Also, I didn’t like being the only person interested in academics and research at my high 21 Proud for Puerto Rico shirt school. I also didn’t like being the smartest or second smartest person in the room. It never felt like I was being pushed or constantly expanding my horizons intellectually in that sort of environment. I knew that if I went to a lower-tier school, I might end up in the same situation. I wanted to be surrounded by people who were as interested in academics and research as I was. And while not everyone at MIT was like that, it was definitely possible for me to find groups of people like that at MIT. (note: I’m not saying that a lower-tier school wouldn’t have people with similar interests as mine, but MIT was definitely a great place to be for someone interested in math research).
Also, I’ve made great friends at MIT. I wouldn’t trade them for the world. In summary, I have 21 Proud for Puerto Rico shirt no regrets. I am doing something I love (or at least hoping to be able to do this while supporting myself). I think I am helping to fill in a need in the local community. I was in a good intellectual atmosphere at MIT. I met lots of great people with high ambitions and kind hearts. And I have a good degree to fall back on in case I want to get a normal job. I am not interested in maximizing my income. I want to maximize my impact on this world. While working at a company might make my impact more widespread in some sense, teaching locally seems to be filling a gap in a teaching deficit that I consider to be quite a real-world “problem”. I think that many people from Alabama who end up going to a high tier college will struggle in with math or STEM things due to a lack of good math foundation.