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MIT student blogger Keri G. '10

MIT and the SAA by Keri G. '10


I woke up at 8 this morning after passing out on my computer around 4 AM. Since I have the worst luck in the world, I had a serious case of KeyboardFace™. It you’re not sure what KeyboardFace™ is, it’s exactly what it sounds like.

Clearly MIT is refusing to let me graduate without a few last hard kicks in the face. (Remind me to tell you about how I failed my swim test last month.) This morning was out of the ordinary, though, because my KeyboardFace™ wasn’t caused by one big epic scientific fail for once.

If you’re anything like I was before I left my soul behind and enrolled at MIT, you’re probably really into art. You’re probably a huge nerd with a love of all things scientific, too, or you probably wouldn’t have applied to MIT in the first place. And now that you’re in and you’ve sent off your reply card (send off your reply card and come here, by the way, mmmk?), you’re steeling yourself to leave all your cameras and sketchbooks and paints behind and to dive headlong into four years of SCIENCE SCIENCE SCIENCE. Abandon all art, ye who enter here.


There are organizations all over campus specifically so that you don’t have to do this. If art’s an important part of your life now, it can be an important part of your life at MIT. And if art isn’t already a part of your life, but you’ve always wanted to change that, we’re still here for you too.

That said, let’s talk about the SAA for a bit.

The Student Art Association is one of my favorite things about MIT. Students and members of the MIT community can take classes in ceramics, photography, life drawing, sculpture, and about eleventy million other areas. Classes are offered at every level, so you can get in on the action even if you think that throwing a pot can be classified as violent assault. Students even get a discount on the classes, so a life drawing class that might be over $200 elsewhere in Boston will cost you $85. You can’t beat that. Really. You can’t.

What’s particularly awesome about the SAA is that the things you so there aren’t just an escape from the stress of classes and, well, life. Almost all of them teach you something that you can take and apply to your work. My experiences in the darkroom have carried over to lab classes in my major; sometimes, you won’t get the result you want on your first try, but you have to have the patience to look at what you’ve done and figure out what it means and how to change it if necessary. Wait, am I talking about brains or pictures? I’M SO TIRED.

I took a Color Photo class through the SAA last term. Their darkroom is one of the only ones equipped for color film processing and printing, and they have one of the few color enlargers in New England that takes 8×10 negatives. It’s huge. It’s scary. It’s awesome.

Biyeun has blogged about the SAA before, so some of this might sound familiar, but it’s always nice to be reminded that there’s more to MIT than science and engineering.

Don’t forget about art once you come here. There’s no excuse for it.

And if I haven’t convinced you, maybe this video will.

Welcome to the SAA: PATD 2010 on Vimeo.

12 responses to “MIT and the SAA”

  1. Armin says:

    By KeyboardFace‚Ñ¢, do you mean taking a nap on your keyboard facing it?

  2. Justin says:

    “KeyboardFace‚Ñ¢ is exactly what it sounds like.”

    I guess that beats having an BallpointpenInkFace‚Ñ¢ this morning. =)

  3. genius ('18) says:

    KeyboardFace‚Ñ¢? Really now…hmmm. Did it ACTUALLY leave an IMPRINT on your face? LOL. Why is KeyboardFace‚Ñ¢ trademarked? Your little invention?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hey,this has nothing to do with your post, but I am curious to know if you think MIT has a strong Humanities/Social Sciences Department? Do you feel that the HASS requirement could compare,for example,to Columbia’s core currilculum? I am looking into applying to MIT, but I also want to go to a college where their focus is in making an individual well-rounded and not only knowledgable in their chosen concentrated area.

  5. D says:

    @ Keri

    Each time I read your posts, I feel like I might find it very hard to cope at MIT. Yes, I know that MIT is significantly harder than most colleges…but is it impossible? I can’t sleep only four hours a day each day of the week. I’d be too exhausted to even study…I know it because I’ve tried it before. It only worked for a day.

    I’m honestly not the kind of person that would push myself to study. Will I be the only one with my kind of level of motivation at MIT?

    At first, I was euphoric about my acceptance. Now, I’m a little afraid.

  6. Amethyst says:

    @Anonymous: The general consensus I’ve heard is that MIT does have a HASS program that is generally less-talked-about than its science program, but which is extremely good, comparatively. Maybe that comes from having fewer people majoring solely in those subjects, which means smaller, more personal classes–not to mention students and professors that perhaps come at the subject material from a somewhat different angle than schools where the only focus is HASS?

  7. dorota '10 says:

    @D + VAL,
    I am not going to lie – MIT is a very challenging school. We all probably get less sleep than we would like (though this is true for most everyone past the age of 15…). Sometimes this is only an hour less than you would like; sometimes it is four hours. It all depends on what you deem most important.
    You will have to be motivated to study; though, again, the amount of motivation needed depends on how much you care about your grades and how talented you are. Though not always; it really does depend.
    Basically, what I am trying to say is don’t let go of that euphoric feeling. I really do believe in “IHTFP”, both the positive and negative feelings. Plus, you have no way of knowing how MIT will treat you until you try (and there are always ways of dealing with various situations that may arise).

  8. VAL '14 says:

    @D: While I’m a little scared about that aspect as well, I’ve seen posts by/talked to many students who have gotten around 8 hours of sleep nearly every night. You may have to sacrifice some activities/social events to get sleep, but I’m pretty sure it’s possible. smile

  9. soham bose says:

    my god -only 4 hrs f must b a living hell then.

  10. D says:

    Thanks, Dorota. That helped.

  11. Keri says:

    That’s not my favorite door, Laurie.


  12. So Keri, where’s that door you promised us in your last entry? Could it be DIAGONALLY ACROSS THE HALL FROM YOU AND HAVE A SNOWFLAKE ON IT? Because that’s my favorite door.

    Just sayin’.