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.”
“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.