Saturday, March 15, 2008

Mile 26

Ok sorry guys this is long and serious (most of the time)...

1. Happy pi day! I hope your ratio of fun : crap was at least = pi!

2. Some thoughts on the college admissions process, MIT, and the meaning of life (no, really!):

Applying to college is like running a marathon. Your preparation starts months, in our case years, ahead for this one race. We’ve slaved through high school for three and half years, subjected ourselves to tests than run four, even five hours, spent sleepless nights on during deadline week. All for a couple of form letters that barely fill a standard sheet of paper. “But Alli, it’s not just the letter, ____ is my dream!” …or, “But Alli, finishing the Boston Marathon is my dream!”

Take a step back. Why are you applying to college? No, not because you want to go there. Why do you want to further your education? College only lasts four years, an hour in a week of life. What counts is what you do with your education. Many kids our age just don’t have the opportunity to go to college at all. We should leap at any higher education we can get, MIT or otherwise, because we have access to it and therefore it is our responsibility to put it to good use. I, for example, want to go to college to make a difference in the world. Is MIT going to make that difference for me? Had I been rejected, would I have abandoned my dream of changing the world? Absolutely not! Changing the world depends on whether I have the conviction to follow through with my dream, not if I spend a mere four years at a cool school.

Continuing with the analogy, why are you running the Boston Marathon? If I ever ran (ha ha), it would be to raise awareness and support for Habitat for Humanity, since I do a lot of work with my local branch. Now, if I go halfway and pass out, or at the very end some race official, for whatever reason, pulled my aside and told me not to finish the race, will I disown HfH and never volunteer there again? Um, no.

Turns out that all our preparation wasn’t actually for college applications (think of those as an added bonus), but for ourselves. We found dreams, inspiration, and motivation. We laid the foundation to do great things wherever we go. “Doesn’t that fit the spirit of MIT? I’d fit in perfectly!” But that isn’t the spirit of MIT, that’s the spirit of YOU!

So here we are, mile 26. We feel like we’ve been in this race forever. We know exactly where the finish line is and we are all capable of reaching it. If you finish, congrats! If a random dude pulls you over to the side two seconds before you break the ribbon, takes your chip and chucks it in the Charles River, thereby preventing you from finishing, you’ve got every right to be angry and slap the guy in the face. And either way, don’t lose sight of why you wanted to run in the first place.

Let me finish with quotes. I like quotes!
“Don’t let today’s disappointments cast a shadow on tomorrow’s dreams.”
“Let us think of education as the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength for our nation.”


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