The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 45.0°F | Overcast

Ask

Nutty B

By Nutty B

Columnist

Nutty B is currently a graduate student at MIT. Please e-mail him with whatever question you would like someone to listen to, and help him have an excuse to procrastinate at 3:00 a.m. Please send all questions to askNuttyB@yahoo.com.

Dear Nutty B,

Are the questions you get real? Do you really have real people asking you problems of their life? How do you manage to get so many questions?

--Curious

Dear Curious,

I am going to answer your question with one question: Are you real?

If you are, then I am sure I just answered your question! If you aren’t, then perhaps I am really insane and imaging this whole conversation.

I have no idea how I manage to get so many questions. My charm, perhaps? You would be surprised to see how many people seek advice from others but are too shy to ask. I am here to help not only because I am darn good at it, but also because I am still redeeming my homeless-doughnut-taking sin!

Anyway, you can sleep peacefully now knowing I am not insane!

Dear Nutty B,

I am a graduate student here at MIT, and I have a small dilemma: I hate research! I guess you could say that I didn’t exactly know what I was getting into when I decided to go to graduate school. I’ve grown to love the lifestyle, however, and I’m thoroughly enjoying my just-above-poverty-level stipend. I’ve taken to surfing the Internet all day at work and so far my advisor hasn’t noticed. The checks arrive on time in my bank account every month, and I can’t say that I object.

My question to you is this: should I feel guilty for robbing a world-class institution such as MIT of their precious dollars? I would get another job, but this deal is just too sweet.

--Slowing the Losing of Alacrity for Critical Knowledge in Engineering Research

Dear Slowing the Losing of Alacrity for Critical Knowledge in Engineering Research,

What a long name! Did you find it from the Internet, too?

Are you robbing MIT? No. It’s not MIT you are robbing. It’s the poor undergrads! They have been the ones faithfully (but unwillingly) paying their tuitions so that MIT has the money to pay for your Internet browsing and beer drinking. You better start booking your confession session in your church/temple/etc. now and be nice to those dreamy-eyed undergrads in the Infinite corridor from now on!

Whether there is something really wrong with you depends on what stage of grad studies you are in now. If you just started and haven’t started to like the torture... I mean research, then it’s no big deal! Most people in their first year don’t even know for which advisor they are going to work.

On the other hand, if you have been here for ten years and still just go to your office everyday to browse the Web, then perhaps you should worry.

A degree from MIT is highly desirable, but it’s not for everyone, and there is nothing wrong with not getting a degree from MIT. What’s the point of staying here if no one is doing what you want to do or you don’t like what you do?

It does take time to find your passion in life, but once you find it, stick with it. If you are still searching for it, then explore all possibilities. Don’t just settle for an okay-paying job if this is the only reason you are here. There are tons of others: pimping for instance.

Go find your real dream and make sure to see it through when you find it. Remember this: the admissions committee chose you not only because they trusted your ability to be a scientist, but also your ability to be a good decision maker!