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MIT staff blogger Matt McGann '00

The waiting is the hardest part by Matt McGann '00

I can see from the comments that many of you are, quite understandably, very anxious. I’ve seen this twice a year for the past four years of being an admissions officer, and I’m not sure if during that time I’ve learned anything that I could share with you that would help you relax. But maybe my favorite story from last year’s early action will help lighten things a little…

It was one year ago. Decision letters were in the mail. Students were anxious.

We had heard through the grapevine about one very enterprising student named Nick. Our sources relayed this communication from Nick:

I got fed up with racing home from school everyday to check on the mail, only to find NOTHING from MIT. So, I have taken matters into my own hands. I wrote a note to my mailman, telling him to leave anything from MIT in a designated space marked off w/electrical tape. Then I rigged up an outdoor webcam using an eggo-waffles box, a USB webcam, some cat5 cable, and my laptop. Now I can check not only if I have anything from MIT from school, I can see the SIZE of the envelope! It’s still dark here in VA…being its 3:18AM. But you can see the space marked off with tape, and the letters M-I-T inside. looking forward to checking up on this throughout the day! Mail in our area arrives anywhere between noon and 4 pm. hope the mailman obeys my instructions.

Being MIT admissions officers, this was the sort of thing that we thought was really really cool. And, partially because Nick had a history of doing such cool things, we had admitted him the previous week, only he didn’t know that yet. We knew what was coming, but still we anxiously awaited what we knew would be the arrival of an admit letter. Finally, a little after 3pm on December 19, 2003, Nick learned via his webcam that he had received a large, 10″ x 13″ envelope from MIT: he was admitted early action.

Finally, the quote of the day, Stephen Hawking in yesterday’s NY Times Magazine (login required):

“People who boast about their I.Q. are losers.”

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