(energetic rock music) – Hi, welcome back to
the MIT is… podcast. I’m Melissa. I’m a senior in Course 15,
which is Management. (chuckles) – Where you from? – Okay, I’m from Long
Island, New York originally. I live in Simmons on campus. (Melissa clears throat) Let’s see, somethings I do? I play a violin in Chair
Music Society on campus. I’m in Student Alumni Association. I’m an Orientation
Leader, Associate Advisor, tour guide, all that stuff, yeah. – A tour guide? – I am. – Do you talk louder
when you’re a tour guide. – I do. – Ah, cool.
(Melissa laughs) Alright, hi, I’m Gonzo. You know who I am. I am a senior, somehow. I study 6-2, which is
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. I’m from a small town of Lufkin, Texas, so, first person from
there to come to MIT. So, you know, let’s go Lufkin Panthers! Yeah, I do a lot of things on campus. As you can tell from my
shirt, I’m in Kappa Sigma, one of the 27 member fraternities. I do this. (laughs) That’s another thing I do. I’m on the Interfraternity Council. I do stuff just everywhere, oh, HackMIT, I was on the organizing
committee for that. And, yeah, so I’m all over the place. But, yeah, we have some
exciting stuff today that we’re gonna talk about. So, as you can probably tell, huh, why are there two seniors, but no freshman?
(Melissa laughs) Well, none of the freshman
we emailed replied to us, so we’re gonna try to get
some for the next podcast, maybe to talk more about
their first few weeks here at Nerd Camp.
– Yep. – Can you just tilt the camera down, can we get our master producer
(Melissa laughs) yeah, tilt down, hello, introduce yourself.
(women giggling) – Hi, I’m Julia.
(all laugh) I don’t go to the Nerd
Camp, what did you call it? – Nerd Camp.
– Don’t go to Nerd Camp. – Yeah, it’s like summer
camp, but of nerds. – I go to art camp across
the river at Emerson. (Gonzo chuckles) And let’s get back to podcast. (Melissa laughs) – These past few summers,
I’ve actually been interning at Microsoft, the small
little tech company started by Bill Gates.
– Oh, my god, stop. (both laugh) – With the mission to put
a computer in every house and every home. And, yeah, I decided to intern
there again last summer, and did a decent job, and so,
they gave me a return offer. Yesterday, I actually signed it. So, now I know what I’m
doing after graduation, which is great now, ’cause now, I can just kind of hang out, relax, and focus on passing biology,
which apparently I need to graduate from this place. But yeah, yesterday, we
were just all together with my parents, some
close friends on campus, at the Muddy, which is a pub on campus, and it was pretty wholesome,
yeah, signing the offer. I was reading the first sentence out, and my dad was like, “Blah,
blah, blah, just sign it.” (Gonzo laughs) – So, last year, I was a really shitty Orientation Leader, I think. (laughs) But this year, I tried to be better. I got a lot more retention
this year, which is good. And, I think, this is really lame, but one day I was walking, and
then I saw one of my frosh, and then she waved at me. (laughing) She was super happy to see me. It was like, oh, that kind
of warmed my cold heart. Just like, “Oh, my god, she
actually cares?” (laughs) – That’s not lame, that’s so cute! – (laughs) Yeah.
– Are you saying Course 15s have cold hearts? – No. (laughs) – But, okay, but Melissa does, so– – Yeah.
– That’s sweet. Yeah, my group was weird this year. They didn’t wanna talk at first, but then after our advising
meeting with our advisor, they kind of cornered me in a room, and they were like, “So,
tell us about the parties.” And they were like, “Tell us everything.” And I’m like, “Okay, fine.” And so, once we started talking about the actual parts of MIT, they were a lot more approachable. Cool. Did you like Orientation, Round Two? – Okay, yeah, I feel like they
really improved it this year. – Yeah.
– Which is good. – Yeah, Chelsea and Taylor rock. So, this podcast was originally started by somebody named Cynthia, I think, which is funny because
that’s my mom’s name. And, she graduated, and the
podcast kind of died with her. So then, my freshman summer, I was helping photograph Commencement,
and Stephanie, who’s again, behind this camera,
(Melissa laughs) who doesn’t wanna be on the camera, she was like, “Hey, do you
wanna bring the podcast back to life? You seem like you like to talk to people.” (both laugh)
And I was like, “Sure!” Not knowing what I was
getting myself into. So we just brought it back. But we always emailed out asking like, “Hey, if you’re interested
in joining, let us know.” And Melissa was the only person! (Melissa laughs) – Yeah. – (laughs) So, we were
like, “Yes, please come! Come hang out.” – Yeah, I listened to some of them. I listened to some when
Cynthia was doing it, then I kind of stopped. And I don’t know why, I
started listening to it again. And then, I was like,
“It seems really cool.” So I emailed them, and, yeah. (chuckles) – And now, we’re gonna start trying to find people to take
over, because we graduate. We’re out of here, be in
Seattle, so… (chuckles) How about the job stuff? So have you, how’s the job
search and stuff going for you? – (chuckles) Yeah, Looking
for a job right now, so, see how that goes. – Mm hm, did you go to Career Fair? – I did, briefly. – Briefly?
– Yeah. – I mean, I feel like Career
Fair is mostly Course 6. – They did a lot better job
about it this year, though. There were so many more
non-Course 6 companies. – Yeah, but I think some
companies also didn’t show up. – Wait, really?
– Yeah, I heard. – Oh. Yeah, Texas Department of Transportation didn’t show up.
(both laugh) – I heard Space X didn’t show,
not that it applies to me, but I heard they didn’t show up ’cause it was too expensive, or whatever. – Oh.
– Yeah. Because, I guess we’re
both transitioning out and graduating, we were
supposed to bring a freshman on (laughing) whose transitioning into MIT, but don’t currently have that. – Yeah, they’re all studying
for their 8.01 exam tonight, which is Freshman Physics
if you’re not aware. So, we’ll see, maybe they’ll
remember how to do friction (both laugh)
and stuff, I don’t know. I got a C in Physics, I
was done with that class when I was there, but–
– Oh, my god. (laughs) – But, I don’t know,
it’s weird, senior year. I still feel like a
freshman, sometimes though. Except now, I can
legally purchase alcohol. – (chuckles) Okay, I feel like
you can see the difference between freshman and seniors,
though, or upperclassmen. – Yeah, you just look at them, (Melissa laughs)
and if their smiles aren’t as prevalent, then you know. (both chuckle) So, but yeah, what was
your kind of biggest, do you feel like you’ve
changed a lot through MIT when you came here? – Yeah, definitely. I feel like I’m pretty different
from when I first came in, at least, I guess personality-wise, also. And I guess I’m still
not the most talkative, but I used to be super quiet, you know? – But now you run a podcast! – I know, right? So, yeah, I think it’s been a
really big growth experience in terms of, I don’t know, my personality, but also just, I guess going through MIT, I guess it’s actually a hard experience. Being able to make it
out of that, hopefully, it really changes you.
– Yeah. But sooner, hopefully soon,
we’ll get our diplomas, hopefully together.
– Not on Killian. (laughs) – Yeah, no, on Killian, god. So, for those who aren’t aware, our administration, which
is lovely and amazing, decided to change the Commencement without telling any of us,
so we’re in the process of figuring that out. And this better stay in the podcast! Yeah, so I guess for me,
MIT has really taught me how to channel my energy,
which is limitless, into actually enforcing
some formative change in the things I work on, which is cool. Personality-wise, pretty much the same, except I’m a much better
arguer, I feel like, debater, than I was before. ‘Cause when you’re here,
you meet so many people from all over, and you just really learn how to form perspective behind
your arguments and stuff. That was huge. Gained a lot of weight here.
(Melissa chuckles) That’s horrible. IHTFP I got, so, I can wait to graduate and live in a normal
environment, and lose it all, so that’ll be exciting.
– Mm hm. (chuckles) – Definitely been one of the
biggest transitions. (chuckles) – Why can’t you lose it now? (chuckles) – Because, I’m too busy with
classes all the freaking time! And I’m in ethics classes
where the professor assigns 130 pages of reading a week, I’m in the HackMIT committee!
– Isn’t HackMIT over? – No, but we still have
the high school Hack-a-thon that we organize apparently.
– Oh. – And, for some reason, I
agreed to stay on for that, ugh! – Yeah, I started lifting recently. – Oh, you did, yeah?
– Yeah, this summer.
– Yeah? – (chuckles) It’s not relevant, but– – What’s your bench? – Alright, I don’t really
do bench that much, but– – Do you squat?
– Yeah, I do the back squat thingy.
– Mm hm. – So, currently I’m on 25 on each side– – Okay.
– Which I don’t know what that adds up to,
I guess it’s like 90? – Yeah, 90.
– 90, yeah. – Yeah, I got to get back into that. – Yeah. – With me, now that
I’m beginning to return to a normal sleeping schedule,
but it’s, I don’t know. It will be weird to transition from the hustle bustle of
MIT to the normal 9:00-5:00 at Microsoft in Seattle. It will be very, I feel like easier. (both chuckle) – But is that better? Do you like that 9:00-5:00? – I like MIT a lot. I’m not really, I know
I’ll come back for sure to probably do grad school and stuff. It’s just, right now, I need a break. But, I feel like I’ll find
some ways to keep myself busy when I’m out there. Plus also, the company
supports side hustles, and maybe I’ll join a
blockchain startup or two for the meme.
(both laugh) Though blockchain is still
ridiculous in my opinion. But, how about you? Are you gonna miss the crazy pace of MIT? – Okay, so this summer, I
basically did nothing outside of, well not, that’s false. (laughs) But, I had a very strict
9:00-5:00 this summer. – Mm hm. – Basically people would
literally ditch out at 4:30, (both chuckle)
which is interesting. But, yeah, I don’t know,
I guess it was chill, but I feel like if I did
that for a whole year, I’d probably go crazy. – Yeah, that’s what I’m
kind of worried about, like after three months, I was just like, “Okay, I’m ready to be
back to MIT!” (chuckles) – Yeah. – You know, it’s like, what’s it’s called when you look back on something that’s actually a pretty
horrifyingly busy experience? Most people would view it as not healthy, but I think there’s just some– – Stockholm Syndrome? (laughs) – Stockholm Syndrome, yeah,
except it’s the Bieber Syndrome. We love the MIT grind, so we’ll see. Maybe I’ll get tired of it
quick and come back. (chuckles) So, but yeah, but you didn’t do anything outside of work for fun? – Okay, that’s why I started lifting. (both laugh) ‘Cause my friend is on a sailing team, and they have summer
workouts, or whatever. And she was like, “I
don’t want to lift alone.” So, I was like, “Cool,
I’ll try something new.” So, I started lifting,
and then I got hooked, you know?
– Nice. – Yeah.
– That’s exciting. Pretty soon, I’ll see you
chugging protein powder over eggs.
– Oh, my god. (laughs) – Be like Rocky. Oh yeah, so, actually update I might get my Pirate Certificate. So, I’m taking sailing
now, which is super fun. We finally got our licenses today, so now I can take people on
dates and stuff on sailing. (Melissa laughs)
But, the boat almost capsized over. So pretty much, the way it works is you’re going into the
water, and the wind is pushing right into the sail, and
that’s how you get propelled. But, the way the Charles works is there’s a lot more dynamics because of how constricted the river is, so you feel the forces of not
only the wind, but the water. And so, there we points today where the boat literally
almost tipped over, and the only thing you can
do is very lean off the boat and just hope that you
can counterbalance it. And so, it’s pretty
exciting, I don’t know. It brings thrill to my life, (both laughing) that you don’t get otherwise from lecture. So, yeah, after that, all I
need to do is take archery, and then I get my Pirate Certificate, and then I’m out of here, ’cause
I’m not here for a diploma, I’m just here for the
Pirate Certificate. (laughs) Are you getting yours? – No. Okay, so I kind of failed the
boating test freshman year. – How do you fail the boating test? – Alright, listen.
– You just have to float. (both chuckle) – Alright, so I was a super
naive freshman also, right? ‘Cause I did the swim test,
and you know how everybody just treads water together?
– Mm hm. – Okay, so then I kind of
died right after five minutes. So, I got out, and the person was like, “Oh, did you pass the boating test?” And I was like, “No.” (laughs) – Why did you say, “No”? – I don’t know, okay! But I said, “No,” and
then, now looking back, I’m like, “Why’d I say ‘no’? I can swim.”
– You can take it again. We can throw you in the
Charles, see how you last. – No, but okay, I heard
you have to swim again, and then tread water.
– Oh, that’s fine, you just float across. – Okay, floating is not that easy. – Well, you’ve been lifting,
so it should work out. (both laugh)
– For 10 minutes? – For 10 minutes, yeah. You just kick your legs (whooshes). – Okay, well, we’ll see, we’ll see. – At the Institute, we don’t teach you how to float, apparently, as
you can tell from Melissa. – Yeah, ’cause you can just doggy paddle across the swim test, right? – Do you think you’ll learn
how to swim after MIT? – I know how to swim.
– You know how to swim? – Yeah. (chuckles) – Then why aren’t you floating? – Treading water’s
different than swimming! – It’s just swim in little circles. Actually, so question
off of that, Melissa, do you feel like there’s anything you kind of put off during your time here that you look forward
to getting back into? I know, for me, I stopped
playing saxophone, I stopped doing
photography nearly as much, so like, really excited
to get back into that when a normal adult,
(both laugh) whatever the hell that means. (laughs) I censored myself, you guys
should be happy for that. – (laughs) Well, I guess
I would’ve said exercise, except I’m actually
trying to exercise now. I think reading is a big one,
’cause I used to read a lot, and I just don’t really
have time to read anymore. I just have a stack of book– – I remember being a freshman,
and looking at the seniors and thinking, “Oh, I’m
never gonna be there. That’s fine.”
(Melissa laughs) – Yeah.
– Like, “That’s so far away.” But all the seniors always told me, “It goes by really fast.” And, like holy shit,
(Melissa laughs) really does. So, I mean, I finished
my major this semester, and hopefully I pass bio,
and then all I have to do is take some ethics classes,
and then I’m out of here. (laughs) Which is, I don’t know. Did you feel like the time was too fast? – Yeah, it’s like, there’s
this phrase that’s like, I forget what it is, it’s
like, “The days go by slowly, but the years go by quickly,” or whatever. – Yeah.
– Yeah, I think that’s definitely true. – Especially the frame of
reference with the time thing. It’s like the Sponge Bob, “Imagination.” (Melissa laughs) What? – Can you do that again?
(women laugh) – “Imagination.” Frame of reference.
(all chuckle) In your time at MIT, what
do you think have been some of your biggest lessons, or failures, or learning experience? – Okay, so this is the biggest one I say whenever people ask me this, but I think when I first came in, I
actually wanted to be Course 15. (Melissa laughs)
– Wow! – Yeah! (chuckles) But then, I was like, “Nah, I
should probably do something like math or engineering,”
because it’s MIT, I guess, and everybody around you is doing it. – Institute of Technology. (chuckles) – Yeah, so I was like, “Ugh,
whatever, maybe I won’t do it.” So then, I tried to do Course
6 (chuckles) for a semester. Or, I took 6.0001, which
is like the intro class, and I was like, “Man, I
really am not feeling this.” And then, I changed around a bit. But, I think if I had stayed in 15, and just done what I wanted to, there probably would’ve
been a lot less struggle, or internal struggle. Yeah, so I feel like from
that, I also learned a lot about just doing what
you feel like is right, instead of comparing yourself
endlessly to other people. – Right, that trusting your gut. – Yeah.
– I think that’s probably the biggest thing that, like
deciding to sign my offer, I was debating between whether I wanted to go to grad school or not, and
in terms of signing the offer, just nothing felt wrong about it. So, MIT has taught me that generally, you should listen to yourself.
– (laughs) Yeah. – Let’s see. Lessons learned, failures, well, I’ve have lots of
failures here, so many. I failed bio my freshman spring, I learned that Ds get degrees twice. (Melissa laughs) So, I got–
– You got a D? – I’ve gotten two Ds here.
– Wow, what classes? – I got a D junior fall and junior spring, both in signals. I should’ve learned the first time. And I think there, with
the signals classes, I was, I couldn’t envision
a future of myself where I would be getting
involved in signals research, especially in terms of
accessibility and stuff. And so, I kept going for it. And even without realizing
and knowing I suck at it, I just genuinely am horrible at it, and don’t enjoy it. And, as a result, I pushed
myself into something that I was already hesitant about, and barely made it out alive. – I mean, same actually,
’cause I got Cs in, (chuckles) I got a C in 6.0001. (laughs)
– You got a C in 6.0001? – Yes, it’s the first time
I’m saying this publicly, but I got a C in 6.0001.
– Okay. – It’s kind of embarrassing,
I got a C in 18.03. (laughs) – Oh, I got a C, oh, I got Cs in Physics and in Physics II
– Oh, my god. – I barely got a B in 18.03, that class was rough.
– Yeah, that was rough. But, yeah, same thing where I guess I tried to keep pushing myself
to do that kind of stuff, even though I really didn’t like it. ‘Cause I took 18.600 also,
which was a time, but… (both laugh) – I got a C in that class, too. – Me, too!
(both laughing) – Yes, Scott Sheffield is
such a nice professor– – Yeah! (laughs)
– But his exams were brutal. – Yeah, I got a lot of Cs
on my transcript, (laughs) but yeah, just don’t do things
you don’t want to, basically. – Yeah, like my dad always tells me if you do what you love,
you’re never gonna work a day in your life. And, I feel like this is also something that people should think about
more when they’re in school, ’cause often times, you’ll
be pressured to do things because other people
have this image of you, or you think that this was
the right way to do MIT. So, if you’re a frosh listening to this, or if you’re a person
whose gonna be coming here, just do what feels right,
and you’ll figure it out. Don’t take a class just
because you have to, or because, okay, well, take
classes that you have to take, but if you don’t like it, push it off. (Melissa laughs)
But, just do what feels right, and it’ll be a lot easier. But fortunately, in a place like MIT, you can fuck up and pick
yourself back up from it. I feel like that’s been one
of the most important lessons I’ve learned here, is how to redirect. – I feel like there a lot
of things at MIT, I guess, that you can’t, no,
there’s not a lot of things that you can’t fix–
– Right. – In terms of, yeah. I guess, for example in academics, if you’re failing,
you’ll probably be fine. As long as you don’t do nothing, you know? – Yeah, talk to the professor. Professors give you an
action plan, just like, “Here’s how you get a B.”
– I mean, I got a 30 on two 8.01L tests freshman year. (laughs) – Nice. Yeah, I got my first bio
exam back on Tuesday, studied for quite a bit of
time for it, I got a 55. (Melissa laughs)
And they sent out the distributions of the grades, and I was in the 1% of people
who got Ds (laughs) in there. – Dude, I think, didn’t you
comment on the confessions post? Was that, you were just like–
– Yeah, I commented on the confessions post, I was just like, “Freshman Try-Hards, stop!
(both laugh) Stop trying, please!” – Yeah, as you can see,
we’re great at academics. – Hm?
– We’re great at academics, as you can see.
– Yeah. – Yeah.
– We’re great influences, you guys should definitely look up to us. (both chuckle) My freshman year was a
very enriching experience, both academically and physically. And, one day, I was hanging
out with some of my friends at Delts, Delta Tau Delta, and we decided that we were gonna walk back to campus, ’cause they’re across the river in Boston. So, we’re waling back along The Esplanade, which is just a fancy
name for the little park along the river, and
someone got me on Odds. So, Odds is a game where
they say, “Odds, one in 100 that you’ll do XYZ.” And so, they said, “Odds, one in 1,000 that you’ll jump into the Charles River.” – Oh. (chuckles)
– And so, it’s very easy, right? The probability of saying the
same number is one in 1,000, which is just fairly low. So, (chuckles) I thought really hard, and I was like, “Okay, I’m ready. Three, two, one.”
(Melissa laughs) And, guess what number I said? Just try to guess the number. – I don’t know, 1,000? – 1,000? No, I said 69,000, which
is not even in the range of one to 1,000.
(both laugh) And so, all my friend
were looking at me like, “Okay, you clearly have
to jump in the river now, because you broke the rules of Odds.” And so, I’m like, “Alright.” So, I’m just like started
walking back to the deck along The Esplanade,
start taking my shirt off, I’m taking my shoes off. This person is looking
over, and they’re like, “What’s happening over here?” And, I eventually take my
pants down to my underwear, and I just jump right in. And I’m like, “There, I did it. Are you happy?” And everyone else is just looking at me, I don’t know whether it’s pity, or whether I made it look fun, everyone else just started
taking there clothes off, too. (both laugh)
One of my best friends, Tommy, he was just down to underwear in a second. I was like, “That’s pretty impressive,. You know, maybe MIT taught
you how to strip really fast.” (Melissa giggles) One time, so, my freshman year, I asked this French grad
student out. (chuckles) – Wait. (chuckles)
– We had seen each other at a Halloween party, I
was dressed as the Pope, and she was dressed as Hermione. And so, we were just like, you
know, getting jiggy with it. (Melissa laughs)
And then, we met up later to get food, and we’re
sitting there eating, and my hearing aids die. And, I als have a really hard
time with French accents. Objectively, French is the worst language, because, no seriously,
(Melissa laughs) it just all whooshes together,
like creamer in coffee. And so, we’re sitting there,
I can barely understand her as it is, my hearing aids are
dead, so I’m fully deaf now, and so I’m just reading her lips. And so, we were supposed to
go to an improv show after. And so, what happened was, I was like, “Oh, yeah, I left the tickets at home. I need to go get them.”
(Melissa laughs) So we went back to campus,
and I grabbed the tickets, when I really was just
grabbing a hearing aid battery. And then, later, we checked into the show, and I pulled the digital
tickets up on my phone. (both laughing)
And she was like, “Didn’t you forget those?” And I was like, “Oh, yeah, I
had to send myself the email.” (both laughing)
But yeah. Okay, anything now, does
that stir your imagination? – No, I guess, so there’s
this thing called Datamatch, Datamatch? (laughs)
– Oh, Datamatch! (laughs) I know!
– It’s like– – 95%.
– Yeah, so I guess it started at Harvard, but they brought it to MIT last year whatever. It’s like a survey, basically. I don’t know, they have a bunch
of questions that are like, I think one of them is like,
“How do you pronounce ‘birds’?” – It’s definitely birds.
– Yeah, birds. But yeah, I guess I filled it
out, ’cause like, whatever. And then, I think I matched
with Gonzo. (laughs) – Yeah, we were a 95% match. – That was awkward. I was like, “Alright, not
gonna message him.” (laughs) – Yeah, I pressed the Like Back button, but she never did, so
you know, what can I say? Another one of my great successes here. (both laughing) Did you talk to any of the other matches? – Yeah, I did. It was, I mean, nothing
happened obviously. It was really awkward.
– Yeah. – We went to Abide, I really
don’t want to disclose– – Oh, Abide’s the expensive boba. – Might be a bit too much disclosure, but like, we got coffee–
– I mean, I doubt they listen to this.
– We got coffee, and yeah, it was just
awkward conversation. He disclosed way too much.
(both chuckle) He told me his whole life story, basically.
– Alright, first date, I’m gonna tell you everything. – I mean, it was interesting,
’cause I like hearing about that stuff, and I
was like, “I don’t know if I really,” you know?
– Feel that. Was it an MIT student?
– Yeah. – Oh, okay, so that’s
another one of the things that you need to learn
about your MIT experience, we’re awkward people.
(Melissa laughs) Sometimes, we have nothing to say, so you will really get your test in keeping a conversation going. That’s something else that
comes with a diploma here. (Melissa chuckles)
And is also one of struggles about dating here. We’re seniors, we’re
still figuring it out, but we won’t be here next year,
which is just really weird and sad to think about,
but it’s also really cool. But, I don’t know, it went
just as fast as high school. – I don’t know, I feel like it’s exciting, but it’s also scary, because
it’s like, the real world, it’s just whatever.
– Mm hm. – I feel like the one
thing that scares me is, I guess it’s like if you
don’t see people often, you could just not see them ever, you know?
– Right. Yeah, staying in touch with everyone. The thing I’m worried about is there’s a very particular
type of person at MIT, and I’m gonna miss
being around MIT people. – Mm hm.
– That is like this past summer, I was
hardly with anyone from MIT, and there just a certain
excitement and passion that people here bring when
they talk about things, or do things that I feel like
it’s hard to find out there. So, I just feel like
that’s what I’m probably gonna miss the most,
the community, but yeah. – Okay, hope you enjoyed
our episode, and– – Hope you enjoyed our
ramblings, and our sob stories. – And hopefully, we’ll have
another episode next month. (Melissa laughs)
– With some else who’s not us. I’m Gonzo. – I’m Melissa. – Bye.
(Melissa laughs) (both chatter) (energetic rock music)