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MIT student blogger Chris M. '12

Sabar drums, Rwanda, and the C.I.A by Chris M. '12

Can you guess what all this stuff has in common?

I know what you’re thinking, “Whoa, two posts in two days? How can I be so lucky!?”

Well thanks, I’m flattered.

Anyway, that’s enough ego stroking for the day, the real reason is because today was so cool, so impressive, so absolutely awesome I couldn’t help but blog about it. Since it’s impossible to rank the events by awesome, I’ve ranked them chronologically:

11:00 a.m. EST- Sabar Drumming Class
Before you graduate, the Institute not only wants you to be able to use maths to solve all sorts of problems, but to be cultured and knowledgeable about the world you live in. They rank it up there with the Black-Scholes model. (don’t know what that is? me either I just googled “hard math”) To fulfill this, you’re required to take classes known as HASS courses. (NOTE: literally everything at MIT is an acronym, or as I like to say “L.E.A.M.I.T.I.A.A”(did you catch the Fe-y?(triple pun!))) Wow, sorry about that. Back on track, my HASS class this year is 21M.030, or as you’d want to tell your grandmother “Intro to World Music”. The class is taught by Professor Tang, who is an ethnomusicologist. It’s a fascinating examination of the relationship between culture and music. We’ve been studying the “griot” people of Senegal lately, and listening to Sabar drum music. Today we got to actually play them:

not pictured: the full extent of how cool this was

I named my drum “Todd” (we weren’t supposed to name them, I just did)

Hi Todd!

We learned songs in the traditional language of Senegal, such as [translated] “I went to Gambia and found a nice car and drove and drove and drove it back to Senegal”, and the friendship song [translated] “[your name] [your name] we’ll be with you ’til we die!”. Also my personal favorite: [translated] “What did you have for dinner? ‘[whatever you ate for dinner]'”

Unfortunately I had to answer that last one with “Easy Mac” =(

After about an hour and a half I felt pretty confident with my drumming abilities, I think I’m ready to start doing some remixes. I’ll just call up ‘ye and see what he’s up to.

“What d-d-d-did you have for d-d-d-dinner? EASY MAC!”

3 p.m. EST- Career Fair. (Also, the president of Rwanda is there)
I think it’s safe to say that there is a lot of stuff that goes on here. Unfortunately I can only mention in passing that the president of Rwanda was here today as I went to the Career Fair, which was going on at the same time.
I didn’t want to take too many pictures, lest I be remembered next year as “that-one-guy-who-just-took-pictures” and be passed over for a job at the C.I.A

Whoa, hold up, what?

Yea, the C.I.A was there, and I couldn’t resist taking a picture of their booth.

They taught me how to magnify images like that at the booth. (not really)

I don’t want to say too much more about it, for reasons I couldn’t say because it would be saying too much. Just know that I met the C.I.A, and they gave me a pen that also doubles as an arc welder. (They’ll tell you it doesn’t, but I know it does, I just can’t figure it out).

There are plenty of other cool companies there though, as illustrated by the tons of swag I collected.

I find it funny that Facebook handed out breathmints, concerned with out social networking abilities?

There’s stuff from Google, AQR, and MDT in there too. And a bunch of other big name companies were there as well, such as Microsoft, Apple, Merck, essentially any major company in what you’re interested in doing will be there to represent themselves. If you want a job with any of those companies (or the literally hundreds more that were there) it’s definitely possible.

Pretty cool eh? And that’s just Thursday! Tomorrow I have an 18.01 Test and– I’m sorry what?….oh, you don’t want to hear about that? oh. well alright then. Guess math is just cooler to some people than others…


He’d want to know how my 18.01 test went….


27 responses to “Sabar drums, Rwanda, and the C.I.A”

  1. intleyes says:

    No shoes allowed in 21M.030? Fun blog.

  2. huxley says:

    Sounds like a good time. I guess we’ll all just sit here patiently and wait for your album to come out. smile

  3. Ivan says:

    That college fair seems awesome.

    A big plus about MIT are the college fairs, the only reason you don’t leave MIT with a great job is if you don’t want to (for most cases).

    What company had the best presentation?

    If you had to choose a company to work at just on how they presented themselves and the cool things they gave you which company would it be?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Does MIT have any viewbooks or brochures?

    Anyone know where I can download the MIT 2009 application in pdf?

  5. Chris '12 says:

    That’s tough to say. I felt as though Google and Microsoft both gave very very good presentations, as did AQR. If I had to pick one based just on how the presentation went, it would have to be Goodle though, the information was thorough and relevant, the speakers were engaging and confident, and never broke eye contact. They were really good.
    yes there is a viewbook that goes out to interested students, but I don’t remember how to get it, just that I got one. All information regarding the application can be found here:

  6. Anonymous says:

    Do freshman typically have success getting summer jobs with the high-profile companies like Facebook, Google, Microsoft, etc.?

  7. Chris '12 says:

    It really depends. Google made a strong point to say that they’ll hire freshman if they’re capable. Overall, based on my experience today, I’d say the market for freshman at so called “high-profile” companies is low. But it’s really based on your ability. No one will know you’re a freshman if you don’t tell them….

  8. Alex says:

    @ Anon…

    MIT sent me a viewbook via mail. It was super cool and it made me more interested in applying to MIT.


    I wanted to know if I have a shot at MIT… I’m from the tiny, yet beautiful, island of Puerto Rico. Usually the students I’ve seen admitted to MIT from here, from what I can see, come from schools that are high class – way up academically- and from the Metropolitan area. In the town where I live, Fajardo (the northeastern most town on the main island), I think that the high school curriculum is the simple curriculum given at Public and simple Private School (Education here stinks in the public system, by the way…). I;ve taken all the hardest classes I could take and I’ve aced them all (No AP or IB classes here just regular college prep) but I am very involved in my church and community. (I;m even organizing a blood drive that I gave the idea for in my school next month). I’m involved in my Science club as public relations manager. And I scored a 90 on the ASVAB and a 1464 on the SAT Version of the College Board here in Puerto Rico (Spanish Verbal Reasoning and Mathematical Verbal Reasoning (I score 800/800 in the latter one)). The test consists of 5 parts but In my opinion the first two are kinda like the SAT. I haven’t taken my SAT because my school never encouraged me to and I only fell in love with MIT this summer. I;m taking it in October. Do you guys think that I could possibly be a candidate for admission at MIT? I like challenging myself because I think that way I learn more and I become a better person.

    Thanks for the help. If any current students have any advice for me it is greatly appreciated. My email is [email protected]


  9. Alex says:

    I’d love to talk with the admissions staff so please if you can give me an email or something. I would like to be better oriented.

  10. Pat2N says:

    Your blog is awesome… starting to become a new favorite. Very entertaining while informative and unique. A+ ^_^

  11. Sindu'13 says:

    once again love the blog, very informative…
    Career fair @ MIT seems to be brilliant!

  12. Sindu'13 says:

    I forgot to include …very informative & “hilarious”

  13. Ehsan says:


    Chris, if you scroll up on this page on the top left corner there are three links.

    MIT Admissions Home
    Chrism’s Blog
    Other Bloggers

    …What Chrism’s Blogs

    Who the heck is Chrism

  14. Chris '12 says:


    That’s not an error, there is another blogger named Chris, so Chris M. distinguishes me from him. Though it does seem as though a space would make that a little more clear doesn’t it?

  15. Ahana says:

    Chris, I never thought I’d live to see this, but you give Snively serious competiton. There, I said it!
    Great post, and knowing about 18.01 wouldn’t have been that bad!

  16. Stacy says:

    Chris, your blogs are hilarious and I agree with Ahana on the competition bit (but Snively is still my favorite blogger:) ).

  17. Chris '12 says:


    Just as a sort of side note, putting the last two digits of your class year is sort of a rite of passage after getting accepted, so some people might get upset if you start putting “15” at the end of your name before you get accepted. Don’t worry though, lots of people do it without thinking, just trying to keep the peace. My 18.01 test went wonderfully, thank you =)

    well, I just walked by and one of the guys started talking to me, so I think it’s a pretty casual thing if you see them at the career fair. I don’t really know anything else about getting involved with them.

  18. Helen '15 says:

    How did your 18.01 test go?

    I need to get me a Todd!

  19. Vivi '12 says:

    Oh goodness, that sabar drumming class was amazing. At first it felt so awkward but after a while a lot of people started getting into it and really feeling the rhythm. I didn’t want to stop after an hour and a half of class, haha.

    I feel shameful for picking up two bags of stuff at Career Fair even though I’m but a mere freshman. I feel like some poor college student scavenging for useable items.

    … oh wait …

  20. Ehsan says:

    @ Chris

    What other Chris? Is it Cristen your talking about?

  21. Ehsan says:

    Oh Chris S. my bad!

  22. Faruk says:


  23. Anonymous says:

    This is lol-tastic. Of the highest accord!

  24. Anonymous says:

    Crap, I put in Helen, but Helen ’15 is one I’ve used before, so it must’ve automatically selected that.
    Thanks, I’ll check next time.

    And congrats on the test.

  25. Hi I’m 13yrs my dream is to be in MIT so you are living my dream. Even when I’m older I will create a suit like Iron man. So I can save the people that I care about. I need to work hard.My dad was in MIT but he died. So I want to countinue his dream. By the way do MIT have tec like the movie Iron man. email me back thanks.

  26. Hey Chris,
    I knew you’d make it as a blogger! I’m glad to hear things are going well for you at MIT! I’m down in Arizona at the University of Arizona having a pretty great time. I definitely hope I get to see you over at MIT some day!

    Keep working hard,

  27. Sorry for the double post… Course 8 is Physics right? I’m doing Engineering Physics right now but I’m thinking about switching into Optical Engineering with a dual major in Physics.