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MIT blogger Cami M. '23

the art of trying new things by Cami M. '23

exploring new clubs, making new friends, and doing the things i was afraid to do

One of my goals for my sophomore year was to do all the things I was afraid to do in my freshman year. One of the bigger things I wanted to do in my freshman year that I did not do was join clubs, specifically because a lot of the clubs required interviews. Being a wide-eyed frosh with low self-esteem and little to no experience in the content covered by the clubs I was interested in, I ultimately decided not to join any clubs that required an interview.

This year, I’ve changed that. I’ve been going to countless recruitment events and throwing my hat into a whole slew of different things, and I thought I’d document all my successes, failures, and experiences in between.

For starters, my past few couple weeks have been hectic, explaining the lack of blogs. Here’s what my past three weeks have looked like:

image of my google calendar image of my google calendar image of my google calendar

I’ll slowly break these things down week by week, explaining what everything is.

@MITAdmissions

Week 1: call w kellen

On August 31st, I had a call with Kellen about running the MITAdmissions Instagram account. The ultimate goal was to create a space that showed MIT students doing non-academic things to show that MIT students, in fact, do have personalities outside of academics and studying. Just a week ago, I hosted a live where I played guitar and sang and answered a couple questions about MIT life. I really enjoy this Instagram because I think it’s really important to show all these different facets to an MIT student and that there is no “one” type of student here at MIT.

SBC

Week 1: SBC info session, women’s byobrunch, bipoc breakfast, resume workshop

Sloan Business Club! I didn’t go to any recruitment events for SBC, although I probably should have, which is why I ended up getting resume rejected by them, teehee. Essentially, I wanted to join a business club because I wanted to find a way to explore my interest in business with a supportive undergraduate community, but I ended up being so hosed I didn’t go to any events.

MIT Admissions Panel

Week 1: panelist training

I also have the amazing opportunity to be a panelist for MIT Admissions! On Wednesdays and Saturdays, MIT hosts these Q&A panel sessions where prospective applicants can ask a panel of 4 current MIT students any questions about student life. I had to go to panelist training to learn the ins and outs and do’s and don’t’s of being a panelist.

Week 3: panel

I ended up hosting my first panel! I was with my friend, Aidan (who, if you recall, also wrote the Duolingo guest blog post), and it was really nice just talking about MIT and reminiscing on my experiences so far. I love, love, love talking about MIT (as is obvious from, well, this position) and it’s so exciting to know that some of the people I’m talking to in these panels right now could be inspired from just listening in and might even become future MIT students.

Associate Advisor

Week 1: registration

As an associate advisor, I work underneath an advisor, who is usually some faculty at MIT, and I provide undergraduate support and student perspective to first-year advisees. This year, I’m the associate advisor for three freshmen — Saketh, Brian, and Jacob. I was really nervous at first because they assigned me to three really big-brained freshmen that I have nothing in common with – super smart CS kids who are chess champions, IMO medalists, renowned athletes, and overall come from super strong STEM backgrounds. I was a little intimidated by them, but after getting to know them, I was incredibly humbled and excited to work with them.

Week 2: AA Drop In, AA: Meeting

I hosted an associate advisor drop in event with Shayna A. ’23 where we basically sat in a Zoom room for an hour and chatted while waiting for random frosh to stream in and ask questions about their schedule if they did. It was really nice catching up with Shayna about their classes and what was going on with them.

I also met with my advisor, Ken, and my three advisees on Saturday to check in with all of them and making sure they’re keeping their heads afloat at MIT. Thankfully, they are. I remember how hard it was to be a freshman, so I’m just grateful that they’re doing somewhat okay. We all have a messenger group chat together and they know they can message me whenever they’d like, so I’m glad to just have that established line of communication with them.

Student Council

Week 1: ua meeting, stuco

It’s really exciting to be 2023 VP! I ended up working with the Undergraduate Association (UA) on a project for Q-week.01 MIT undergrads who moved back on campus had to quarantine their first week back, hence the name 'Q-week' We also ended up meeting as a class council to talk about projects we were working on, like the results of the MIT 2023 Talent Show:

This was honestly such a fun event and I loved every second of it. We also held a Logo Voting contest for the logo for the 2023s and talked about the 2023-2024 pen pal program that Anna and I planned! I honestly didn’t expect to like being on class council this much since it never really was my thing, but I really love the council so much and I wish we were in person so I could get to know them better.

Week 2: stuco: matching

Here, we gathered student council all together to do matching for the 2023-2024 pen pal program. We essentially sort through two 250-person lists and look at their preferences, interests, majors, dorms, etc. and try to match people based on this information. It’s super arduous and long, but hopefully very worth it when people receive their pen pals.

Week 3: stuco

We have weekly meetings, so we just met in again to touch base and check in with each other. I honestly love checking in with all of council and I think we all mesh really well together! :’)

CodeIt

Week 1: CodeIt interview

CodeIt is a program for middle school girls and nonbinary students, where they learn basic programming concepts through Scratch labs and spend the rest of the program making their own final projects to present at the end.

I applied to be a CodeIt mentor this semester and I had an interview on August 31. It was a group interview with two other people, and it had three main parts: behavioral, situational, and technical.

The behavioral portion was pretty straightforward — questions like “Why CodeIt?” and asking about past mentorship experience. T

he situational part gave scenarios with students and asked how you’d react, such as a student who was disengaged often, or a student who cut off a lot of students when speaking. I was somewhat nervous during this part since I don’t really have that much experience with working with kids, but I know ultimately if you just treat them like any other human being and give them the respect they deserve, it usually works out in the end.

I was not expecting a technical portion to the interview and grew really nervous when I heard Rachel announce we’d be moving on to the technical part of the interview. We did two separate questions in pairs, where one applicant was a ‘driver’ and the other was the ‘writer.’ In other words, one person verbally explained what the code should do, and the other had to write down the code in pseudocode or a language of their preference. Then, for the next question, you would switch roles. Luckily, I was able to answer both q’s with ease (and I was SUPER duper proud of myself for this!!!) and the interview concluded from there.

Week 3: yay!

I ended up getting into CodeIt! Yay!

MIT Consulting Group

Week 1: Meet MCG, Women&BIPOC Coffee Chats

I decided to try my hand and apply to MIT Consulting Group. This was kind of out of the ordinary for me and by far the one I was most nervous for. I went to the first event, Meet MCG, where I met a lot of different MCG members and got to know everyone. It was a really relaxed situation and I really enjoyed it a lot.

Week 2: Zoom Game Night, Case Workshop

I ended up making it to second round for MIT Consulting Group. In other words, I passed the resume review and was extended the opportunity to go to two exclusive events and have an MCG interview. The Zoom game night was really, really fun. We played Spyfall and it was overall a great time, even though I always get super nervous whenever I’m spy. I also tried my hand for the first time at a consulting case during the Case Workshop and I enjoyed it a lot more than I originally thought I would.

Week 3: MCG Interview

So I absolutely botched my MCG interview and got really nervous. There were three parts to this interview: a slide presentation, case, and behavioral. For slides, they send you a case beforehand and you have to make a slide about it. Then, they ask you follow up questions to that case and it runs just like the case workshop like the previous week, and then typical behavioral questions like “Why MCG?” and others. I ended up choking pretty hard on the case section and asked for a lot of help and got really flustered during certain math problems, so understandably, I got a nice rejection from MCG. C’est la vie. I was a little sad, since I guess I wanted to prove to myself in some way that I was…smart? Enough for MCG, but ultimately, I’m not too sad.

THINK

Week 1: Interview

THINK is a section under MIT techx, a student organization that runs HackMIT, MakeMIT, xFair, ProjX, and THINK! THINK is a mentorship program for high school students, where MIT students provide guidance and advice surrounding their research projects. Having done some mentorship work in high school, I really thought pursuing this group was somewhat fitting. I also knew a couple people in it and I really liked them, so I decided to shoot my shot. The interview went pretty smoothly and it was really chilled and nice.

Week 3: THINK

I had my first THINK meeting! We introduced ourselves, got some logistics out of the way, and played Broken Picturephone. Then we spent like…1 hour after meeting just talking and catching up. It was so, so nice and I’m just happy I mesh well with the team.

Women Business Leaders

Week 2: Intro to WBL + meet the team, upperclassmen career panel, resume and chill

This week was WBL’s recruitment week. I attended their Intro to WBL and upperclassmen panel and I honestly want to join WBL so, so badly. They seem like such a tight-knit and supportive group of women and it’s really important to have that kind of community in a space often dominated by men. I felt really comfortable and at ease in all of their events and met a lot of really cool people. I just have so much admiration for all of them, and that admiration skyrocketed when I listened to their individual experiences at the career panel. They have an education program for new members, where you learn the fundamentals of business, and I really want to join WBL to hopefully gain more insight on the field through this business lens.

Week 3: WBL Interview

My WBL interview went…okay? I have no real intuition or feeling on this and I haven’t gotten a response yet, so I guess only time will tell.

Global Research and Consulting Group (GRC)

Week 3: general body meeting

This is a new group on campus dedicated to consulting specifically for social impact. I don’t know much about the club since we haven’t met yet (i’m writing this the night of the 18th) but I’m really excited to learn more since it allows me to get some consulting experience in a really chilled and relaxed environment.

UROP/ELO Hunting

Ultimately, I’m searching for an additional UROP (research position) to throw under my belt since I want another source of income. MIT is offering ELO this year, Experiential Learning Opportunities, where we’re granted a guaranteed $1900 stipend for participating in any of these ELOs. So far I’ve applied to one UROP I really, really want, but have not gotten a reply for yet, and have gotten two other guaranteed positions. Hopefully, I’ll be able to choose. Still unsure.

conclusion

I’d like to put a little disclaimer here that this by no means is the ‘average’ amount of things that an MIT student does. In fact, I am doing more than the average and I am taking on a LOT of commitments just because I really wanted to dedicate myself more to my extracurriculars this year! It’s completely normal to do no ECs at MIT, or just one or two. I just thought I’d share since there’s a lot of clubs and orgs at MIT that deserve to be highlighted.

  1. MIT undergrads who moved back on campus had to quarantine their first week back, hence the name 'Q-week back to text