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MIT student blogger Jess K. '10

Ambulance! Ambulance! by Jess K. '10

So I'm in this serious long-term relationship.

It is four days into IAP and I have yet to sleep in my own bed. In fact, today was the first time I’ve been back in my dorm for more than half an hour since returning to MIT on Sunday, and I was only home for about an hour before leaving once again. It has been so long since I’ve really been home that I’m on the verge of emailing housing and telling them to cancel my room at Burton 1, since I’m not home day or night, and my room has started to smell faintly of mildew, and old people. And all of this because I’m committed to this long-term, very serious relationship – with MIT-EMS.

MIT-EMS (Emergency Medical Service) is a student-run volunteer ambulance service that provides basic life support to the MIT campus in Cambridge, as well as part of Boston, and runs 24/7 – which means a large number of greatly desired overnight shifts, many of which I have been taking lately because it’s IAP and THAT means FREE TIME (what IS that?? is that even REAL??). All of our student EMTs are certified in the state of Massachusetts, many via the class which is offered every IAP, from 9 AM to 5:30 PM four days a week (which I took last year). This means any free hours we have during shift are spent helping the new class get CPR certified, or learn to take blood pressures, or not pass out from eight grueling hours of training.

We’re required to work at least 49 hours a semester, but if you want to be really good at your job you can’t just take one shift (which are either four, seven, or nine hours long) every so often – you need to work consistently, and many people on the service work 100-200+ hours a semester (which may seem like a lot, but it’s over the span of three months). IAP is optional, but I’m trying to gain experience by working as much as possible, especially before the new class starts working too.

(I have to just say that that’s probably one of the worst pictures of me taken, ever. It wasn’t even like I’d had my wisdom teeth out or anything, I just NATURALLY look like a chipmunk preparing for a very grueling natural disaster. Anyway.) Our service is funded and supported by MIT Medical, which provides complete health services for the MIT community from the gynecology ward to the pharmacy to 24/7 urgent care, though we take most emergent patients to the surrounding hospitals in Boston or Cambridge. We also work as standbys at sporting events or concerts – last spring I got in free at the Angels and Airwaves concert (which actually turned out to be a very bad mistake, because Tom Delonge should really just have given up at music by now).

Angela (not The Angela Monster)(I think) asked: it’s cool that you ride with the ambulance. I’m interested in joining too (provided that I’ll actually get it). What is it like?
It’s awesome. Come and try it for yourself.

The service itself is a really cool thing – not only is it entirely run by unpaid students, but we’re probably the only service that runs its own ambulance itself in the New England area. And (here comes the cheesy – are you ready? I don’t think you are!) we do legitimately make a difference – our response times are significantly shorter than that of outside ambulances, since we’re students here and we know our way around the buildings; we’re also located right on campus rather than much farther away up on Mass Ave. We have a bunkroom where we can sleep, watch TV, check email on the Athena machine, use the restroom, and pretty much exist right in the basement of Stata. It’s a pretty sweet setup.

Just because you’re saving lives, though, doesn’t mean you have to give up your own. Here are the other things I have done three days into IAP:
1. On a whim, added French 1 (comment allez-vous?)
2. Bought enough groceries for a small vegetarian family
3. Snowboarding class (for credit!)
4. Breakdancing class (alright, not for credit)
5. Helped teach CPR at the IAP EMT class (which I took last year)
6. Finished rereading The Subtle Knife
7. Got a UROP (more on this later… dun dun dun)
8. Lost (by ONE CARD) at a highly competitive game of Cranium, freshmen vs. upperclassmen

In three days! Not bad, hm? So I haven’t been home for the past couple of days for a few reasons, but at least I’m still blogging. And according to Gawker and the New York Times, that’s a more noble feat than riding an ambulance anyways.

41 responses to “Ambulance! Ambulance!”

  1. Libin Daniel says:

    Hey, see the stats..Its in one of the links in Ben’s post. I had my interview. I am telling 4 because the list says No. of Indians in UG courses in year 2007-08 was 16 and because the course is 4 years long, it is within accepted error that the average is 4. Though, I doubt that there were only 2 admits for 3 years and the remaining 10 in a single year.
    How long did your Interview went on?

  2. Libin Daniel says:

    Its just an approximation I have said..If 4 becomes 3 or 5..Don’t blame me. 4 is just the sweet little’s little.

  3. c says:

    The smell of mildew is understandable, but why are you keeping old people in your dorm room? You should let them out.

  4. Akshay says:

    Hey Jess, you are a very good blogger
    it’s a very nice entry
    congratualtions for the UROP and do tell about it later

    if you feel that there are only 4 indians to be admitted then let it be, that’s the greatest part. Won’t you be happy that you passed one of the toughest competition in your admission process.

    I have also applied for this fall and I’m excited about my admission, not worried. Just taste the flavor of this excitement and have the fears on the decision day!!!

  5. Harnur says:

    hey akshay where u from … i know someone who could have applied.. having the same name as yours…

  6. Akshay says:

    Hey Harnur I am from Delhi, India and you???

  7. Libin Daniel says:

    Its not about worrying or being excited, or maybe it is. But lets face it, having 4 admits from the 2nd largest populated place kinda gives you chills.

  8. Akshay says:

    Yes it does!!!

    I totally agree with you Libin. Hope you and I both get admitted :D

  9. Libin Daniel says:

    Hope..that’s all we can do.

  10. FIRST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Libin Daniel says:

    Hey, great post….
    I have a problem..I sent in my all documents..Everything has been processsed except my Secondary School Reprt. Can someone tell me the problem? It has my transcripts. I am really worried now. What is wrong?? The Mid year report is also blank, but that doesn’t matter as I am an international Applicant.

  12. Ohh, what your UROP gonna be about?

  13. Harnur says:

    same here.. don’t worry they will process it soon

  14. Kayla says:

    MS. JKim. I have a very serious question. if i get into MIT, and attend MIT, will you be my friend?

  15. Libin Daniel says:

    Oh my MIT, How I wish to be a part of you.
    I really wish,Oh, I really do.
    4 Indians are gonna get selected for this year’s fredhman class ( basing on last year’s intake=16/4) and I am trying to see myself as one of them.

  16. phreaker says:

    @Kayla: I’ll be your friend, accepted or not grin

  17. Omar '10 says:

    oh jkim, i’ll always love you a little bit.

    guess what? i don’t know if i want to be course 10 anymore, ha.

  18. Aditi says:

    teeny question

    are you superhuman?



  19. Angela says:

    There aren’t that many calls in my town, so most of the time, we just hang out at the building and make fun of each other…

  20. Anonymous says:

    Kind of off topic, but out of random curiosity, what is the font that you guys keep using in your images?

  21. Harnur says:

    Me also from delhi A.P.S n u….

  22. Isshak says:

    I am SO doing that if I get it ! But I guess freshmen can’t do it because we won’t know our way around campus yet…
    So comment évolue ton français ?

  23. Reg says:

    @Libin Daniel:

    only one person from hong kong gets in, what do you think of our chances?

    i know this year there’s at least 4 applicants too..

  24. Yash says:

    @ Libin, u Indian?
    me too.. hope to c ya this year.. nd r u sure 4 indians get in?

  25. Anonymous says:

    Is this your fist time through HDM? I hope you’re enjoying them; they’ve been my favorite books since I was about 9. I reread The Amber Spyglass last month and it was amazing. smile

  26. Aditi says:

    subtle knife is the best smile

    4 indians? says who?


    and if its true then well…that is one scary statistic. I already know way too many people who’ve applied o.O

    @yash and libin: did you guys do the interview?

  27. Akshay says:

    Yeah same here
    Let’s just wait for them to be processed

  28. Hyun Jin says:

    Oooh, Snowboarding for credit?! I’m in! …Though it seems outrageously unfair to get credit just by having fun.

  29. Apoorva says:

    Hey.. just out of curiousity what subjects/fields do you plan to major in?

  30. carmen says:

    emt sounds so exciting, but do you ever really get all the actions? (just traffic accident etc, or is it just to help drunken college students off to the hospital or help a stupid college student who just walked into a pole)

  31. Piper says:


    Short: How do you have time?
    Long: Thank you for this blog. I was debating doing EMT this year or next year but decided to just do a bunch of stuff to experience IAP this year and then (hopefully) do it next year. I’m really intimidated, but I really want to work on the ambulence. It makes me really happy that you CAN do things OTHER than training during IAP, because I was worried that it was too intense, so this blog = awesome. (Though I wonder how much sleep you get?)

  32. Akshay says:

    I’m from DLDAV Model School, Pitampura

  33. Apoorva says:


    @ Libin : Hi, I am facing the same problem.. my teacher evaluations have been processed but not my secondary school report ( although the were in the same envelope)…
    Do you know whether they will contact us regarding missing documents or are we supposed to email them about it?


  34. Anonymous says:

    Only 4 people from a big country being accepted isn’t the scary part. The scarier part is that only about 100 people from all over the world (including the int’l applications in the USA) are being accepted. And that includes people who’ve written textbooks or who save tsunami victims as a hobby. Time to panic wink

  35. Harnur says:

    I am facing the same problem…i think we should wait for 2 or 3 days and then mail them…we should give them some time to work on it

  36. Hawkins says:

    Snowboarding (Course 47) is a totally legitimate field of study. That should be your major, Jess.

  37. Cathy says:

    jess kim is a sexy beast.

  38. Anonymous says:

    “A chipmunk preparing for a very grueling natural disaster”. Reading Jess’s blog relatively inexpensive, the internet service through AT&T free, comments like that. PRICELESS!!!!!

  39. Don’t you think sexy chipmunk awaiting impending doom much more appropo?

  40. Mr. Mugulie says:

    Jess Kim rox my sox