Last Wednesday, somewhere between a biology test and a chemistry lecture, I realized that I’m more than halfway done with my first semester at MIT.
My first reaction was, to be perfectly honest, shock. How could the past eight weeks have gone by so quickly? I can still remember how I felt when my plane first landed in Boston – when I walked onto campus for the first time as an actual student – when I said that final goodbye to my parents. I remember my first days here: building robots for DME, devouring free food and enjoying countless activities during Orientation, getting lost on the way to Baker House, exploring Greek life during Fraternity Rush. I remember reuniting with old friends from CPW, and finding new ones around every turn.
I remember meeting with my freshman advisor for the first time, and filling out that neat little form listing all of my classes for the coming semester. I remember that first day of classes, when I woke up extra early to make sure I wasn’t late. I remember finally mustering the courage to start raising my hand during lecture. I remember all the times my professors stayed a few minutes after class to clarify a point or answer a question I had. I remember turning in my first physics p-set, the one I stayed up past four to finish. I remember the week I had three tests in a row, plus a problem set due that same Thursday. I remember getting my first taste of both definitions of IHTFP.
I remember my exuberance when I found out that some of my closest friends and I had all been chosen as new MedLinks. I remember the day I turned nineteen, and my friends took me out to dinner at the Border Café, followed by ice cream at Ben & Jerry’s, and refused to let me pay. I remember the thrill of going to my first-ever Red Sox game at Fenway. I remember taking a weekend off to visit family, to rearrange my priorities, and to generally figure my life out. I remember the hacks: the purple dome during Rush, the Master Chief helmet on John Harvard, the model of Sputnik in Lobby 10, the Red Sox banner strung across Briggs Field. I remember my parents’ surprise when I told them I had decided to become involved in student government, my friends’ surprise when they learned I had pledged at a fraternity, my teachers’ surprise when they heard that I was blogging for MIT.
I remember all the ups and downs of these past eight weeks, my achievements and my failures side by side. Even in just eight weeks, I’ve managed to make plenty of mistakes – but at the same time, each misstep has taught me something valuable about myself. It hasn’t been easy. If anything, these have been the hardest two months of my life. But as I look back, I know it’s been worth it.
Sometimes, with a lot of work and maybe a little luck, dreams really do come true.
And beyond all my own experiences here at MIT, I remember what it’s like to be where you are now. There’s just a few more days until the Early Action deadline, and I know you will all be great. Yes, it’s terrifying to finally push that “Submit Application” button. But I promise it will be worth it in the end. Whether your final destination is here or one of the many other fine institutions across America and the world, I wish you all the best of luck in pursuing your dreams.
Now if only the Red Sox would win tonight….
EDIT: It’s a sweep! Boston Red Sox are 2007 World Champions! GO SOX!!