20090905

For those of you who’ve yet to seen this, I highly suggest you do!

http://www.mitadmissions.org/topics/life/workplay_balance_at_mit/50_things.shtml

Although it was written for his students, I find that a lot of the things written inside applies to all of us, student or not, and some of it actually hit me quite hard, while others just make me smile. It’s real nice, and among the list, those that mean a lot or make a lot of sense to me are:

1. Your friends will change a lot over the next four years. Let them.

2. Call someone you love back home a few times a week, even if just for a few minutes.

5. Adjust your schedule around when you are most productive and creative. If you're nocturnal and do your best work late at night, embrace that. It may be the only time in your life when you can.

6. If you write your best papers the night before they are due, don't let people tell you that you "should be more organized" or that you "should plan better." Different things work for different people. Personally, I worked best under pressure - so I always procrastinated... and always kicked ass (which annoyed my friends to no end). ;-) Use the freedom that comes with not having grades first semester to experiment and see what works best for you.

7. At least a few times in your college career, do something fun and irresponsible when you should be studying. The night before my freshman year psych final, my roommate somehow scored front row seats to the Indigo Girls at a venue 2 hours away. I didn't do so well on the final, but I haven't thought about psych since 1993. I've thought about the experience of going to that show (with the guy who is now my son's godfather) at least once a month ever since.

14. Embrace the differences between you and your classmates. Always be asking yourself, "what can I learn from this person?" More of your education will come from this than from any classroom.

17. Working things out between friends is best done in person, not over email. (IM does not count as "in person.") Often someone's facial expressions will tell you more than his/her words.

23. It's important to think about the future, but it's more important to be present in the now. You won't get the most out of college if you think of it as a stepping stone.

24. When you're living on a college campus with 400 things going on every second of every day, watching TV is pretty much a waste of your time and a waste of your parents' money. If you're going to watch, watch with friends so at least you can call it a "valuable social experience."

28. Every once in awhile, there will come an especially powerful moment when you can actually feel that an experience has changed who you are. Embrace these, even if they are painful.

29. No matter what your political or religious beliefs, be open-minded. You're going to be challenged over the next four years in ways you can't imagine, across all fronts. You can't learn if you're closed off.

31. Don't always lead. It's good to follow sometimes.

41. Make a complete ass of yourself at least once, preferably more. It builds character.

As I was reading through the list, I realised I’ve stopped doing many things on the list that I once did. It’s quite sad really, and I’m going to do something about it.

Do read the list, some of it MAY seem like common sense, but common sense isn’t really common nowadays. Most people are on the extremes. Either they give everything and everyone up just to study, or they give up completely on their studies and university becomes just a social gathering ground…

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