Zombies. Sleepless, exhausted, drooling zombies that somehow believe they’re paying attention when in reality all they’re doing is scribbling incoherent pen-markings in every wild direction on their notebooks. You can find them walking aimlessly along the infinite, pleasantly hidden, but definitely not unnoticeable among the masses of people who obviously slept the night before.
It’s a well-kept secret. But I have proof. Behold the two most hilarious and zombie-affected pages of my physics notes for October 7, 2011 :
Take note (ahaha) of a few things:
1.) The reason you can’t understand my notes is not because they are written in some odd, complex language. I was simply exhausted. Just because it’s MIT doesn’t mean every single student is a massive super genius. (Proof that I am not is pictured above.)
2.) Notice how the first page says “Nathasha, help me,” on the right hand side. (She and I had pulled an all-nighter the night before to finish three psets, so we were planning to keep each other awake. xD)
3.) No, you don’t have to pull all nighters in order to finish all of your work as an MIT student. I know plenty that are never zombies. You just have to not join every single club/organization that you encounter AND have solid time-management skills. It’s all about what’s most important to you.
That said, you’re probably wondering why I would expose these pathetic notes to the whole world and why I am painting a rather morbid picture of MIT to you. Let me be blunt, my friends.
There will be days when you’re coming into Cambridge from Boston, halfway through crossing the river, and you look up to see the dome glowing at you, staring even. You start to think the dome is a mocking symbol of the work you have not yet finished, and of how no matter how much work you do there will always be more.
Basically, you start to see this:
For me, the hardest thing about MIT has not been the classes themselves. (I know, that’s hard for me to believe, too.) It has actually been finding the balance between work and fun, and I would think that’s true for most students here. After all, if you’re dedicated and interested enough and have an infinite amount of time, anything can be understood, no matter how complex, right?
After my whole schpeel about zombies and the mocking dome, however, I can honestly and excitedly say that I. Love. This. Place.
Why? Because amidst all of the stress, you are surrounded by a multitude of wake-up calls. They’re little reminders that life isn’t about one instance, or one particular event. It’s not about a hard pset, or about feeling badly because you really should have been doing work instead of baking 3 kinds of muffins and cookies *cough* or sleeping. Everyone else is going through it too, some more smoothly than others, but in the end we can all relate.
Take for instance, a few weeks ago, when my stressed self came into class and got to listen to THIS amazing speech. It made my day, and keeps me going even today.
Every student has different goals, but ultimately I think what drives students to succeed here is the goal to contribute something positive to this world. People here do this in so many different ways, each with their own distinctive personality.
In the end, only one question is important. It’s the simple “Why are you here?”
It doesn’t matter who you are. If you’re a senior right now, getting through your stressful application essays, if you’re a college student in general, even if you’re done with your studies and are tackling other goals, think about what you’ve done to get to where you are.
Answer the question, and it should become your inspiration, your wake-up call.