Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Everyone knows that the people at MIT are not a random representation of the general population. I'm not talking about brainpower, but rather the cultural nerdiness that characterizes the entire campus. You can see it with your eyes just by walking through campus for 10 minutes, in the frequency of gangly gaits and high-waisted khaki shorts, the dishevelled hairdo with the pillow imprintation still apparent or the slightly-antisocial lack of eye contact with strangers. Sometimes I get tired of this culture, where the norm is to stay up all hours of the night writing some amazing code or building a crazy robot or running experiments in the lab. Sometimes I wish people would take care of their appearance, not look down their nose at new social interactions, and not make me feel inadequate by their sheer brilliance. I find myself feeling jealous of that world where people wear makeup or a tie to work, go home at 5pm, and go to happy hour at fancy bars on Thursday nights. But at the same time, sometimes I see the truly unique opportunity I have here to really meet some characters here. People who are not afraid to care about unusual things and don't feel ashamed to declare their nerd passions in public. They don't see a reason to hide their love of engineering and look like everyone else, go with the flow. They bang their hand on the table to emphasize their correctness on some science point, and it's so awesome. Maybe the person being proved wrong does not feel so happy about it, but sometimes it's really refreshing to see conventional uniformity go out the window. And it's certainly entertaining.