As freshmen arrived on campus last week to start their four years at the Institute, MIT Tech Talk asked some of them about what they looked forward to and worried about.
Baton Rouge, La.
Major: Double in aero/astro and management
Interests: Baseball (varsity or intramural), guitar (classical), student government
Expectations: Meet as many people as possible, get exposed to very different cultures (I went to an all-boy Catholic school that was 90 percent white.)
Fears: Lack of acceptance by peers
Looking forward to: Opportunities, extracurricular activities
Fort Pierce, Fla.
Major: Double in brain and cognitive sciences and management with a minor in biomedical engineering
Interests: Varsity tennis, playing the guitar and bass (rock) and viola (classical), snowboarding
Expectations: Academic--challenging; social--a supercharged social experience ... I come from a small city. Here I'll live four years with friends. Boston has all the music I'll want.
Fears: Time management
Looking forward to: Meeting new people. It's a cultural explosion: people from Africa, Thailand ... I come from a uniform environment and I was the only Indian kid. ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½
Major: Electrical engineering
Interests: Crew, intramural sports
Expectations: Right now I'm just soaking everything in. I'm expecting to meet a lot of new people, different people. At home there weren't many Chinese or other Asian people. Most of my friends were white.
Fears: Making the transition from having everything there for me to having to get it myself. I think I'm a pretty responsible person, but going to college is redefining that.
Looking forward to: At home I'm at the top of my class and at MIT you're not. So [I'm looking forward to] learning from my peers as well as my professors.
Argentina via Miami, Fla.
Major: Brain and cognitive sciences
Interests: Journalism, ballroom dancing, a capella group, anything else ... I'll just have to see.
Expectations: To meet different people and hear their different experiences. Exciting research. Work my butt off and have fun.
Fears: All those math, physics, computer classes. My fear is that I suck at these and I don't want to flunk. Also, you know how you have bad days when everything goes wrong? These will be magnified in college. My fear is that I'll be in a dorm with roommates who won't understand.
Looking forward to: The next two weeks, before classes start.
Lagos, Nigeria via Cheltenham, England
Major: Electrical engineering
Interests: Dancing, cinema, acting
Expectations: Hope I keep up with the work and I don't drown. Hope I get to meet loads of people from all over the world. Not just the geeky aspects but doing loads of things I couldn't do at my old school.
Fears: The lecture rooms. I've seen how big they are and heard about the teachers picking on you when you've been sleeping.
Looking forward to: Working with these amazing professors.
Kansas City, Mo.
Interests: Cheerleading squad, tae kwan do, Assassin's Guild
Expectations: I'm expecting to be challenged a bit. As everyone knows, it's not easy here. People tell me aero/astro is one of the harder majors, so that will be interesting.
Fears: I had fears, then I came to visit and I thought it wouldn't be as bad as I expected. I found out that even the really smart peple know how to relax on weekends and have a social life.
Looking forward to: Picking my classes for my major. This is the first true freedom I've had in picking classes, ever.
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Interests: Diving team, maybe the newspaper, a religious group, Anime Club
Expectations: I want to see a new perspective of things. I've been taught a one-dimensional way. Go back to physics, the frictionless surface. I want to see the friction. How to go from theoretical to real life.
Fears: My only fear is that I'll lose my girlfriend. She's joining the Navy, going to Chicago in November.
Looking forward to: New people, new things, new experiences.
Major: Political science and music composition
Interests: Theater, music (piano), everything
Expectations: Hope to take classes that challenge me since I haven't ever had that. I've always been bored in school and I don't think I will be [here]. And I also want to have fun. Definitely.
Fears: None really except I really hope I get a single dorm. I tend to be a little eccentric and not quite as neat as I need to be. To study I need to have my music turned all the way up (from classical to metal).
Looking forward to: Just doing something new, being in a new place.
Blue Bell, Penn.
Major: Maybe applied math
Interests: I've swum since I was seven. I'll continue doing that. I'll try different things.
Expectations: It'll have its ups and downs, but I'll constantly be busy and interested in a trying-everything-sort-of way.
Fears: Not really. I figure whatever happens, it'll work out somehow.
Looking forward to: The people that I'll meet. I've already met some of the most fascinating people who have things they're really, really good at or really passionate about.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on August 29, 2001.