The Fun of Working Hard: Student File Depicts the First Year at MIT

By Violeta Ivanova, Educational Technology Consultant, OEIT, and Edgerton Center Instructor

What is it like being a freshman at MIT? To learn from the source, see the new short film "Defroshing 2010", which since its release has been the most popular video on MIT TechTV (titled after the informal term for "the process in which various people help freshmen adjust to MIT") was created by several students from Class of 2010.

In Fall 2006, the freshmen learned how to make documentaries in SP.782 Digital Video Production: Documenting the First Year at MIT, a freshman advising seminar offered by the Edgerton Center. The students interviewed each other on camera, sharing honestly about their new life at MIT.  They talked about working harder and sleeping less than they ever had, but also about making new friends, living on their own, loving science, exploring campus, and dreaming about the future.

In Spring 2007, four of the freshmen edited the film during the experimental seminar SP.718 Digital Video Post-Production. (The Edgerton Center has since proposed the subject to be offered regularly in the future as SP.785.) Building on several more months of MIT experience, the freshmen decided which of the many hours of the fall semester video to use; then worked on acquiring additional images, composing music, designing titles, and putting the film together.

"What's the story?" say documentary filmmakers. According to the freshmen, the story of "defroshing" is this: as hard as it is to study at MIT, the effort is worthwhile and the challenge is fun!

The student filmmakers used professional camcorders, microphones, and other production equipment provided by instructor and freshman advisor Violeta Ivanova PhD'98, as well as post-production resources at the New Media Center which is managed by the Office for Educational Innovation and Technology. The Edgerton Center provided additional equipment and facilities, and the Office of Undergraduate Advising and Academic Programming sponsored the freshman advising group.For future documentary videos about the freshman experience of MIT students, you can subscribe to the SP.782 video blog on TechTV. Coming up next this summer is "Sea of Numbers", a video about exploring MIT majors.