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I am Callie McRee, and I’m from the sunny central coast of California. I’m graduating in June from San Luis Obispo High School, and I’m eager to transition from my small town to the city. Outside of school, I spend most of my time dancing ballet, jazz, and contemporary; I plan on continuing dancing at MIT. I’m excited to meet my new classmates in September!
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From that fateful moment on Dec. 16 when I was accepted to MIT, I knew that I was in for a very different four years than most of my friends, should I choose to attend. The shock of getting into the college that I had always considered my dream school didn’t wear off until several months later. However, as reality sunk in and I enjoyed the warm California winter and plentiful sleep of senior year, I started to wonder — was MIT truly where I wanted to go?

Once I was accepted, “MIT” quickly became my nickname in school — especially when I got an answer wrong in class, “Way to go, MIT,” was definitely a favorite phrase. The idea that I might not go was preposterous to the majority of my friends. I knew, however, that it had to feel right. As I did my research, I came across article after article about the intense stress, sleepless nights, and ice-cold winters that came with an MIT education. Alongside those, however, came articles about the strong collaboration and brilliance of the student body, phenomenal research opportunities, and amazing faculty. Researching MIT suddenly made the idea of being “the stupidest person in the room” seem not only bearable, but oddly desirable.

I was growing more confident that MIT was the right place for me, but I was still waiting for CPW to confirm my thoughts. I can’t say I was feeling too adoring of MIT when I got off my red-eye flight Thursday morning. Nor when I walked across campus to “Event with Food” at Senior House (I hadn’t had breakfast yet) to find … no food? Fortunately, by the time I had chugged the largest cup of coffee La Verde’s sold and attended a successful East Campus barbecue, MIT was looking significantly better.

The opening ceremony that night was when I knew MIT was the perfect fit for me. By that time, the rest of the prefrosh had arrived, and as I looked around the auditorium, I was thrilled to think, “These are my classmates.” We easily bonded over the nerdy jokes that Dean of Admissions Stuart Schmill ’86 noted a good majority of us had written in the comment section of our mid-year report, and we clapped for our new favorite musical group — the MIT Logarhythms. The various displays by the student groups that performed that night really proved that the students’ talents extend beyond academics. As a dancer, I was definitely thrilled to see this.

My good feelings for MIT continued when I woke up feeling revived after my four-and-a-half hours of sleep — the most sleep I got out of all the nights of CPW. By 3:30 p.m. that day, I took a detour to an Athena cluster to officially commit.

Many of my wiser friends had told me that any qualms I had about choosing a college would be settled when I visited the campus. I had a hard time believing this before I visited MIT, but it could not have been more true. Being on campus and meeting current and future students made me absolutely positive that MIT could not be a more perfect place for me. I’m aware that CPW isn’t a very accurate portrayal of MIT during the year — Baker isn’t constantly blasting music, liquid nitrogen isn’t being served nearly everywhere, and p-set groups are much easier to stumble upon than events with free food. However, through meeting the people and hearing about the different academic departments, student groups, and international internships, I knew that even without all the joys of CPW, MIT would be a welcoming place for me come fall. It was simply a fit; there is really no other way to put it. MIT is home, and after being there, I couldn’t imagine myself anywhere else.