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MIT blogger Cami M. '23

in the prospect of leaving by Cami M. '23

are you proud of the work you've done?

As CPW comes to a close and I watch eager beaver high schoolers drag their far too clunky suitcases onto the airport shuttle, I feel a pang of regret wash over me.

New waves of kiddos are coming in to make MIT their own and their home and I continue to trek along my MIT path, closer to the end than I am to the beginning. As I reflect on the fact that I have a little over two semesters left in this school, I wonder what impact I’ve left, if any.

I came into MIT thinking I knew some things and knowing I knew not many other things, only to have the rug pulled from under my feet to quickly realize that I don’t know much of anything, really.

And from there I wiped off the grime and stood up again, this time a little more wary and a little less cocky.01 To be fair I don't think I was that cocky to begin with, I think I just should've expected to get wrecked more than I initially thought I would.

Then I started to pursue computer science thinking I could do it with enough time and effort and boy was I fucking wrong. I spent countless hours on psets and office hours and tutoring only to be greeted by C’s and D’s and F’s. And so I cursed computer science while hissing underneath my breath “I will still study you because I need financial security and I tolerate you but I will not code” and switched to a joint humanities and engineering degree in media studies and computer science.

I’ve joined things and left them, repeating this cycle many, many times. I’ve been part of DanceTroupe and The Game Lab and the Education Arcade and the Career and Professional Development office and MIT CodeIt and…god, so many things. And yet I eventually tire and leave them and join new things in hopes of finding something that will click. In my four years here, I’ve joined and left:

  • a UROP at the Institute of Soldier Nanotechnologies
  • various start ups and nonprofit orgs
  • DanceTroupe
  • a sorority
  • CodeIt
  • the Education Arcade
  • The Game Lab
  • MIT Career and Professional Development Office

and a whole slew of other stuff. Nothing has really remained permanent or constant in my time here at MIT except for blogging. Even my major has changed plenty of times, going from 2002 bioengineering to 10B03 chemical engineering to 2A04 mechanical engineering to 6-305 computer science to 6-206 computer science and electrical engineering to 15-107 business management to finally 21E.08 humanities and engineering

While I’ve loved that MIT is so flexible and allows me to jump around so often, I can’t help but feel I’ve thrown away my MIT education in a way, as I shallowly stick my finger into so many different jars, never really committing to just a singular thing.

I see friends who have so deeply specialized in their field, truly mastering techniques they have been refining since freshman year. When I look at my code and my work, I see only mediocre improvement since then.

I feel this especially as I look at my computer science classes. I still heavily lean on Raymond and others to get through my coding assignments and I wonder if I’ve really learned at MIT, or if I’ve only learned how to ask for help.

I walk out of MIT with no real discernible skills, only a weird niche microcelebrity scenario through blogging and maybe some cool anecdotes. I have no CAD mechanisms to show you or cool coding projects. I have no papers I’m especially proud of or interesting classes to laud around. I have no research conferences under my belt or shiny start-ups.

I’m starting to feel panicked, feeling as if I’ve wasted my three years here. Three years at the top institution in the world and it feels like I’ve made nothing of it. Three years that could have gone to someone else, someone who could have made something of it.

It’s been weird, standing at the intersection of media studies and computer science. I feel rendered useless in both, especially having recently dropped Petey’s Network Cultures class. I can’t code meaningful projects in my own time and struggle in my computer science classes, while comparative media classes are fun and exciting but I often lack the writing abilities to make anything particularly extraordinary in my classes.

I’ve been learning to be okay with my mediocrity and I think for the most part I am getting somewhere and making progress, but I’ve found myself slipping into these trains of thought more often than not. I suspect it’s a result of my senior year approaching so quickly, meaning the full time job search will begin soon.

There is an upshot to this, though. I find that with the little time left here at MIT, I’m trying to spend my time here more meaningfully. I am joining clubs that I really believe in and appreciate, like LSC and Student Events Board. I’m spending more time in the present with my friends, even if it means at the cost of skipping class, because who knows the next time I’ll see them after we graduate? I’m taking deeper breaths and really trying to soak in MIT before I’m kicked out of it, finding joy in things that have otherwise gone ignored in my two other years here.

I don’t know what the future holds. But knowing that there are two semesters left freaks me the fuck out, and so I’m determined to make the most of it.  I want to join a musical or a dance group! I want to take a writing class and more media studies classes! I want to go to a media studies conference! I want to go to all the cool parties and befriend cool people and pull all nighters talking to interesting people because I don’t know the next time I’ll be able to do these things. My time is ticking away and I need to make the most of it because there is no next time, there is no redoing the MIT undergraduate experience, and God, I really hope I don’t waste it.

  1. To be fair I don't think I was that cocky to begin with, I think I just should've expected to get wrecked more than I initially thought I would. back to text
  2. bioengineering back to text
  3. chemical engineering back to text
  4. mechanical engineering back to text
  5. computer science back to text
  6. computer science and electrical engineering back to text
  7. business management back to text
  8. humanities and engineering back to text