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MIT student blogger Laura N. '09

Just a little advice… by Laura N. '09

Just saying hello from the middle of my peaceful and relaxing vacation. =)

First of all, now that all of the early action nonsense is sorted out (and has been sorted out for quite awhile), I have a few messages for you prospective ’10s.

Congratulations to those of you who were admitted! Exciting, isn’t it? It’s so exciting that I’m excited for you. I can’t wait to meet you guys come CPW and next year if you decide to enroll. Don’t be shy- send me an email. Say hi. Introduce yourself. I try my best but you wouldn’t believe how hard it is to keep track of you guys between comments and collegeconfidential and all that. Well, maybe I’m just bad at it. But when I run into you during CPW, and you say, “Hi I’m so and so and I read and comment on your blog all the time,” I want to be able to say to you what Ben said to me (which totally made my day): “Laura?! The Laura? Awesome!” and not “ummmm… who?” So do me and yourself a favor, and introduce yourself to me. I’m very friendly, promise.

To those of you who were rejected: that really bites, and I’m sorry for you. I have no profound words of wisdom for you, but I truly hope you’re able to see the bigger picture and realize that it’s not the end of the world. Really.

To those of you who were deferred: recently, everyone’s been going crazy trying to figure out what they should do to supplement their application. In light of this, I’m going to tell you a story. Maybe this will give you a little inspiration as you work on supplementing your own applications.

Once upon a time and long ago…

…in mid-December of 2004, my friend Tetty (short for Antionette) was pretty stressed out. She had applied Early Decision to Cornell and was expecting a decision any day. A whole bunch of her friends (myself included) had applied early decision or early action to a lot of really awesome schools. So in order to both celebrate the coming holidays and to help us get our minds off of the wait, Tetty had us all over her house to make gingerbread houses. She said she’d be making the gingerbread and icing, but asked us each to bring over a bag of small candies that could be used for decorating.

The Friday before this fun adventure, Matt and Ben announced on their blogs that the decisions were in the mail. I knew I could expect to get it on Monday, which made my weekend a little anxious. We all arrived at Tetty’s house on Saturday and started making the gingerbread houses. Everyone was doing great- except me. My mother had recently picked up an entire gingerbread house kit, so she gave it to me to bring. I had totally different pieces than everyone else thanks to this stupid kit, and the house I was making had walls that were supposed to slope outward. I don’t know what kind of nonsense this was, but it was making my life very difficult. See, to make a gingerbread house, you cover a piece of cardboard with aluminum foil and use the icing to stick the pieces of gingerbread to the board and then to each other. Everyone was using tin cans to prop the pieces up while the icing dried, but nothing was working for me. I was miles behind everyone else and getting kind of frustrated.

So finally I said, “Tetty. Do you have any straws?” Tetty looked at me and said, “No you’re not.” She knew exactly where I was going with this. She went into the cabinet and returned with a box of straws. I said “thank you,” and set to work propping up the gingerbread with straws. This was excessively difficult. If you ever try it yourself, you’ll quickly come to realize that it’s very difficult to put drinking straws under tensile stress. I finally finished and lo and behold…it actually worked. Katie (who found out she was deferred EA from MIT a few days later but ended up getting into Olin anyway, so it’s ok) snapped a picture of yours truly posing in front of this ridiculous construction of gingerbread and straws while I explained to her (future civil engineer) that I really needed a few components in tensile stress but that straws are really only good for compression so I made do with what I had. Katie told me she’d email me the picture she just took, and we all decided that when I got deferred from MIT, I should send them this picture with an explanation. Then they wouldn’t be able to deny how much I belonged there, since my extreme nerdiness leaked out even while making gingerbread houses.

Two days later I was shocked to find that I’d actually been admitted early action. There was no need to send in my gingerbread house picture, but the story lives on- so I could share it with you.

Response to comments:
janne: Hi, cool blog. I’m a CS student from Finland and was wondering what’s the deal with you being a member of the class of ’09? But aren’t you already studying at MIT? Or does it mean that you’ll graduate in 2009? I’m probably just confused because our education systems are a bit different. :)
Yup, you got it- Class of ’09 means I will graduate in ’09. The Class of ’06 are this year’s seniors. Now I’m curious, how does the numbering work in Finland?

A few people from Brazil who have been commenting here lately: Do you speak Portugese?
Nope, but I do speak Spanish. Which isn’t the same thing but pretty close.

Happy New Year everyone!!!

17 responses to “Just a little advice…”

  1. Laura, I <3 you. we have to hang out.

    and to all you little MIT stress factories out there, you guys don’t know anything about stress if you haven’t worried about a pending early decision acceptance to cornell engineering on top of having to make 10 gingerbread houses for my amazing friends.

  2. Chris says:


  3. Shannon says:


    I loved the gingerbread house story. The sad thing? I most likely would have done the exact same thing. I actually started telling my friend the other day when I was straightening her hair that I really didn’t like her proteins (she has really curly hair and it was taking forever). That took a little explaining…

  4. Anna Park says:

    I think in Finland, “Class of ’09” means that the student is entering in ’09, instead of graduating then. I’m from LA, so i’m not exactly sure, but that’s how they implement the educational system in many Asian countries.

  5. Matt says:

    I got deffered from MIT early decision this year, im trying to figure out what kind of supplement i should send. i think i have a pretty good idea.

  6. S says:

    That sounds right to me Chris, from my European position… By the way, here in Belgium we don’t even care about the name of the class. Pretty simple hmm? I find the American way a bit more logical and rigid, but these are details. wink

    Laura, this sentence has to be written: “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Very classic, but also very true. wink

  7. Jessica says:

    That is an awesome story! haha I love the picture. I applied to MIT regular decision, so perhaps I don’t have to concern myself with supplements. But to those who did EA: best of luck!

    Hi Laura: I’ve been reading your posts for a while but haven’t commented because I never really had a question and wanting to say “you’re cool” would just add up to all the comments you get.

    But, since this post has very few (for now), here it goes…

    I think you’re cool! hehe

  8. Daniel says:

    Laura, thanks for the uplifting story! That’s a funny gingerbread-house picutre, I like it!


  9. thekeri says:

    Consider this a halfway pathetic introduction, since it’s nearly two in the morning and my stats teacher is… oh, yeah, evil.

    Hey, Laura! I’m Keri, I live in South Florida, and I was just admitted early action after a lot of excess worrying.

    No. Really. I mean it. This was definitely too much worrying on my part, since near the end, I was panicking and wondering if I should have done something exceptional and rare – like teaching Latin to orphan children. Or something like that.

    I’m hoping to major in Course 9, because I’m a fool for… well, brains. ^_^

    …Anyway. I’ve been reading your blog for a while, but I’m not sure if I’ve ever commented. So better now than never, no?

    It’s late. I need sleep. But at least I’ve said hi.

    By the way, I love the gingerbread house. I’m more of a cookie person myself, though, so I probably would have given up and turned the whole thing into some sort of gingerbread quilt…

  10. Edward says:

    hey, it was a really cool post

    I thjink ur cool

    have a nice day

  11. well , I have applied regular decision and have made myself quite comfortable that i would be rejected no stress now aon me.

    but anyway if the passion is needed to such extent to get selected i am already in.raspberry

    my eassy can comnletely show my lifes picture and my passions .

    good luck all

    -international( to be rejected)

  12. Linda says:

    …Regular decision, MIT first choice, and my teachers forgot to get the confirmation-of-postmark thingies… and I’m just sort of a lump of stress. And I should be doing my AP homework right now.

    And yes, you’re a dork. smile

  13. Jess says:

    Hi Laura! I’m Jess, potential member of 2010 and lover of all MIT blogs smile Definitely loved the hack post. And the gingerbread house – did you ever get around to actually decorating it, or did you leave it just with the straws? Did you end up eating it?

    Anyway, I’m really excited to maybe be a part of all this, and a little scared, but I guess that’s to be expected. I also thought I was definitely going to be deferred. So trust me, when I saw the tube, I jumpeed around like a crazy woman.

    So, just saying hi. And thank you for writing. It’s really nice to know that you guys are actual human beings smile

  14. Aria says:


    I know I totally do not belong in here but just wanted to say:

    Cute geeky engineer from MIT with jolly hospitable personality = HOT HOT HOT HOT HOT *faint*

    Wish I could start college all over again.


    P.S. This CGI system is painfully slow.

  15. ‘Ello. I applied EA and was deferred, which was an interesting experience. Y’see, I expected that, if I wasn’t outright rejected, I’d be deferred, because I’m only outstanding at my own townie-laden high school. Not nice, I know, but if you’d school here, you’d understand. Anyway, even though I expected deferral, I was uber-stressed for about a week before my letter arrived (it got here about three business days after everyone else’s).

    Enough babbling! On to the point. I didn’t plan on sending supplementary materials, as I don’t really anything impressive finished. I could theoretically write another essay about how I take things apart and am a complusive, incurable fidget, but the question is, would it really help? I think not, thus no supplement. I would like to know, however, after RA decisions are made, what percentage of those admitted after deferral sent in supplements.

  16. ROBERTO says:

    bien antes que nada, like you said..jajaja, que mierda es esto?

    i hope alguien hable espa