I recently graduated (December 2012) and am currently working in consulting. I’ll write an introductory post giving a little bit more background on myself in the future. Promise. For right now, though, here are just a couple of thoughts on the job search process: start early and prepare before career fair comes around (ie, don’t be prepping the night before career fair). As many of you are looking for internships and research opportunities this summer, take into account your long-term goals. As people say, if you’re interested in going to grad school, taking another hard look at a UROP on campus may not be such a bad idea. If you’re dead set on going into industry, take some time to look for opportunities at companies that you might consider down the road or at places where you’ll have the opportunity to gain skills in areas that you haven’t necessarily developed so much thus far. In the end though, don’t stress. I can’t emphasize that enough. I did a UROP every summer and still ended up going into “industry.” I have friends who did internships at companies and got into MIT grad school. In the end, what matters is what you make of things. Before rushing into things, take a deep breath and THINK! Make sure you don’t do something that you’ll regret spending an entire summer doing at any point down the road. And if you’re going to regret it, don’t let yourself regret for too long. There are always new opportunities. Get out there and keep looking. In today’s job market, it’s never too early to start looking, and if one thing doesn’t work out, you have to look for something else. Actually, let me modify that. If you’re looking for one job at a time, you very well might run out of time. That’s not to say that you should apply for every job out there. And when you do get a job that you like, you need to be respectful of companies and thoughtful of peers. It’s like college apps. Be proactive, but be responsible.
MIT is a school full of rivalries. However, unlike most colleges where the rivalries are between sports teams, the rivalries at MIT are generally academic. It’s poetic, really, considering the nature of our school. So, it doesn’t come as a surprise that when I think about interactions with my classmates, one comment that seems to come to mind often is a variation of “2A isn’t as hardcore as straight 2.” Ridiculous? I think yes! And I will certainly tell you why. However, I should probably introduce myself first!
I’m Emily! I’m a junior, originally from Colleyville, Texas, majoring in 2A with a concentration in product design and management. I love critiquing designs from a user experience standpoint, finding and designing new tech gadgets, horseback riding, collaging, baking technically challenging desserts, participating in the GEL program, travelling around the Middle East, eating sushi, and laughing! If you have any questions about these, feel free to ask me! Oh and I like to smile. MIT needs more smiling people! And talk. Yes, I do talk a lot! Now back to my 2A journey and why it has been freakin’ awesome.
When I realized that I wanted to do something with Mechanical Engineering, I began trying to determine if I wanted to be Course 2 or 2A, as is the initial dilemma of many of my fellow 2/2A peers. I eventually came to the decision to be 2A. Although there were many factors that weighed into the decision (this could be a whole blog post in itself), basically, I wanted more flexibility in choosing my classes. Like many of us, I wasn’t yet sure what I was going to love, and if I ended up taking all MechE classes, I could switch over to 2 in the end if I wanted to.
It took me a while to be honest with myself about what I love to do here at MIT. For a long time I tried to convince myself that I REALLY REALLY LOVED LEARNING ABOUT BEAM BENDING. Then I moved on to convincing myself that I really really really really loved learning about plasticity (don’t get me wrong, Kamrin and Reis are AWESOME professors); however, I was not passionate about any of these things. I am passionate about leadership and start-ups and good design and people!
So, one night I sat down and pulled up the course catalog. I scrapped my original concentration for one that actually included classes I was excited about (shocking!). It’s true that the end result isn’t a concentration that is as technically intense as that of someone who chooses to concentrate in Course 22, but it allows me the chance to engage in activities that play a huge role in my education here, outside of my classes. This includes interning at start-ups during the semester, doing UROPs, participating in networking events and leadership programs, heading committees and student groups, leading a bible study, being birthday chair for my floor, and throwing around start-up ideas for fun with friends. This is what MIT is about. Grab the opportunity to take advantage of the resources here to help your education – which, by the way, isn’t mainly about the classes, but about the people here at the institution and the awesome things that we can create when you throw us all together in cement buildings.
The majority of us didn’t get to MIT by being lazy. We got here by working hard, because it’s something that we love to do. We all have individual things that drive us, but I think it is generally true that most people here hate being bored. And if you’re like me, and don’t totally love doing the kind of math taught here (as opposed to what you’re told is real math in high school), then 2A will give you an awesome opportunity to attain a degree that teaches you how to think like an engineer, while also giving you the chance to enhance your education by exploring other academic fields and utilizing the many awesome opportunities here at MIT both in and out of the classroom!
That’s about all of my rambling for now. Please feel free to ask me questions if you feel so inclined.
I’m taking this first blog post to introduce myself to everyone reading. I’m a senior here at MIT and I’m course 2A with 1C, that’s Mechanical Engineering with a focus in Civil Engineering. I played for MIT’s baseball team and golf team and did two UROPs in the Center for Sports Innovation.
My first post will be about my decision to major in 2A rather than in “regular” 2. Coming to MIT, I had a lot of interest in Course 1C and had the intention of becoming a civil engineer as my profession. Being exposed to all of MIT freshman year, my interest in the civil engineering remained the same, but the way in which I approached it definitely changed. After meeting many members from my fraternity that were Course 2 and learning many friends from my dorm and classes were also signing up for the MechE Department, I looked into the hype.
I discovered the stellar reviews and reputation and classes like 2.009, 2.007, 2.671; these were classes that I felt I needed to take because they were so hands on and simply excited me. After doing a bit more research, I found out I could experience these classes and learn about civil engineering too. The answer was course 2A; a way to get the most out of MIT and the most for me.
A few years later, I’ve realized that there is a lot more in common between the two than most people think. Both teach mechanics, materials, dynamics, industry regulations, building/manufacturing and the list goes on. I’ve found a few synergies and I’m hoping to find even more in my professional career.
That’s a quick summary of my decision to go 2A, hope you enjoyed it!
I get this question quite often, and asked the same question when I was about the take 2.005 (Thermal-Fluids Engineering I). I would shear some of my thoughts on this question from been both a student and a TA for 2.005.
Going through 2.005 as a student, I have to say that the class covers a lot of materials at a pretty fast pace compare to other courses offered at MIT. The most important advice I would give is to stay on track with the lectures. Make sure to understand all the lecture materials, recitation problems, and problem sets then the quizzes would seem very reasonable. In terms of the psets, I found it very helpful to struggle on my own first, struggle hard, if I really cannot figure it out I would go to office hours and work with friends. It helped me to understand the materials and be able to problem solve on my own (which is very important when it comes to exams and finals). So is 2.005 hard? No, not if you do the work. The class is also very well taught and there are plenty of resources available such as TAs, office hours, recitations etc. to help you with the course. So if you are concerned about 2.005, no need to be! It is challenging but reachable, which is very much align with the MIT approach.
As a TA for 2.005, I cannot tell you how boring the office hours are when no one comes to ask questions. So please please please go to the office hours if you have any questions about any of the materials covered in class (which is very likely to be the case). Office hours are great to flush out some conceptual confusions or questions on your pset. In terms of the exams, don’t panic! If you did all your psets, practiced with practice quizzes and understood example problems given in classes and recitations you are in a good shape. Be confident and you will do well
For me, picking classes for my senior spring was a struggle between taking all the classes I wanted to take before I leave, and trying to have an easy last semester. There was really only one class I was 100% set on: 2.27 Elements of Mechanical Design. I’d heard from a wide range of people how awesome this class was and tried to take it last spring, but it was oversubscribed and preference was given to seniors. This year I made it in.
I also had to take a last HASS-D class, but other than that I didn’t need any more classes to graduate, so I could really do whatever I wanted. Plus, I could take two classes on P/D/F.
There are a huge number of classes I wish I could take: 6.115, 6.006, 2.002, 18.06, 6.832, 2.674, 2.813, 2.050… I’m kind of a sucker for the course catalog. There are so many basic things I would love to learn in detail and more formally, like linear algebra, microcontrollers, algorithms, etc. Plus all of the advanced subjects I may never get to try! Like a class entirely on internal combustion engines. But my main concerns were: not wanting to take intense project classes (other than 2.72) and not wanting to take any classes with psets or finals. So that was pretty limiting.
I settled on the following:
- 2.72 Elements of Mechanical Design (12 units)
- 2.674, Micro/Nano Engineering Lab (6 units)
- 21L.004, a poetry reading class that fulfills my HASS-D requirement (12 units)
- 21W.771, an advanced poetry writing workshop I’ve been meaning to take for several semesters, (12 units)
- 6.S080, Mechanical Invention through Computation, a really fascinating cross-disciplinary class about creating mechanisms (12 units)
While this is actually 4 1/2 classes, more than my regular load, (yes, I try to not take more than 4 classes a semester,) I think it’ll be significantly less work than usual, or less of the kind of work I’ve grown tired of (psets, exams, etc.). I have no psets, no exams — the most regular thing I have to do every week is read and write poetry, which is a joy compared to my regular tasks from other semesters. I’m taking two on P/D/F (2.674 and 6.S080). I think it’ll be awesome.