MIT is a lot like a bowl of milk. A really really big bowl of milk.
The students, accordingly, are a lot like tiny kittens (or any milk-loving entity of your choice).
How big is this bowl of milk exactly? Well, I don’t know. Stop trying to pick apart my metaphor before it’s gotten anywhere.
The truth is, like perhaps many of the 1,116 freshmen in the class of 2017, right now, I’m feeling a little overwhelmed. Before me lies a seemingly endless expanse of liquid lactose and my milk-loving self is struggling to take it all in.
Don’t get me wrong. I love it here already. Sure, the psets are already rolling in, the reading is piling up, and the grand total of my high school knowledge is quickly being surpassed. But when I say “overwhelmed”, I don’t mean stressed out or crushed. I certainly don’t feel anything like the Roman troops did when they were overwhelmed by the barbarians (thank you Dictionary.com for your invaluable sample sentences).
Maybe overwhelmed isn’t even the word I’m looking for here. Is there a word for being utterly thrilled, pleasantly surprised, happily exhausted, exorbitantly eager, and possibly a little bit nervous all at the same time? Probably not. But there should be. Because how else is one supposed to describe the experience of plunging headfirst into MIT?
Oh yeah. GIFs.
I’m new here and maybe I just haven’t properly learned how to drink from the milk bowl of MIT. I’m guessing this skill comes later on. You don’t really see too many old, one eyed cats flailing around in bowls of milk. One day I too shall be an old, one eyed cat who has learned the art of maintaining a balanced and fulfilled life in college.
I arrived on campus for FUP (the Freshman Urban Program aka the best FPOP out there) and since then, I have been careening through two and a half weeks of volunteer work, friendly introductions, REX events, orientation meetings, scheduling dilemmas, and, most recently, the infamous classes. At the activities midway, a two hour event in which many of MIT’s over 300 student groups and organizations set up booths in the Z center ice rink, I found myself surrounded by enthusiastic students spreading the word about their favorite activities while passing out free food and objects of questionable utility (i.e. a rubber duck). So many groups, so little time. I ended up putting my name down for more clubs than I could possibly join and I expect my inbox to be flooded with information session invitations and emails about introductory events. People are always saying that college is a time for reinventing yourself, so why not start by trying something new? While I can’t yet say whether or not this shotgun method of expanding my horizons is effective, I can say that it’s best to keep an open mind when it comes to stepping outside of your comfort zone. Who knows, maybe my one true calling is mastering the art of chocolate, or discovering the finer points of poutine and hockey.*
*real, awesome clubs listed on the Association of Student Activities website
Unfortunately, I won’t be able to do justice to all of the crazy things that have happened to me in these two and a half weeks in just one measly blog post. Even just my adventures through freshmen registration, the course listings and the sometimes confusing GIRs (General Institute Requirements) could fill a couple pages. Let’s just say I finally settled on my fall semester schedule after quite a few trips to the advising offices, a handful of emails, and hours spent culling information from helpful upperclassmen and discerning the difference between courses starting with the numbers 3, 12, 24, and 7 etc. (1732 points for already knowing the difference. Points can be redeemed for a choice of: absolutely nothing or a healthy dose of self-satisfaction) While being a freshman can certainly be overwhelming, there are always people here at MIT who are willing to lend a hand.
And now, for your viewing pleasure, my schedule:
- 7.012 Introductory Biology
- 5.112 Principles of Chemical Science
- 8.01 Physics I
- 24.09 Minds and Machines
Some people compare the MIT experience to drinking out of a fire hose. To me, that experience sounds far too violent and uncomfortable. From my experience, albeit a limited one, I’d much rather imagine MIT as a giant bowl of milk in which thousands of motivated undergraduate and graduate kittens can frolic in and drink from.
As we return to the original metaphor, I might be covered in milk now and out of breath from my milk bowl acrobatics, but I’m enjoying every second of it. I’m sure some jaded upperclassman is reading this and laughing at my wide-eyed enthusiasm. Silly freshman, just wait until you learn the true meaning of IHTFP, they mumble under their coffee-tinged breath. But until then, I won’t cry over all the milk I’ve spilled in the process or the countless times that I will inevitably slip. I can’t physically try everything that MIT has to offer and I understand that. As my fellow freshmen and I prepare for week two of classes, there is only one thing left to say.
Moar milk plz.