I can see the end of my first reading season from here, and it has been a humbling experience. I am full of gratitude to you, our class of 2018 applicants, for sharing your experiences with us. I have shared your FUN jokes and written them on my whiteboard, I have learned facts and lessons from you, I have cried for you. I had a really horrible physics teacher in high school, and your passion for physics has nudged and encouraged me to try again. I have been delighted by your nerdiness and amazed by your accomplishments, whether academic, athletic, or at home.
Unfortunately, even with all that you have taught me, I know that I cannot see you all here next fall. I know that some of you will be disappointed and a dream will have been dashed. In one of the moments that I was thinking about this, this quote from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince came to mind:
“At the end of his wits, his mind reeling from all of the bad news doled out to him by both Fudge and Scrimgeour, the Prime Minister cries, “but for heaven’s sake – you’re wizards! You can do magic! Surely you can sort out – well – anything!” (1.131).
“The trouble is, the other side can do magic too, Prime Minister,” replies Scrimgeour (1.132).
Many people view MIT as a magical place and compare it to Hogwarts. They view the accepted as having magic, or more, than those who are not accepted. People around you may think and even say, “Don’t those admissions staff wizards know anything? Don’t they know you belong there?”
The troubling thing is they may be right. You get this place. You feel academically and culturally connected to the ‘tute. From the long days in committee that I’ve now experienced, I can confirm that we wish we had so much more space than we do in the freshman class for you. I am troubled that if you are disappointed on Friday, that you will begin to see yourself as one without magic. I know that is a lie from Lord Voldemort.
The main comparison that I am making is this: accepted or not, you all have the ability to perform magic and you will take that ability with you wherever you go.
Thank you again for trusting us with so much of who you are, and I wish you all the best always.