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MIT student blogger Bryan O. '07

Learn from my Mistake by Bryan

Aesop's Fables forgot one.

Rule #1: Write legibly.

Background: I wrote on a pad of paper that I scheduled my GREs for October 27, or that’s what I read. Turns out my 27 actually was a 21.

That was my rockstar move for the day.

See you Saturday!

16 responses to “Learn from my Mistake”

  1. Jess says:

    Rach, it really just depends on the person. I’ve only been here two months and I’ve already pulled one, but I’ve done it in high school and found that sometimes, when I need to get things done, it works for me. I’ve never pulled more than one in a row, but I might have to. The only reason why, though, is that I have the worst time management skills ever, so that’s why I’m always up late. So really, it’s my fault.

    (And MIT’s, a little, too. But mostly, me on Facebook until three in the morning until I realize I have a five-page paper due the next day.)

  2. Rach says:

    That’s why when I went to Germany I started crossing my 7s.
    How many all-nighter have you pulled at MIT? How many in a row?

  3. Bryan says:

    Hey Rach,

    I’ve never pulled an all-nighter, and I don’t plan on it. I figure there’s too much of a risk of falling asleep during the test or class the next day. It’s just a downward spiral in my opinion.

    – Bryan

  4. Ben says:


    “I pulled my only all-nighter at MIT for something totally unrelated to my education. I did the MIT mystery hunt with some of my really good friends, and after realizing our destiny to not find the golden whatchamacallit, we decided to call the French Armada and tell them jokes.”

    -Bryan Owens, Summer 2004

    “I’ve never pulled an all-nighter, and I don’t plan on it.”

    -Bryan Owens, Fall 2006


  5. Bryan says:


    After some discussion with the people over at Oxford Dictionary, we’ve decided that all-nighters can only be performed in academic settings ie for homework or studying purposes.


    Bryan Owens, 10-19-2006

  6. JC says:

    I have found that ‘all-nighters’ are very useful for paper writing. Not the thinking part, the writing part. Let me take you on a short journey:

    Suppose you have a HUM-D paper to write. You’ve selected your research material over a period of weeks, and already some mastery of the subject. Your job is to 1) have a novel & coherent thought (or thought pattern) and 2)Effectively convey that thought 2A) do not put the TA or professor to sleep while they read it.

    So, make your outline while you are fresh, write your first draft in the same condition. Then I have re-written into a word processer the second draft. Read the paragraph you have already written, and retell the story with a new paragraph that reflects how you feel. As the night grew on I would generally get more light hearted & my writing less stodgy, more humorous. I already had a grasp of the material so there was no trouble there.

    This technique served me well for several of these courses, usually earning some comment like ‘very entertaining’ or ‘a pleasant approach to a dry subject area’

    Some people drink alcohol to lower their inhibitions, I think a late night & a couple of Cokes & I’m there. Remember you won’t get a better grade if you sound dry and scientific, even with a marvelous analysis if the reader groans and falls over. You get your bonus points for learning the ‘art’ of the language. That may mean making new rules when the situation calls for it. Like the great professor said (you know who you are, you’re a department head now) ‘I love engineering, all I have to do is be close enough!’ what is close enough? ‘if no one is going to get hurt? I decide….’ Words of wisdom!

    Thank you, Dr. Dave


  7. Adam says:

    I’m just in high school, but I completely agree with Bryan. Some people in my school stay up very late before tests studying, but I like to do as much studying as I can ‘before’ 11pm or so. Otherwise I don’t get enough sleep, and do poorly.

    There’s a nice optimization-type problem.. Get a very large set of students, record the time they go to sleep before a test, and then record the results of the test for each student… Heh. grin
    It would obviously have to be a very large pool of students of similar intelligence for it to work properly, though..

    Anyway, good luck with learning to cross your 7s, if that’s what you plan to do! I personally haven’t switched yet, but I might.

  8. Mitra says:

    At least you noticed before the 21st, no? Have fun Friday night raspberry

  9. Ruben says:

    I’ve noticed, through experience, that there is a point where, for about an hour, your body tries its hardest to convince you to go to sleep. But after that point, your body works as if it needs no rest and isn’t tired at all.(“If you can’t beat them, join them”). It is during this time when you are wide awake, and very efficient. This doesnt effect the rest of the day only if you dont take a nap before going to school again. But as soon as you lay down, your body immediatly starts the sleep cycle, and if you get up without suffecient sleep(before 5 hours), at that point you are dead tired. This is probably not too healthy but it seems not to effect me too much. (Thats probably because I spend the rest of the day sleeping once out of school). Anyway, I believe I am as far off topic as I could get, without being totaly unrelated to the coments!

  10. boog says:

    What time would you say you get to sleep each night?

  11. Sonam says:

    This discussion is really interesting. I am so glad to know that I will probably not have to pull all-nighters at MIT. I also get my work done on time and don’t have to stay up that late. It’s truly a confidence-booster to know you don’t have to stay up till 2 every night in high school if you want to go to MIT. Oh yeah, and I am sorry about your mess up on the date for the GREs, that must be a total shock.

  12. Lendz says:


    Im with JC and Rupen on this, Im a night Owl… And in my very metticulas research… have descovered that after 9pm, when the crickets are out… the bats are screaching… the soft pitter patter of rain… some lightening… and a few loud CRACKS!! With the help of a good can of Root Beer and a snickers bar at MidKnight… help to not only grant a peicfull and relaxing setting… but are the secret variables… for me at least… to exploration, and imagination… and paper writing.

    To give an example:

    One day, the final research paper to my analytical structuring class (English) was due. so the night before, I put the floppy in the computer… and find that it has been ‘corupted’. Now, my English final is due at exactly 8:00 the next day, and is worth 30% of the class… the bombshell however… is that if you fail the reasearch paper, you fail the class… and even worse… 10 points off for every gramaticall error, and the project is worth 100 pts. So what do i do… i do what I mentioned above… go to turn in the paper the next day… have 5 gramatical errors… get a 44%… thow it in the trash of the local math lab (my home)… come back to school the next day, in a very bad mood… BECAUSE ID HAVE TO RETAKE THE CLASS!… and on my way through the math lab, (also where i work)… my boss tells me Mrs. Ramie wants to speak with me (Art teacher)… I go in… see her reading my paper… and she asked me… did you write this?… and when i responded ‘yes’… she told me… ‘Its getting published’

    Such a tragic story… with monumental outcomes…

    Never underestimat the subconscience mind… it has saved me many times, in many areas. HOWEVER when it comes to the structured and acadimec sciences…. When all my friends are out playing DDr till two, im pulling all nighters. Not for homework, not for tests, just to let my subconscience mind eat at the questions… so i can do them in my sleep…


    all nighters work best, when no stress is involved… like Fridays… or saturdays… or hollidays, pull an all nighter playing sudoku… cand youll be master the next day.

  13. bhushan says:


    can i have sample eassy to be viewed

  14. Jean says:

    I thought those that attended MIT were near geniuses! Just kidding!

  15. Guyomar says:

    All-nighters work for some people and not for others. I work very well under pressure – I’ve found that some of my best ideas came through under tremendous pressure. I guess that because I feel I HAVE to get it done, I do my best and in the quickest possible time. Generally, I’m well-organised and I do value my health, but I’ve got so many activities/exams to keep up with this year, that now and then, an all-nighter was a must.

    That doesn’t mean that it’s right for everyone though … I for one can go without sleep for about 4 days (looking pretty awful lol). I can also go without food. But not without drink.

  16. Guyomar says:

    A few errors in the previous comment I made –

    *shortest possible time not ‘quickest possible time’

    * ‘…is a must’ not ‘…was a must’

    Sorry if I seem weird, I just hate making errors in my writing.