As a parent, I’ve had nearly a dozen MIT students visiting at our house in California, because our daughter, who graduated in 2011, regularly brings home friends to stay and visit. These students have been a mix of physics, math, and engineering majors. In my opinion, they do share a few traits in common:
An appreciation of math jokes and an uncanny ability to come up with one in almost any situation.
A love of games and a tendency to add multiple layers of challenge to any basic board or card game. Thus, a “simple game of hearts” can morph into a high-speed, card-slapping rule-shifting event, leaving hapless parents in the dust. Beware.
Unusual skills and abilities related to hacking. Last winter we were locked out of a rental cabin in the mountains, and my daughter’s boyfriend quickly whipped out a couple of tools from a back pocket and picked the lock while we were searching for the landlord’s cell phone number.
Wide-ranging interests, from mountain-climbing to musical theater to cooking, sports, digital art, and other things.
Good-heartedness. Every student I’ve met has been a genuinely nice person.