Campus Life vivian's reflections

Why I chose MIT

A trip down memory lane

I entered high school not having MIT on my mind. When I walked around MIT’s campus as a 14 year old, I didn’t see myself being a student here. I was a tourist. A random high schooler sitting with other prospective students in the large lecture hall of 26-100.

The idea of going to MIT was a dream. But despite viewing MIT as some faraway and unreachable place, when I got back home I was still curious about the university, so I went on the MIT Admissions blogs to gain further insight into the college applications process.

Over time, I continued reading the blogs to learn more about MIT. I grew to love MIT’s culture, and I liked the blogger community. I appreciated the bloggers’ authenticity and honesty, something that I didn’t find on other college blogs. The blogs made me aware of the various challenges that MIT presented to students, yet that didn’t deter me from applying. I fell in love with MIT because I saw these students as the type of people who would support me when I felt down and inspire me to use science and technology to improve society. I knew that college would not be easy no matter where I went. Being a more optimistic person back then, I thought that the academic rigor and difficulty would benefit me in the long term, even if that meant dealing with the plethora of stress found at MIT.

What started for me as a website for high school and college advice ended up becoming a website for leisure and internet rabbit holes on the weekends. As the months passed by, I grew more certain that my dream school was MIT. Even though some of the subjects on the blogs were recurrent, such as academics, there was always also something new. These random topics excited me, whether it was IAP trips or a student-built boba machine. The more I read the blogs, the more I wanted to be a part of MIT. I admired the students’ passion in areas that went beyond STEM: arts, music, education outreach, and so much more.

When it came time to decide between different universities, I did not like the idea of missing out on certain aspects of one college by choosing another, but I knew such an outcome was inevitable. I simply could not have everything all at once. After spending months reading the blogs throughout high school, it was clear that I would commit to MIT.

First off, I wanted to move to a completely new region of the U.S. and live in a city. The research and academic opportunities at the other university I was considering were arguably just as good as MIT's, but I believed that MIT’s science-focused environment was more suitable for me.

Another major factor was MIT’s unique housing system and dorm culture. The idea of living in New House’s cultural houses was very appealing to me because their small size and distinct personalities allowed them to be very tight-knit. I also liked the idea of living with upperclassmen because they would serve as great peer mentors. In hindsight, I probably would have found a nice social circle at the other university if I chose the right dorm, but I can’t imagine how things would turn out to be.

It has been a year since I clicked on that accept button and joined the MIT Class of 2025. I have to admit that there have been moments in which I was so stressed that I wondered whether my life at that other university would have been happier and easier. Sometimes, the coursework at MIT has shaken my confidence and made me say IHTFP in my head on repeat. But overall I don’t regret my decision and I am glad that I chose MIT.

I cherish and love the communities I found here, from dorm life to clubs. Many years after graduating from MIT, what will stay with me isn’t the knowledge I learned to earn my degree but rather the many memories I made with the people here. I won’t forget the time when more than a hundred students across all class years sang songs together past midnight in the Next House basement during CPW. I won’t forget the contagious energy and enthusiasm at ESP Firestorm where I saw students present on random topics from South Dakota to Scrabble in five minutes or less. I mean, where else can I find people that also share this nerdy sense of humor?

I am aware that MIT will present me with greater challenges in the future. Despite this, I look forward to making new friends and becoming closer to my existing friends through meaningful social experiences during my four years at MIT.