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Ask Nutty B!

By Bruce Wu

Nutty B is currently a graduate student at MIT who tries to give his two cents’ worth on anything and everything. You know the drill! Please e-mail him with any questions, and give him an excuse to procrastinate at 3 a.m. Send all questions to

Dear Nutty B,

I am a senior going to grad school. The deadline to reply to the schools I have been accepted at has passed, and I have accepted the offer from one school. What’s puzzling me now is that the more I think about it the less I am sure about my decision. Did I make the right choice? Will I regret it?


Dear Unsure,

You start to doubt your decision only a few days after you make it? And I thought I was indecisive! Do I know if you made the right choice and if you will regret it? If I could predict whether or not one will regret choosing a grad school, do you think I’d have chosen this place?

What made you start to doubt your choice? I assume from the time you received your acceptance letter to April 15 you’ve had a chance to talk to the professors and students from the potential schools and even had a chance to visit. Did some new information just come up and make you wonder? If so, and if you think it’s that important (for example, you just discovered Stanford was not in Texas and you couldn’t go on living so far from the Bush ranch), then it’s not too late to change your decision. Call the schools and explain to them the true reason, and if it’s reasonable, I’m sure people will listen. However, if this feeling of doubt surfaced simply because you were uneasy about your future, I’ve got news for ya: it’s normal!

When it comes to something we aren’t exactly sure about, we are likely to get a little uneasy. I am sure you’ve considered all circumstances and made the decision you think is best for you, and I think that’s all you can do as a human being. Instead of wondering if you made the right choice or if you would regret it, how about believing you’ve made the right choice? In the future, if something doesn’t go exactly as you’ve planned, try to turn it around so you won’t regret your original decision. You are entitled to your own life: you can have it, or you can let it have you. I am sure you know which one to choose!

Dear Nutty B,

This is a long shot, but in case we share similar tastes in literature, perhaps you can help me. I’ve been an avid reader all my life, especially of the fantasy genre. But I’ve been so busy reading scientific journals since I came here that now I want go back to reading but feel totally disconnected and have no idea what to read. Can you help?


Dear Bookworm,

As it turns out I also enjoy reading fantasy literature. I don’t read sci-fi, however, so if that’s what you are into, I can’t really help. Also, it’s quite difficult to suggest a booklist for you without knowing your taste, and since I’m known to be a bit of a nutcase, my taste isn’t exactly “normal.” How about if I just tell you a few of the books I recently read and enjoyed?

In addition to the popular Harry Potter series and the Lord of the Rings trilogy, I have been quite hooked on George Martin’s A Song of Fire and Ice. If you haven’t read Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons, I highly recommend them. And this is not exactly fantasy, but if you are into really long books that make you cry like a baby, perhaps you can try Jamie Oliver’s At Swim, Two Boys.

Again, these are just the books I’ve read and enjoyed, not a list of Best Sellers or anything. My advice would be for you to go to Amazon or Barnes and Nobles and look at their best sellers and see what other people are reading — I’ve found quite a few good books this way. Of course, don’t read so much that you forget about your scientific journal articles!!