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Preparing for Pi Day by Allan K. '17

MIT decisions come out this Friday: what to do between now and then...

…don’t freak out.

1. Prepare Your Wifi

I applied early to MIT last year, so decisions came out at something like 9:30 AM on a Saturday morning (Pacific time). During that time, I was scheduled to be at a day-long retreat with my church youth group with no Internet access. I also didn’t have a smartphone. I sure wasn’t going to spend all day in agonized waiting for wifi access (especially on a retreat day where I was supposed to be focusing on my relationship with God), so my I gave my brother my MyMIT password and asked him to check for me. I got to experience the torturous thrill of waiting for the admissions results page to load by proxy, via my cell phone buzzing in my pocket and loading the text message my brother sent me. (It was something short, along the lines of “Congratulations!”).

If you’re always nervously unpatient about these sorts of things, like me, it might be a good idea to plan this one ahead. But to each their own. You might want to wait until nighttime and open your letter under your covers so you’re not in public when you find out. You might want to open it together with your family or close friends there for support. Speaking of which…

2. Prepare Your Friends

I had a close friend who also applied early to MIT. We of course wanted to know if the other had gotten accepted, but our primary mode of communication was (and still is) gchat. This presented a bit of a problem when I had no wifi access and wouldn’t be able to talk out loud, and his phone didn’t have a texting plan. We decided to set up a calling system where if either of us got accepted, we would call the other person and let the line ring. No phone call == no acceptance.

After I got my brother’s text message and had a momentary mental celebration, I dialed my friend’s phone number and crossed my fingers for his reply. It came two minutes later. We’re roommates now.
It’s a good idea to set up something like this if you have close friends who also applied to MIT. At the same time, if you don’t arrange something like this, be careful of being that guy or gal who goes around asking everybody who applied if they got in. That’s a very tricky and sensitive position to maneuver and odds are you’re not a very popular person for it.

3. Stay Off CollegeConfidential

I don’t know a single person who has gone to CollegeConfidential and felt better about themselves, their situation, or their application. I’m talking about you, /massachusetts-institute-technology. In my experience CollegeConfidential is more a source of stress and nervousness and personal insecurity than anything else, and it’s not going to help you in the days leading up to Pi Day. Frantically checking CollegeConfidential is sort of like scratching an itch or twiddling your thumbs until they’re sore. You’re waiting for results and you want to do something about it, so you check websites like CollegeConfidential compulsively.

Don’t. (Please). Reading about all the accomplishments of other people who have applied or already been accepted will not be a Fun Time (unless you too are a seven-time International Math Olympiad gold medalist and have also developed cures for both HIV and breast cancer, in which case you don’t need CollegeConfidential anyway).

You are, of course, welcome to check MITAdmissions compulsively instead of CollegeConfidential. I recommend rewatching the bloggers’ Pi(e) Day video. It’s a documented source of happy.

4. Keep Yourself Busy

In other words, keep twiddling your thumbs. Get a project done or marathon the entirety of Buffy the Vampire Slayer this week (highly recommended). Make pies. Eat pies! If you keep yourself busy you won’t have to think about the impending decision day looming on the horizon. In fact, it might even be a good idea to work ahead on schoolwork–whether you got accepted, waitlisted, or rejected, you’re not going to want to get much work done after pi day.

5. Say Your Thank Yous

Now’s a good time to send thank-you emails to teachers that recommended you and everyone who helped you with your application. People like being updated, and then on pi day all you have to do is follow up that email or note with your results. It’s also a great way to calm your nerves, taking a moment to remember those who’ve helped you. Heck, write your dog a thank-you note. I’m sure he or she gave you loads of furry comfort during application season.

6. Relax

Seriously. This is The Most Important Thing. Take this week and promise yourself that you’ll get enough sleep, eat breakfast every day, watch an episode of My Little Pony every day, whatever. Have some fun! You already deserve it for making it so far in high school and choosing to applying to MIT.

Much love! After pi day there will be discussion threads here at MITAdmissions for everyone, no matter your results, so come hang out with us :)

–Allan