I don't know exactly what it is, but even after graduating, every time I step on campus I feel at home. It's a very good feeling to have a home.
In terms of academics, my favorite thing about MIT is the flexibility -- I took a bunch of grad classes starting my sophomore year, took several classes without prerequisites, and substituted a required class in my major. You're pretty free to take the classes you want without a lot of red tape, and to structure your major around classes you find interesting.
^ I'm kind of surprised to hear that. Having been on one of the sports teams that was cut and participating in the opinion department of The Tech, too often have I seen and experienced total bureaucratic INflexibility. Perhaps it differs in academic departments.
But this thread is about stuff we like! I really like the no-nonsense nature of academics and research at MIT. It seems like in all departments and disciplines, MIT won't offer a class unless it can be taught well and in a meaningful way. They don't sugarcoat things for you and they won't pamper you with grades you didn't work for. At the same time, there are a lot of avenues to get help if you're struggling, but they DONT just hand things to you on a silver platter.
I'm speaking second-hand here, but I hear from some of my close friends at schools similarly ranked to MIT that they have "light" classes you can take to fulfill a requirement or such. Classes where it's not hard to get an A and the subject doesn't ask a student to develop a very deep understanding. From as far as I can tell, MIT really doesn't have these kinds of classes. You come here to learn, and that's precisely what the classes help you do.
that sounds... really amazing. I hate how I can't take challenging classes in social studies past a certain point at my high school. >:[ and Mollie - thanks for mentioning the flexibility - yet another reason to love MIT.
The best thing? The ambitious and rigor. Everyone here is so excited about their research. Excited about striving to be the best. Excited about the small successes that will eventually add up and culminate in four years of knowledge, memories, and awesome. People here are passionate about the school, and while it may seem like circular reasoning, everyone's love for MIT makes me love it all the more.