In the South for prospective students; in the mail for incoming students by Matt McGann '00
Travel & email.
Hello from Georgia! We had a fantastic meeting last night in Atlanta, where I got to meet many fantastic students. After wonderful meetings in Miami, Tampa, and Atlanta, we now have one final meeting in Birmingham, Alabama. If you came to one of these meetings, I hope you’ll leave a comment to say hi!
Our focus is now turning to the Class of 2012. We still have some more work to do on the Class of 2011 (no waitlist news yet; please be patient), but soon the incoming freshman class will transition from the Admissions Office to the Undergraduate Advising and Academic Programming office (UAAP). The beginning of this transition is the “Next Big Mailing” (NBM), the first wave of which was sent out earlier this week (more will be mailed next week, be patient).
What does the NBM include?
- A cover letter from Stu, formally transitioning you to the UAAP.
- The Final School Report. This report tells the Admissions Office your final coursework and grades.
- Information from the ARC.
- A letter about the Communication Requirement and Freshman Essay Evaluation (FEE).
- The Medical Report from MIT Medical.
- Instructions for obtaining your MIT computing (Athena/Kerberos) account, including your email address (!).
The last item is the one that generates the most excitement. For many students, it doesn’t really set in that they’re an MIT student until they send their first email from their MIT account. This day is almost here!
Because I care about you, here are some tips for choosing an email address:
- You must choose a username that is between 3 and 8 characters.
- Choose a username that you won’t be embarrassed sharing with your professors.
- In some circles on campus, you may become known by your username, so choose wisely.
- Feel free to choose something with some personality, if you like!
- A couple ways to check if your username is already taken: 1) put the username into the people search; 2) point your web browser to http://web.mit.edu/yourusername. Neither of these methods are foolproof, but they are good first checks.
- Good default usernames are your last name (if it is fairly unique and 8 letters or fewer); your first name (if it is fairly unique and 8 letters or fewer); your first and last names concatenated (good for people whose first & last names are short).
- Characteristics I don’t recommend: underscores (david_h), numbers (david789), unpronounceable terminations of long last names (hasselho).
- Note: you can, through Moira, request an email list, which, if you set your username as the only subscriber, can function as a second email address for you; this list name can be longer than 8 characters.
- Signing up for your account will give you storage space (an online “locker”) and a website at http://www.mit.edu/~yourusername.
- A username can also get you an MIT certificate, giving you access to MIT software downloads, online library/journal access, and much more.
- And, of course, once you have your MIT email address, you can formally become a member of the MIT Facebook community.
Here is some advice that MIT students and alums provided last year about choosing an email address:
From Anthony ’09:
Numbers are really lame, as Matt said :)
Keep in mind that the account name you choose will stay with you as long as you are at MIT. This will be the name you give to faculty, future employers, everyone, all the way through your senior year and beyond. It does not (automatically) become your alumni address, but besides that… you cannot change it. Do you really want to answer to “hotdog88” in three years when you’re in a suit and tie before a recruiter? :)
From Erin ’04:
Ah the username… back when I matriculated, you picked it when you got to campus. This gave the upperclassman an opportunity to pass out orientation handbooks that included tips on what to pick or what not to pick. Since freshman have started picking their names before they got to campus, I’ve noted an increasing number of what I would consider bad usernames. The number one rule to remember: YOU CANNOT CHANGE YOUR USERNAME.
That being said, here are some tips I’d recommend…
In my circle of friends, as Matt mentioned, we all called everyone by their usernames (except me — I got shortened down to Rhode (pronounced Roadie) for whatever reason). So take care to pick a user name that won’t embarrass you. This is also a good opportunity to pick your own nickname. I have a really good friend who wanted to be known as Breath. He made it his username — to this day, I have to think twice to remember that his name is actually Ryan. So if you want to be called fishboy, then go ahead and pick it.
I’d like to reemphasize the no numbers or underscores thing. People (at least if you meet my friends) will mock you. Also, the underscore is the only valid username character that requires the shift key to be typed — and that can get tedious. Remember that your senior year, you’re likely going to be using this e-mail address to send out resumes for job applications. Do you really want a future employer to know you as smrty_88?
Also, just to emphasis the possibly permanency of this username, because you’ll likely be well known as this name, there will be a lot of pressure to use the same username as your alum account. When I want to e-mail another alum that I don’t regularly keep in touch with, by default I always assume that their e-mail is [email protected] If it bounces, then I’ll bother to check the alum directory.
If you can do something clever that is actually related to your name, then I recommend doing that. To this day, I mildly regret not being rhodeer — Rho Deer — just for the humor. I know a guy whose name anagrams to “Manus” (as in Mens Et Manus), so that’s his username.
Most people just wind up being something bland, like jsmith or smithja. That’s okay. Really. There’s no shame in having a professional username that’s easy to remember.
From Sam ’07:
I have always regretted not being [email protected] Also, you can change your username if you get married while at MIT. So, see you all on facebook soon, I guess.
You may not know this, since I now publicize a different email address, but my actual username I chose when I arrived at MIT was madmatt. It was a high school nickname — nothing to do with anger (definition 1), more like definition 2, or this guy — which became an MIT nickname as well (because it was my username). Once I started applying for jobs I grabbed a mailing list, mcgann, which has served me well ever since.
Class of 2011, what will you choose for your username?