Campus Life

Level up! Beating the first boss

Lessons I learned from surviving semester one of MIT

Holy crap, I survived!

After successfully — a loose definition of “successfully,” mind you — tackling and conquering the feared, abhorrent monster of the first semester of an MIT education, all I wanted to do was shout my glorious victory cheer to any unfortunate passerby. Perhaps this is why people think MIT kids plus a social situation is the equivalent of 1 divided by zero — disaster.

However, in an attempt both to not warrant myself a visit to the loony bin and to further leave the reputation of the MIT social capabilities in shambles, I shared my battle cry only with fellow victors. What a great feeling. But, I did not leave the battlefield sans scars, even though I had the ultimate shield known lovingly by many freshmen as Pass/No Record.

I learned that to not check your e-mail at least once every three seconds leads to certain death. Similar to Jim Carrey’s character, Bruce, in the comedy Bruce Almighty, I found my endurance drained significantly by the plethora of electronic messages I received. What is this organization? How do they have my e-mail address? Yes, I know that you’re having an event, considering you’ve sent me the same e-mail a bajillion times. And no, I do not want to see you two kids argue over this mailing list about nothing. Can’t you just hit “Reply” instead of “Reply All”? In order to ward off such an annoying and inherently inconvenient attack, I normally employ the “Select All Items” + “Delete” combo.

Besides this, first semester also has the power to change you from a happy, morning person who can easily wake up at 8 a.m. to a nocturnal being who would be much more content staying up until 8 a.m. At first, this ability does not seem like a big deal. With the creation of curtains to block out that pesky daylight and light bulbs to illuminate the time when you actually wish to be awake, who cares when it’s actually day or night? Well, when you have midterms at 9 in the morning and classes at the same time for the next semester, such an attack can be quite powerful. Reversing this convoluted sleep schedule proves to be much more difficult than initializing it, similar to going forward in a reactants-favored reaction with a k value of 10-10. Coffee proves to be the best potion to right this travesty, although a significant amount of willpower is also needed.

Despite all of this and more (just read, I, and others, have survived, and possibly even prospered. We’ve come out wiser — debatably — and ready to beat the crap out of the next semester. First semester might’ve tricked us since we were such newbs, but now that we’ve leveled up and learned some new attacks of our own, second semester and subsequent monsters at MIT will not have such an advantage. (Hopefully. Who knows? This might be one of those annoying games where your character can actually lose skill points and go down a couple of levels … that’s awkward. Let’s just hope not — ignore that last comment — and move on, shall we?) So, be you a senior on your way to fight the last boss of MIT or a measly freshman still growing and learning new abilities, I wish you the best of luck with your next round of MIT. Go kick some … assorted challenges. (you thought I was going to say a--, didn’t you?)