Oomi Pammit is in MIT's Class of 2023.
Do you love to write, sing, dance, read, play video games, crochet, fold paper, think about art, or visit new places? Well, have I got a college for you! The Massachusetts Institute of Technology isn’t just for engineering -- it’s ranked #2 in arts and humanities worldwide.
Of course, there’s more to MIT than that. How about this: do you love to watch Numberphile, make chemicals go boom (think: thermite reaction), look through telescopes and microscopes, or read more about something you don’t understand? For example, do you know why oobleck is so… ooblecky? Do you have the urge to click that link or look up more details on its molecular structure?
Wait, what if you said yes to all of the above? With so many frontiers of knowledge, it makes sense to study the overlaps and intersections of very different fields if you don’t want to specialize in just one. MIT has you covered with the departments of Comparative Media Studies; Science, Technology, and Society; and Media Lab.
Regardless of which category your curiosity falls into, there are plenty of other indicators that might help you figure out whether you would be happy at MIT.
Look through these five points and ask yourself how much you agree with each one. See if you’d love being an MIT student!
You would entertain any ideas -- good or bad. For the sake of knowledge! How else could we know how much duct tape it takes to hold your friend to the wall?
IDEAS Challenge is just your typical opportunity to earn $15,000 for a socially impactful innovation idea.
Bad Ideas Weekend, on the other hand, can feature events such as: Butter Sculpting, Python Bee (the coding equivalent of a spelling bee), Pretend To Be A Harvard Student. Come up with your own bad ideas!! One traditional bad idea, the Green Building Challenge, is a competition between residential groups to climb and descend the stairs of an 18-story building as many times as you can.
You LOVE deep and mind-twisting conversations.
I’m talking paracosms, hypotheticals, the mortifying ordeal of being known, time travel paradoxes, game theory, philosophy, Grand Unified Theories, the definition of love, the famous 36 questions.
Everyone has impostor syndrome. However, whoever’s giving you impostor syndrome is probably also getting impostor syndrome from you. It’s an endless cycle broken only by inundating each other with compliments.
That said, you still love to take a chaotically fun break with your friends to some music.
You’ve been so interested in a subject that you could probably give a lecture on it.
I could probably give my own lecture about how many opportunities like this (and this, and this...) are available for MIT students. The funding, teams, and time are there -- you just have to apply and join the project! Otherwise, you can sit in a lounge and tell a friend about something you read, and they’ll bring up their own cool factoid or weird observation from yesterday’s bike ride around Cambridge.
Sometimes, when you’re explaining something, someone says, “uhh, in English please?”.
No, listen, when I talk about “using only computational modeling due to the complexities of protein-protein interaction and a general need for empirical data to calibrate the models,” I swear it’s in English. Here, let me explain my UROP to you for the next three hours instead of doing our psets.
Alright, so this admittedly only happens in movies. That, and you might have better communication skills than normal to be able to fluently explain complex systems and ideas.
You can find an interesting project on the UROP (Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program) site. Go ahead, try!
They look intimidating, but if the subject is of interest to you, you’re automatically a great pick! If you can’t learn the requisite skills on the job, you’re likely only a couple classes away from working with your dream project. Isn’t that wild? Helping cure cancer at 19. You can just Do That.
Some of these are things that you probably wouldn’t think about, like applying machine learning to coffee roasting. Some are projects that you have probably thought about, but didn’t look as deeply until you saw such a research topic proposal.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg; they don’t update that website frequently. You’ll have better luck looking at individual departments’ sites and faculty. As a student, you can even email professors and ask to UROP in their lab if you find their project(s) interesting.
Research? Be that lab-coat-wearing English-speaking scientist? Learn the actual workings of machine learning, geospatial analysis, quantum physics, urban density, enzymes? Play around with them??? You’re practically on MythBusters already.
Not everyone fits the bill for MIT. It depends on who you are and on your personal preferences. If you’d like to learn more about which colleges would be right for you, head over to book a consultation with college counselor Robert Powers!
Oomi Pammit is the STEM Specialist at College Torch. She tutors students in STEM subjects including mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, computer science, and more. Please contact her with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or (626) 214-8658.