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MIT held some surprises for undergrads

The following members of the Class of 2003 discussed their expectations and aspirations for their MIT careers with Tech Talk on the first day of freshmen orientation (see MIT Tech Talk, Sept. 1, 1999) Here are their reflections four years later.

Josh Tasoff
Major: Economics
Hometown: Tarzana, Calif.
Future: Graduate school at the University of California at Berkeley.
"Joining a fraternity, specifically ZBT, was a good choice for me. It helped me make long-lasting friendships and has always been a source of good times. Ironically, studying abroad was one of my highlights even though I wasn't at MIT. I spent a term at Oxford and traveled around Europe, which was very fun and enlightening ... Having a serious romantic relationship matured me and taught me a little bit about the enigma that is called woman. Last and certainly not least, I consider discovering my own academic interests to be a highlight. I had no idea in high school that I could be passionate about economics. Who knew?"

Avni Shah
Major: EECS
Hometown: Huntsville, Ala.
Future: A job with Google in California. Eventually plans to return to MIT to earn an M.Eng. degree.
"The thing that stands out most is that I had much less time than I thought I would (I didn't realize how time-intensive Course 6 actually is). In the time I had, though, I was able to find things that suited my interests. As I expected, MIT has a group for almost anything you could possibly want to do." Highlights included "four years of dancing in MIT's cultural show, taking office in Tau Beta Pi, meeting some of the most amazing people I'll probably ever meet."

Soyini Liburd
Major: EECS
Hometown: Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
Future: Software engineering
"I didn't know what to expect, so I can't really make any comparisons. I found a great balance between sports, arts, entertainment and classes." Highlights included "my UROPs and the classes I took with professors Patrick Winston, Marvin Minsky and Ronald Rivest."

Maria "Malena" Stiteler
Major: Aero/astro and EECS
Hometown: Waterford, Pa.
Future: Air Force commission as second lieutenant after another year at MIT.
"I've had a great time, at least some of the time, and learned a lot, although mainly outside the classroom. I'm really thankful for my friends--I don't think anyone could make it through MIT sanely without a group of people they are close to. Check back next year for how I feel about graduating--I bet I'll be more excited than most, with five years under my belt!"

Tokumasa Yamashita
Major: EECS
Hometown: Dumont, N.J. (also lived in Zambia, Ivory Coast)
Future: Will work for an educational publishing startup company and attend Universal Theological Seminary.
"I thought that anyone who received a degree in Course 6 from MIT would be able to fix a microwave, VCR or any electronic appliance in a heartbeat (just like in the movies), and I learned that's totally not true. I feel very embarrassed when I tell people that I'm an EE major at MIT, and they bring a broken CD player or whatever and ask me to fix it but I have no clue what to do. I'm like, 'Umm ... well, I can explain to you how circuits work or how signals are processed ... but I don't know how to fix your CD player.'"

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on June 4, 2003.

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