Aug 30, 2011
Life After MIT
Posted in: Miscellaneous
So I have (somewhat) settled into my life post-grad.
This is, however, NOT my last blog. That is coming, and (I promise!) it will be still MIT-relevant.
Once things stop becoming MIT-relevant, then I'll stop blogging. Which will be a sad day.
So I'm now living in THE NYC, on THE UES (or the Upper East Side, for you unenlightened folks). Theoretically, I live in East Harlem, since we have the East Harlem zip code (10029), but we are zoned in the same Congressional district as the wealthy Upper East Side (NY 14th). This made me finally realize what "gerrymandering" means*. (okay, I also wanted to live in the most Democratic Congressional district in the nation according to the Cook PVI index, which is NY 15th (Harlem and Washington Heights) and NY 16th (Bronx) :P)
* Seriously though, check out the Manhattan Congressional zoning map - the traditional boundary between East Harlem and the Upper East Side is East 96th St., but see how the district lines shift sharply northwards by Park Ave. next to Central Park? That's where my medical school (and the medical center) is, lol.
I'm going to medical school at Mount Sinai, and I just had my seventh day of school.
In many ways, med school is like going back to high school - the days are much longer with an intense amount of lectures (5-6 hours), the class is really small (140 in my graduating class), and you have class with everyone else all the time.
A major difference, however, is that people in your class are no longer the same age as you. In MSSM Class of 2015, the age range is from 21 to 31, with the average age being 23. I'm 22, so I fit just below the average age of my class. It's a bit strange to realize that most of the people in my class had taken a year or few years off and that people didn't just recently turn legal like I did, haha.
Thanks to the rigorous MIT biology and chemistry instruction, the biochem that we have seen so far appears to be quite amateurish (what is the secondary structure of a protein? how does DNA transcription proceed? explain the function of the TATA box? which amino acids are polar and which are nonpolar?). Not trying to be cocky here, but MIT does provide a really rigorous foundation in the sciences (even through the GIRs without going into advanced courses), and this serves us really well post-graduation, which is a great thing :)
What I really meant to write in this blog, however, is about the MIT alums that are in my class at Mount Sinai.
I am happy to announce that Mount Sinai had an extremely strong showing of MIT alumni this year, with 4 of us from the Class of 2011 attending - Sonya '11, Grace '11, Amrita '11, and yours truly.
It's pretty funny because Grace '11 shares almost the exact same life story as me (born in the US, grew up in Taiwan, didn't come back until college....our parents even know each other!). I've delegated her as the spokesperson for the "where are you from" question when we're together :P
I went to the same summer program at the same campus (SSP Ojai 2006) my junior year of HIGH SCHOOL with Sonya '11. (woot woot SSP represent! here I am going to link Anna, because she always links me when talking about SSP - although it was a pity that she went to the New Mexico campus...when they were rained out with T-storms, us folks on the California campus even took asteroid measurements for them and sent it over to NM. True story.) We also went to the same FPOP (FLP 2007), and now we're in the same class again. It is pretty funny though that Sonya and I actually rarely talked at MIT since we never really ran into each other, but now I see her almost every day.
As for Amrita '11, she also went FLP 2007, and she was Grace's floormate at MIT. Now they're roommates!
So all of us are doing well here at Sinai, and after two weeks of meeting people, we discovered that there was a hidden MIT alum in our class, Paul from the Class of 2003*.
* To give you a sense of time, Simmons Hall opened during his senior year at MIT.
It was extremely exciting to refer to our majors using numbers again and have someone understand what "Course 7" meant (he was Course 5). Although Paul is much older than me, there are so many things that all alums share - so much more than course numbers. He knew what it felt like to stay up tooling all night, and how tasty the food trucks (especially Goosebeary's) by Building 66* were.
* To give you another sense of time, the food trucks by Kendall used to park next to Building 66 in an alleyway that led to Main Street. We would buy food from the food truck and eat at this small lawn area right next to Building 66. This was during my freshman Orientation (2007). Since then, that lawn area got demolished to make way for the new Koch Center and is sadly no more. The food trucks moved over to the alley by the ambulance entrance of MIT Medical, and Goosebeary's got renamed Momogoose**.
** I still like the original Goosebeary's better.
To stay in touch with MIT, I signed up to be an Educational Counselor, and I sure hope I get picked (unfortunately, there are way too many alumni in the NYC area :( ). It's so much fun to keep in touch with MIT, and it would definitely be super fun to get to help pick the incoming future classes.
There is a quote that I really like from Alice in Wonderland (did you know Lewis Carroll was an eminent mathematician? see, scientists are capable of so much more than just science XP)
"But I don't want to go among mad people," Alice remarked.
"Oh, you can't help that," said the Cat: "we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad."
"How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice.
"You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn't have come here."
It is a bit tongue-in-cheek when I use it to describe MIT, but this quote seriously sums up how I feel about this place after four years. There is something very special about the school, and once you leave, you're never quite the same again. Even when meeting my new classmates from other colleges, I can't help but feel that there are just so many things that I can never properly describe to them - you'd have to have lived it to understand.
Just like Harry Potter going off to Hogwarts - you belong here if you received the fat envelope. I can't help you if you don't want to go among mad people, but if you're sitting in Cambridge right now reading this post.....
....too late. :)
ps. Our professor talked about the Ras oncogene a few days ago, and I had to resist the urge to turn to my classmate and announce that the guy who discovered Ras taught me freshman biology. :P