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MIT student blogger Laura N. '09

IHTFP by Laura N. '09

Warning: Bitterness Ahead! (And why IHTFP can mean so many different things.)

There is a whiteboard in Ben’s office which was apparently once used for admissions work, but for years it has been taken over by students. It is now covered in graffiti such as witty poetry and linear algebra homework, and it changes regularly throughout the year. Currently written on said whiteboard:

“I hate everyone and everything, including you.”

“Name any topic and I’ll tell you why I hate it.”

“I will kill you with a bat.”
-Christina ’10

“It must be finals week!”

Why am I telling you about my bitterness? Because it’s an important part of my life. No, really. To all of the recently admitted, and any other hopefuls who are imagining what life might be like here, here is some important information:

Under most conditions, you will love MIT. You will think, “I Have Truly Found Paradise.” You will love the living groups and the fact that you get to choose where you live and stay with something like a family for years, and you will love the way that grades are flexible and dependent on the class average because you’ll feel that even if the material is hard you’re all in it together with your classmates. Then you will go frolic a meadow somewhere with some bunny rabbits, and strangers will give you cookies without razor blades in them for trivial reasons, and life will be a beautiful place.

Under certain other conditions, however, you will hate MIT. HATE IT.

These conditions might be finals week, the weeks before Thanksgiving and spring breaks, and random other times of the year when life explodes in your face.

Currently, I am in one of those conditions. It is finals week, and I hate everything. In fact, I just got back from my last final (meaning I’m technically done for the semester and will be going home tomorrow), and I STILL hate everything. I hate how the living groups work here because I have to live with the same people for years and years and they’re all starting to drive me crazy, I hate that my 2.005 final exam came with about half of the necessary thermodynamics equations so I spent a good 15 minutes during the exam trying to remember if the log of the pressures was related to the ideal gas constant or specific heat at constant volume in the equation defining entropy change in an adiabatic process, I hate that the grades are so flexible that I have no idea how well I did in 2.12 despite the fact that I spent hours staring at the course notes until I finally actually understood the concept behind the inertia matrix and how to use in summation form to simplify Lagrange’s equations of motion.

In short, I Hate This eFfing Place.

If you come here, you’ll have moments when you effing hate it too.

But the hatred will be temporary, and eventually you’ll go back to loving the place in just the way that you imagine you will now, just like I will. Check back in with me in 2 weeks- I’ll be back on campus taking Italian, and I’ll be so much happier than I am now.

But be prepared- because the more you love this place, the more you hate it sometimes.

Just so that you know.

49 responses to “IHTFP”

  1. lirao says:

    first post?

    I still hope I get in MIT, no matter how I may hate it during finals week.

  2. Lirao says:

    One question unrelated to the post itself, but the others blog entries are rather clogged up with replies:

    There’s a place in Part 2 where you “List Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate or GCSE courses taken or under way”. For me, I took around 10 GCSE O-levels 2 years ago, and I’ve taken around 6 GCSE A-levels this year (still waiting for the results). But there are only 12 spots available for use in this form, so which ones should I focus on? I’ve already mailed in my O-level certificates, so should I discard a few of my O-levels and list down my A-levels instead? Or is there a way to fill in more of these?


  3. Aditi says:

    yeah me too.

    i’ll give five years of my life or suchlike to get in

    and i kow what you mean laura. I love my school (yes yes bringing on the cliches) but i hate it just as much , well, occasionally…

    but then i guess the more you love i place the more you expect it to be perfect and the smallest itsy deviation from perfectness ( voila finals :( ) makes you hate it…

    warped theory , yes…
    but one that i believe in!

  4. Mike says:

    I sorta got that this semester at my school. There were times when I just walked into the quad thinking, “Everything is going my way!” And then there are other times where I was ready to stick a fist through my wall. But, weirdly, experiencing both meanings of IHTFP sounds kinda exciting. I must be crazy.

  5. Medvedev says:

    I hope I get in as I can’t even eat at the moment with stress!

  6. A parent says:

    Something never changes…anywhere. I went to college in Asia and the finals weeks were unbearable and disorienting. But 20 some years ago, there was no clearly defined word like hate in any dictionaries. So your generation has evolved for better. You can now understand and regulate your emotion.

    Enjoy your holiday break, you’ve earned it, Laura!

  7. DHowdy says:

    I have truly found paradise.

    Just remember, pain is temporary :-p And since my school switched to a trimester system, exams magically disappeared…why? Don’t know…not going to ask, just taking it for it is smile

  8. Harrison says:

    Ahahhahahaha hilarious yet so true. And I thought you didn’t get into Italian?

  9. Judy says:

    Everyone hates finals week raspberry

  10. Xavier says:

    I hope to eFing Pass

    I have to flipping pee

    I hate tooling four p-sets

    is having twelve fingers possible?

  11. Pooja says:

    Wow. That sounds a lot like my magnet school around our test and finals dates…

  12. @All:

    Hate comes from love, doesn’t it !

  13. Anonymous says:

    the formula that you refer to was actually on the 2.005 aid sheet.. as it was on the 3rd test.. hmm.

  14. proAngel says:

    Yeah, love vs hatred

    But if I do not accept all with smiles, I won’t make MIT my first choice. As an optimist, I believe in the slightest chance.

  15. Jing Jing says:

    I think I’ll definitely feel how you feel some point later on, but I’m sure I’m gonna spend more time LOVIN’ MIT than hating it. Finals week is only a week anyway… right? =D

    Hackers might make Finals week more lovable, hopefully? =)

  16. Shamarah says:

    I agree with Jing Jing!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Even so… I’d still want to be at MIT.
    All is fair in love, right? LOL =p

  18. Sam R. says:

    sounds like a good place to be….
    -sam r.

  19. Oxymoron, but to me I still dream to attend MIT.

  20. C-mont says:

    A love-hate relationship with MIT…it can happen.

  21. mit 11'er says:

    I didn’t have any moments of IHTFP at all this semester! I loved everything at MIT!!! That’s why pass/no record is so amazing first semester to get you oriented to the new (and wonderful) environment. It lets you meet many other freshmen and upperclassmen and try new activities so you can gauge how to balance them with your coursework.

    Even during finals week, it wasn’t so bad for me. I felt like my instructors and recitation leaders had prepared me very well and given me plenty of resources to study from (old exams, practice problems, past psets…) All in all: first semester freshman year = I HEART THIS FANTASTIC PLACE =)

  22. yuki says:

    you only htfp because I’m gone.

    don’t even pretend otherwise.

    also, we gotta figure out how to hang out over break. for serious. late night diners? GOOD PIZZA? WARM WEATHER? it’s like I died and went to heaven. except, I still had to die to get here. just sayin

  23. Omar '10 says:

    haha, mit 11’er

    I also loved MIT first term… all the time. no stress, no problems, plenty of time for having a life.

    i started having ihtfp moments second term, frequently, and this past term… quite a few times.

    but that’s okay
    we’ll all survive. hopefully.

  24. Oasis says:

    “Hackers might make Finals week more lovable, hopefully? =)”

    Hackers have finals too! lol. But what they did with all those games (especially the Scrabble on Media Lab) before finals week was amazing.

  25. Hunter '11 says:

    Yeah, I unfortunately experienced more of the negative side of IHTFP this first semester – working for things I wouldn’t get, failing at everything, not meeting enough people or developing a social network, living in a place that may have been wrong for me (well, the wrong *part* of a place), not doing things I should’ve done…

    This semester was utterly terrible. It made me question why I was even here, surrounded by people so much smarter than me anyway. Certainly I didn’t belong…

    But now I get to start over. Whether this semester was for the better or the worse, I get to start over. I can’t change the past – but I can fix what I can and move on.

    And despite – or maybe because of, in a masochistic type of way – all the crap that went on this semester, I came to realize that ILTFP and it would be wrong for me to go anywhere else. As subpar as I am…

    I belong here.

  26. Hunter '11 says:

    … am I the only freshman who had a terrible first semester?

  27. Jess says:

    @Hunter – you’re definitely not. I know people who failed half their classes and survived, hating it all the more. It gets better, trust me. Eventually you’ll get to take classes that you’re really genuinely interested in, and you’ll feel better about yourself and your life and your decisions, but they’ll still be crazy hard and you will still hate this freakin’ place.

    But that’s all part of it. The important thing to remember is we all hate it too, and we’re all going through the same crap you have to go through and we eventually turned out to be semi-normal, semi-adjusted human beings that aren’t terribly bitter about how much MIT kicked them down. So yeah, it does get better. At least after finals.

  28. Anonymus says:

    Lol, I know what that’s like. When finals come, no matter where you are, you’d hate everything. I’m taking my SATs in Jan, and I have to relearn everything I stopped looking at 3 years ago.. 600+ pages of studying, through Eid, Christmas, and New Year. I can relate raspberry

    But the thing about suffering for tests is that once it’s over, you’d kinda look back and miss it. Once it’s all over, heck, you’ll miss all of it.. all those arguments over which formula was correct, all the angry words traded with the guys karaoke-ing in the room next door while you’re trying to study. The more you hate it, the more you love it sometimes..

  29. CalAlum says:

    For what it’s worth, students in U.C. Berkeley’s School of Engineering feel exactly the same way.

  30. Finals are the epitimy (sp?) of miserable existance, yes, but think of IAP coming up!
    And if I get a fat letter in March, I’ll frolic until my legs fall off, hug the strangers with razor-blade-chip cookies, and marry the bunnies.
    And I’m perpetuating a rallying cry from another blog, with the hopes of receiving one someday:
    “TUBES FOR R.A.!!!”

  31. Anonymous says:

    …well this makes me glad I got deferred…

  32. I Have To Fart Percussively (Lehigh U).
    I Hit Three Foul Popups.
    If Hannibal’s Teletubbies Fried Peanuts, I’d Have Their Fangs Procured.
    Would You Like Fries With That?

  33. dotty says:

    Laura, I love your post cause you are being so honest here!!!

  34. Hunter '11 says:

    @Jess – Thanks =). I don’t really HTFP – I love it!! There’s so much AWESOME right here. But this semester was really hard, and I’m intimidated/unsure if I belong here/am intelligent enough.

  35. napper says:

    Check out this new clothing brand launched locally. Very cool stuff. Worth a look.

  36. Shawn '11 says:

    I have truly found paradise. It is located a couple blocks south of Random.

  37. Muhib says:

    this happens in life and exams are always painful!

  38. Hawkins says:

    I feel the same way about the Navy, except I never love it. =P I think I can deal with MIT.

  39. I


  40. @ Lirao: what exactly do u mean by aroud 10- O levels, I mean it has to be 10 or 9 or 11…hope its nothing in between:S

  41. Caro says:

    The best thing about the MIT blogs is the honesty that you guys write with

    I really appreciate the insight! I guess we wouldn’t be able to have “success” if we didn’t have to really work for things though, right? As long as, to you, the good outweighs the bad in the end

  42. Goobie Goo says:

    Is a 720 word essay too long? exactly one page.

  43. The world is crazy. I am amazed at the new level of masochism here. And yet, here I am, working at 4:30 in the morning. I am not sleeping tonight it seems. Yes, I’ll curse the world and everything in it when these nights are too frequent and the pressure is high, but somehow its always with a smile and a laugh.
    Because even right now, when I have to be up at 4:30 in the morning because I effing haven’t finished this application yet, or any of the others that are due on the first, I really love the world. It is wonderful.
    I think this is because I keep things in perspective. Currently- If I were to fail at everything everywhere right now, all I would have to do is anything. You see, I could lose everything, and there would still be libraries, people to befriend, freeboxes, community college, music… whatever. I’ll never hit rock bottom. Not really.

    Except for the fact that they are now illegalizing public sleeping in my city. And sitting and laying down also. But as I haven’t failed at life and lost everything, this is not as of yet an issue.

  44. phreaker says:

    Everyone is ordinary once you look at them long enough. And i’ll bet most ppl, including MIT students have trouble with tests, especially when competing with all the other good test takers wink

    Tanmay, discussing formulas AFTER the test with someone who forgot them is a good way to get beaten up :p

  45. Anonymous says:

    I thought MIT students excelled in the area of test taking. You imply that they’re just ordinary people who were either lucky enough to get in. Oh wait…

  46. tanmay says:

    Well, I remember that Cp-Cv=R. So IF the log of the pressures is related to the ideal gas constant, then it’s also related to the specific heat at constant volume. Am I right???

  47. MooQuack says:

    If He Took Five Pies,I’ll Have To Feel Peeved

  48. alum80 says:

    I have totally forgotten physics