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Ask Nutty B

0By Nutty B

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 a.m. Please send all questions to

Dear Nutty B,

I am a senior right now. As you probably can guess, I am among the thousands of students applying for grad school. Both of my parents got their degrees at MIT, and they would like me to stay here for grad school, too.

The thing is, I don’t want to. I am what people would call a “good kid” that follows his parents’ orders to the letter, and since I was very little, I have always obeyed my parents. ... However, this time I really want to make my own decision.

I tried talking with them, but they always ended the conversation with “of course we want you to make your own decision, but we both think MIT will be the best choice for you and we both strongly recommend you to stay.” This is hopeless. What do I do?

-- Good Kid No More

Dear Good Kid No More,

Phew... when you asked me to guess what you were doing, I was afraid you were going to tell me that you were in the process of putting a truck on top of the dome or panting the Harvard Bridge with all the digits of pi!

I don’t think you should consider yourself no longer a good kid simply because you have a different opinion from your parents. There is no doubt that many people would kill to have a MIT degree, and I can certainly understand why your parents would want you to carry on their legacy.

However, it’s your life and it’s you that will be walking on the path you choose, not your parents. Mindlessly following their order is simply foolish. You never know, maybe in two years your parents’ favorite place will change, and what will you do then? Change your school every time your parents come to you and tell you that another place is nice?

Grad school is not something you can just waltz in and out in a year or two. It requires your total commitment both physically and mentally, and if you don’t like the place you choose, trust me, your next few years will be hell!

There are places around the world that are equally prestigious and wonderful to study and to do research at. Don’t simply let people’s “You have to be here because we are number one” fool you. Wherever you go, people there are going to tell you they are number one! The most important thing is to face yourself and see what you want.

However, this is not to say that your parents’ suggestion should be ignored. Think carefully when all the acceptance letters come in a few months and see what is the best for you.

If there is a place you have always dreamt of going, then by all means make sure to see the dream through. There may only be one chance in your life!

Anyway, I will close my answer with a suggestion for you to listen to Whitney Houston’s new song “Try It on My Own.” Perhaps the lyrics will inspire you somehow. Take care.

Dear Nutty B,

I can’t stand this anymore! I live in one of dorms on campus and it is right beside a construction site. Every morning at 6 a.m. I am woken up by the construction workers’ trucks and swearing and the noise goes on until noon. Not only is the noise level unbearable, the starting time of the noise takes away my already-limited sleep everyday. I am so frustrated. Help!

-- Sleepless on Albany

Dear Sleepless,

Let me guess, you live right beside the old Necco Factory? Well, Nutty B does, too. The noise does drive one deaf and nuts. (What else do you think that makes me so nutty that I decide to write a column?)

However, what’s different between you and me is that I am so used to the noise and the construction workers’ loud swearing at 6:30 a.m. that I now know who likes to greet his colleagues with the F-word and who likes to use the S-phrase with his co-workers. It’s actually fun to run this analysis.

Humor set aside, have you contacted the MIT Housing Office? You should definitely express your concerns both to your dorm student government and to the Housing Office and let them know this continuing problem. It’s your right to make sure you get what you pay for from your rent, especially after the rent hike this year.

Make sure to get as many voices as possible when you contact the office, so that people there wouldn’t think you are just contacting them because you are drunk. People in the Housing Office are usually quite helpful, when you present your case in a convincing way. Good luck!