I hope Salieri can absolve me

Everything I hear about MIT brims with coolness. Uberness, even. Running around in the middle of the night trying to avoid campus police, climbing on top of the dome, putting a car on top of the dome, creating ingenius works of technical brilliance, dressing up the school in homage to the video games of old…it’s almost like the school is too crazy to be real. MIT seems like this mystical place where the best of the best go, and do things that are talked about forever.

Perhaps it’s (counterintuitively) because I’ve heard such great things about it that I could never bring myself to even apply there. It’s like I’m not sure if I’d be the person I envision MIT students to be. I don’t know if I’m smart enough, resourceful enough, creative enough, motivated enough – heck, I don’t even know if I’m weird enough! Stories tell of MIT students creating programs in their spare time that I’ve relied for years, yet even when prompted I couldn’t create a program I’d use once a month. It may be that I can’t do it, but I think it’s more that I don’t want to do it. I don’t want to create something amazing, or to explore the intricacies of something we take for granted. That’s not my bag of fun. Mine usually comes in annoyingly Starforce-protected form.

I suppose it’s best summarized by my vocal explanation to my mother as to why I might be hesitant to apply to an extremely techy school like RPI, “I’m like ‘Hey, compsci is pretty cool,’ while people at RPI are like ‘OMG COMPSCI RULEZZZZ!'” I don’t think I could ever make the change that characterizes those students, and I’d be alienated. I’d be the kid that didn’t do anything crazy; he just passed his classes, hung out with friends, and played lots of games.

Yet when I read it, I don’t feel that there’s anything wrong with that life. In fact it sounds great. I love friends, I love games, and I even love classes on occasion. I could live that life for four years in any other college and I wouldn’t mind. I could live a 9 to 5 life for the rest of my life, with random socializing and games to mix it up, and I wouldn’t mind. It’s only when I see people doing so much more with their lives that I start to get envious. I’d love to be them, but I don’t want to be them enough to do anything about it. Is it possible to be content yet left wanting? Can I really be content when I feel inferior?

This jealousy is going to drive me crazy one of these days.

11 comments on I hope Salieri can absolve me

  1. oh my dear gawd i understand the title’s reference! it matches perfectly with your entry…
    well, face it. people have higher expectations for their children when they themselves can’t live up to it. live for what you enjoy and to everyone else, you’d seem the like the superduper cool kid everyone admires/envies/despises. i can’t stand it when everyone lives to be great when looking for that greatness would get him/her nowhere.

    1. Nice to hear that someone caught the allusion. It was a memorable movie.

      My parents have actually been very undemanding. It’s purely because of my delusions that I don’t feel like I can match up to those kinds of people. But don’t worry! I’ll still strive to be the loveably lazy person I am today!

  2. Steve, how long have you known me? I am not insanely awesome. I am not even as awesome as you are. And yet, I go to MIT and you say “I am not awesome enough”? Silly!

    MIT is not just hacking and coding and sleep-deprivation. There are people here who are normal. And even the people who go hacking and doing crazy stuff…they hang out with friends and play computer games and watch anime on Tuesdays. Even Pecker floor residents have lives outside of Mathematics.

    And they are the geeks of the geeks, damn it. There is an entire West Campus full of relativly normal people. Boring, IMO. But normal nonetheless.

    You never know unless you apply. But hey, if you end up in Boston I will still grab you to go hacking sometime. Only a bridge away.

  3. You’re insanely awesome enough.

    I know that just like there are regular people in Stuy, there are regular people in MIT. But I suppose that until I see those regular people, I have nothing to go on but the stories.

    A MIT application from me would be a waste of the processing fee, but I’ve a good chance to be admitted to and attend Boston University. Come Fall 2006 I may get a chance to see those regular people in MIT. I expect you to pop out of the rafters to surprise me when I do.

    1. You know…I am not sure what you would define as regular. I mean, I do know, but I have anothe rpoint to make- the one that, even people who do awesome things are just regular people- they do awesome things because they can, they don’t have anything better to do (during IAP, I get to make a rubiks cube out of cardboard boxes!) and, generally speaking, because there is no reason not to. But, they are still normal people, not heroes and demigods the way the rest of us try to imagine them.

      Anyway, if you decide to stop by and visit BU before you attend it, do drop by. It will be fun 😀

  4. yeah i know what you mean in a lot of ways. I want to be a lot cooler than i am a lot of the time. or cooler in a different, nerdier way or something. it’s hard to describe, but i think it’s the thing i feel about yale, being so close to it. it’s so close and so far away and i was afraid to apply early there because i wasn’t … sure. even after being so close to it for so long.
    anyhow, i lost your address and i need to send you a holiday card. so cough it up, fatass.

  5. lol looks like someone’s been idealizing schools lately…. don’t forgot, these are just campuses filled with people. people like you and me. 🙂

    i know what you mean, but with me it’s more in a social sense. i’d love to be cooler and looser, more open and talkative, maybe have a drink or two, get a little crazy… but i don’t. i don’t try to stand out and i don’t try talking to new people, thinking that i am perfectly satisfied with things the way they are. yet i find myself upset and envious when i see a person having fun with a big happy chatty group of people. and it makes me feel inferior socially. -_- yet i feel too comfortable to stand up and make a change…. even i dunno what to do with myself.

  6. there’s got to be some group of people wandering around MIT going “uh …” and I’m sure they’re really friendly. 🙂 What I’m really saying is: you is awesome and when they go “RUUUUULZZ” half of them are probably exaggerating, a lot. The rest are, well, vitamin D deficiency isn’t fatal is it?

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