For people I love, I made a short compilation of what I did and how the way I look at things changed during my first year at MIT. A holistic list of different exposures. I will talk about important parts and mentality changes in further details, hopefully at other essays.
- Leave your comfort zone. Life begins at the point where you try new things
- Students at tech-schools like MIT are also social, but just in a different way. MIT is at the top of “Work Hard-Play Hard” lists. In fact, I like the way how MIT is social rather than the way how some Ivy League colleges are.
- Realized how approachable and humble persons are the amazing professors and brilliant students at MIT. The same goes for engineers working at top companies at top positions.
- Witnessed how technology can foster arts and social sciences. The mentality that social sciences and engineering are unbundled is changing very quickly. Benefiting most to humanity is not through financing, but engineering our future
- Finally confirmed that the following statement is completely false: “Top universities in America are better not because of better education, but because of all the brilliant students all around the world. Universities in Europe, Turkey are for sure better places for the undergraduate education or the difference is very little. ” A lot of people don’t have the idea of how a great education could be as it is at prominent American colleges and they think that “all teach the same calculus at the end.”
- Finding out that actually the officers/advisors/staff are people who are there to help you, not to put obstacles on your way (not everyone is as friendly as people are at MIT) as it happens a lot in Turkey.
- Coding is not just for Computer Engineering people, it is a means to quantitate and model our world that everyone will need to learn how to use in near future. The perspective that computer science brings to our lives is becoming more important than the perspective we gain from chemistry or biology that are taught everywhere to create foundational scientific thinking. I expect foundational CS classes to replace some of our science classes even at elementary school level.
- Declared my major as Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, leaving my comfort zone of mathematics, at the end :D
- First research experience at MIT Media Lab Camera Culture Group and realizing that almost all students get involved in research at MIT
- Lead Electrical Engineering part of MIT Robotics Team, first experience with robots
- Attended MIT Web Programming Competition over IAP, buying my first IP address and deploying the first website “Foodo”. Learning the magic that happens behind the scenes of web
- Learned how the computer works (Class number: 6.004), writing my (almost) first lines of codes and committing first codes to GitHub
- Pulled my first all nighter during IAP for the Foodo web application project
- Engineering, Innovation and Design class. Realizing that art is embedded into engineering and proving myself that innovative engineers are more then “nerd”s as people say (it is cool to be a nerd btw)
- Applied for over 15 internships for summer and don’t even getting any answer from most of them (that’s exactly what happens to most freshmen at MIT).
- “You are coming from Turkey, right? So, what is the issue with ISIS and what is going on Middle East?” discussions with almost everyone :D
- Seminars from intellectuals like Noam Chomsky
- Deep philosophical discussions with Turkish Tea and Delight, more philosophical discussions at Alif-Lam-Meem, more philosophical discussions at the Freshman Advising Seminar “Science and The Meaning Of Life” at the home of our housemaster linguistic professor Suzanne
- Occasional interfaith discussions sometimes after Tea parties, after a lecture or even at swimming pool, Bible studies with Eric Johnson and organizing interfaith hang outs :D
- Friday Halaqas with Sister Hoda (special thanks for delicious halal foods)
- Mind-blowing psychology lectures with Professor Gabrieli and occasional discussions with him after lectures
- All the awesome people I met from dozens of different cultures and countries and the awesome community and friends at Maseeh Hall.
- Organized over 20 Tea Parties and Birthday Parties in my room, serving Turkish Tea, Coffee, Delight, reaching over 20 ppl in a Tea Party in 200 feet square, making 2 German-spoken tea parties and attending German Stammtisch.
- Attended my first Boat Cruise Parties and teaching friends how to pull Halay, The Turkish traditional group dance.
- Hacked MIT buildings by climbing on the top of The Dome of MIT and the roof of Stata Building to watch the Charles river at night.
- Crushed a car with a huge hammer during Rush Week and using the roller coaster built by students from MIT East Campus during REX Week
- Played the dark Sith Lord at aReal Time Fantasy Role Play (where everyone has a booklet of roles and skills and get to play it completely in real time) with MIT Assassins Guild and slaughtered Jedis.
Clubs and Events:
- At MIT, there is not much competition to be at leadership positions of impressive clubs comparing to Ivy League schools, because everyone here is more concerned about the research and tech-projects they make.
- Planned faculty-student hang out events as Undergraduate Association(UA) Education Committee.
- As UA Nominations Board, selected Institute Committee members of MIT that make policy decisions together with faculty.
- Organized various cultural events as Turkish Student Association.
- Organized a freshman mentorship program by Atif for me and friends.
- Chaired for MIT’s International Model United Nations Conference MITMUNC.
- Realized that there are more sports than football, basketball, volleyball, table tennis and swimming that dominate 95% of Turkish sports culture :D
- Observed students running around at 2 am :D
- Got a Yellow Belt at Jiu Jitsu martial art
- Learned how to ice-skate
- Swam a kilometer (almost) every week
- Completed Scuba Diving training
- Snowboarded at Neshoba Valley
- Played Table Tennis with dudes at the basement of Maseeh Hall
- Next years’ plans: Sailing, Fencing, Pistol, Archery and getting MIT’s pirate’s license