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MIT student blogger Chris M. '12

What it’s like being back by Chris M. '12

School is back in session, and I know the question burning in the back of everyone’s mind is “Chris, WHAT have you been doing?” (or depending on the converstaion, it might be “Chris, what have YOU been doing?”, but under no circumstances “Chris, what have you BEEN doing?”, that’s just akward). Despite what exploring the akward intricacies of inflection and their effect in the English language would have you believe, I’ve had a lot to do and thus unsurprisingly, I’ve kept pretty busy. Yes, since my last post about my time in California for LiveScribe, I’ve flown to and from California twice more, and to Arkansas once. (Frequent flier miles would’ve been a good idea.) I spent the last week and a half visiting with my family and trying to do as little as possible before the deluge of school came. (I was mildly successful).

It was surreal coming back, I think it was one of those moments that helps solidify what it really means to be here. First, there’s CPW, where (if you’re like me) you see MIT for the first time as a real place and not just a picture in a brochure or a website (or Google Street View if you’re really obsessed).

Then there’s that dizzying moment on the first day of classes where you just can’t seem to take it all in, you feel like you Have Truly Found Paradise. Then that one sobering moment sometime after where you realize that you’re really here, on your own, away from your family.
Before long you gain a very personal understanding of what IHTFP really means. Then there’s the moment where you come back and you realize that this isn’t like a summer camp, that the year before wasn’t the race, it was just the first leg–and by some ways the easiest one. It’s the moment you really understand that you’re a student here, that for the next few years this is the largest part of your life.

Like an aimless spectre you open doors and see flashes of yesteryear; smells trip unexpected memories like gossamer landmines good and bad. You walk the halls that housed you on the hottest carefree days and the coldest tooling nights, seeing people who’ve left your life and those who are new additions. It all comes rushing back to you and you feel a familiar dizzying, overwhelming feeling like you did just one year ago, but this time there’s something different. Something’s changed. Now you know what you’re in for, you know the sleepless nights and frustrations are never far away, but this knowledge can’t seem to remove the exhilarating smile on your face. And it’s in that masochistic moment that you realize who you are. That this is what you’re made for.

19 responses to “What it’s like being back”

  1. Lydia AK says:

    Chris, what HAVE you been doing? =p

    Google Street View sounds like a good idea.

    And I know you’ve heard this plenty before, but your blog posts are amazing. I love your style and your sense of humor. =)

  2. Akeed says:

    The last paragraph makes me yearn even more!!!!
    WOW!

  3. Ash says:

    So is a “converstaion” how scientists talk? XD

  4. navdeep says:

    “Google Street View if you’re really obsessed”
    lol ..i’m one of them ..
    that last 2 paragraphs are amazing,a perfect example of ‘show not tell’.
    gr8 post ..

  5. Justin L. says:

    Nice post. =)

    I’m hoping that your writing skills will miraculously transfer to me when I’m writing my college essay.

  6. Piper '12 says:

    Prof: MIT folklore! For example, (looks at me) what does IHTFP mean?
    Me: … Institute Has The Finest Professors.

    It earned some class laughter. That is my IHTFP story of the day.

    I like this post.

  7. Shreya says:

    “And it’s in that masochistic moment that you realize who you are. That this is what you’re made for.”

    These one-liners are the ones why I love your posts smile

  8. VAL '14? says:

    Oh man… your posts make me REALLY REALLY hope to get in even more.

    Ps. That last paragraph is excellent.

    Thank you for this exceptional post.

  9. Time off went way too quick!!

  10. Posts like this are what made me fall in love with MIT. =) Thank you, truly.

    (Also, maaaybe you could pull off “Chris, what have you been DOING?” Just a thought!)

  11. Danielle says:

    First time I’ve read of these blog posts; defnitely not the last (=
    Mind if I quote you?

  12. Anonymous says:

    @Danielle

    Of course not, go for it!

    @Everyone Interested
    I’ll do a blog about what I’ve been up to soon. I’ve been doing exciting things!

  13. JB '13 says:

    Hey Chris,

    I met Hawkens, thought I should say hi!

  14. Anon says:

    Awkward, Chris. Awkward.

  15. Chris says:

    @Anon.

    What do you mean?

  16. Before long you gain a very personal understanding of what IHTFP really means. Then there’s the moment where you come back and you realize that this isn’t like a summer camp, that the year before wasn’t the race, it was just the first leg–and by some ways the easiest one. It’s the moment you really understand that you’re a student here, that for the next few years this is the largest part of your life.

  17. hwkns says:

    CHRIS, WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING? It’s 3am and I don’t think you’ve started on 18.03 yet. It’s due tomorrow.

    CHRIS, what HAVE you BEEN doing? That’s the most awkward permutation I can come up with.