourself move; if you don’t move, then let your heart move.”

-story told to me when I was very young.

56 responses to “For the Not Admitted Students”

  1. Stacy says:

    That was an excellent story. Thank you for taking your time to do this and I especially love this line “I have always taught you that, ‘the wise adapts to his circumstances; the clever stays versatile with his surroundings.”

    It’s really tough now, but I’m slowly trying to recover from the rejection. I’m not even sure where to go now since I have to stay close to my mom (she’s sick), but we’ll see what the future holds.

  2. Thank you very much for sharing that story. MIT became the ‘dream school’ for me when I first learned about the school, the hacks, etc. But now that I’ve tried and am not admitted, the best thing for me (and the rest of us) to do is to now consider our other options. While MIT was my first choice for college, there are an infinite number of other paths I can take and end up being successful.

    Thanks again for the post!

  3. Rankeya says:

    MIT will always remain the best whether it has accepted me or not. I love you guys…. I might not reapply again but still……… Everyone here is an amazing human being…

  4. Chang says:

    It’s thoughtful of you. I will remember the phrase “he truly wise will recognize that there are alternative ways to get to the peak.” Thank you.

  5. Ahana says:

    I just couldn’t get myself to comment on the ‘Not Admitted’ thread.

    I can’t believe I won’t walk down the Infinite again…I can’t believe I won’t be having liquid Nitrogen ice-cream at Random…I can’t believe I won’t get to attend Richard Stanley’s Putnam Seminar…There’s so much I have to come to terms with, having thought about no other place for 3 straight years.

    But thanks for the continuous support, Chris. Your post is truly, the only thing that is knocking some sense into me because I’ve been crying since 3/14!!

    There are so many people I had to say thanks to, and I have done exactly that on my blog. Because this will, officially, be my last comment on the blogs, I can assure you I will never stop reading them.

    Thank you for making this more than just an application experience. Thank you, for everything.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I dont have words…. I thought of MIT as my home after 12th, but thats not what destiny have for me. I always loved what all the bloggers have been doing for the prospective freshmen. very seldom I comment on the blogs but there have been times when I have read them the first ad yet opted not to comment and value the point of the blog.

    Not being admitted appeared as the end.. I sit still for nearly 10 mins after reading the decision.. and have been trying to pull some strength to come back to life…Your post is really nice.. I would like to tell all the people from the 90% pool that we were doing great before we applied to MIT and we only thought of MIT as the support for our future but believe me we will continue to do good but with someother support (although not awesome as MIT)..

  7. Ruhban Shah says:


    Hey Chris—nice story completely fits it..
    Well yes the decisions were well i can say decisions were decisions..

    I expected lot of peopel to actuallly break down including myself cuz somehow for many of us MIT was our first choice but strangely I saw peoples remarks on decisions to be full with hope, yet again upholding the tradition 0f MIT.

    Thanks yet again–

  8. Henry says:

    I can vaguely remember seeing that quote at the end on an ad trying to convince people out of suicide on the Taipei MRT.

  9. jimmy '13 says:

    That was so beauiful. Thanks a lot Chris. I mean, I have only started crying because I had my bio final today and I don’t know when I’ll stop. But thanks for doing this. The story has told a lot.

    And I’m not gonna stop using ’13 with my name, atleast not here, because MIT was and forever will be my first love. And you know what they say about first loves right? That you can never forget them.
    And I’m not gonna delete all the 15 MIT sites saved in my favorites folder because I still want to read all your blogs about all the fun you’re having, sans me.

    And coming to MIT wan not about the school alone, I mean, it is Massachusetts and all.
    So I’m gonna try again after five years for Doctoral degree at MIT. Hopefully I’ll get in and spend the rest of life at Boston.

    Anyways, thanks Matt and all the rest of you at the admissions office, especially you Diane. I guess I din’t make the cut because I came out too desperate. (Can you blame me? It is MIT and all)

    Anyways, I got to go have more comfort food and pulp fiction.
    @ Ahana, Ice cream is still Ice cream with/out the frozen nitrogen, you know. lol

  10. jimmy '13 says:

    Ok just once more and then I promise I’ll leave.

    @ Jess K.

    Write books. Lots of them. Seriously. It doesn’t really matter about what. I swear i’ll buy the whole lot.

    @ Yan.

    Nice hair. Nice blogs. Nice photos.

    @ Lauara

    Thanks for the Rainbor Lounge post. I’m sorry I caused such a ruckus in the comments. (Is that why I din’t get in? Shit.)

    @ Chris

    Thanks for this post.

    @ Matt

    You look cute in your pictures. Also, you last name in cool. Mine is Joy ,btw.

    And that’s that.

    See you all in a few years.

  11. Errina says:

    The alternate path is the more beautiful one, and walking it gives you the mood and time to reflect and compose.

    Beauty is truth, truth is beauty.
    Thank you for the post.

  12. Victoria says:

    Wow that Was an amazing story.

  13. Cecily says:

    Thank you for the story. And thank you for thinking about those who were just too unlucky to get a chance to go to MIT this time.

    Life is always full of alternatives. I try to make myself convince of the reality. I believe this door is closed, and many more doors are opened to me. Life is fair as well.

    btw, has anyone ever thought about creating a group on Facebook for us? Perhaps that’s a bad idea. Just ignore me raspberry

  14. fouadalnoor says:

    Great Story Thanks Chris!

    Well, I was not admitted to MIT, that was not really a surprise (yeah.. kinda failed the SAT test…)

    But what did surprise me is that I was still affected by MIT. I was still hurt that I did not get in. But I also realize that as much as everyone loves MIT and how great it is etc It is STILL JUST a SCHOOL. Its a GREAT school, but a SCHOOL.

    Life has so much more to give us then just that, and maybe that is why we did not get accepted. Maybe it is because we thought about it as if life cannot offer us anything better.

    I believe that the RIGHT choice for me is NOT MIT now, because I was not accepted, it shows us that destiny, god or whatever you want to call it has much better plans for us and MIT is not a part of that plan. I have promised myself that with short life that I have, I will help as many people as I can as much as I can.

    And with or without MIT I am still me and I will still do it.

    And for anyone else who did not get accepted, take this as a hint, you are even BETTER then the world’s best School, you even MIT cannot handle you and therefore you will achieve greatness.

    Well, This will probably be my last comment, so enjoy life and for all admitted and not-admitted students: Good Luck!

  15. Anonymous says:

    I bet being a white male monk would make it even more difficult to get to the top of the cliff….

    again, im more angry about the fact that I wasted my hard work in high school than the fact that I am not attending MIT

  16. Vivian '12 says:

    @Anon above me:
    No work is ever gone to waste. Surely you learned something, had amazing experiences, surpassed challenges, conquered battles with exams and nasty equations. All of that knowledge and experience will contribute to your life no matter what college you attend, so it is definitely not a “waste” unless you were -only- working hard to get into MIT (which is completely opposite the attitude MIT would prefer you possess: a love of learning for the sake of learning).

    I’m not a ’13 or anything, but you’ll find that Chris’s story applies not only to the college admissions process but to many, many things in life (including MIT itself). I was nearly brought to tears; thanks for the post =)

  17. deng says:

    awww oasis..
    that was such a sweet post
    thanks ^_^

    @cecily: there is already one. there’s a link to it around the 400th comment on the “not admitted” thread

  18. Anon says:

    Certainly a fitting story. smile

    And because I never had the chance to comment on Ben’s post– I’d like to say that that one nearly brought me to tears. :|

  19. Oasis '11 says:

    @ Henry –

    Yes, it’s true. The last sentence is pretty famous in Chinese and lately it’s been used as a suicide prevention quote in Taiwan…haha kudos for noticing it.

    @ Deng –

    Perhaps I’ll never get to see you in real life, but I won’t forget that I’ve found another person who shares the same birthday as me!! =p (I’m exactly 3 years older than you, haha)

  20. Anonymous says:

    this video makes me feel… disappearing :/

    no, it’s not so bad xD

  21. deng says:

    @oasis: oh yeaaa… hahaha
    another memory to take with me ^_^

    also, I really love this line from “time of your life” by green day
    “it’s something unpredictable, but in the end it’s right. I hope you had the time of your life.”

  22. José says:

    Well maybe it was not the story (personally I thought it was somewhat corny), but all the other posts instead that make me feel better. Don’t get me wrong I am still very angry and sad. Originally I wanted to post something along the lines of “Well, it’s MIT and not me who’s missing out” and, although it’s true, the posts have given me some hope. I will triumph in all my endeavors with or without MIT (now I know it’s without). So yes, MIT was one way to climb the mountain, but now I shall find another way and I will reach the summit.
    In a great sense this is like when a girl dumps you. Yes, she might have been pretty; yes she might have had beautiful eyes and been very nice, but she’s not everything in the world. However, that girl must know that just because she is attractive (or in MIT’s case very prestigious) that doesn’t actually make her any better than all the rest. There is one thing that is true: I never ask out a girl who has ever rejected me before. The fact is that I’m very good looking (in the same way that I have a great academic profile) and, if a girl believes that she is better than me, then she may never again get a chance to be with me. Bu the same idea, MIT was offered the privilege of having me as a student and now it has lost its chance forever.
    Goodbye MIT. It has been a pleasure to meet you (it really was, if its any consolation, your application process was the best one of all the colleges I applied to), but we can never see each other again. Don’t take it the wrong way, MIT, but there is other girls out there.

  23. '11 says:

    Beautiful story, Chris!

  24. Cecily says:

    @ Deng –
    Thanks smile Obviously, I wasn’t in a mood of reading the whole bunch of responses Saturday.
    Anyway, finding myself still to be cared makes me feel better.

  25. Varun says:

    Chris, thanks a lot! Yeah, I’ve already begun searching for the other road. Too bad I couldn’t make it to MIT for UG. But I’ve promised to both the beloved Institvte and myself that I will walk through MIT if not as an under-grad, at least as a grad and maybe a professor too if things really go well.

    To my fellow non-acceptees, life doesn’t begin nor end with one decision. Life can’t be judged by the words of anyone other than yourself. Your life is what you make it. If you put your heart to it, you can do better than those who actually did make it to MIT!

  26. Anonymous says:

    @ bajur.

    If your opinion of MIT changed so easily, then it’s fitting that your decision reflects your immaturity.

    Good luck with life.

  27. @ anonymous:

    Good answer to bajur.

    try to learn from life…we only have a short time to live and there’s no time for sadness or anger.


    (cancer survivor)

  28. International admissions are a bit of a gamble and are much more competitive than for US applicants, so I’m not really disappointed. Just hope I get in somewhere where I can pursue my undergrad research dreams lol

  29. Shreya says:

    God, the comments were heartbreaking.
    @To all the rejectees – So what if one university rejected you? Ideas are no one’s monopoly. Go out there and make your life worth remembering. All the best.

  30. Julie says:

    This willingness to reach out to others to share the opportunity for all of us to be fulfilled is not only gracious but important because talent is only useful in society when not cloaked or experienced in a vacuum.

    I have a son, who in spite of ranking in the top 7th% for intelligence, has dyslexia which was diagnosed late causing him to miss a large part of his education. Thankfully, he will make up his education even if it is later than sooner.

    Seeing him go through the anguish (he became suicidal at age 7*) he experienced, at the hands of teachers who lacked specialized knowledge about something as complex as dyslexia, has crushed me as a mother more than anything else.

    No one could figure out what was wrong with this very sensitive (keenly aware) but so disorganized and daydreaming type of child. He was a paradox, brilliant at some things and completely failing at other things that seemed so simple. And that is how dyslexia is for him.

    On one end he needs the same stimulation a strongly bright child needs, but on the other hand, not being able to get that because of the obstacles that dyslexia presents. My need to explore, analyze and read everything could never be squelched and I am nowhere are bright as he is. So I could only imagine how hard it must be to have a mind that wants so much but and struggles to fill that need. It would be like starving to death.

    So for him I want two things. I want him to never stop feeding that unrelenting and unfulfilled need for knowledge. Though he has not applied to MIT, I would want him to at least experience some of the quality lectures. That would be a feast for his mind.

    And what I also want is that there will be persons out there who have the extraordinary talent to figure out the puzzle of dyslexia so students like him can hit the ground running instead of waiting so many years to benefit from learning.

    *Long story but not being able to learn when you want to learn so badly is analogous to being bound, blindfolded, having your ears plugged and being locked up in a room with no stimuli. What caused the suicidal behavior was a combination of wanting to learn but not being provided with differentiated instruction that works for him and the emotional abuse he received from his second grade teacher, who punished him for his disability.

    I kept trying to figure out what the problem was because he was so happy the year before in first grade, but I found out later that year that my son would not tell me because he feared he would be punished worse by his teacher for telling me what she was doing. At that age, many kids think school officials have the utmost authority. When I would talk to her about my concern she was very good at coming across as a caring teacher until an incident occurred that made it evident she was not.

    Beyond that horrible experience, I have tried to circumvent the obstacles that dyslexia presents by using teaching methods that are strongly salient and meaningful for his type of brain.

    With all the talent out there I am surprised that as a society we have not found a talent to break the code of dyslexia. But I have hope. This story gave me hope. Thank you Chris.

  31. Laurie says:

    As a junior in high school, college is at the front of my mind and its hard to think about not getting in to your ‘dream school,’ which for me is MIT, but if I don’t I’ll know that my life won’t be over, just different and it will be beautiful only if I make it so. Chris, thanks for the story its really inspiring to a junior like me!

    this is not to say I won’t try hard to get into MIT, I cause I will!;D

  32. Yile Gu says:

    Great story.
    Thank you very much.

  33. Marwan Q. says:

    it really a great story, i even feel better after reading it.
    the question is what we exactly want? was MIT our main goal, or was it just a road?

  34. Ashwin says:

    Eh like Ahana I too couldn’t get myself to post on the Non-Admitted thread. For slightly different reasons though, I thought it pointless to do that.

    Anyways, thanks Chris! It’s always fun reading stories =)

    I haven’t found it as tough as the others ‘getting over’ 3/14, mainly because (on retrospect) I believe my application did not do enough and I did not deserve it BASED on my application. (Also: I can’t force my way in raspberry)
    But, it is also because I know that if we *want* to be great, we can regardless of which college we land in. Students make the college, not the other way round (Well if the college is really good, it helps, but still…)

    So instead of taking it out on the admissions office or on yourself, take it out on MIT by becoming better than you ever would going there wink

    And then apply for your graduate degree 4 years down if you still want to go to MIT =)
    PS – I still love MIT and all its/his/her bloggers =) (& OCW raspberry)

  35. Bajur says:

    Still it makes no difference…like putting sugar onto wounds. The decision totally changed how i look at MIT. SOmeday i will prove to you, MIT and everybody in it just what big a mistake you made. Keep the stories with you.

    Plus its better to just say ‘Not Admitted’ than giving some stupid excuse.

  36. Sheryl-vi says:

    This is a wise lesson.
    “Remember this: if the mountain doesn’t move, then let the roads move; if the road doesn’t move, then let yourself move; if you don’t move, then let your heart move.”
    Note to self: Now that college apps are over, exercise more.

    Just kidding, but it is very, very considerate of you to post some reassurance for the non-admits, in addition to many congratulations for the MIT prefrosh. This post will definitely go on my favorites, to read in the upcoming weeks and to share with friends who aren’t too pleased with the decisions they receive… and of course, for life’s strange and discouraging situations. Good job, Chris! This has moved my heart (and many more, I’m sure)! Thank you~~ smile

    I realized that this is a great time (if any) to face rejection, or being wait-listed. First, our disappointment is elevated by acceptances to some other school(s) hopefully. Next, students can commiserate and co-reassure! Finally, even if we don’t get an acceptance, we learned so much about our selves while answering questions in college applications, or even while working on college applications and identifying a character flaw or two (read: procrastination). And of course, no work and no learning has gone to waste. smile

    TO DO:
    – SMILE smile
    If you do it, you start to feel it. I promise. (This is a wise lesson.
    “Remember this: if the mountain doesn’t move, then let the roads move; if the road doesn’t move, then let yourself move; if you don’t move, then let your heart move.”
    Note to self: Now that college apps are over, exercise more.

    Just kidding, but it is very, very considerate of you to post some reassurance for the non-admits, in addition to many congratulations for the MIT prefrosh. This post will definitely go on my favorites, to read in the upcoming weeks and to share with friends who aren’t too pleased with the decisions they receive… and of course, for life’s strange and discouraging situations. Good job, Chris! This has moved my heart (and many more, I’m sure)! Thank you~~ smile

    I realized that this is a great time (if any) to face rejection, or being wait-listed. First, our disappointment is elevated by acceptances to some other school(s) hopefully. Next, students can commiserate and co-reassure! Finally, even if we don’t get an acceptance, we learned so much about our selves while answering questions in college applications, or even while working on college applications and identifying a character flaw or two (read: procrastination). And of course, no work and no learning has gone to waste. smile

    TO DO:
    – SMILE smile
    If you do it, you start to feel it. I promise. (<– I completely set myself up for “That’s what she said”, didn’t I? HAHA)

  37. Sheryl-vi says:

    ^^^^ No “That’s what she said”-ing me, please. HAHA

  38. impressed says:

    I just want to let all of you MIT admissions bloggers how helpful and simply GREAT you have been throughout this whole process.

    MIT = the most HUMANE admissions process ever! Seriously.
    No other school went to the lengths you did to let applicants know what was going on, how our applications were being evaluated, etc.

    Thanks for releasing decisions sooner rather than later.
    Thanks for not sending out “likely letters.” Matt wrote something about this in a post a while ago and aknowledged that it would suck for people who did not get likely letters to have to know about them. MIT seems to be the ony top school around that realizes this, unfortunately.

    Thanks for the words of encouragement on the decisions page (before we logged in for our decisions). It said stuff like “Now, deep breath” before logging in, and it said that we (the applicants) were all FANTASTIC, and it was just so so nice.

    I’m thinking of sending flowers or something to the admissions office….seriously! I didn’t even get in but I still am so so impressed with the way MIT handles this process.

  39. kosich says:

    I thought I was the only one “rejected”! but all of you guys make it alot easier to cope with this painful decision. I wont say alot coz i have to attend my MIT open course ware lessons!thats how much i love MIT, if i am not admitted to the college in MA, then ill attend the one on the internet! by the way the only requirements for admission are our name and email address! am out!

  40. Tetr says:

    Nice story, but still disappointed/sad.

  41. MIT has taught me quite a lot. I was too young to understand certain things 10 years ago. But at least I was keen at flaunting about the coolness of MIT. The very name made it sound so tech-smart, unlike all the other universities with historical appearances. I like Simmons Hall, which I always loved to emulate with the help of my Lego set. MIT was the only application which I enjoyed doing. I love the very goodness of all the MIT students, who lack the snobbish behavior, one which is so very apparent in the Ivies’ students. They are people who make you feel good for who you are, just like my interviewer Mr. Ali Ishtiaq. They admire you for being persistent about contacting for the interview even after the deadline! It is indeed very difficult to reconcile with the fact that I would not be able to enter a place that holds so much charm for me, or even do the great things I imagined myself doing. Still I wish to come to MIT one day in life; I will keep reading the blogs as usual (though not comment on them) and also apply to MIT every year as a transfer applicant till I tire myself out. That is what I mean when I say ‘persistent’ and a ‘love/obsession’ for MIT. I know it’s lame sharing all these with you. I just wanted to find some means of ventilation other than crying. Someday I’ll have the chance to proove myself before all, I’m just waiting for that moment!

  42. Oasis '11 says:

    @ Harish (or in general, about the last sentence) –

    The way I see it is that there’s infinitely many ways in life to achieve your goal. For example, if we look at the Fortune list of richest men in the world, we get a blend of PhD’s, college dropouts, and people who never went to college at all. Yet, they all were successful in the end, so that is why I find the last quote especially meaningful.

    The direct literal translation of that quote from Chinese would more be like “turn” rather than “move.” It’s the same meaning in the sense that if you encounter an obstacle, it’s not necessarily needed to blast your way through it. Sometimes taking a step back and creating a flexible solution around the problem is the best course of action.

    Drawing the analogy a bit further, I like to refer to Matthew 16:26 in the Bible – “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?” – we may hurt ourselves trying to get to the top of that cliff, perhaps even die trying – but what good is it for a man to gain everything he wants but loses himself in the process? When I fail, I know that with each fall, it only builds me up stronger. Living with all the defeats and failures in my life often is difficult, but I feel like if I can never live with my shortcomings and accept the way I am, then I would truly have lost myself in trying to achieve recognition, fame, and honor – just like trying to use brute force to get around that rock. Sometimes, even just taking a small step back is akin to opening a window and reminding myself that outside of the smog that I’m in, there’s still a bright sky out there somewhere – a future that I can pursue.

    “When God closes a door, we often spend so long pounding and sobbing at the closed door that we don’t feel the gentle breeze coming from the window that God has opened for us.”

    I often think about that quote as I go about my daily life. I hope that maybe it will be helpful to you as well.

    Good luck with all your endeavors!

  43. Shambhu says:

    I just heard about the blog from one of the seniors who got the acceptance mail few days back. The very first blog i read interested me so much. I really liked the story. These type of works may be the cases that make MIT stand out. Thank You very much.

  44. K says:

    Thanks for that great story Chris, I got goosebumps reading the last line. Really meaningful.

    It may seem corny, but I’ve admitted myself to MIT. Following the blogs. Learning from OCW. I just won’t be there physically. It’s too hard to let go of the MIT dream. 3/14 didn’t end that dream. It enforced it. Nothing motivates me more than rejection.
    See you guys in a few years.

  45. Cecily says:

    @ Laurie –
    Good luck! And go for it~~~~~~~
    Actually, I’m also a junior this year. I choose to take this challenge because I think I’m ready.
    At last, it turns out that the miracle didn’t happen, but that’s all right. And I’ll never regret because I did prove myself by competing with so many excellent high school seniors. And I still feel grateful to MIT for offering me the chance of being one of the 15600 this year. I will never forget about it.
    Not getting into MIT may be disappointing, but it also makes me cherish the opportunities I am about to have.
    Best wishes to all the juniors like Laurie. I hope I can visit you when I go to Cambridge next year~~~ :D

  46. Harish says:

    Hm, that last line does enervate me a bit. Letting your heart move sounds awfully like giving up.

  47. Rorschach says:

    If getting to the top of the mountain is all that really matters, then why not simply destroy it. Level it to the ground, then walk on the rubble that was the top. I agree find a different path. But show your own power. mit has placed its bets on who will succeed, lets prove it wrong. It my goal to succeed, but also to watch mit fail to keep up.

  48. Anonymous says:

    @ impressed

    I completely agree: MIT is so civil about the admissions process. I love these blogs more than anything and applying to MIT was actually fun and easy because of these blogs. Thanks guys for making the stressful admissions process that much easier.

    P.S. Chris, awesome post, as usual.

  49. Anonymous says:

    That was a great story and a good lesson! Thanks, man.
    I wish I could write like that.

  50. :) says:

    I love you guys. Thank you for this story. *sniff sniff*

  51. @Faizaa:

    I know a girl from Saudi Arabia who did just that – who worked hard and applied to MIT as a transfer student.

    She got in and is now a sophomore here. So… I guess what I’m saying is, good luck.

  52. Sam says:

    To all of you who didn’t get accepted: Don’t sweat this. MIT is a great place to go to grad school, but not necessarily the best undergraduate experience. Most professors care mostly about their research, not teaching lower division classes. Go get an undergraduate education at one of the other great schools that accepted you (and be sure to contribute to them during your careers). Have a real social life. Play sports. If you still really want to go to MIT, apply there for grad school. You’re all great, smart people. Trust me on this, I spent 4 hellish years there and you can get just as good an education elsewhere and be just as successful, maybe more so.

  53. Naomi Pless says:

    My father applied to MIT when he got out of the airforce after World War II. He wasn’t admitted. He went to the University of Chicago instead (where he met my mother). His first job after he got his PhD in physics was at MIT. He never left. He is now an MIT professor emeritus, Dept of Physics.

    Naomi Pless

  54. Jackie says:

    Thanks for this story. I actually applied to MIT but withdrew my application because I applied Early Decision 2 to a certain college & was accepted.

    I found this entry while searching the web…it’s nearly April, and although I know I am lucky to be accepted to a great college, I want to get out of the ED agreement. I applied ED because of my family – I tried to convince myself it was right for me, and I did like it, but I held myself back from another school I really want to go to. I feel like I won’t fit into the college I’m headed to, and it doesn’t offer me the opportunities my other dream school will.

    I can’t get out of my ED agreement or get a decent fin aid packet at my other dream school – so I’ll stick with it and transfer after a year. I’ll change my attitude towards the school I was admitted ED into and I’ll be happy with it for now. Thanks for this post – you reminded me that there is more than one way to reach a goal. Who knows, maybe if I change my attitude I’ll find I really love the school I’m heading to and won’t transfer.

  55. Oasis '11 says:

    @ Naomi Pless –

    Wow, I never read your comment carefully till now. But that is so amazing!

    @ Rorschach –

    “Level it to the ground, then walk on the rubble that was the top. I agree find a different path. But show your own power.

    But what about the occasions where you can’t resolve a problem using brute force? What about forces too great for you to counter, like death?