If you’re applying early (to MIT or elsewhere), you’re probably nearing the tail end of your paperwork. If you’re applying regular action, you probably aren’t.
For well over a year, from my rural roost, I sort of idealized MIT. The more I read, the more I learned, the more I wanted to live here and study here. Who wouldn’t want to be in the center of the world’s technology research, with the world’s brightest minds, in the urban locale of Boston and in the cosmopolitan Northeast? “In.” If only I were to get in, I thought, I’d be set. My life would be made. And I’d finally be the heck away from the desert.
But it wasn’t immediately obvious that beyond the new bedroom, the different desk, and the temperamental window shade, I’d still be the same person underneath. I still like trains and I still enjoy panini sandwiches with fresh basil. I still like sleeping late on weekends, and tears, smiles, and hugs still feel the same to me. The tools and responses and personality I’ve developed over the course of my life make me who I am. College will just lead me to another logical stage of development, one of career plans or just a new direction in which to mosey.
I’d be the same person with the same ambitions, interests, and traits had I decided to attend any other university or college, even my local community college. If you’ve got your heart set on a specific school, take a few steps back and ask yourself why. If you’re thinking about MIT, your answers will likely be forthcoming and copious. But if you wind up somewhere else in the end, just remember that you’ll be successful wherever you go. It is you that makes you, not your school. :-)