So who is this Laura person, anyway? by Laura N. '09
Hello and welcome to the single coolest blog on the entire admissions website. My name is Laura and
Hello and welcome to the single coolest blog on the entire admissions website. My name is Laura and I am a member of the MIT Class of ’09, which means that I am writing entries about what it’s like to be an MIT student even though I don’t actually go there yet. If you think that makes me really cool, you’re absolutely right! If you think that makes me really nerdy (like the kids in the Facebook group “Dorks Who Were On The Facebook Before They Left High School”) you are so amazingly, incredibly wrong that I can’t even begin to explain it.
Now, that said, let me tell you a little about myself.
First, I am from New Jersey. Now, to be perfectly honest, I won’t be offended by anti-Jersey jokes at all. I understand and embrace that my state is one of the most-often bashed states in the country. There are just 2 things I would like to clear up. Number one: New Jersey is not dirty. If you’ve flown into Newark airport and driven away from it by taking the Turnpike, then you have every right to think so. But I know I’m not the only Jerseyan to say this: Newark is one of the worst airports I’ve ever been to and the Parkway kicks the Turnpike’s you-know-what. Of course there are some crowded cities and sketchy beaches, but a good portion of New Jersey is actually very nice and pretty. Number two, and this is really, really important: NO ONE who is actually FROM New Jersey ever, ever, EVER refers to it as “Joisy.” This is a Brooklyn accent, not a Jersey accent. We’ll freely admit that we do say “wawk” and “tawk” and “cawfee,” but NEVER “Joisy.” If the rest of the country could just get that straight, we’d all be really happy. Thanks. =)
Now that we have that out of the way, I’ll continue actually telling you about myself. I love all kinds of sports and will be playing for MIT’s field hockey team this fall. I love baseball and am a huge New York Mets fan. I’ll have no further comment on that today. I love to read and write. I read so much that I’ve become personal friends with the teen librarian at my local public library. (Her name is Pam.) I like watching movies (who doesn’t?) and am an avid horror fan. I love them all- everything from the most well-developed suspense thrillers (Saw) to the cheesiest slasher flicks with bad special effects (Friday the 13th). A good friend of mine (Katie) and I have horror movie marathons where we stay up all night watching horror movies. We can watch the first 5 minutes of any horror movie and make very accurate predictions about which characters will die in which order. I’m spending this summer working as a lifeguard at Runaway Rapids Waterpark. This means I get paid a very small hourly wage to stand outside all day and tell little kids to stop running. I love it. I have an awesome tan, free beach parking, get to ride all the water slides and rides at the amusement park next door for free, get to stay outside all day and can jump in a pool whenever it gets too hot. Plus it’s a pretty cool summer job and at the end of every day I have amusing stories to tell my friends.
Now, one last thought before I wrap up this first entry. It’s a big thought, so get comfortable. The last science fair I went to was in my elementary school’s gymnasium in the fourth grade. All I know about Intel is that they are a tech company that sponsors some kind of competition. I don’t even know what that competition is, all I know is that the people who win it are really smart. I didn’t break 1500 on the SATs. In fact, all those threads on collegeconfidential where everyone says “hey I have a 1600, 4.0, class president, math team president, Intel winner [whatever that is], and I’ve worked as an intern for IBM since I was 7 but I only got a 760 on the Physics SAT II do you think I still have a chance�” really, really annoy me. No offense to anyone who has contributed to those kinds of discussions (seriously- one of my best friends is so obsessed with SAT scores that he knows mine better than I do), but they bother me for two reasons. First, they miss the point. MIT looks at more than just scores, “the match” is important, they want to see your passions, etc etc (just ask Matt or Ben). More importantly, they make me feel kind of dumb, and I don’t like that.
Here’s the thing: I am totally clueless about technology. I just graduated from a nerdy tech school and the only reason I ended up applying to MIT was my sheer stubbornness. Most of the kids at my school were children of engineers. My dad is a carpenter and my mother is a teacher’s aide in an elementary school. If one or more of your parents is an engineer, or if you just spent lots of free time as a child playing around with electronics or whatever, I bet you have NO IDEA how hard you make life for everybody else. I’m not being critical and I don’t blame anyone or hold it against anyone. Hey, if you already know how to build complex electrical circuits, more power to you. That’s seriously awesome. But what you probably don’t realize is that there are other people out there who really, really wish they knew how to do the things you take for granted, and you scare the hell out of them. I’m speaking from personal experience here, and let me tell you- it is so, so, SO hard to keep up.
That’s what I spent my junior year of high school doing- trying desperately to keep up with kids on my FIRST Robotics team who didn’t even need to be there. They were practically bored with what they were doing. I got through every day by remembering one term someone used and looking it up on HowStuffWorks.com when I got home. (I highly recommend this method.) I wrote an optional essay on my MIT application about that experience, and here I am.
I guess the point I’m trying to make here is that you can’t get discouraged just because you don’t have the same background as everybody else. In fact, what I’m trying to say goes even further than that.
If you’re an incoming freshman who really wants to major in mechanical engineering, and you’re so nervous about being miles behind everyone else that you’re thinking of switching to chemistry because you already know it- DON’T. If you’re a prospective student and you’re thinking, “Man, I wish I could do some of those things MIT kids do, it seems like so much fun. But I don’t know the first thing about it, so I guess I won’t apply-” STOP.
This blog will be about my experiences at MIT. That means I will share every embarrassment that I face because I don’t know the first thing about engineering. Learn from my mistakes so you don’t have to do the same dumb things I do. Don’t feel too scared. (Or you can just bookmark me so you know where you can have a good laugh if you’re having a bad day.)
I am here, ready and willing to be the poster child for “people who get headaches listening to conversations at MIT but still love every minute of it.”
If you feel kind of lost already, I’m your girl.