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MIT student blogger Karen F. '11

Inbox Insanity by Karen F. '11

"You've Got Mail."

Considering the lack of inactivity on these blogs in the past week or so, I think I speak for us all when I say it was “one of those weeks.” Not that almost every week at MIT isn’t one of those weeks (is that one of the most vaguely negated sentences ever or what?), but this one was more one of those weeks than other weeks.


So anyway, today I thought we’d go into a part of MIT that is seldom seen by public eyes. You can’t find it on the website, they don’t show you on the tours and you probably won’t even see at CPW. Ladies and gentleman, I’m warning you, this is even a little intimidating for me, and I’ve been a student here for a whole 76 days (but who’s counting?).

Today we are venturing into the deep and dark place that is my Inbox. Please keep your hands and arms inside the computer and don’t take candy from strangers (but other free food is okay).

We begin at the beginning, when I, just like many other eager freshmen, still believed 24 hours in a day was surely enough time to do everything I wanted, like ice skating club and Origami Club and Marching Band and juggling club and salsa dance and do Model United Nations and Medlinks

Well, I’m sorry to say that that belief was shattered like the sad sad idealistic glass it was pretty quickly. You know you signed up for too many mailing lists when you get four different emails saying “Meeting TONIGHT at 7:00. FREE FOOD.”

And these decisions – whether to go to the MIT Literary Society Meeting or LucHa – are among the many character-defining moments that you will encounter as you grow up. It always comes down to a really, really tough question: “Chinese food, Thai, or Mexican?”

Yes – these are the perks to being over-committed. You’re never hungry (unless you do something like the DarfurFast, but even then it’s only for a day).

Anyway, the point is that I signed up for entirely too many mailing lists and now they’ve all kind of grown on me (like quickly-reproducing mold…) so if I stopped getting my weekly mailing from Braintrust or MIT Beef, I’d be kind of sad, even though I never even read them.

I have received 3398 messages since August. Only about half of them get read at all. The other half get quickly scanned between classes, and from those, the lucky ones get put into a folder to be re-read and noted later. (Most don’t).

Of course, not all of them are from mailing lists for activities. Some (many) are from dorm mailing lists – the topics in those can range from the undependable nature of our printer to announcements for parties to full-blown spam wars complete with the silly people who try to end them by sending out even more emails…

But in the end, checking my email is still something I look forward to every day (and every hour, half-hour, etc…) because you never know when you’re going to be surprised by something really cool. And even though I know there might not even be anything I’ll actually read, I still get kind of nervous when I can’t check it for a whole day (Wow. I’m truly a child of my generation).

Well, that’s all the time I have for now. I have to go check my email :)

24 responses to “Inbox Insanity”

  1. Wow! You’ve received more mail than me, and I’m still getting up to 10 pieces of college mail a day!

  2. Sheila says:

    Hahhaha. This blog is soo funny. Wow, Life at MIT must be that busy, but sounds fun! Yeah, Becky, I do get some emails from colleges, but most of them go into

  3. Oasis says:

    As of 2007/11/19 1854 Eastern Standard Time, I have received 3891 emails.

    I win wink

  4. Paul says:

    5,215. OH MAN.

    But somehow I feel like this is one of those contests where the winner is actually the loser…

  5. Isshak says:

    Wow, your emails go through a pretty comptetitive selection process ! ^^’
    Seriously more then 3k of emails ? Oh my gosh.

  6. Just how many e-mails can your accounts hold anyway? Somehow, it seems that at least one server would crash from people having in excess of 3*10^3 e-mails.

  7. Paul says:

    Each student has a gig of mail storage – I’m using just under 25% of it now. I’ll have to purge some emails later, but currently it’s not an issue. Also, MIT has several mail servers – at least three that I know of, probably more. Email runs very smoothly here. wink

  8. Snively says:

    A lot of MIT kids (myself included) have their e-mail automatically forwarded to gmail, which has 5.07 gigs (and counting) of storage.

  9. Paul says:

    I was waiting for that comment to come up. Yes, Gmail is amazing (I used it for everything in high school) but now I’ve switched to Thunderbird. Even though Gmail allows you to send email under the name of other accounts – like your MIT account – some email clients are sophisticated enough to realize that the message is still being sent from the Gmail account, which is something I’d rather avoid.

    Hm, if only the IS&T people could make MIT Webmail function a little more like Gmail…

  10. Anonymous says:

    8th time i checked my email today….Is 2050 on SAT good (770 math, 630 CR and 650 Writing)????
    good enough for MIT??

  11. Ginger says:

    Haha, I love how you guys are competing to see who has more pieces of mail. This is what I love about the MIT culture. It’s so upbeat, yet friendly and full of surprises every single day. I hope I get to join this group of awesome people.

  12. Hank R. says:

    So I guess I’m the only one that just keeps important e-mails, and not all the crap that I get.

  13. Snively says:

    Psssst . . .

    For a good time, read the CPW link Karen posted, but only after you finish reading her entry.

  14. Carla '11 says:

    Haha, I think that the average MIT student checks webmail about 5 times a day, really. If you send an email, you will probably receive a reply in about an hour.

  15. Jess says:

    Oh, you definitely don’t want to play that game with me.

  16. Oasis says:

    You’re a sophomore smile

  17. Snively says:

    I’m sitting at 4,138! w00t!

  18. Basant'11 says:

    It sometimes becomes really difficult to let go of a particular event/activity in favor of another. But life at MIT is all about prioritizing.

    I switched to Vista’s native email client and believe me, Live Search is amazing!

  19. Ben P. says:

    @Paul: I second that vote for Thunderbird.

  20. milena '11 says:

    Oh, I check my email when I wake up, during lunch, when I get back and before I go to bed. And while I’m doing homework. I pretty much reply to emails immediately after I get them. But yeah, we get a lot of random email…

  21. Sam R. says:

    Wow, over 3k of e-mail (and I complain about just a hundred), what kind of mails are these and how many list did you all signed up for. It sounds sounds worst than when you get hundreds of mail because you signed up for a group and are getting emails for every post (a common previous experience of mine). Then, how do u even find time to check them. One of my friends, at MIT even has all of her time for the week scheduled. I guess you have to make an appoinment with your e-mail account on your planner.

  22. Reg says:

    I tend to check my e-mail whenever I’m bored, aka every 10 minutes?

    Too bad I get no e-mails :(

  23. Hunter '11 says:

    I check my email constantly, and clear the deleted ones all the time ^.^

  24. Trenten'16 says:

    i like mexican food