Monday, August 17, 2009

You Expect Me to Be Able to Do WHAT?!?!?!?

Today one of my friends and I were having a discussion on Facebook. Like many conversations on Facebook, it took place through comments. It went something like this:

Friend: 10 days until i leave for college! cant wait!

Me: dude thats awesome! im leaving in like 18. friday the 28th

Friend: um… thats 11 days… aren’t you going to MIT?

Me: hahaha oops im a week behind… yeah, and im majoring in math

Friend: …

Huh. So it turns out that math majors at MIT are expected to know how to count. I suppose that’s a logical expectation to have. This got me thinking about what MIT was really going to be like, and what kind of pressure I would be under there. It’s often been referred to as “drinking from a fire hose,” and fire hoses are without a doubt pressurized. It’s certainly going to be a change for me, but how much of a change? Throughout my entire high school career, I studied once for freshman final exams. After spending hours doing so, I soon discovered that I didn’t need to study. For anything. For four years. Every MIT student that has said what I just did talks about how MIT was different because they actually had to study for the first time in their lives. Don’t get me wrong; I relish the challenge! It’s just that I wonder sometimes about certain things… For example, the following was posted on the MIT Admissions Blog today regarding tiredness:

Mon: Tired

Tues: Tired

Wed: Hopelessly tired

Thurs: Drowning in tired while clinging to last shreds of willpower to floss regularly despite diminishing ability to lift hands past elbow level.


Sat/Sun: Regain ability to english

Now, understandably, there are a few things about this post that mildly concern me. The “Tired’s” I can deal with. I was tired every day this past fall when I both played varsity soccer (I say that to make it sound like I’m wicked good at soccer, but there was actually no JV team…and they never cut anyone) and ran the Central Mass Hero singing competition, which was a massive singing competition among public high school in Worcester County and one of the most time-consuming, challenging, and rewarding things I’ve ever done. That was in addition to all the other student groups I was involved in. As for the hopelessly tired… yeah, I’ve had a bit of experience with that. Finishing sending emails at midnight after a late soccer game to get up at 5:00 the next morning to go to a National Honor Society meeting that I was expected to run could fall into that category. Thursday I’m not sure about. I’ve never actually experienced the inability to lift my hand past my elbow level. What I’m hoping is that the person who posted the above entry has freakishly heavy hands. Maybe they’ve developed arthritis at an early age and can’t move their elbows so well. Maybe they’re even 6’2” and elbow level for them is eye level for an average person. Friday, however, I’m finding it difficult to make excuses for. I find it highly unlikely that Yan Z., who posted the blog, just happened to forget Friday, yet moved on to the weekend. Somehow, the blankness of Friday is actually more intimidating than any of the words describing the previous four days. I can’t help but wonder if this was intentional. Sat/Sun actually may shed light on the sinister occurrences of Friday. “Regain ability to english.”  Hmm… yes, this is disturbing. I suspect that on Friday, Yan Z. actually dropped dead from exhaustion and was resuscitated on Saturday, using the weekend to regain motor functions, including the “ability to english.” Apparently she’s still trying to get that ability back, unless “english” has been made a verb and no one told me. Not that I expect Webster to run every change by me, but it would have been nice. The realization then struck me that this was a weekly schedule. This means that the Guinness Book of World Records is wrong: the record for greatest amount of times a person has died and been resuscitated should actually  belong to MIT students, because apparently they do it every week!

While my parents may not like the idea of me dying every Friday, I’m still very excited to be going there. After all, I’ve always wondered if there really is a white light at the end of the tunnel. During my zen-like contemplation of my morbid future, I decided that I no longer intend to join Concourse. Not that I think that I’ll be more likely to suffer some dark fate at its hands, but I read some stuff by other students, and I decided that I personally would get more out of the MIT experience by being in mainstream classes. While I am changing this aspect of my path, I am remaining stubborn on another. Despite evidence that I should consider a change, I am still intending to major in Course 18 (math.) To prepare, I’m getting up early every day to learn math from the expert; yes, I am referring to The Count on Sesame Street. Whether he’s counting apples or crayons, the man clearly knows what he’s doing, so I should be well-prepared for MIT in 18 days. I did that on purpose. I meant 11 days.

Through reading a variety of materials, I have come to the conclusion that expectations at MIT are high. A school that expects you to lose motor functions on Wednesdays, die on Fridays, get your drinking water each meal from a fire hose, and english away on the weekends is not for the faint of heart. Nevertheless, I’m convinced that it will be worth it. It may shorten my lifespan by a few years and give me bad breath due to the inability to floss regularly as cited on Thursdays, but I can deal with that. I’m ready. In 11 short days, I’ll be screaming IHTFP with the best of them.

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