CPW is a time for celebration, confetti, and cake. As a prefrosh, you will be welcomed with hundreds of MIT events that will entertain, pamper and feed you. I guarantee that you will overbook yourself. You will scratch your head deciding which event to attend. You will wish you could be at two places at once, maybe three, or even four. At night, you will party (dry) on Baker’s rooftop with newly-made friends drinking (unmixed) Monsters. Then you will sleep with your body fatigued but your mind restless. Your day will have gone by in a split second.
But do not fall for the trap. Do not be suckered by CPW.
You got into MIT because you’re a head-hunter. You are the smartest in your school, in your district, and possibly in your country. You overachieve, and then you overachieve some more. For you, the only off-days from school are sleep days — and you have no sleep days. Dedication to work is what brought you here. And CPW is no exception. You need to be at the top of your game. Bring your textbooks, your calculators, and your lamps, because you have studying to do.
By now, you should have associated MIT with “top science university,” “epicenter of technological discoveries,” and “cool sci-fi references.” That puts pressure on you to aim for excellence. Instead of going to “Make Your Own Ice Cream Smiley Face,” you should be strategizing and planning out your next four years here. And if you want to be ambitious, you should plan to graduate in three years. You already got into MIT; now you need to ensure that you get into MIT’s graduate schools. You better make some appointments with MIT’s graduate admissions while you’re here.
Will you be missing out on CPW fun? No. Sure, when you are studying for your AP Physics C test, you will see current undergrads playing Ultimate Frisbee outside on the crisp green grass, but this is for the best. That AP credit will help you skip MIT’s physics class. You want to get as many credits as you can before you start in the fall (so you can graduate in three years). Besides, Ultimate Frisbee is just hours of mindless throwing and jumping and sweating. Players run around after a disk, trying to catch it, ultimately to throw it again in another direction. Maybe it’s just me not knowing how to play, but I think you would prefer studying to sports, because you’re MIT!
You came to MIT to see MIT, and you shall! Sit in a class. Or two. Or three. Or have a whole day of just lectures. Remember to take notes — you may need them in the next two years. After class, I advise you to talk to the professors. First impressions are always important, so pronounce your name clearly to them. Better yet, use a nickname. And ask good questions. If they are Nobel laureates, quiz them on their research. You never know — you might know something they don’t. And lastly, shake hands. Because if you don’t, you might just come off as condescending.
CPW is only the first of many opportunities for you to get that competitive edge on your classmates. Start off strong. Continue to work hard. Show no mercy. Soon you’ll distinguish yourself as a genius among geniuses. That’s truly whom we all want to emulate. Those super-geniuses have left MIT and changed in the world. One MIT graduate, Tony Stark (aka Iron Man), has changed the world and then some. I have high hopes that our Class of 2015 will have the next Tony Stark. And if you work hard, it could be you.