21W.021: MIT: Inside, Live
On the Road to MIT
For this assignment, let us know something about what brought you, in particular, to MIT. There are many ways to do this. Select among the following or pick your own approach and let me know what it is.
1) Follow one particular thread of your education which you think contributed to leading you here. This chronicle of your pre-MIT “education” doesn’t have to be directly school-related. (See Sherman Alexie’s “Indian Education,” Lindsay Sanneman’s “Why I Love Space”) It should be as specific and grounded in particulars as you can make it.
2) Give us some historical background to your arrival at MIT: What family stories have you been told which you imagine are significant precursors to your own life story? You can focus on one episode or use a series of incidents. Here again, bring the story “alive” by grounding in the particular.
3) Write a narrative of the period in which you found your way to MIT. Once again, the more particular and well-observed, i.e. the less general and clichéd, the better. For instance, try to avoid excessive exclamation—“I was so stressed!” “It was the best day of my life!”—which won’t tell us much about the specific experience.
Note 1: Some of the models we will be reading are quite dramatic. Don’t let this discourage you. Any experience described honestly, clearly, and with attention to the particular will be engaging, whether it involves high drama or not.
Note 2: Format, title, proofread, etc. as you did for your “Looking—at MIT” essay.
Note 3: There are no absolute page lengths assigned for individual essays, so keep in mind that the 5,000-word-minimum final portfolio will be based primarily on a collection of your three major revised essays, of which this is the first. So that would put each piece at around 6 double-spaced pages—give or take some.
Essay models can all be found on the Stellar Website/Material/Readings: Post reader responses to essays by midnight the night before class. How do these pieces introduce us to the writer and his or her “education”—through one of the three approaches given above?