MIT Tech Talk spoke with some of the new freshmen on August 26, as they rolled into the Student Center with their luggage and high hopes. We asked them why they chose MIT, what they'd like to major in, and what their expectations about the Institute were. Here's what they told us:
Manhattan Beach, CA
Prospective major: "Not a clue. I've changed it so many times already."
Why MIT? "It seemed like the place to go if you know your ma-jor's going to be in science."
Expectations: "It's going to be hard and fun, I hope. I don't think its going to disappoint me."
Prospective major: "Most likely biology."
Why MIT? "I came here for prefrosh week and that made up my mind. Everyone was so nice. I went to other schools and they weren't as organized. The people weren't as friendly, either. MIT did a lot to make sure that I came -- mailing me stuff, calling me."
Expectations: "I expect it to be an amazing four years. I can't wait for it to start."
Prospective major: "Maybe chemical engineering. I did research in chemical engineering in high school -- looking at optimal conditions for the micro-encapsulation of pharmaceuticals."
Why MIT? "It was the best choice for me. My father is an engineer and he said this was his dream school."
Expectations: "A hard workload and learning about new people. I'm expecting the bestï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ I want to continue with track and field. I talked to some upper-class athletes who said it's actually easier to work things into your schedule if you play a sport. It forces you not to take things for granted. It's a matter of time management."
North Attleboro, MA
Prospective major: "Double in electrical engineering and biology."
Why MIT? "Well, I'm from Massachusetts, so I came here every year for four years to the Mass. Science Fair. It was familiar." (He took first place each year.)
Expectations: "I don't really know. I'm pretty anxious and nervous I guess. It will be a lot more competitive than high school."
Prospective major: "I'm thinking of chemical engineering. I'm really interested in chemistry and medicine."
Why MIT? "When I came here, I felt really comfortable and since I was interested in engineering, I thought this would be my best opportunity. My older brother (SB 1995, electrical engineering) told me a lot of stories. The good ones were about research opportunities and classes. The bad stories were about the times when he had too much work to do."
Expectations: "Fun. But also challenging and interesting and exhausting. Of course it's going to be hard, but I'm looking forward to it."
Saddle River, NJ
Prospective major: "Computer science; maybe some electrical engineering."
Why MIT? "Location, people, academic reputation."
Expectations: "The people in my high school had a high intellectual buzz about them. I think MIT might parallel that to some extent."
Prospective major: "Course 6."
Why MIT? "The sports?" (Mr. Ojumu was joking about being late for soccer tryouts.) "It was the strongest choice academically and the scholarship made it affordable."
Expectations: "If even half of what people say is true, I expect to be really, really busy."
Prospective major: "Biology."
Why MIT? "I really liked MIT when I came to visit. I visited Harvard and it's a beautiful campus. But it just seemed like they knew they had a good school and they didn't really take time to talk to me. It was as if they thought: 'Our reputation speaks for itself.'"
Expectations: "I'm looking forward to the freedom and figuring out what I want to do. I'm really looking forward to classes, because by the end of the summer I feel kind of worthless because I haven't done anything all summer."
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on September 2, 1998.