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MIT student blogger Anna H. '14

Associate Advising and the MedLinks Program by Anna H. '14

I'm sick of unpacking, so here's a blog post

Overheard at MIT
(from sometime Spring 2012 – I’ve been keeping a collection of these for a while, and will start leaking them out)
MIT Student 1: “Any luck with 16b?”
MIT Student 2: “I used erf.”
MIT Student 1: “ERF?! Oh, God, I haven’t thought about that since 18.03*…”
MIT Student 2: “No, seriously. It was so beautiful. You know how the problem wants the form and the coefficients? I used erf and it gave me both at the same time. Like…it was so beautiful. I actually shed tears over it.”
*Differential Equations
**The error function. It’s used a lot in stats, probability, and diff eq.
We’re in the midst of freshman orientation, so now seems like a good time to tell you about two programs that I’m involved with:
1) Associate Advising
2) MedLinks
(1) is the reason that I’m on campus right now. Basically, each freshman has an advisor: a member of staff (who works in admissions, maybe, or in the Office of Undergraduate Advising and Academic Programming) or a professor. Each advisor has one or two associate advisors (AAs): undergraduate students who <3 freshmen and want to help guide them through their first year. We can provide a student perspective on things like class choices, deciding whether or not to do a varsity sport, deciding where to live, where to eat, how to manage your time, how to study, how many pset classes it’s healthy to take, etc. This is my first year doing it – I got to meet my 23 advisees today, and would like to let you all know that they are the 23 coolest freshmen on campus, with the exception of the freshmen who are living in French House with me, and the new freshman bloggers.
I’m also on the Associate Advisor Steering Committee, which means that I work with the other AAs in New House to run events for, and mentor, freshmen within our dorm who aren’t necessarily in our official advising group.
The MedLinks program is similar to the Associate Advising program, in the sense that it’s a students-supporting-students system. It’s residence-based; there are a few MedLinks in every dorm. Here, the focus is on student health: mental health, sexual health, physical health. We have training in, and supplies of, basic first aid and over-the-counter medication. The idea is that MIT Medical is pretty far away from the dorms (from West Campus, at least) and can seem inaccessible and difficult to navigate at times; MedLinks serve as “links” between the student body and the medical facilities and support programs that MIT offers. We’re not doctors! We just know what resouces are available, so that we can point our friends and dorm-mates in the right direction.
So, that’s a quick summary. Let me know if you have any questions. Tomorrow and Thursday, I’ll be helping my freshman advisees to register for classes! In the meantime, back to unpacking.