Thursday, July 21, 2005

Technology Review: Outside the Norm

This article from Technology Review hit home. It talked about "underage" kids going to MIT, of which I was one. Here is a funny excerpt that left me ROFL:

Each year, a handful of "underage" teenagers are among MIT's incoming students. The university takes no initiative to court them, but anywhere from one to five, ranging in age from 14 to 16, join the MIT community annually. What do these wunderkinder look like, talk like, act like? Do they spend all night sweating bullets over their laptops, or do they just lounge around their dorms effortlessly completing multiple homework assignments at once? Do they play chess blindfolded? Can they go a whole night speaking only in palindromes?

First of all, I didn't realize that there were so few kids entering MIT who were young. When I started, I immediately met another 16-year-old in the first week, so I thought it was relatively common . If you are smart enough to go to college at 16, it may as well be the best, otherwise you really aren't smart enough (some kind of twisted logic there, no posers allowed). My encounter with this other 16-year-old went like this... I'm at a frat in Boston during Rush week at a party. This guy is trying to impress all the girls, saying he is 16 and he plays the piano, etc. He starts playing something lame, intermediate at best, all the while winking at the girls. He is really ticking me off the way he is trying to show off. Then I mention that I am 16 too and that I play the piano too. I'm not trying to show off or anything, but I wait for him to ask me to play. Then I play the 3rd movement of Beethoven's Appasionata Sonata and of course totally blow him out of the water. That shut him up for good. I'm not usually one to show off, but he just really ticked me off. These days I would just ignore people like that (i.e. don't have anything good up my sleeves to play).

The sad thing about these kids they interviewed in this article is that they all seem like such unhappy misfits in high school. I thought high school was a total bore, but I still had friends and had fun. I guess I was lucky to be young and "normal".

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