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MIT student blogger Keri G. '10

Hello, Layover (Part Two) by Keri G. '10

Electric Boog-a-loo.

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.

18 responses to “Hello, Layover (Part Two)”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Ah, thanks for the advice! Haha

    Have a great summer!

  2. laurie says:


  3. Snively says:

    The only time I’ve ever been in Fort Lauderdale we got hit by the biggest lighting storm I’ve ever seen! It was awesome!

  4. Kimberly '13 says:

    Great advice, much appreciated.

  5. neeraj says:

    i want admission in mechanical engineering in mit

  6. Kevin R '11 says:

    Yes, I agree, haha. To those 13’s who are afraid, just think of whatever class you’re dreading like a shot at the doctor’s office. Just smile at the nurse and try to ignore the big sharp pointy needle in her hand and it’ll all be over soon.

    Haha, but seriously, it’s not that bad right? If you like learning college is the place to be, even if it’s murderously masochistic or sadistic (depending on who’s point of view we are talking about).

    but yeah, there’s no sense worrying about it. Just know that you’ll meet some of the most amazing people that you may ever meet, and they’ll be your friends.

    Who could ask for more, really?

    Best of luck next semester!

  7. Quinton says:

    I love your sarcasm over the internets Keri. Thanks for the truth post.

  8. '13 says:

    Omar. That comment is one of the best things to ever grace these blogs.

  9. Snively says:


  10. Piper '12 says:

    Ugh, I flew through a lightning storm on my way back to Boston a couple weeks ago. First time I’ve ever flown through lightning >.Ugh, I flew through a lightning storm on my way back to Boston a couple weeks ago. First time I’ve ever flown through lightning >.<

    I do like looking at it, though :D

    As for the prefrosh, seriously, enjoy your summer. It’s the last one with your friends before things really start changing – and although there will hopefully be improvements even with your friends back home, there will be some things you can never get back.

  11. omar says:

    obviously, you should all just take 7.013 in the fall term… wait, you can’t do that.

    Anyway, Keri has a great point, you’ll be told so many things… At some point you have to stop and realize that no matter what you do you will find yourself wondering what would have happened if you have chosen X or Y instead of Z. The best thing you can do is to stop worrying right now, and wait until you can get all the information you need at once, that is… wait until orientation week! Enjoy your summers, really, there’s no good done in being the freshman that knows it all about everything related to MIT and academics. That only shows you don’t have a life and you have nothing to do during your summer except memorize course numbers and classes that you can take, and when, and why, and the difference between ESG and Terrascope, and Concourse, and and and…

    Take a break, go out, have a drink (if you live somewhere where it is legal to drink at your age… otherwise, scratch that), and just enjoy your summer.

    If I see you walking around in the fall telling one of your fellow freshmen, “Oh NO you DEFINITELY want to take 3.091 because it doesn’t have PSETs and you only need a 50% to pass the class” I’ll throw a ball at your head that hits you really hard and lets you know that there were better things to do during your summer, and by the way, you have to memorize the periodic table if you take 3.091.

    And before you go and write that down somewhere or copy/paste it to your file with “things to remember about MIT” or something else, stop reading this comment and go watch a movie with your friends, hug your dog, eat ice cream with your mom, or simply, breath and enjoy life. You won’t have much time to to these things in the fall.

    Anyway… hugs from Japan. People here work too much (12 hours a day, 6 days a week? where did MISTI send me? Don’t worry, I don’t work as much, and I use the internet at work, like now.)

  12. @Omar: What I heard about working life in Japan was much worse. One woman said people in her office arrived at work at 7.30 am and left only at 11pm.

  13. Gustavo says:

    Hey!!!!Thanks for the most awesome advice you can ever give us….lol…….I am a Junior becoming a Senior this year and I was wondering what type of courses MIT are going to introduce me with once enrollment and as I expected tough hard challenging work….. That’s the way I like it…..As a matter a fact, I just finish completing the two most challenging courses in my High School, which was Honors Chemistry and Honors Physics. Unfortunately for me, these are the only challenging courses my High School can give to there students…..So yea I am being held back……..that’s sucks doesn’t it…..Well anyways, Thank you for your advice

  14. José P. says:

    The legal age in Germany is 16! I’m going to drink a whole through my liver! :D

  15. Ah, typo. It’s whale, not whole.

  16. Anonymous says:

    what are you doing in chicago

  17. Zeki Uyan says:

    Next time I’ll read the blog more carefully before question.She had gone.I thought it was a joke.Maybe I’m a joke raspberry

  18. Zeki Uyan says:

    By the way,Is MIT really very open to international students?A Muslim Turk is asking…

    (I’d put the question to whom I first saw.You’re the lucky one!:D)