Sep 25, 2007
Karen: A Short History
Posted in: Miscellaneous
Hi, I'm Karen and like most other freshmen, I'm still working on my time-management skills, which is why it took so long for me to finally get started on here.
Unlike almost everyone else here, I don't have an anecdote about my first encounter with technology or science. Most of my childhood was spent reading books and books and more books, and I think that's what led me to see life the way I do:
The world isn't just something you should get around to seeing once or twice when you get a vacation. It's a place you live in everyday, and even if you think you live in the smallest, most boring town in the world, there are adventures around every corner (or cornfield, in some cases. Like mine. I'm from Illinois, remember? Well, actually I didn't live far from Chicago, so it wasn't as bad as I'm making it out to be, but it had a nice ring to it.)
You'll have to get used to my parenthetical digressions if you're going to be reading this. I'm warning you now.
With this in mind (the world, not parenthetical digressions), I spent a year abroad as an exchange student in Taiwan the year after high school. I applied to MIT my senior year, deferred admission (gasp!) and spent the better part of a year not always understanding what people said to me, but having fun anyway. I'll talk about this more in-depth in another entry, but the point is that it was a critical year, because A) when I came back, I felt that I had had enough time to really think about what I wanted to do, and B) I forgot all the math I ever learned.
As a side note, I thought that when I came back to the US, it'd be a relief to finally understand everything people said, but here I am, at MIT, not always understanding what people say, but having fun anyway...
Anyway, I had a lot of time to think about ways to spend my life that wouldn't turn my hair gray before I was forty, wouldn't trap me in an office or a lab, would help me do my part to help the world, and allow me to have fun at the same time. Surprisingly enough, I actually came up with something. How about that.
I'll probably major in Urban Planning and Design and minor in International Relations. I also plan to spend a lot of time here learning as many languages as possible (possibly even a programming one, so I can communicate with Course 6-ers as well as with the rest of the world). Reading Anthony's blog, you might guess that I want to spend my life designing public transportation systems because we have the same major and minor and we're both studying French. But actually, we're on completely different tracks (Hah! Get it? Tracks? Like trains...). My dream is to spend my life improving conditions in under-developed countries. And not just because it's, like, a good thing to do, but because I'll get tons of opportunities to travel and see other cultures and maybe even some wild animals.
It all sounds really fantastic to me.
But for now, I'm still just a freshman without any official major declaration. I still have GIRs to get through. I still have people to meet, and I still need to learn how to cook, and I still have new music to discover, and I still have a room (a single) in Senior House to paint, and I still have a lot of things to learn about the world.
I hope you enjoy reading about them.
[Also, for those of you at MIT, the Muslim Student Association is hosting a Fast-a-thon on the 27th. The event is not religiously affiliated, it's just for charity - businesses will donate to certain organization per person that pledges not to eat on Thursday. Go here to sign up or to read more about it. It's only a day. No, seriously. Do it. What's stopping you? Go!]