Minority Introduction To Engineering and Science

Someone from the MIT Admissions blog comments, Ngozi, clicked on the link to my blog and read some, and asked if I would tell her what MITES was like (Sorry about the mix-up, Ngozi. I don't know anyone with a similar name to know the gender... My apologies). So here it is.

MITES in one word was amazing, stressful, wonderful, tiring, interesting, boring, provoking, bad-tasting, and all-around awesome. Okay, maybe that was more than one word. But MITES was, hands down, the best summer I've ever had in my life. My only regret is that I didn't keep a blog during that month and a half, because that would have been something to read. I've learned my lesson since, as you can see with this blog here.

The first and most important point about MITES I need to make is concerning my friends. To make you understand how entirely transformative MITES was for me, I need to first say a few things about myself. One, I am a very shy person. I do not make friends quickly, and I'd rather stay in my room reading than do almost anything else. Second, I am a very strange person, and there are not many people who share my special breed of insanity that leads to extreme bursts of creativity (like NaNoWriMo). In two weeks of MITES, I formed ten friends just as strong as those back home, and many more in the weeks to come, and they were all like me. Not exactly like me, because that would have been creepy and boring, but each of them all sharing similar interests (anime FTW) and that inner pull to do things that are new and confusing. We made a movie that I thought was pretty funny that we showed at the MITES Talent Show on the last night:

All together in the supergroup called 3rd Floor Lounge, there was Me, Chris, Kris, M, Jessica, Sabrina, Steven, Jason, Paula, Alex, Horacio, Andy, and two Teaching Assistants, Aaron and Tom. We hung out all the time, got breakfast, made "awkward signs" for each other (like awkward turtle, only better), had epic Nerf Gun battles in the bowels of the Simmons dormitory, worked together on PSets, laughed at the awful food, sang "Yes You Can" when people told us to stop, made the Physics Cave, met Physics Man, sang the Physics Man song, beasted essays, made "Hey, Victor" jokes, ate cake, and in general shared our thoughts and fears and hopes with each other. Oh, and Chris liked stealing any food from the study breaks that wasn't tied down, and sometimes I had to give him a hand. Seriously, he had 11 water bottles one Wednesday night. That's ridiculous, it's not even funny. But seriously, some of my fondest memories are from sitting at the tables in the Student Center eating a plain bagel with plain cream cheese and trying not to laugh as Paula made things really, really awkward. We all still talk and email each other very frequently, in that among the 14 of us, we've created more than 32megabytes of emails. That's pure text. It's about 950 emails. I have more emails from most individual members of 3FL than I do from my entire family. But it wasn't just them. I made very strong friends with many other people from MITES, some of whom write to me about their problems with guys (I'm not sure why I got elected for this. Maybe it's because... No. I have no idea.), or for help on their college application essays, or just to say "THAT'S MAH CLUSTAAAAAAAH!!!!" And what's even more awesome is that most of us are going to meet up again at MIT and get four full years together. That pulls me to MIT just as much as the amazing opportunities the college affords.

The second most incredible thing was the classes. Take your hardest class at your high school right now (those of you still in high school). That's nothing. Forget it. What is behind you does not concern you.

This is the official motto of NASCAR. This and Only Turn Left.
These classes are absolute murder. We had a fun saying at MITES, Eat, Sleep, Study: Choose two. Then the head of the MITES program, Dr. Carter, had to call a special meeting in which he told us that was a joke, and giving up sleep was the wrong way to go. I myself spent many a night working on Biochemistry or Physics until the wee hours of the morning, although I made a promise to myself that I would never stay up past 4:30 and only broke it once. I don't even remember what that time was for, though. Oh, the metaphors. The coursework moves at a highly accelerated pace (Calculus 2 was not fun) and is much more advanced than anything I had ever done. But the classes were designed that way to teach you two things: work in groups, and develop good study skills. I had to make major changes to my study habits (writing essays is a solitary ordeal, but everything else required help), and I think pretty much everyone else did too. Chris was probably the best person I knew for this. He made himself a schedule. I just said, "Oh crap! Biochem's due tomorrow!" and went from there. When we did Problem Sets (PSets), we were encouraged to work on them together, by bouncing ideas around, helping others when they got stuck, getting help when you got stuck, etc. There was a problem with cheating, but that only happened once in one of my classes. People understood that the teachers trusted us, and for the most part, we kept to that (I was never mad at you, Stephan).

The real beauty of the classes that I found was Mans et Manus. Minds and Hands is MIT's motto, but they really mean it. I was one of the lucky few to be in both Biochemistry and Genomics. That was an amazing duo. I'd have Biochemistry in the morning, and we'd learn about gel electrophoresis, how it worked, what it did. And then I'd go to Genomics and actually DO gel electrophoresis in the lab. Incredible. Absolutely stunning. It was here that I decided I wanted to study Biochemistry.

I could go on and talk about how cool and helpful the TAs were, even if they did make fun of us. A lot. Or about how I had lunch with Eric Landers. Yeah. The "Head of the Human Genome Project and now Obama's Science Counsel Co-Chair" Eric Landers (I won the "My hair is almost as big as my lust for Eric Landers" award at the end of MITES. The TAs all gave us mock awards. Chris got the "Aaron Ramirez: Finally someone I can love more than myself" award.). I might mention the time we went on a tour of Boston, or had a 4th of July Barbecue where Stevie did quite the epic maneuver. But I can't sum up the entirety of MITES in a single blog post, so I just include the two most important things. I hope this answered your question, Ngozi ("How was MITES?"), but if not, I can always do another post or two ;-). Thanks, Dad, for commenting on my blog. Yes, my painting surprised me too. I wrote a couple more paragraphs for Heat Resistant on Tuesday. I'm thinking of retitling it, but I can't think of what I was going to call it. Oh well.

Oh hey, this is my fiftieth post!

omgwtfbbqroflolzenzespancakesfbiHooray me!


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey, it's Ngozi '13! This was a fantastic post--you're a very skilled blogger. :)

Wow, MITES sounded like a Blast wrapped in Awesome coated in fantastic pieces of Experience. :) I'm very happy for you! I met some really awesome people on the MIT Junior Fly-In and I can only imagine how it must've been spending a month with people like that. So much fun!

And LOL, I'm a girl, by the way. XD