Sometimes it’s hard to take a step back. This is why I warn my freshman advisees against getting on “the treadmill.” “The treadmill” is the straightest path through MIT. It means doing the basic classes that everyone takes, not doing anything but your classes, doing all the sexiest internships (and not the ones which are interesting or different or that you’d like to do and learn from), and then going straight into the highest paying job you can find because it’s there.
Earlier today, a colleague sent me a news article called From Wilton to Wall Street to Teaching. It’s about Mary Chin ’07, from Wilton, Connecticut:
Mary Chin earned her BS in civil engineering and a MEng in environmental engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She pursued a career on the Wall Street trading floor after completing several demanding internships. Although she enjoyed the fast-pace environment, Ms. Chin did not feel that she was contributing to society in ways that she had imagined. “It took about three minutes of standing in front of an 8th grade algebra class to confirm that I’d made the right decision in leaving Wall Street and becoming a teacher,” said Ms. Chin.
Well, Mary just won a $175,000 five-year fellowship distributed by the Knowles Science Teaching Fellowship foundation, which supports professionals who transition into STEM education. But more importantly than that, Mary got off the treadmill. And the world is a better place for it.