So I realized that despite not having left MIT, I haven’t written on this thing in a really long time. Part of it came from my own thinking that the life of a graduate student is not as exciting as an undergraduate, and the other part came from me forgetting my password, but fortunately, I remembered my password today and given the start of a new school year, I decided I’d stream some consciousness.
First off, an update on my life: I am now a tenured graduate student (passed both halves of my qualifying exams), became a vegetarian, and started training for triathlons. Aside from that, I still live at ZBT as the resident advisor (GRT in disguise…kind of) and still have managed not to pull an all-nighter (for academic reasons). The past two years have been full of excitement from studying, switching from mechanical engineering to a completely different discipline, biking around Boston, traveling, and research.
About an hour ago, I registered for my last class at MIT. Actually, I registered for two classes because I couldn’t decide from the syllabi which class I wanted to take, so I signed up for both of them. I registered for my first set of classes in 2003 (3.091, 21A.109, 18.01A, 8.01 and a seminar). I don’t know how many total classes I’ve taken since then, but I came close to taking a class in every department so that’s kind of cool.
When I first started MIT, I never once expected to stay here for this long (partly because I didn’t think my mom would support an undergraduate education that took that long nor did I ever expect to go to graduate school). When I came to MIT, my plan was to study EECS, start a video game company, and go make millions. Today, I work in a mass spectrometry lab studying insulin resistance and couldn’t be happier. What I realized that MIT taught me more than anything was to take risks. It was definitely a risk to switch disciplines for my PhD. It’s definitely a risk for me to study anything related to biochemistry given how poorly I did in 7.05, but this I realize is what makes MIT the place it is. It’s safe to take risks; it’s safe to say you don’t know. It’s safe to do something you know absolutely nothing about. That’s what education is about.
So to all the new students starting off their MIT experience: be free, take chances, and don’t sweat the small stuff.