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MIT student blogger Laura N. '09

How to use these blogs by Laura N. '09

Scattered thoughts on the information age, plus some bonus snark.

So I was looking through some old notes that I was working on for this blog- topics to cover, questions to answer, stuff like that, and I came across a collection of things that I had written which can most accurately be titled, “How to get the most out of reading the MITblogs,” or maybe “How to not get a sarcastic reply to a question from me.” I fixed them up a bit, and here they are:

1. Just read it.
Every once inawhile I get questions like, “So, what’s MIT like?” Yeah, I’m not answering that. Read the blogs, that’s what they’re for. We try to make them interesting, and I personally try to link each entry to as many other entries as possible, so that you can waste hours clicking arond to random interesting topics. In fact, I think I’ll link random words in this entry to some random blog entries. You know, just for fun.

2. Tell us what you want to hear.
So, you know those 2 ridiculously long entries I did a little while ago about all of the machine shops on campus? That was done by request- a prospective student asked one of the admissions counselors, who passed it on to us. That was awesome. I spent a week wandering around campus machine shops, awkwardly taking pictures of random people I didn’t know. (I find this kind of situation hilarious, personally.) I’ve been blogging for over 2 years now. Every once in awhile, I run out of ideas. So give me some of yours. =)

3. Ask good questions.
If you ask me “does MIT have a major in economics?” I’m going to be like “dude, why didn’t you just go to the MIT home page, click on academics, and then read through the list until you got to the part about the economics major?” Similarly, if you ask me “Is there a group for students who are religiously identified as Lutheran?” I’m going to just google the MIT site, and while I don’t mind doing that for you, it’s not a really exciting question. If you ask something cool and insightful,it may even inspire an entire post, and that would rock. Everyone would be happy. I don’t have any examples of this, because if I did, I’d be off writing said inspired posts instead of this one. My point is, we love getting good questions and entry ideas- a lot of times we don’t know what to write, and even when we do, we don’t know if you’ll really care.

4. Remember that I am a lowly student.
Please don’t ask me if I filed your letter of recommendation yet. The answer is always no. (You can direct that stuff to admissions at mit dot edu.)

5. Cut it out with the “what are my chances?” stuff.
I have a very serious question to ask those of you itching to ask this question: who the hell cares?! For real. If there was a crystal ball you could look into that would tell you who was going to be admitted to what schools, you wouldn’t need to fill out all those applications, would you? Just fill out the application, send it in, and then wait for the answer. I know the waiting sucks, but is getting some random person’s opinion of your chances really going to help the waiting suck less? No, probably not. If you ask this, we’re just going to say we don’t know anyway.

6. Do not insult my SAT score.
I got a 700 on the SAT I math section, and every time I get asked “zomg I only got a 760 on the SAT I math and I don’t have time to retake it and I’m doomed to work at mcdonald’s for the rest of my life what should I do???!?!?!?!!!” …I get angry. And that’s not just a personal thing. I’m just as angry when the grade in question is as low or lower than mine. Listen to me very carefully: THERE IS MORE TO LIFE THAN THE SAT. And thank God.

7. Every once in awhile, get off the internet and go outside or something.
I’m serious. Get a tan. Read a book. Stop thinking about college applications so much.

What are your thoughts on my ramblings?

41 responses to “How to use these blogs”

  1. Anonymous says:


    Sorry, I had to do it.

  2. Harrison says:

    No, no you didn’t.

  3. Isshak says:

    My thoughts on this :
    do you like to read Kafka ? You should read The Trial, it’s a great book !
    What do you like to read ?
    (great post)

  4. Anonymous says:

    Awesome post!
    People really do need to get over SAT scores and have fun!

  5. Paul says:

    In my opinion, you may be allowed one “first post” in your life. (Entire life.) It’s still annoying, but it’s sort of like popping bubble wrap, you know? It’s exciting the first time, both for you and the people listening; but if you keep doing it, everyone around you gets slightly ticked off.

    So, yeah, that’s my opinion on that.

    Anyway, I’m really amused by the timing of this entry, because I am currently having a little chit-chat with Ben about the “best way” to read these blogs. And frankly, that answer’s going to very depending on who you are and what you need.

    But at the very least, you should make extensive use of the informational pages, which are sorted and linked in the top banner. Plus all of these pages have blog entries connected to them as well, which is even more awesome. I honestly wish I had used them more when I was applying. Live and learn. ^_^

  6. Thank you, Laura, you made me feel much more confident about *my* SAT I Math score. (What about Math II? Mine’s leagues higher than my regular.)

    Regarding the blog-reading guidelines, there are a few commenters who need to pay a little attention to them…

    Can I request an entry about photography at MIT? I don’t really mean taking photos of photos (though that would be interesting), just a walkthrough of the facilities available, the photo community, etc.

  7. Snively says:

    Yes! Give us exciting things to blog about! I can only be so creative before my brain starts hurting. And, referencing something Laura mentioned, taking pictures is fun. What they don’t tell you when you sign up for being a blogger is that you become a 24 hour tourist. I always have my camera in my pocket, right next to my ID. I take pictures of EVERYTHING in hopes that it’ll make a decent blog entry.

    We are people, if you e-mail us we will respond back like normal people, and we will also take input/advice like normal people.

    I’m going to get back to building a robot now. . .

  8. Anonymous says:

    I’d personally love it if one of you with a friend in course 12 could get them to “guest blog” about what makes it interesting, etc.

  9. Arky says:

    How about a post regarding music opportunities? I’m interested in MITSO and the “Marching Band.” Is there time for these?

  10. Karen says:

    If anyone is looking for a nice break from reality, I suggest the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer. They are my guilty pleasure.

    I loved your machine shops entries – do those again! smile But seriously, anything that gives me more of an insight into the everyday life of an MIT student is helpful and interesting to read. It’s great to read about interesting campus happenings, but I really just want to know what a normal day is like, to see if I’d really fit on on campus…

  11. Keri says:

    This post makes my life.

    Also, anyone who has ever used or advocated the use of first post should be set on fire. The end.

  12. Shauna says:

    I agree with Lainers. Can we hear more about the sports at MIT? Can we see a pic of like a gym or field or something.

  13. Laser says:

    Yeah this is probably the best and funniest blog I read on this site so far. Then again, I should take advice #7 and actually do something with my life.

  14. Lauren says:

    I second Arky’s request about music at MIT – I’m interested in chamber, and also in knowing a bit about the Emerson Scholarship program (how competitive said scholarship is (does it depend on the instrument?), how much time there is for music, when are concerts, how many chamber groups are there, what about the concerto competition/who participates/what do they play/etc….).

    Also cool would be more entries about dorm life/traditions/cultures of different dorms. Though I guess one finds out more about that during “rush”? Heh, still, it would be fun to know the stereotypes – somebody at an MIT info session I went to mentioned that certain dorms are known for having higher populations of athletes/musicians/math majors/etc. Also, I still don’t completely understand what differentiates East Campus culture from that of West Campus. Though I guess I can always find out when I get there!

    In any case, though, I already enjoy the blogs- you guys do seem to have cool topics already grin. But, you did ask for suggestions, so that’s off the top of my head :-D

  15. Paul says:

    Does my partial endorsement count, Keri? :D

  16. Noelle says:

    I think this post should be somewhere on the front page all the time, like a sticky thread on a forum.

    An idea for the bloggers: anyone wanna talk about food at MIT? I know a lot of colleges are known for horrible food, what about MIT?

  17. Biyeun '10 says:

    Hey Hans,

    The photography community at MIT is pretty neat. We have quite a lot of talented photographers here! There are several darkrooms on campus – the Student Art Association has one, as well as The Tech, and Technique (MIT’s yearbook). Also, the Visual Arts Program (VAP) has it’s own darkroom – but you have to be taking a VAP photo class in order to use it. If you’re into digital the VAP, again, has a nice lab for that (and awesome printers), but we also have the New Media Center in building 26 which is free (I believe) to the MIT community. I am involved with the SAA, but more on that later. You should check out the new ARTalk blogs as they’re posted. (I’ll be posting something about photography in March.)


  18. Edgar says:

    This is such a great and truthful entry! I also think that a photo-tour of MIT would be nice, but while you wait, you should check out other bloggers’ archives.
    Most of them have beautiful photographs, and Lulu is awesome at posting very artistic ones in almost every of her updates. I strongly encourage anyone new to the blogs to check out the other bloggers. I know Snively and Paul are superb for updating frequently, but while the other bloggers find time to prepare theirs, don’t hesitate to check their archives as well as Alumns’ and guests if you are looking for more insight on “what MIT is all about!” I assure you that will love them!

  19. Anonymous says:

    You are too cool. :D

  20. Draupadi says:

    do you know why i read these?
    they’ve got something new everyday, except when exms are on. they’re way more interesting than my inbox anyway.

  21. Anion says:

    Paul..I guess by Keri’s decree…u ought to be set on fire.
    But don’t worry, once in an ENTIRE lifetime should’nt tick you off!(and first time might just be exciting!)

  22. Tanmay says:

    hmmm…the Mystery Hunt puzzles were good enough to make me stop thinking ‘too much’ about my MIT application. I enjoyed the blogs and I wish the thing lasted a bit longer than it did (those who had to stay up through the nights will definitely not agree with me!) ‘-)

  23. Paul says:

    Aditi – Of the bloggers, Lulu is your best bet for that – although a few of my fraternity brothers are also Course 8, and they’ve been involved with things from astrophysics to quantum computers. Lulu talked a little about her summer research experiences in this entry, though you can always try emailing her as well.

    As for guest entries, Bryan actually invited several pre-frosh to do guest entries about CPW last year. Assuming he doesn’t carry on the tradition himself, I may take up that torch instead.

    Dan – For the past two years, Ben’s put out a “Call for Bloggers” during the summer. If you already have a blog, the best advice I can give you is to just keep writing as you always have. wink

  24. I am sad to say that I am one of the people that should be set on fire… Though I have only been “first” once (and it actually was quite exciting).

    Anyway, I would love to hear more about the different dorms and such because if I am accepted I will have NO idea which to choose and then I would have to resort to the cheapest one haha.

    Also this might be a dumb question but I have looked for the emails of the bloggers a few times and have not been able to find them… Where the heck are they??

  25. NIBAR says:

    Hey Powell shape up tiger their email adresses are right up to the left of their header picture. Now do me a push- up!!!


    just checing in to see how you’re doing reading applications- i made a poem to you all.


    NIBAR :*)

  26. Vihang says:

    I second Noelle, this should be something like a sticky.
    Everyone is sick of “My SAT scores are so and so, what are my chances?”

    I am also looking for a nice book to read, which was the last book you read and enjoyed immensely?

  27. Snively says:

    A friend and I have a pretty awesome idea for a photo tour so we’ll get to working on that.

    Before each new year there is an application process, all you have to do is apply.

    Have a nice day!

  28. Alias B says:

    Milena! Way to go!!! I really hate it when someone posts stuff like that… Y’all know how the smartest kid id not get admitted and the kid that loved what he did got admitted!!! That was sort of hilarious… well I hope that answers all about SAT scores… a perfect score does not gurantee admission… heh…

  29. Ankit says:

    Angry Blog….LOL!

  30. Piper says:

    I agree. Especially on the don’t-worry-about-your-SATs part, ’cause that’s what everyone is really hung up over.

  31. Aditi says:

    the SAT should be abolished :D

    oh yeah, photo tour type thing would be great!

    Also could someone blog about their UROP (especially if its course 8 related !)

    oh and something , anything at all on course 22 would be AMAZING. While I love the departments website i want to hear about it from a student =)

    random idea! have a contest! get prospective students to send in entries and the winner gets his/her entry put up as a blog post. Yes i know thats completely random and crazy and you people are definitely wayyyy too busy to be reading the thousands of entries that you would inevitably receive but it could be fun i guess.

    dont yell at me! just an idea


  32. Sanja says:

    Ummmm should I feel bad if I have already read all linked entries? :D Yup, this is a question smile

  33. Libin Daniel says:

    Yes, you are inevitably right. So, why don’t ya read something about the chapel? I realized there was one from my rocking interviewer. Please write something about it..I had vainly searched for it on the net.

  34. Libin Daniel says:

    Hey, who selects the webpage pics of
    Today’s pic totally rocks!

  35. Sam says:

    Heath Ledger is dead. Discuss.

  36. dan says:

    can someone tell me how to become a blogger? not that i’m accepted or anything yet …

  37. carmen says:

    o00oo i agree with with hans, a photobook-ish style of mit facilities would be awesome, like gym/ lecture halls/ insider stuff

  38. milena '11 says:

    i agree with everything you said. it’s pretty f*cking annoying when people ask the “What are my chances” shit. And just stupid questions in general. I mean, you’d think MIT students/people that consider themselves smart enough to stand a chance of getting into MIT would have at least a shred of common sense to, you know, redirect that question to someone that might be able to answer it or just plain old google it on the MIT website. Jeez.

  39. Lainers says:

    Since you asked, a suggestion: I’d love to see an entry regarding the various levels of sports at MIT, what’s most/least popular, what time commitment each level is, and what playing level is normal. Also, how successful people generally are at fitting a larger time commitment around a full class schedule.

  40. Oh jeez…I feel kinda dumb now haha. Email right next to the picture. Figures raspberry Thanks NIBAR for your good eye! :D:P

  41. Hawkins says:

    NICE entry. I especially like number 7. And your snarkiness. Never change, please.