An MIT Alumni Association Publication
MIT blogger, Allan K. '17, exploring MIT's campus as a first-year student.

In a few days, first-year students will be on campus gearing up for the start of their first semester at MIT. Today, the Class of 2019 is busy preparing for the transition to come, hurriedly enjoying their last days of summer vacation.

With the approach of the new school year, Allan K. ’17 decided to round up some tips from MIT veterans –mixed in with some of his own—for the new students.

Allan put together a long list of advice:

  • Upperclass students know things but we’re still figuring ourselves out. We’re not THAT cool. Take what we say with grain of salt.
  • Leave space in your schedule for spontaneous things. Don’t overcommit at the beginning.
  • Say yes to things.
  • Staying in your comfort zone is easy, but you learn the most about yourself and grow as a person when you get out of your comfort zone, so take opportunities to try new things.
  • It’s okay to say no to things too.
  • Do Dance Troupe at least once. It’s really fun and even if you look like a complete fool, you’ll have tons of fun and meet a bunch of people.
  • Learn how to get lost.
  • Do laundry in the afternoon on a weekday. You will have your pick of all of the washers and all of the dryers.
  • Get a foam pad for your mattress. It makes a world of difference.
  • Take your estimate of how much time you think you’ll need to do something—and double it. That’s how long it’ll actually take. This is not a joke; I’m dead serious.

Read all of Allan’s tips.

Allan has been blogging since he started at MIT, writing his first post on September 6, 2013, just a week into his first semester. His post was about finding balance, saying “I will probably fail often, and that probably won't stop me from continuing to try. And hopefully, I'll get better at finding balance day by day.”

Two years later, Allan is still always working to find balance, which he has found through many different outlets at MIT, including a cappella group, the MIT/Wellesley Toons, and in his living group at East Campus.

“I'm a vastly different person than the one who applied to MIT three years ago. In my first few weeks there were so many opportunities to connect with people. Some combination of freshman excitement, a thousand kids all starting with blank slates, and the late nights of sleep-deprived conversations that coalesce into a collective vulnerability that seems to draw people together.”

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