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MIT student blogger Melis A. '08

Paris Hilton comes to MIT by Melis A. '08

Just kidding, but I bet that got your attention

March and April are so busy around here that even if Paris Hilton did come to MIT, we wouldn’t even have the time to find rotten tomatoes to throw at her. This past weekend was an extended holiday because of Patriot’s Day on Monday (can anyone say “Boston Marathon”? Congrats to Bryan for completing it! Bloggers have strong track record; Mitra and Sam ran it together in 2006). We also got Tuesday off because MIT is just that awesome (unfortunately, Harvard’s schedule is different so I still had class on Tuesday afternoon.)

I think every MIT student has an intense love-hate relationship with four-day weekends. On one hand, it’s four days off in a row! Imagine the possibilities! You can go home, enjoy Boston, catch up with friends, and hey, maybe even catch up on work and sleep. And yet, there’s never really time for the latter two options; Tuesday night is always so horrendously stressful and work-filled that you vow to never, ever procrastinate again. As a senior, I thought I had learned my lesson, and so I worked on Sunday, was in lab all day on Monday, and worked on Tuesday morning, too. Yet, somehow, I spent all of Tuesday night trying to write a chemistry lab report and listening to “It Sucks To Be Me” from Avenue Q.

But there were several very cool events that happened over the weekend, which I definitely do not regret going to. The first event was the Inaugural Millennium Campus Conference, hosted by MIT’s Global Poverty Initiative ( Forty MIT students got together to organize this amazing three-day conference, which was attended by hundreds of people around the country. The conference schedule is posted on their website and the keynote speakers included Senator John Edwards, Henrietta Fore, Paul Farmer, Ira Magaziner, Jeff Sachs, and a concert by John Legend in MIT’s very own ice rink! If you have an interest in global health, many of these names may be familiar to you.

I was only able to go to two of the keynote speeches. The first was by Paul Farmer, a physician and anthropologist at Harvard. He founded an organization called Partners in Health, which has made ground-breaking changes in the way that people think about delivering health care in developing countries. He spends much of his time in Haiti and Rwanda, and considers Haiti to be his home. Overall, he’s incredibly inspiring and seems like a genuinely nice person who is helping so many people with tuberculosis and AIDS. At the conference, his talk was called “This is not a hobby: taking global poverty seriously.” He told us about the technological abyss between the developed and developing world and two myths that are preventing us from doing more good.

The Sunday morning keynote speaker was Ira Magaziner, who is currently the chairman of the Clinton Climate Initiative and the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS initiative. He served for six years as Senior Advisor to President Clinton for policy development, and before that he was a successful corporate strategist. Magaziner’s public policy experience is immense, and he talked about the Clinton Foundation and how they were able to bring the price of antiretroviral treatments down from over $1000 to about $100 (a 90% reduction) by changing the economics of drug production and partnering with many groups. Magaziner also talked about climate change and then gave us a set of five principles used to inform the Clinton Foundation (including, the need for respect for local leadership and the need to focus spending directly on people and programs). He ended with advice for us students, like “only unreasonable people accomplish big things because they piss people off.” That’s almost a direct quote =)

After hearing about those complex matters of life and death, it was a little strange to walk with my two friends to Fresh Pond, a reservoir about four miles northwest of MIT. It was a gorgeous day and gorgeous weekend in general. The picture below is actually of Spy Pond, which is ~1 mile away from Fresh Pond.

There were other exciting things that happened, but I’ve got to get back to making pretty pictures for my Senior Thesis… so I will leave you all for now.

18 responses to “Paris Hilton comes to MIT”

  1. derrick says:

    omg! first post! i’m so excited.

  2. Maggie '12 says:

    OMG, Paul Farmer? He came to our school as a guest lecture too and he is amazing! I am obsessed with that man. Have you read “Mountains Beyond Mountains” by Tracy Kidder?

  3. Melis says:

    Maggie: I haven’t read it, yet! Hopefully I’ll get to it this summer.

  4. Why would anybody care about Paris Hilton when MIT already has Melis?

  5. Natasha says:

    Haha…great title.
    Definitely caught my attention.
    I saw it and was like WHOA, WHAT ?!?!

    Imagine if THAT happened, talk about a fish out of water.

  6. zach '12 says:

    Paris? At MIT? Let’s just say she wouldn’t fit in. By the way Melis, try looking at procrastination in terms of ” Yea; I work better under pressure.” Best of luck on your thesis!

  7. Steph says:

    MIT has a skating rink? What else does it have? Or better yet…what doesn’t it have.

  8. Melis says:

    Yes! We have a skating rink, it’s big! Here’s a list of all of the athletic facilities:
    Included in that list is the sailing pavilion and the indoor tennis courts.

  9. Alex sayes says:

    i will be glad if you can send me a replica of the university catalogue

  10. Alex sayes says:

    i will be glad if you can send me a replica of the university catalogue.

  11. Ismail says:

    might be off-topic but you got some really cool facilities, mit is really spoiling you guys wink

  12. Eugene says:

    hey am from Ghana too. Am in high school now and am trying to get into MIT send me a catalogue too.

  13. John Shen says:

    Paris Hilton might come to MIT and no one would notice, but David Krumholtz gets lost at Caltech (of Harold and Kumar, Walk Hard, and Superbad infamy).

    I haven’t plugged Caltech for a while, but since the admitee response deadline is coming up (is it past yet?) I thought I’d level the playing field just a tad. wink

  14. Eugenie says:

    I am a freshman in college and am considering transfer to MIT. I am basically stuck between pre-med and Biomed Engineering. I know that MIT has amazing programs for this but I was wondering if you had any advice for a student in my case. Is there anything I should generally try to avoid or do to succeed in these fields? (Besides coming to MIT lol) Basically, any tips on how to do well in this area, especially biomedical engineering from someone who has been through it, would be really helpful! Thanks! And congrats on the Rhodes!

  15. Melis says:

    John: Your Caltech propaganda is not welcome here! Just kidding, it’s good to hear from you.

    Eugenie: You don’t need to choose between Biomedical Engineering and Pre-med…you can (and many people, including myself) do both. There is no Biomedical Engineering major, but there is one for Biological Engineering. The difference is pretty significant, I’d encourage you to look at the departmental website for Biological Engineering to get a feel for what it’s like.

    To succeed in these fields, I’d just say to get a solid understanding of both biology and engineering, and to try to apply your knowledge in the lab.

    Good luck!

  16. Melis says:

    Actually, there is no need to mail the Course Catalogue, it’s available online:

    Also, I’m going to go ahead and delete your addresses, Alex and Eugene…for safety reasons.

  17. Anjani says:

    Melis!! Hi, I dont know if you remember me, but you came to my house once to help me study for the SATS in order to get admission at Montgomery Blair high. Its Anjani! Well, although I wasnt accepted into Blair, I am still very passionate about making a difference in this world, and I wanted to say that I was honored to have been in the presence of someone as distinguished as you. You have really inspired me, and let me tell you, I will definetly work harder after reading your very inspirational life story. Even if you dont remember me, I sure do and I am glad to have met someone as smart as you in my life. I hope to meet you one day, hopefully after I accomplish my dreams as well. I wish you best of luck in your future plans and ambitions!!