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MIT student blogger Anthony R. '09

We Wear Matching Hats by Anthony R. '09

Very nearly one year ago, I wore the hat you're all wearing this week.

The little that is completed
vanishes from the sight of one who looks forward to what is still to do.
— Goethe

So I spent the Thanksgiving holiday weekend in New York with some friends. I acquired a real curio of a hat in a Canadian train station, and thinking it’d serve well in keeping my ears warm, I brought it along. It proved popular, promoting similar hat acquisitions for others in my party.

Very nearly one year ago, I wore the hat you’re all wearing this week.

I triple-proofread my application, I looked over it some more, I made sure I stapled the darned pages properly and I threw a couple of forms out because my handwriting was sloppy. Then I mailed everything and sat back for a month, biting my nails and sweating up a storm and refreshing Ben’s and Matt’s blogs a few times a day. They posted photos of the envelopes in mail bins and I was monitoring Ben’s beard from afar. The adrenaline was running high.

I realize that the only thing in the world you want right now is an acceptance to MIT. You’d probably take it as your sole holiday gift and I am sure you might swear that it’s good enough to take the place of all your future gifts. :-) I was there and I know all too well what you’re going through right now.

I had been focusing on that admission decision for months. It occupied my every thought. So much so, that believe it or not, when I was admitted, it was almost a letdown. Now that I got what I wanted for so long, well, *now* what? What was I going to obsess about now that I got what I wanted?

I spent a while fussing over getting into college, and as a result I’d put a lot of my interests, the things that really defined who I was, on hold. It was very convenient — I could engage in the singular activity of thinking about admissions and somehow I was fulfilled. With acceptance in hand, it was time to resurrect my life once again and continue along its way. But then I started chatting with future classmates in an online discussion. My free time vanished. We all got to know each other really well and then we all met during Campus Preview Weekend in April. We talked daily from December, all through the spring and summer, and many of us had chatted either on the phone or using online voice conference tools. For most of us, it was the first time we had a substantial peer group we could really relate to.

…. then we all got here in the fall and haven’t seen each other since orientation week. :-P

(Well, okay, that’s not true. I regularly see about six or seven and count a couple as best friends… but that’s a far cry from the full group.) Sometimes I’ll pass a former chatter in one of MIT’s many corridors and muster a wave or a “hey”.

Everyone’s found their group, their niche. They’re all settled into their own living groups around campus and they’re doing their own thing. The only reason I see the ones I do so often is because they live in my building, and in some cases, on my floor.

As freshmen, we aren’t supposed to know what we want to do with our lives. We’re supposed to experience new things, experiment with various life choices and options, try something new, release ourselves from the bondage of prior expectations and previous acts we’ve played. I suppose that includes groups of friends. You’ll be leaving your high school friends and making new college ones. Maybe you’ll make pre-college fellow admit friends who you’ll all use as a support structure until you get here and come into your own. And maybe you won’t. As a freshman, you’ll leave behind memories of your valedictory, of your championships, of all that stuff that you fell back on at home when you needed a crutch. And it might take a few months, but you’ll find your groups of friends and your support structures and you’ll be well on your way to making new memories. :-)

14 responses to “We Wear Matching Hats”

  1. Ben says:

    Hey, I know that guy!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I love vanilla too!

  3. Sam says:

    gosh I am nervous

  4. Drew says:

    Looks like he cleared them out, haha. To tell you the truth i’m trying not to think about it at all, but from my presence here i take you know its not working. Well I’ve gotta get back to that essay I put on hold for this, good luck everyone.

  5. Edward says:

    Oh my God! I feel the same way, Lily.
    I really really want to get to MIT but everyday I feel more and more like I’m probably one of those applicants that Ben’ll see and yell NEXT!
    I’ve got exams coming up and all I can think about is MIT,…..and I’m not even an Early Decision applicant!
    Sam, thank you for this entry-keep them coming.

  6. Edward says:

    I’m really REALLY sorry for the mix
    up with the name, I did mean Anthony.
    Its just that I had multiple pages open and being so disturbingly nervous, I fell into the horrendous error.
    On a more positive note, I hope to make it up to you one day……..say over a cup of coffee or something.
    Have a beautifull day.

  7. Christina says:

    “The only reason I see the ones I do so often is because they live in my building, and in some cases, on my floor.”

    HEYyyyyy…OR because they’re willing to ride the T to see you =P

  8. Lily says:

    Hi Anthony:

    Thank you so much for your comforting entry. I just feel like everyone applying is so talented. They all did original, innovative research and have super high grades and test scores. I’m trying to use the limited resources as best as I can. It just grills me that after all the dreams and aspirations, I just really want to be part of this great community because it will prepare me to better serve the world. But I’m so nervous and in great fear. Help!

  9. Anthony says:

    hahaha… it’s okay, really. grin

  10. Timur Sahin says:

    Clearly, Anthony is trying to tell us that ice cream is your best friend…

    Sweet Ben & Jerry’s… you don’t judge me…

  11. kash says:

    um, I don’t know where else to ask this, or find it so here goes: What GPA do you need to get into MIT (cummulative, or just senior year)? By the way, Vanilla Ice cream rocks!

  12. kash says:

    um, I don’t know where else to ask this, or find it so here goes: What GPA do you need to get into MIT (cummulative, or just senior year)? By the way, Vanilla Ice cream rocks!

  13. kash says:

    whoops i posted that twice