I don’t have much time to write today as I have a math final tomorrow and plan to spend a few more hours immersed in Prof. Strang’s Linear Algebra textbook.
However, I thought I’d at least mention that I found Time Magazine’s selection of you as person of the year interesting and quite appropriate, in many ways. I certainly fit the profile. I have six email accounts, I check my Facebook profile daily, I participate in an internet forum (JREF, of course!) and have many online friends from this forum. I just joined My Space, and I guess I have a blog now.
Are you also Time’s person of the year? I bet you are. We all are, at least those of us with computers and the internet. Even my grandma is Time’s person of the year. She emailed me a holiday card this year! What a world. I love it, honestly.
In this world where you are important, I’d like to let you know that you can go to MIT! That’s right, you– whoever you are, wherever you are– can be an MIT student as long as you have access to a computer and the internet.
Alas, MIT won’t give you a diploma unless you’re an accepted, registered student who has finished all the degree requirements, but nevertheless you can be an MIT student by visiting MIT’s open courseware site. Through this website, you can watch lectures, view a syllabus, homework assignements and answers, tests and answers, et cetera.
Naturally, open courseware is no substitute for the experience of being an MIT student. I mean, you haven’t really been to MIT unless you’ve mastered the all-nighter, can track your friends’ movements on campus using Athena terminals, can navigate the underground tunnels and go everywhere without stepping foot outside, have learned how to fend off male engineers (if you’re a female grad student, anyway), have developed a desire to steal large objects from CalTech, et cetera.
Nonetheless, if you are self-disciplined enough, you can learn just as much– or more– from open courseware than an MIT student can learn sitting right in the classroom. I recommend Prof. Strang’s Linear Algebra class. The tests were somewhat tricky, but I really enjoyed the lectures and the homework.
Sure, it’s not quite the same as actually taking the course, but it’s not a bad substitute.
So, go ahead. You are an MIT student!