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MIT student blogger Hamsika C. '13

No Pain, No Gain by Hamsika C. '13

I wish it weren't so.

This past Wednesday found me with blistered palms, swollen shoulders, throbbing arms, and various bruises that colorfully decorated my 5′ 4” frame. It would be somewhat forgivable if these minor wounds were a result of someone else’s stupidity or unforeseeable circumstances; unfortunately, these injuries were pretty much my own fault.

Because my EMT-B state exam is coming up in just over a week, I’ve spent the past few days cycling between an absurd sense of calm and an overwhelming sense of panic. I’ve forgotten so much of what I learned in the EMT class I took over IAP, and I haven’t had a whole lot of experience on shift. The latter, though, might actually be a good thing, since – as I discovered earlier this week – I’m not that great at working the stretcher when anyone more than, say, 10 pounds is on it. So basically, that’s everyone minus newborn infants. Yay.

As you can imagine, an EMT that can’t handle a stretcher with someone on it isn’t all that useful. Channeling the spirit of “practice makes perfect,” I e-mailed a few of the crew chiefs on duty this last week, asking if I could come in and tinker with the stretchers a little bit.

And thus were born the scratches, the soreness, and the wary suspicion that biceps and triceps might need to be a larger part of my life – asap!! I was slightly jealous of the other members of my EMT class, none of whom seemed to have any trouble lifting people on the stretcher. For me, every moment was a struggle, and my mind juggled with constant reminders: Place your feet properly! Lift with your legs, not your back! Pull the trigger! Don’t let the wheels drop! Communicate with your partner! Ahhh, brain overloaddd.

It was certainly a learning experience. On some level, I’m grateful that this happened, since I’m now aware of the limits of my strength and the techniques I need to work on. I’m also now fully aware that MIT EMTs are some of the kindest people around – close to ten people encouraged me, helped me, and stuck by me as I fumbled my way into a modicum of stretcher grace. A special thanks to Vidya ’12, who came in when she wasn’t even on shift to bravely be my patient and to further my ambulance-related education :)

Also – a thanks to all of you EA Admits who participated in the event last night. Your questions were great, and both Paul ’12 and I had a lot of fun answering them. I hope I made sufficient eye contact; I think I forgot that the webcam was there, absorbed as I was in reading the questions. I’m sorry we couldn’t answer all of them! If you have any queries you really want answered, feel free to drop me an e-mail.

Good luck to all of you waiting for RA decisions!!

20 responses to “No Pain, No Gain”

  1. mrmish says:

    Do you hav similar programs for RA admits? Are the RA admits sent MIT tubes??

    reCAPTCHA: crazy repairs (lol)

  2. mrmish –

    We will be having a webchat for RA! Unfortunately, RA kids do not get tubes. But you will get to come to MIT!

  3. Brad says:

    Thx for the well wishing Hamsika. Do you think you’ll have a session for the RA’s as you did with the EA’s ?

  4. Anon '14 says:


    Hey, I couldn’t participate the webchat last night :( Is there anyway I can watch the video? Or where can I get your e-mail address for questions?

  5. manish raut says:

    hi hamsika
    can u tell me how i get admisson in mit
    ive check mit sit but last date for admission is 1st jan . so can u sujjest me
    is ther any examination,or personl interviw for tat
    plz reply me soon
    by the way ive watched ur group dance did well

  6. manish raut says:

    hi hamsika
    can u tell me how i get admisson in mit
    ive check mit sit but last date for admission is 1st jan . so can u sujjest me
    is ther any examination,or personl interviw for tat
    plz reply me soon
    by the way ive watched ur group dance did well

  7. Hamsika '13 says:

    @ anon ’14 –

    Yup, you can definitely e-mail me: [email protected] smile

  8. Paul '12 says:

    I wanted to echo Hamsika in saying thanks for participating last night! I really enjoyed answering all of your questions. If you see us at CPW, please stop us and say hi–I’d love to put faces to the questions.

  9. D says:

    @ manish raut:

    Actually, Jan 1 is the application deadline so you cannot apply anymore for this year’s entry. If you would like to apply, you will have to submit your application by Jan 1st, 2011 for next year’s. You could find out more on how to apply and on MIT’s testing requirements on this website. Good luck.

  10. Liz '14 says:

    Thanks so much for answering questions at the EA event, both you and Paul. smile I asked a couple questions and the answers were very interesting. So thank you smile

  11. Brad says:

    Hey i think that you missed my question. If you would answer it, i’d really appreciate it and even more if i get accepted ^_^.

  12. Hamsika '13 says:

    @ Liz – no problem smile

    @ Brad – Oops – sorry! Yup, we’re going to do the same web chat thing for RA admits!

  13. STuang '14 says:

    What’s the difference between MedLinks and EMT? And I missed the webchat yesterday. Any way I could watch the video? Thanks!

  14. kwymbs'14 says:


    I recently became an EMT in New Jersey and I was wondering about the best way to become one at MIT. I know I have to take another test, even though I’m already certified, because MA is too cool for NJ (and because saving people requires everyone to be on the same page). Do you know when the tests are offered? Or any additional advice?

  15. genius ('18) says:

    “I’ve spent the past few days cycling between an absurd sense of calm and an overwhelming sense of panic”

    Wow. I’m waiting for descisions right now and I feel exactly the same way! (must be something to do with anticipation)Yesterday MIT’s acapella group, the Logarithms, came to sing at our school. Not only do these guys have an awesome name, they sound even awesomer (Is that a word?) I can’t wait to get to MIT!!!!

  16. Hamsika '13 says:

    @ kwymbs ’14 –

    You’re an EMT already! Nice smile I think the MA state test is offered several times each year, but I don’t know the exact dates. I’m taking mine next Saturday (March 13). MIT-EMS has ConEd (continuing education) classes throughout the year that you can take, and since you have CPR training, you can work on the MIT ambulance as a third rider as soon as you get here – we’d love to have you! I’ll try to find out a little more about when/how often the state test is offered.

    @ genius (’18) – whoa. ’18?

    !!!! the Logs came to your school! I love the a capella groups here – they all have pretty awesome names: Cross Products, Logarhythms, Resonance, etc. Ahh, I know waiting for decisions is hard; hang in there! And good luck smile

  17. christy says:

    I watched the chat, but didn’t get to ask: I heard it’s especially hard to major in math at MIT, is that true?

  18. Hamsika '13 says:

    christy – nope! actually, i think math is a little more flexible – several of the math majors i know are double majoring and minoring in other subjects as well.

  19. hello
    my name is rasesh khetan i study in india in mumbai in 10 i am currently writing 10 board exam
    soon i will going 11 i want to go to mit and eecs from mit wat i need to do get in to pls tell me wat are thing required
    thank you