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Group Study Prepares Students for Life

I understand that there are lots of perfectly nice people on campus who just happen to hold some kooky ideas, and that's fine by me. However, Naveen Sunkavally's column ["An Intrinsically Painful Process," Oct. 14] is stupid. But at least in the naive, idealistic sense.

Sunkavally attacks study groups and review sessions for two main faults: no real studying gets done in the former and people learn "cheaply" in the latter. I work with others because it's a lot more fun that lonely early-morning marathon tooling, even in the stimulating company of curdling cereal and fermenting socks. As for the "cheap" learning that occurs in review sessions for the self-motivationally-impaired, I prefer to call it "efficient."

Some of MIT's majors are inherently painful, but the amazing thing is that many people go to such lengths to hose themselves. Taking all these extraneous "minors" and "extracurricular activities" you'd think they were just here to goof off. But the thing to remember is that they've got more to learn than they have time to sit down and patiently bang their heads against the floor until everything becomes clear.

What does the real world really like? Is it a patient forgiving place where there's always time to think things through clearly and thoroughly, or is it a rushed place where systems are nonlinear and nothing ever cancels out? Assuming the latter, I think MIT teaches us what we need to know: There's more stuff out there than we can handle by ourselves.

Joung-Mo Kang '00