Due to an Act of God, I am in the shiny new JetBlue terminal at JFK for the next three hours.
An Act of God, in this case, refers to one hell of a lightning storm in Fort Lauderdale, closing the runway for an extended period of time, causing my 6 AM flight to leave an hour late, and leading me to miss my connection to Chicago O’Hare by approximately two seconds. My luck in airports is notoriously crappy.
To celebrate, I went to pee – I’d been holding it during an all-out sprint across the terminal to, you know, not miss that connecting flight that I missed.
This post has nothing to do with the above.
I have been spending too much time on the 2013 Facebook group, which I knew would happen. (I’ll leave you all alone soon, I promise – I’ve had nothing to do for the last two weeks, but that ends today when I start training for teachin’ the kids IF I EVER GET TO CHICAGO RAWR RAWR RAWR.) There’s a discussion topic called “Advice for Freshman,” which is notable because of two things:
- The title is grammatically incorrect. I know that as the queen of run-on sentences, I’m not one to talk, but there are only about three things in the world that bother me more than when people mix up “freshman” and “freshmen.” I always want to throw a heavy glass object every time I see it, which is often. “Freshman” is not plural, guys. I repeat, “FRESHMAN” IS NOT PLURAL.
- It contains approximately eleventy million bits of advice from upperclassmen, many of which directly contradict each other.
The latter point and everything related to it may confuse the living daylights out of you, but it’s really not a problem, which I’ll explain in a second. By now, you’ve heard that you should take 7.013 in the spring when the class is larger, unless you want to take 7.012 with the great and all-powerful Eric Lander, unless you want to take 7.014 because you’re a huge fan of ecology and think that genetics can suck it, unless you want to pretend that biology doesn’t exist for a semester or seven and take it in your last term at MIT. And now you’re confused and don’t know who’s right and whether or not you’ll make the right decision, because if you take the wrong biology class, you won’t pass, you won’t graduate, you won’t get a job, no woman will ever love you, and you’ll find yourself living in a cardboard box underneath the Longfellow Bridge.
And let’s not even talk about 8.02, because physics is made of evil and you definitely won’t pass that as a freshman.
….Oh, I’m sorry. Was that all a huge lie? I really should quit with the sarcasm over the Internets. It clogs the tubes and the point doesn’t always get across.
By the way, all of the Introductory Biology classes cover genetics. You won’t get out of it just by taking 7.014.
Sure, upperclassmen all over the place have been telling you that the classes are difficult. Sure, we all advise you to do different things, making it hard for you to decide which path to take. The good thing about having us around is that it informs you of the options you have, at which point you can decide what’s best for you.
I know you’re all getting a ton of stuff thrown at you now that you’ll have to deal with in two months, but it’s not as terrifying and life-altering as it seems. (Am I repeating myself? Oh hey, I totally am! I’m making an important point here!)
Or, to quote my post in the discussion yesterday:
“The only reason we all keep saying that MIT is hard is because it is. We know that many of you are coming in here after years of being told that you were the smartest, most amazing kid ever ever ever, and that a lot of what you’ve done so far may have come easily. We’ve been there, and we know it’s a bit of a shock when you fail your first test and you can’t answer half the questions on your first pset. All we’re trying to say is that you’re not alone – there are three thousand(ish) upperclassmen who have been in exactly the same position, and there are a thousand other people in your class who are experiencing the same thing that you are. As long as you realize that you don’t have to (and shouldn’t!) do everything alone and that you’re in a collaborative rather than a competitive environment, you should be okay.”
That’s all. I’m getting off my soapbox and I’m going to stop yelling. My voice is getting hoarse, and everyone in the terminal around me is wondering what in blazes I’m shouting about.