Although I do make active attempts to avoid goopiness and introspection, sometimes they creep into my life nonetheless. (I’m the daughter of a woman who cries at telephone commercials, and I’m actively trying to avoid my fate as a hopeless goop myself. I’m not being particularly successful — I cried at every single movie I saw in theatres in 2005. While this includes legitimately sad movies like Star Wars, it also encompasses completely not-sappy movies like March of the Penguins and Sahara.)
Today was my last Registration Day, when all MIT students visit their advisors to confirm their course schedules for the upcoming term. My advisor, Earl Miller, was out of town today, so the Brain and Cognitive Sciences undergraduate administrator, Jason, signed my form and double-checked with me that I’ve taken care of all my graduation requirements.
On my way to turn in my form (to the lovely Jessie, I might add), I ran into my friend Akhil ’05 MEng ’06, who is the only other person from my high school to ever get into MIT. As we were gossiping about people with whom we went to high school, our friend Laura ’06 caught up with us. We’re all graduating, so naturally the conversation turned to our plans for next year.
Akhil is getting his master’s in course 6 (EECS) in June, and has accepted a position with an investment banking firm in Chicago.
Laura is getting a bachelor’s degree in course 6 (EECS) and one in course 15 (management), and is going to law school — she currently has acceptances from NYU and Georgetown, and is waiting on others.
I’m getting two bachelor’s degrees — one in course 9 (brain and cognitive sciences) and one in course 7 (biology), and I’m heading to a PhD program in biology.
And it’s all super-weird.
Life gets very different very fast as you go through your senior year — something many of you are probably realizing as you go through your senior year of high school — but it’s even weirder in college. All the juniors are still worried about grades and parties and who’s going to be president of which club next year… and my friends and I are looking at our honest-to-goodness grown-up futures. We still have one foot in the college world, but we’re starting to realize that we have one foot in the real world (insofar as graduate school is the real world, of course).
And it makes me feel excited… well, excited and scared. Not to mention extraordinarily grateful for the education I’ve received at MIT which has prepared me for these awesome PhD programs which are recruiting me, but really, we’re going to leave the rest of that thought for a later day. (If I get started on all the things MIT has done for me as a student and as a person, I’m really not going to be able to stanch the flow of goop.)
Okay, we’re done with sentimentality for the day. Onward to more pressing matters!
1. Thanks everybody for your birthday wishes! I had a good birthday, but I’m awfully glad to be back in Boston. (And Bryan, Ghirardelli Square was most definitely a stop on our SF tour. Right after the Fisherman’s Wharf sea lions.) Doesn’t 22 sound awfully dignified?
2. Aditya asked “‘Is the program composed of self-starters, with very little peer pressure to work hard, or do students in the program encourage each other to work hard? ‘ – Id love an answer to that relevant to MIT…..”
Actually, I was planning to write on that tonight (before sentimentality about this being my last Reg Day set in) — I think that’s a very important topic that few people really seem to consider. Next time, I promise!
3. Sam (not this Sam) asked when you can start a UROP. You can definitely start one in your first term at MIT, providing that you can find a faculty member who wants to work with you. Generally, people who start UROPs in their first term have prior research experience, although my Adam ’07 started UROPing his first term freshman year, and he’d never researched before. Starting the summer before freshman year might be a little trickier (just because you’d have to make sure you could move into MIT campus housing early), but again, if you find a professor who’s willing to take you, it shouldn’t be a problem.
4. Shannon asked if Adam and I are engaged. No, we’re not (although I just said to Adam, “One of my blog readers asked if we were engaged,” and his response was “Pretty much.”) However, by the end of 2006 I think the answer to that question will be quite different. :) (Oh god, so much goop in one entry. It’s killing me.)
5. Shen said “I know about that having a master’s degree in the pure sciences really doesn’t amount to much (particularly since my chem teacher has both a BS and PhD but not an MS), but how about engineering?”
In engineering, a master’s degree is much more useful — in fact, in many disciplines, you need a master’s to get competitive engineering jobs. You wouldn’t get a PhD in engineering, though, unless you wanted to become a professor.
6. Anonymous asked, “I was just wondering, how much time did you spend in the lab during a typical week? Thanks!”
During IAP and summer, I work in the lab 40 hours a week. During term, it depends on how many classes I’m taking — sophomore year I worked about 10-12 hours a week, junior year I worked about 15, and this term I’m actually going to be working about 18-20. (I like working in the lab. To be honest, I like working in the lab better than I like taking classes.)