I think one of the greatest things about going to college is the amount of time you have outside of the school year to explore different places and to travel broadly in your time away from school.
Just a month ago, I had just completed my final exams, which can only be termed as EPIC, but was also a sweet finish to a hectic junior year where I took eleven classes in one year, finished my MCATs, and embarked on the terrifying journey also known as medical school admissions.
Through my time at MIT, aside from Boston, I’ve lived (stayed for >= four weeks) in Madrid, Tokyo, and San Francisco. Through the madness of MIT, savoring churros con chocolate in the quaint cafes of Madrid, wolfing down one of those 500 yen gyudon specials during rush hour in Tokyo, and biting the heads off one of those cute sourdough turtles from Boudin Bakery in San Fran have definitely been some of my fondest memories in the last few years.
And this summer is no exception!
I have relocated to New York City, where I live in an apartment in the Lower East Side. Every night, I dodge drunks in urine-filled street corners and go to sleep when the apartments across from me draw their curtains and turn off their lights (with the guy who lives in the apartment across the street from me in plain view when he takes a shower circa 1 AM). I had never felt such a strong feeling of “solidarity” with any city that I have lived in, if you get my gist. ;)
During the day, I intern at Bellevue Hospital, a fifteen-minute bus ride from my apartment, where I work on developing a novel medical interpreter training system for Mandarin speakers, and help more critical-need Chinese cancer patients apply to treatment subsidies or apply for insurance. When I’m not working, I put my 30-day unlimited MetroCard to good use by discovering amazing restaurants in the Upper West Side, and wondering why the heck the F train never comes. I also take Japanese and Cantonese classes at night, because one of my secret dreams is to work as a multilingual interpreter in the United Nations, and you gotta start somewhere, right? ;)
This is the obligatory “oh-wow-I-can’t-believe-how-fast-time-is-passing-and-I-am-getting-so-jaded” section, but in so many ways, I find it shocking that in a little bit more than two months, I will be a senior at the Institute. Sure, I guess all these memories I have proved that a lot of time has passed since I was that confused froshie wondering which corridor the “Infinite” really referred to (yes, this actually happened, once upon a time), but I also remember my high school graduation trip as if it had been last summer, not three years ago.
College will really transform the way you think and rationalize, and MIT especially so. There will be sleepless nights, there will be agonizing psets, and there will be heartrending exams. At the same time, however, there are also midnight parties, weekend adventures, and 7 AM triumphs. You will have a lot of new friendships, connections, and relationships – but don’t be afraid of change, because that’s how we grow. Above all, however, take the time to sniff the flowers along the way, and savor the journey – in more ways than one, traveling has actually kept me sane among the challenges of MIT, and I think that’s the biggest reason why I travel and go to so many places during the summers and IAPs.
I guess this time next year my life will have changed completely once again, which is slightly scary, but also kind of odd, since with med school applications and such, you start looking beyond MIT – but I still have two semesters to get through! :)
Anyways, just a quick update about what I’m doing this summer! Congrats to the ’14s (I got to meet a few dozen of you through our iHouse housing applications :P) and be excited about the fall! :)
(and like what I have been saying for like that last ~5 entries, MIT-relevant entries to come soon! haha)
(unrelated) – I also came back from the extremely-hyped Shanghai Expo two weeks ago, and this is what it’s like there =p
Although Shanghai is really pretty…
And my favorite pavilion in the entire Expo – UK – this is what it actually looks like! (read about it! :P)
PS. And I also have been avidly following the World Cup! (all the games I can catch if I’m not at work or sleep). I watched the BRA v. CIV game in Little Brazil in NYC and it was crazy – when Brazil scored a goal, the cheers were so loud that the cars actually stopped in the middle of the street to see what’s going on. I still have my bets on ARGENTINA!!! to take the whole tournament but I’m rooting for Japan to beat Paraguay on Tuesday. Fingers crossed!