The first time I had a conversation with Archit Bhise I'm pretty sure he asked me one of those deep questions that help gage what kind of a mindset you have. It was something really general, along the lines of "what do you think about x global issue" or "what is your goal here at MIT". I'm about 95% sure that the specific question was about politics and that I mentioned Joe Biden. It was pretty early on during my freshman year in Burton Conner, as I was still settling in and still used to monotonously repeating my name, dorm, potential major, and what state I was from as an introduction.
What I do remember is thinking, "Wow, this conversation is refreshing" because he quickly got to asking bread-and-butter questions, to which it takes longer than 10 seconds to process and formulate any meaningful response. I wish I could blindly skip over the fact that this was just about two years ago, but yeah, apparently I can say that now...
In any case, it's easy to get lost in the details of MIT as a freshman-- How are you doing in your intro classes? How much sleep are you aiming to get tonight? Do you have enough food to survive? With whom will you pset? Are you keeping on top of deadlines? To me, Archit was always a reminder to ask bigger questions--Am I making the most of my time here? What kinds of things do I want to leave this place doing and having learned? How will I make the most of the (million and one) opportunities that MIT has to offer?
He's the kind of person will read Marcus Aurelius' diary for tidbits of wisdom and then will go off to freestyle rap or something of that nature. High on my list of favorite questions I've ever asked him was if he had any life/MIT advice. So without further ado, here is my compilation of his response, in no particular order:
1. Always have a flexible plan A, B, and C
It's hard to get anywhere without some idea of at least what direction you're going, but, if you have one, don't stick to your "10 year plan" too much. Things change every day. New opportunities may come along and you may not even realize it if you come in with a rigid plan about what you're going to do. New ideas change the world. Taking advantage of new opportunities is what will change yours.
2. Be inspired and motivated
Going through MIT, or anything in life, is about the journey. You're not going to know everything, sure, but why put yourself through something when it makes you miserable? Make sure you're comfortable with your situation-- if you're not, change it! Don't just go through the motions, because as they say, "to whom much is given, much is expected." Focus on finding what makes you tick so you can be the best version of yourself, and once you find your passion-- run with it.
3. Respect the reading room
4. Relationships with people comes first
Yeah, academics are important at MIT, but quality friendships that you make with these awesome people will last a lifetime. Make traditions and memories, have fun, grow with your friends. Don't judge people-- embrace the diversity they have to offer. Learn how to forgive people, too.
5. Try new things
Don't be afraid to break from routine once in a while. Test your limits-- whether it be in the classes you take, or the things with which you're involved. He said it best with, “Life is a game, how far can you go? At the end of the day, no one gets out alive.” New things will enrich you with experience and memories. There's a kind of "I've been there" feeling that resonates within you when you've done something you didn't think you would or could.
If you have any doubts about any of these pieces of advice, I could attest to the fact that Archit folows his own counsel. As a new graduate in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering (Course 6) and minor in public policy, you could find Archit continuing his work as cofounder at Wellframe, which is committed to bringing the next generation of doctor-to-home infrastructure via artificial intelligence and mobile technology. While he was always interested in healthcare, his inspiration to become active in this field came from his being away from home when his dad had a heart attack. Along his time at MIT, he became acquainted with Peter Szolovitz and Alison Hynd, who helped him with technical expertise and with fellowships. (He gives a thankful shout out to both of you!)
It's crazy to think about how many things could happen during your four years in college, so on to make the most of it! Congratulations to the 2013's--all with their many friendships forged and opportunities taken. When I asked Archit what he'd be thinking during commencement, he said it would be about how he couldn't wait to see what kinds of awesome things these people would be doing in 10 years.
That definitely makes two of us.