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MIT student blogger Chris S. '11

The Dark Side of the Moon by Chris S. '11

Mi vida. Nada m√°s.

Sometimes, when life at MIT gets too tough, this is what I think of, in all seriousness:

Wow – in just one more day, I will not have blogged for AN ENTIRE MONTH. tsk tsk. THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE. Truth is, I’ve been MEANING to, but I just simply never got around to it! Actually, in the beginning, I had some time to blog but I was like…uhm I don’t have any pictures so I’ll wait a little bit…and then…

BOOM 5.12 exam BOOM 7.03 exam BOOM getting the results back BOOM sadness and depression BOOM rhetoric paper? BOOM art history essay (granted, this was very enjoyable) DING 14.02 pset! DING ocrap 7.03 pset? BOOM 14.02 exam tooltooltool BOOM 4.601 midterm DONG studystudystudycrystudystudystudy BOOM 5.12 exam#2.

(feel free to intersperse POW Japanese quiz BAM Japanese memorization randomly in between)

Me : MIT :: Linguini : cooking
For all you “bushy-tailed, eager-eyed young beavers” out there (hehe, I love the quote, it’s from Shuai ’07 who I met at Stanford this past weekend), 72 units HURT. Do so at your own risk. Parental discretion advised.

Mmmm. Anywhoo, that’s enough complaining from me, haha – MIT’s still an awesome place. C’mon, no pain = no gain, right? :D

(“this is ten percent luck, twenty percent skill, fifteen percent concentrated power of will, five percent pleasure, and FIFTY PERCENT PAIN…”)

ok. I’ll stop being random now.

October was a month of fun – work, yes, but also fun.

iHouse had a retreat with SCRUMPTIOUS food. Listen, if MIT Dining could make this kind of stuff, we wouldn’t be having oodles of editorials in the Tech talking about dining problems – and most likely the number of restaurants around MIT would decrease like pigeons in the park.

We talked a lot about the vision of iHouse and the events that we have planned for the coming year (after all, iHouse is still a really young dorm!) BTW, shameless plug for current students – if you want to be involved in iHouse, you can! We invite MIT undergrads to apply to be social members of the house even if you do not have residential membership. As a social member, you are eligible to come to a number of open events that iHouse conducts (such as dinners and certain speaker series) and get to know us better! If you have an interest in global development and iHouse, this is a wonderful way to get involved!

And, Autumn came to visit – last night, the temperature dropped below the freezing point. I was sad. ='(

Last but not least, I travelled with ESP to Stanford last weekend. (I know this is the MIT Admission Blogs, not the Stanford Admission Blogs, but please excuse the following picture =p)

(aside about Stanford: Stanford seems to be a huge school in terms of cross-admits with MIT. If you apply to both and get admitted at either, chances are you might get admitted too at the other one. I can’t even count how many people I know in the current undergrad population that turned down Stanford during the application cycle)

Going to Stanford is not completely all fun and games, although it was an amazing experience. Remember ESP that I’ve talked about at some length here? (for those that are just tuning in – ESP stands for Educational Studies Program – it’s a completely student-run club/initiative at MIT that aims to provide supplemental educational opportunities to high/middle school students in the Boston area through offering educational programs taught by MIT undergrads)

Well, it just so happens that ESP runs this really amazing program called Splash! (plug#2 – Splash! is amazing – you can teach ANYTHING. ANYTHING you want!). We have 200+ classes registered this year (and we’re hoping to set a record and break 2,000 students in attendance) w00t! :D

Moreover, ESP is actually this really intense and nebulous organization (HAHA this sounds like Tammany Hall or something – rest assured we do not conduct voter fraud (not that MA needs any, anyways =p)). ESP goes back AGES – we always have alums who had ventured into the dark and foreboding world known as grad school coming back to visit us. Throughout the last year, I’ve been involved to some extent in at least 4 ESP programs, but I’m still an ESP baby when compared to the breadth of what they did (and are still doing) for ESP!

Anywhoo, the point is that some of our alums founded other ESP chapters after they went on to grad school. As of now, UChicago and Stanford also run Splashes (while I believe NYU runs another version of Splash that isn’t directly related to ESP). Usually, having ran Splashes for so long and being the founder of Splash!, MIT ESP sends a couple of people to help with set up, logistics, and teach classes when other Splashes start their program. Stanford Splash ran this past weekend, and the chairs graciously allowed me to tag along with them!

It was great. Cali was sunny. The students were enthusiastic. Splash ran amazingly well (due to the diligence in preparation of Michael ’07 and his enthusiastic team!). Meeting so many MIT people in Stanford’s grad school was actually pretty amazing – it’s awesome to be talking about 8.02/5.12 and seeing Brass Rats 2,500 miles away from Boston in a completely non-MIT environment (maybe this is my first ever experience with meeting alums outside of Cambridge? man, roots definitely run DEEP after you’ve been through MIT).

I taught “The Art of Money” (money – yes, money in your pockets – but more generally money from all over the world – is an amazing way to preserve history and the cultural context of a nation. i’ve been collecting for 13+ years and still loving it. ask me about it sometime!) and (harhar) “Hardcore College Admissions.” ‘Twas fun :D Man, I love speaking about college admissions now. Maybe I’ll go work for Princeton Review when I graduate ;) (plug#3 – I’ll be teaching these classes again for MIT Splash happening a month from now! if you’re a high school/middle school student that will be dropping by, definitely come for Splash! even if you’re not interested in college admissions or money, there’s like 198+ more courses you can explore =p)

So yuppp. That’s my month, more or less, in a nutshell, if you take away the nights of tooling in deserted locales on MIT campus (I should write an entire blog on this), numerous take-outs ordered after being famished from studying, and punting working with fellow beavers in the wee hours of the morning (like right now).

What’s up next in blogs?

Remember the whole flood of bloggers posting their essays (and then arguing about them?) I’ve actually meant to write a blog on the essay this application season since I’ve talked a bit about interviews last year. Actually, aside from the interviews, I believe the application essay is the other significant window into your life and to who you are aside from the numbers and the blanks on your application form.

So stay tuned! And I promise to make it yummy too, since I’ll be comparing the college essay to froyo! (seriously though, I’ve never heard of that term before coming to Boston =p)

19 responses to “The Dark Side of the Moon”

  1. Yan Z. says:

    Welcome back!

    How the last comment got past the spam filter is beyond me. But now you’re going to delete it and this part of my comment will no longer make any sense.

    You should do the post about tooling in strange and deserted places.

  2. Anonymous says:

    ^ What the hell is crazy over here talking about?

  3. Laura says:

    Oh man, I just watched that YouTube video and now I want to watch Mulan. The part where she climbs the pole to get the arrow is one of the most badass things ever! =)

  4. Efolse '11 says:

    Hmm, to be more precise, taking 72 credits only hurts if you take the wrong mix of classes. smile I have 72 credits this semester, too, and I feel way more bushy-tailed and eager-eyed than I ever was freshman year!

  5. Ivan says:

    Glad to hear that MIT and Stanford work together to help others.

    How do students in high school, around the Boston area, join or participate in ESP?

    I also collect money from a bunch of countries, how many countries do you have money from?

    Here is another version of your Mulan video that I think you would like.

  6. Anonymous says:

    imo Stanford is MIT just instead of freezing cold weather of boston you have the warm sunny weather of california. but both schools have outstanding engineering departments and the best graduate programs in the country.

  7. Vicky ('15?) says:

    I I <333 ESP. I participated in Splash! 2007, Spring and Summer HSSP, and Delve right now. ESP really is a great thing.

    @ Ivan:
    Here is the ESP webstie (
    Delve (a full year AP program for high school kids on sundays) and Fall HSSP (fun little niche classes over 10 saturdays you can choose to take) have already started.
    BUT BUT You are just in time to keep your eye on the Spalsh! 2008 horizion. Create an acount and watch out for the catalouge and registration for it! I did it last year and it was sooo much fun. From the ESP site:

    “Over one weekend in November, about two thousand high school and middle school students converge on the MIT campus, where MIT students and affiliates teach them fun classes on just about anything you can think of. Splash weekend is an amazing, fun, and fulfilling experience.”

    I fully reccomend any ESP program. It is a great way to learn in a low stress environment, as well as get to know MIT. Over the course of a year, I’ve learned everything from the very basics of black holes, I’ve built speakers and now understand how to choose the best and most efficent headphones, had my life changed through a class called humanity in literature where we discussed philosphy and read wonderful books, I’m learning AP Psychology from a wicked cool and fun MIT neuroscience major (sure beats a regular school teacher!) and so much more.

    Thanks Chris for chipping in and fueling ESP.

  8. Woooooooooooooooooot……………..FIRST!!
    TOU XIANG!! Hehe……..

  9. Banerjee says:


  10. Reena says:

    Heee! We dubbed Ratatouille into German last year as our AP project. It took an entire semester. That picture brings back memories…

  11. yay, can’t wait till u post ur “flawless” essay in which you googled how to staple it correctly.

    good post :o

  12. Anonymous says:

    That picture with food in it keeps me scrolling up.. ah. Looks so good. :D

  13. charlie says:

    You wrote a comment in spanish, are all MIT clubs traditionally spoken in spanish? Because I watched a video on the MIT swim team and they spoke in spanish. Is it esperanto, doesn’t sound like it because I can understand it much better than I can spanish? If so then I will try even harder in my spanish class.
    Lol pigeons disappearing, I can’t watch the vid cuz I blocked Youtube but my school serves pidgeon.

  14. Oasis '11 says:

    @ Cabbage –

    I won’t post my essay, because I feel that applicants have a tendency to emulate published essays (and this is why I don’t agree with books with published essays).

    @ Ivan –

    Vicky did a great job of explaining ESP! If you’re around the Boston area, you should definitely come for our programs – we have so many of them that you’re sure to find one running +/- 2 months of you visiting our website.

    Also, since I’ve been collecting for so long, I’ve turned most of my savings over to foreign money. I have around 100 countries (600+ unique banknotes and over 20 kg worth of coins).

    @ Charlie –
    Actually, only the Hispanics and the African Americans speak Spanish here generally (or at least from what I see). I mean – I can walk around a whole day and not hear any Spanish except for the staff in La Verde’s or Cafe 4 for example. Sorry =/ I tend to write snippets of Spanish (and maybe increasingly so, Japanese) because I’m taking those two languages. =p

  15. Paul says:

    Aw. Disney movies. Thanks for making me relive my childhood, Chris. smile

  16. Anonymous says:

    “DONG studystudystudycrystudystudystudy BOOM “

    haha…story of my life

  17. Charlie says:

    I like that scene from Mulan. Loved watching it with my lil bro. Now things are so busy. Thanks though.
    So even under incredible expectations there is always a solution that requires some thought. Mulan beats the hun army using her brains and the avalanche. Relatedly, how much sleep do you get in a typical day?

  18. shy.tack says:

    Oh, I was hoping this would be some post detailing how Pink Floyd unearthed some cosmic revelation in the space-time-continuum.

    Alas, I shall now proceed to research these Splash programs you speak of. Where in Arizona would a girl partake in such event of splendiforum?

  19. YF says:

    hi..I’m a junior in HS right now and am SUPER nervous…about college..I’d really like to go to MIT but don’t know if I can make it. Somewhere on your blogs you mentioned that you like giving advice. I will appreciate ANYTHING you have to tell me, so help! By the way, I’m Chinese and isn’t another way to say the first comment Ê≤ôÂèë? or did I learn it wrong? Thanks in advance!