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MIT student blogger Chris M. '12

I’M BACK!!!!! (and MIT is hard) by Chris M. '12

**I’ve been having computer issues for a few weeks, so this entry was written a while ago, but I’ve been unable to publish it until now. Enjoy!**

*GASP* *PANT* wow! past month or so has been absolutely insane. Finals week ended and I was on a plane headed for Houston on Thursday December 18th. Of course being that it was a long plane ride, I wrote some entries, read some books, watched some episodes of How I Met Your Mother (I love this show, current favorite along with The Big Bang Theory and Top Gear). So I get home and our internet isn’t currently working. No big, after all, some time away from the internet might be healthy right? At first this is no big deal, but then the Friday after Christmas, I find my laptop hanging from the rafters with a note pinned to it. (not really, but how weird would that be? Instead it died in the much more subtle BsoD every boot cycle with system restore points corrupted-_-) So after some long hold times on tech support, arguing, and TWO reformats of my computer, its finally back to running. (Ok, cool part, I managed to trick my system into booting into the recovery partition on my hard drive even though recovery manager was gone by setting the partition as the active hard drive. Psshh and HP told me I’d have to spend $40 on recovery disks. MIT=1, HP=0)
But this entry isn’t about partitions or recovery disks or how much of a nerd I am (Ok maybe it is a little about that last one….) This blog is a bit more serious, (get it?….bit?…..and we were talking about computers? Do you….do you see what I did there?). This of course means that it may be a tad lengthy and probably no pictures, but I think I’ve got some insight that could be helpful or informative to you guys, so grab a chair and get ready. Having completed my first semester here at the ‘tvte, I have something that all of you should know:

MIT is really hard.

Like, much harder than anything I’ve ever dealt with. As much as I’d like to pretend that I was a hard working kid who studied a lot and did his homework when he should’ve in high school, I wasn’t. I was a goof, I only worked hard in inconsistent spurts. I didn’t take notes, I never went to tutoring, I never planned out my week. I wasn’t lazy though, I just never actually had to.One night of hard work every now and then was enough. I just got stuff. My version of studying for a calc test was remembering that I had a calc test the next day as I laid in bed, and then skimming over the topics in my head: “zZzZ….OMG calc test tomorrow!….what’s it about?….oh! that’s right, infinite series.”*Back to sleep*.
That’s not a particularly good study habit, but it worked for me in high school, and I made A’s and graduated in the top of my class. I never really cared much about grades, I was just me and that was that. Now I know some of you are probably thinking “Really? The kid who didn’t know MIT was hard was accepted??” but it’s a different kind of hard. Like, I knew life here would be different, and I knew the work was challenging, but I had no way of rationalizing that. I had no idea what to expect, and thus no idea of how to approach it.
Luckily for me (and for some of you), MIT knows that MIT will be unlike anything most of the student body has ever experienced, and that’s why Freshman Fall term is Pass/No Record (a.k.a Pass/what class?). For me, this gave me a useful chance to not only explore the social circles and niches to find where I fit extracurricularly, but also a valuable trial run on how to do classes without the finality and stress of getting it right the first time. So I made some guesses and tried them, many of these attempts were wrong (turns out, I can’t read and comprehend 350 pages of chemistry the night before, also, just watching lecture and not actively taking notes on it makes it hard to focus. Also, Facebook will destroy my life). Looking back now I understand what I should have done differently, where my strengths and more importantly my weaknesses are. I learned a ton this last semester, but hands down the most valuable and influential thing I learned here is how to be a good student. I already knew how to do things when they were easy for me, but I didn’t really know what to do when they were hard. MIT taught me in one semester how to exploit my personal strengths and weaknesses to learn material that is at times mind boggling (I’m looking at you 8.01 [Physics] Final….).
Now there is a reason I waited to post this after applications were due, and that’s because I didn’t want to scare anyone away from applying, because yes MIT is crazy hard, but you will be totally surprised at what you can do. That’s the whole point; the point is to know where your limits are, to understand the problems that you don’t get the first or second time through, to go through more erasers than pencils. YOU ARE MEANT TO MAKE MISTAKES, because through your mistakes you will learn the most.
So having given that last semester my best, and not having done as well as I’d liked, I’ve made some adjustments that I think will greatly help me in the upcoming term:
1. I’ve planned my class hours better. As cool as it sounds not having class until 11, it also affects the attitude you have about class. It makes it seem more like a chore that is invading your Saturday than part of your life.For me, by the time I got up to go to class, I felt lethargic and lazy. As opposed to waking up early and feeling energized and ready to work hard.
2. I’ve been reading a LOT about studying effectively. Some topics I’ve been studying (ironic?) are how to read textbooks, how to take notes on what I’m reading, how to take notes on lectures, and how to study for exams. Combined with everything I learned from the Time Management lecture, I feel confident that I can get the most out of my classes.
3. I’m not afraid of Office Hours anymore. I was intimidated by going to office hours, perhaps in part out of pride, for not wanting the professor to think I’m some kind of idiot, or that I just don’t get it. But I am here to tell all of you who wind up here that Office Hours are the single greatest thing in the world. PLEASE use them. They will make a big difference.
4. I’ve invested in a pretty cool digital pen that records what you write and links it to what is being said and stores it all on your computer. (It’s called a Pulse LiveScribe pen, and Snively has one too). I think that combined with better notetaking habits will make a huge impact on how I do next semster.
But the hardest part about MIT for me is definitely how hard I’ve fallen in love with it. Sure I may end up repeating some classes, and sure I had sleepless nights when my friends at other schools were out partying, but I cannot adequately express how humbled and changed I am now from when I stepped off that plane in August. Without sounding too corny, MIT has really changed my life in a lot of ways. I’ve made closer friendships than I’ve ever had before, I get a genuine feeling of accomplishment, and I’m fortunate enough to be in an intellectual atmosphere that is nothing short of inspiring. MIT is like nothing else out there, thank God.

100 responses to “I’M BACK!!!!! (and MIT is hard)”

  1. Anonymous says:

    yayaya. youre back!

  2. LAS1 says:

    Excellent post Chris. MIT is lucky to have you! Your parents should be very proud! smile

  3. Anonymous says:

    I’m just glad one of you guys posted something.

  4. Crystal says:

    This has been so helpful to me. And it was definitely a good idea to post this after apps were due =]. I am a prospective ’13 but the insight you gave in this is awesome.

    Thanks for the great post.

  5. Snively says:

    Incredible pen! I’ll throw a blog up about it soon enough, I’d recommend it to everybody!

  6. Aditya says:

    Sigh. Everytime I see a poster from India I squirm inside. Somehow our comments always come across as desperate.. And uninformed.
    Well maybe not always. But most of the time.
    (With Varun being one of the few exceptions)

  7. Matt A. says:

    wow, those calculus study habits sound oddly familiar…raspberry

  8. Anonymous says:

    Finally someone posted something because I thought something serious had happened to all of the bloggers…like they were all on a plane and then this thing jumped…ok I’ll stop.

  9. 13 defered says:

    How does everybody think high school is so easy? Sure, I study for calc the same way that Chris did, but I still have many late nights just from the mountains of busy work. If all I had to do was learn the material and take tests things would probably be easy, but just getting useless homework done takes me forever.

  10. Nicole '10 says:

    To all of you out there on both sides of the spectrum, those of you breezing through high school because you have no work and those of you weighed down by tons of it (busywork or otherwise) – remember that every high school is different and will prepare you for MIT differently… unfortunately it’s hard to tell which type yours is or how you stack up against the rest of the MIT class until you get here. Not all high schools are like Chris’s – I actually had a lot of work in high school and came in to MIT pretty well prepared, only to discover that the ‘insane workload’ here actually was significantly *less* than my junior year of high school, at least for the first two years here (eventually I found a combination of classes that let me finally discover the stress that everyone here complains about). And I’m not the only one with that kind of story, though we’re certainly not the majority – it could happen to you. Since it really is hard to know just what ‘MIT is hard’ really means when you first get here, my advice is to come in prepared to handle the worst – but also don’t be afraid to challenge yourself here just because people say this place is difficult.

  11. Nicole '10 says:

    And to add an interesting anecdote, I didn’t bring books with me to MIT because I thought I wouldn’t have time to read for fun, and I cut my hair really short the day before classes started because I figured I’d need to save the time brushing it… both not true, at least not for that semester. Ironically enough, by the time I was busy enough that I would have really appreciated having short hair (two years later), my hair was all the way down my back… but I couldn’t cut it again because I now have pictures of how bad it looked the first time. ^_^

  12. Nicole '10 says:

    Okay, so maybe I exaggerated a bit – my hair only really came down to like halfway down my back. Not that that changes the story at all, but I figured someone might call me on hyperbole.

  13. Anonymous says:

    The pen looks cool, but why not just get a tablet and a voice recorder?

  14. valeria says:

    I will buy that pen!!

  15. Rankeya says:

    I guess it isn’t lack of information Aditya. The website is pretty clear about everything you know. Courses and stuff like that.

    But anxiety is something that every international student feels more. We don’t have the opportunity to visit the campus (though I wouldn’t say that for myself).

    @ Akhila
    I visited MIT when I was very young Akhila. Grade 8 or something. It’s a different feeling you get walking through the infinite corridor.
    It’s like revelling at the fact that you can slog it out like crazy. I met a guy who hadn’t slept for like 7 days!!!!!!!!!!!
    I can understand courses in India being crazy but they aren’t really in depth are they? Lots of difficult topics are just touched upon.

    Doesn’t it get boring to always do well? Sometimes it is a lot more exciting to see how challenging stuff can be and how you can screw up your life. And who knows? You might still end up doing well………….

    All the best from me to all Indians who have applied, myself being one.

  16. Rankeya says:

    I really didn’t know how lonf these posts seem after being submitted. Damn mine is long………………………………

  17. Vivi says:

    Really enjoyed that last paragraph most – I too have returned home humbled by the experience. While MIT is in some aspects exactly how I expected it, it has also shown me a side of academic lifestyle that I never knew existed before. I’m actually really anxious to get back to classes, haha.

  18. Aditya says:

    True, but when you apply to one of the best tech institutes in the world, then you sorta know what you’re getting into. It’s not going to be a walk in the park. I suppose it’s reassurance that we want. Reassurance in any form. Even though the admissions site is pretty clear in saying that if you’re admitted then they believe MIT is the right match for you.

    Good luck with your app, btw.

  19. Aditya says:

    A clarification- uninformed probably wasn’t the right word. I was referring to the last sentence. About the pen… Even though Chris had given the URL to the livescribe website. You get the idea. I hope.

  20. Rankeya says:

    Apps done and given……. nuthin to do bt wait………………………………

  21. akhila says:

    Its so nice to hear from all of you. I wonder how many are applying from India !!! I want to clarify one thing. I am presently taking coaching for the prestigious IIT JEE and it may be better if I say I have started this rigorous and most hardsome coaching from my eighth grade. Definitely, we don’t just see the topview of the subjects and leave the deeper parts of the subject. But I always wanted to get into MIT from my seventh grade because thats when my cousin who lives in US got into MIT and started telling me all kinds of MIT stuff.

    Which place are you from Varun ?


  22. '13 admitted says:

    I… have a question. Honestly I’m a bit confused as to how hard everyone means by hard. You say you pulled off an A in high school calc with that small amount of “studying”, but how hard was your school and how hard was your calc class? If it was a really easy, then I’m okay, but…

    Well, to put this brutally bluntly, I’m trying to judge your opinion without knowing whether you’re smarter than me or not. I hate to make obnoxious-sounding comparisons like that, but admittedly when I’m trying to decide what classes to take next year that’s what the issue comes down to, whenever someone says any class is really hard or not that bad. How smart they are relative to me.

    I guess what confuses me the most is that I don’t find my current high school calc class that easy, but I’ve done 8.012 pset/test problems and don’t find them super-challenging. Maybe I’m a lot better at physics than math, but… with this view, I kind of scratch my head at the fact that you found high school calc a lot easier than I’m finding it and then say 8.01 is really really hard. Maybe there are aspects of the hardness I don’t know about. Care to enlighten?

    Thanks so much smile

  23. Ahana says:

    Oi: Link to the mega awesome pen please…or should I just surf thinkgeek more? 0_o

    Awesome post, btw smile

  24. '13 admitted says:

    As another possibility, maybe my school’s calc class is just unusually hard. I actually never have a bit of trouble with the homework but the tests are another story entirely. Or maybe I just get math test nerves. Maybe I would get 8.01 test nerves too, but have no way of knowing. Ack *ponders*

  25. akhila says:

    We are not desperate but a bit more concerned.

  26. Aditya says:

    Indeed, we are a lot more concerned. Who wouldn’t be, with the 5% admit rate?
    I am going for JEE coaching too, but I totally detest the IITs. It’s true, JEE is tough and indepth but I think Rankeya was referring to the regular school syllabus.
    BTW… Studying for the JEE since 8th, isn’t that overkill?

  27. Chris M. says:


    It is in fact super awesome.

    @’13 admitted

    I read your comment, and I’ve got a reply but I’m a little tired right now. I’ll be sure to get to it tomorrow.

  28. Rankeya says:

    Yeah I was referring to the regular school syllabus………….. 5% is a low relative number but it absolute terms its high innit? Now I think v are deviating too much from the main topic of the blog………

    Aditya the feeling about IIT is kind of mutual…………… But it’s also a great institution for engineers ………….. MIT is different………. It’s a tech school with best pure departments also (atleast in math)……….. That sets it apart !!!!!!!!!!!!

    @akhila- Relax!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (though I’m tensed myself)

  29. Aditya says:

    Lol. Okay. We’ll end this discussion here.

  30. Rankeya says:

    what’s your messenger id aditya? I’ll add you onto my list.

  31. Aditya says:

    My ID is adityaanand [dot] ta [at] gmail [dot] com.

  32. Tree says:

    Thank god for a new blog post!Life was getting monotonous.
    Glad you’re back Chris M. Btw, why does the link to your page say “chrism”. It sounds funny. Chrism.

    The magic Pen doth seem very very cool.

    Isn’t anyone going to put up a post on what they’re doing during IAP?

  33. Shreya says:

    Long time, brilliant post smile
    Was worth the wait.

  34. Enas'12 says:


    The thing about MIT is… It is probably harder that you’ve ever experienced. I don’t know a single person who has worked this hard in their lives as they do at MIT.

    However, the difficulty is brilliant. Let me explain:
    -You will need to understand a lot
    -You will have a lot of homework
    -You will hate some of the work, but you will love the results

    The thing is, like Chris said in his closing line, MIT changes you. In high school, I would get an A in Math without working on anything. At MIT, I worked really hard on my CALC I class. But, I loved it, because I was learning the material, not just memorizing.

    Also, don’t be scared. If MIT picks you as an admit, there IS a reason for it. You will see that once you settle in.

    Pass/No Record is a blessing; embrace it! You will miss it once it’s gone.

    Don’t be afraid of the challenge, because ultimately, you can overcome whatever you set your mind to. And if you don’t MISTAKES NEED TO BE MADE SO YOU CAN LEARN.

    I for a fact need to retake a class I dropped late in the semester because I couldn’t pass it, and I had trouble with another class, but I know EXACTLY what I did wrong. (And yes, Facebook will be the end of me too).

  35. Enas'12 says:

    As for the LiveScribe pen, well, it is AWESOME!!! I have one too lol. And a friend of mine does as well.

    And, a tablet can get pretty messy, especially since you would study on your computer, which is something most people do not prefer to do when looking at their notes.

    The notebook actually stores the sound in accordance to the note, so tapping on a word in your notebook gives you the right part of the recording.

    Besides, if you have a Windows PC, or you run Windows on your Mac, then you have no trouble getting the software that takes those notes and turns them into typed text. So, you can study from hand-written notes on paper, on a computer, or typed notes.

    Also, the pen costs ~$200 (depending on the memory space you get), while a new tablet costs >$1000, so it really is a lot cheaper, and more practical.

    I do know people who have tablets though. To be honest, most of them do not use them for notes because they are impractical.

    P.S. If you prefer taking notes digitally, but want to link sound from lecture to certain notes, MS Word on my Mac (and Windows MS Word, I assume) have that feature. You can change the view to a Notebook, and do it from there.

    Hope those two posts were helpful. Very long, sorry!!

    P.P.S. VERY GREAT POST Chris!!! Speaking the words of every freshman to the prospectives!

  36. akhila says:

    Hi chris,

    That was a good blog. But why every blogger including Snively and you talk about how hard mit is. Though I am a regular applicant and do not know the decisions yet, the blogs are making me more and more worried, I am a student from India and i take pretty hard classes. However, is MIT really that hard ? Do you think I can fit if I get into MIT ?

    And another question. I want to know about that pen. Please tell me about it.bye

  37. akhila says:

    If I was a little rude in the previos comment, I am sorry. Its just that I am literally dying to get into MIT and the sound of it being hard worries me. Anyway, it was a good blog after a long time.

    Sankranthi Subhakaankshalu to all.

  38. Varun says:


    I’m from India too and I know what you mean by hard classes but believe me, it just gets harder in college. And MIT…need I say more?

    But remember one thing, you too gain one year of maturity in that time. You too are ready to take on harder and better challenges. Trust me – you may struggle initially, but soon you’ll be bored to death without it

  39. heywasup says:

    Dude, this pen sounds sick. Thanks for sharing :D

  40. Thanks for the post! While I can’t say that I have survived a semester at MIT, I did experience the same shock during MITES. I learned from the experience, and I hope to spend more time at MIT.

  41. deng says:

    haha.. I was staring at that “bit” joke for a good two minutes before I got it >.haha.. I was staring at that “bit” joke for a good two minutes before I got it >.<

    and omg, that’s one expensive pen

    I’m a high school senior, so I can’t say anything from an MIT student’s perspective, but I remember bloggers saying before that if you get into MIT, it’s not a mistake. If MIT will let you in, they know you have the ability to do the work and cope with MIT life. ^_^

  42. Bridger '13 says:

    Uh oh, what if I did have to study for Calculus? wink

  43. Anonymous says:

    Chris, I LOVE your writing style!!! Punchy, informative, interesting. I pray I get into MIT but I don’t fink I need a magic pen, though!

  44. Anonymous says:

    I don’t fink MIT is too hard; can’t wait!

  45. anonymous says:

    This post makes me want to come to MIT all the more. **Praying to the admissions gods** As for everyone who thinks that MIT is not so bad/ thinks their HS is already pretty bad, which HS did/do you go to?

    Cool pen and @ Chris M.: your personality is pretty cute in a corny way.

  46. Rahul says:

    @ guys from India: I appreciate the fact that we are all thinking about going to MIT, which Indian kid fascinated with engineering would not like to? I love challenges, and though some courses in India are challenging I am looking forward to MIT… I believe that if you are applying to MIT, if you do not appreciate challenges, then you are in for a big surprise… unless you are Einstein or one of those super geniuses reincarnated… Indian syllabus is tough no doubt about it, however we kinda repeat the same thing over again, and we never go into the depth or practicality of the material. That is why I am personally attracted to MIT, it is not only books and theories and sitting down at a computer, it is also doing stuff hands on, esp. research with profs…

  47. Rahul says:

    *note*: I was typing in a hurry, pardon the grammatical mistakes.

  48. rankeya says:

    @ Varun:

    I’m trying not to think of the probability of not getting in ‘cos that is stupendously high. Anyway anxiety is not going to help me because it’s gona kil my boards.

    Are you in MIT right now?

    @Chris M:
    Could you give me specifics on what areas of research MIT’s pure math dept. is engaged in? In the sense what is the hot topic of research in pure math now.

  49. Banerjee says:

    Oh!! I watch Top Gear too!! And I love it!!!
    My favorite presenter is Richard Hammond…

    (I read the rest of your post too, by the way.)

  50. Varun says:

    @ Rankeya

    Whaaaat? Me in MIT right now???? My heart skipped a beat when I read that line!!
    No I’m an applicant to Fall 2009 just like you and many others.

    Anxiety kill your boards? No I don’t think so! :D Indians can handle far greater pressure than that.

    Math? Do you know Ashwath Rabindranath by any chance?

    @ Rahul

    Yeah dude I totally agree. The very system of having just one prescribed textbook to follow for all exam purposes and changing concepts ( brought to light by JEE coaching ) so that in depth understanding isn’t required sickens me. Thats the prime reason I want to join a good college in the US.

  51. Rankeya says:

    Thanks Enas. That is encouraging.

    I’m not worried about the difficulty of courses because they will be difficult. That is why I am selecting MIT. I guess that is why we select the top schools so that we can really challenge ourselves and sort of get humbled by interacting with peers way more intelligent than we really are.

    So yeah difficulties have to be there. And its fun too.

    Could anybody give me specifics on what areas of research MIT’s pure math dept. is engaged in? In the sense what is the hot topic of research in pure math now.

    @Chris: I am just overjoyed you replied to my email.

  52. Rankeya says:

    @anonymous: The way you talk you seem like you have proven the Riemann Hypothesis or something….

    We never said that MIT would be less challenging than our school system and we are talking of the schooling system in India which would b CBSE. I don’t think you’re aware of it.

    It is pretty tough though. But MIT has to be tough isn’t it. After all this is college and not school.

  53. akhila says:

    Everything ( admission process, blogs…. ) is really exciting to me. Its good that we are getting to know each other before we get to know the decisions. I hope ALL of us will get into our “dreams come true land”. Good luck.

  54. rankeya says:


  55. rankeya says:

    Yeah tis good we are gettin to knw each other…… But all of us getting into our dreams come true land isn’t gonna be it i guess.

    I mean there is u, rahul, varun, aditya and me. Dats 5 of us that i know have applied. plus i know 6 others who have applied from calcutta……. mayb only 2 or 3 of us will manage………………….

    no i dunno who ashwath is. is he a student or a prof there?

  56. Anonymous says:

    What high school did you go to in Houston?

  57. Chris M. says:

    @Anon (your personality is cute in a corny way)
    thanks….I think….

    So I actually lived in Pearland, a small town just south of Houston. Hence, I went to Pearland High School.

  58. Varun says:

    @ akhila

    I’m from Chennai and I too have been coaching up for JEE. 9th and 10th with Fiitjee and 11th and 12th with individual teachers.

    @ aditya

    I share your feelings for IIT for the very reason Rankeya mentioned. It was want for a complete and overall education that made me look for colleges outside India. And of course, my brief exposure to the Western pattern when I was in UK for 1st through 4th.


    5% isn’t high whichever way you see it. Besides its rough. Last year was less than 4. 120 students when converted to absolute numbers out of this years expected 3500+ applicants ( Basically 8% of admitted class ). But to get into MIT…come on, we definitely must fancy our chances with FIVE percent! ( Tried to make it sound large )

  59. anonymous says:

    @ Chris M.: I was the one who said that I thought that your personality was cute in a corny way. Sorry, it was meant to be a compliment. Should’ve left out the corny part huh?

  60. Kiran '13 says:

    @ Varun: FIITJEE chennai? ascent? i was a little too lazy for the afterschool, and i needed to change schools anyway, so i did the in-school one.

    sorry, off-topic.

  61. Aditya says:

    Yea. Me too. I lived in Switzerland for 2 and half years and I’ve never been able to switch back to the Indian system.

    BTW, looks like Indian students have hijacked this thread. =P

  62. Varun says:

    Haha. Yeah. But whatever it is, this blog is very soon not going to be on the MIT home page and we’ll have to search for it to continue – so our thread will soon end.

  63. '13 admitted says:

    Chris forgot me… (sorry to whine Chris) raspberry

  64. Chris M. says:


    hahaha no no! I took it to be a compliment, I just thought it was funny.

    @’13 admitted
    I didn’t forget, I just had a very full day today.

    First off, difficulty here has little to nothing to do with intelligence. Now granted there will be some classes that click better than others, but there really aren’t “easy” classes. On the other hand, if you were accepted it means you have the capacity to be successful here, whether or not you have fully realized that potential. I hate to dump a science analogy on you, but it’s kind of like if you were looking for the best diamonds, there would be a lot of variables to consider. An uncut diamond with a little work could be just as brilliant as one that’s already polished and ready. Likewise, a lump of carbon could wind up producing the biggest diamond of them all with a little time. You’d have to consider the capacity for brilliance as much as the current state.
    That’s how people show up here to MIT, in various states. Some people show up from prep schools with great work habits and study skills ready to hit the ground running. Other people will come from public schools with intensive programs rivaling those offered here and with just a little work, they will become great scholars. Others yet will come from a background where they can’t believe they got into MIT, and have no idea exactly what to expect or what to do. But by the end of it, if you’re willing to keep working, and sometimes working really really hard, then by the end of it you’ll be where you need to be, and by the time you graduate you will have been cut and polished to take full advantage of your capacity for brilliance.

    In short, it’s not really about if 8.01 is hard or not, because I don’t really think there’s anyone here who absolutely could not succeed in a class that was offered, but it’s all about matching what stage you’re in. If you’ve had a super hard math class, or if you understand math easier, take 18.01A or 18.02, but that doesn’t mean that you have to take 8.012 as well. You might find you fit better in 8.01 or even 8.01L. It’s not about who’s smarter once you get here, everyone here is crazy smart, it’s about playing your strengths and working on your weaknesses.

    (In the shortest of shorts, don’t panic. You’ll be fine)

    Hope that helps

  65. rankeya says:

    I haven’t found a single Indian blogger here….. Strange enough isn’t it.

    But this blog was great…… cheers chris m.

    @varun: Why so serious? sum1 else is gonna blog something. vll start a convo there………….

    @chris: dat analogy between diamond and students was really sexy btw!!!!!!!!!

    @aditya: where did you live bfore you lived in switzerland?

  66. Aditya says:

    India. I went from India to Switzerland and then back.

  67. Varun says:

    @ Rankeya

    No he isn’t. He’s my friend – another applicant who’s crazy about math! Wants to pursue it for higher studies and since he’s exceptionally good at it, I figured you may know him.

    @ Kiran

    Yeah I was in Ascent. Didn’t want to pledge myself to FIITJEE and it was a good thing in the end. You can’t have been admitted – why did you put that ’13 at the end? Or are you a US citizen?

    @ Chris

    Nice post. And nice analogy too! Most of us would be guys with interests in science so it would work better than you’d think. :D

  68. rankeya says:


    whts he plannin to pursue? pure or applied? dt frnd of urs.

  69. '13 says:

    That did help a bit, yeah. I’m just trying to figure out whether I should skip the stuff that I have credit for / can test out of and go into the more advanced classes, or take the intro classes anyway. I know the intro classes will still be hard either way and will have psets with lots of cool problems, but the new material is more exciting to me.

  70. '13 says:

    Oh, and thanks smile

  71. Varun says:

    Well I’m not too sure about that. I think it’d be pure. But he could opt for applied too. All I know is, he’s doing math!

  72. Chris M. says:


    As far as whether you should take harder classes or place out, I’d reccomend doing both. I would strongly suggest that if you can get credit for something, move on. Trust me, nothing can be more irritating than being stuck in classes where you feel like you already know what’s being taught *COUGH*
    If I could go back, I would’ve tested out of 8.01 and 18.01 for sure. But I would only do that in classes you feel very confident in. I struggled with 8.01, but I don’t think that’s necessarily because of the material. Remember, you’re in no rush here at all, take it slow if you want, or dive headlong, whatever you feel better doing.

  73. Ashwin says:

    Haha! Never worked hard except in inconsistent spurts!

    That sounds like me. =)

    The pen sounds cool, though.

    @ akhil, aditya and varun:
    Hey there! Another Indian smile

  74. akhila says:

    varun, aditya, rahul, rankeya did you all apply only to MIT ? Silly doubt ! But please clarify. Bye

  75. Aditya says:

    I’ll be applying next year. Class of 14. And thank god for that too. You guys seem pretty competitive. =P

  76. Anonymous says:


  77. rankeya says:

    does it matter akhila?

  78. Enlargement says:

    I am amazed with it. It is a good thing for my research. Thanks

  79. Aditya says:

    Rankeya you better not be ’14 because that would be totally depressing.

  80. Aditya says:

    Oh, and btw Akhila and Ashwin, good luck. =D

  81. asem says:

    nice blog…Could you please tell me where I can get that cool pen? I really need something like that.

  82. rankeya says:

    @aditya: im applying ’13 not ’14. I dont c how tht makes any difference. why will it be depressing?

  83. Rahul says:

    @ Varun – Hey, I am actually in the US in another college… I am applying for transfer admission, therefore I am actually on a tighter noose… lol…
    @ Akhila – No, I did not only apply to MIT, however it is my first choice to get into… you should always have a backup school, just in case… I recommend applying to 5-6 major engineering institutions as well as 3 other (serious backup)… and then once here you can PROVE YOURSELF, and then transfer…

  84. Rahul says:

    BTW… best of luck, all that are applying this fall…

  85. rankeya says:

    to add to d fun v r just some among the many others who have applied to MIT………. i guess not everyone blogs……….. i dont think you will have more than 5 students per country in an academic year.

  86. Varun says:

    I’ve applied for class of 13 and MIT is obviously not my only option – don’t put all your eggs in one basket! But it is my first option.

  87. Aditya says:

    Every strong international applicant I see applying for ’14 makes me sad.. The number of international students accepted isn’t that high, you see.

  88. Aditya says:

    I don’t think admissions depends on geographical location. 2 people got admitted to MIT last year from my school, among a few other Indians.

  89. rankeya says:

    @aditya: i dunno wht makes u think im a strong candidate……………….

    i wish v had something like MIT in india……… i dunno why v cant have one here……………….

  90. rankeya says:

    @varun: u got deferred from early action…. now ull defnitely make it in regular decision. so much so for my hopes of going to MIT…………..

    hahaha, all d best mate if and when u make it……………..

    do well….

    *i do hope they don’t reserve just one international student per country*

  91. @ rankeya says:

    MIT doesn’t have EA for international candidates. So I had to apply for Regular. What made you – oh, “But it is my first option”! No I didn’t, rather couldn’t, apply early.

    Hopefully not one international per country – can’t be. All the best to everyone applying regardless of your nationality, regardless of the year ( Aditya ), it’ll be tough getting in, and even tougher once your in! Brace yourselves for one hell of a roller-coaster ride!

  92. Varun says:

    Terribly sorry! The previous post was by me. I accidentally put @ rankeya as the name!

  93. Generic_bob says:

    The more I read the blogs, the more anxious I get about admissions. Somebody cut me off from the tubez.

  94. Ashwin says:

    Thanks Aditya!
    Not sure what makes you think we’re strong competitors though.

    Applying only to MIT would probably be unwise, with the low acceptance rates. I’m writing the entrance exams in India too.

    I wish I get into MIT for the research. No college in India even comes close in terms of the research opportunities.

  95. '13 says:

    @ Ashwin and other Indian applicants

    Probably a good idea to apply to a few other U.S. schools too. There are many other excellent U.S. schools out there with great research opportunities (might I reccommend Boston University?) that you might not have heard of just because you live in India, even though they’re quite well known here.

    And I’m sure you can find some that will waive your fees if need be.

  96. Aditya says:

    Ashwin: Don’t worry.. Applying only to MIT would be the height of folly.

    ’13: Finding non need blind schools that offer fee waivers to internationals is a (near) impossible task.

  97. hmmm…how much does this magical pen cost? it sounds interesting…

  98. Ashwin says:

    @ ’13: Thanks for recommending Boston University, I’ll check it out =) But like Aditya said, finding schools where they offer aid to internationals is a tough task. Also, I’m guessing the deadline would have passed at most places.

  99. rankeya says:

    either mit works out or else it doesn’t. there are just two possible outcomes. if it works i plan to do what i think i am good at and if it doesn’t then i’ll have a lot to say to myself and a lot of things to rethink which again will be interesting as it is going to b like being born again and seeing the world from a completely new and novice perspective.
    that’s how the equation stands for me and for many others besides me. unfortunately JEE is not my cup of tea. what’s the use of burning oneself out even before one enters the university? i don’t see the point.

  100. rankeya says:

    either mit works out or else it doesn’t. there are just two possible outcomes. if it works i plan to do what i think i am good at and if it doesn’t then i’ll have a lot to say to myself and a lot of things to rethink which again will be interesting as it is going to b like being born again and seeing the world from a completely new and novice perspective.
    that’s how the equation stands for me and for many others besides me. unfortunately JEE is not my cup of tea. what’s the use of burning oneself out even before one enters the university? i don’t see the point.