Four ways that MIT taught me how to love
I was content with admiration from afar, until I decided to sit next to him during 7.45 lectures
“I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.” — Pablo Neruda
I met my first friend at MIT, Tuyet, during CPW. Spending the weekend with her was a dream. We laughed at each other's dumb jokes and found ourselves on top of Stata at 1 a.m. We promised to stay in touch, but I kept my expectations low. We both had more than 1,000 other people to get to know. She became my roommate in the fall. We were like sisters. I thought I knew her like the back of my hand, but the intensity of freshman year meant that I didn’t really even know myself yet. The way I hurt her was like the way we wear our shoes. Your feet dig into the soles until the heels have holes you can no longer fix. Taking time away from each other in order to understand ourselves better was ultimately what saved our friendship. We’re in a better place now, and I think we’ll be friends for life.
“A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.” — Charles Darwin
I started my UROP during the January term of my first year, and it quickly became the most important part of my life. I cultured colorectal cancer organoids for targeted drug testing 70 hours a week, and I never felt more passionate about a singular subject. I’m not sure if my drive was derived from the contagious curious energy that my mentors passed on to me, or the novelty of the beauty I discovered while staring down a microscope to view the building blocks of life. I knew that I wanted to accomplish something in this space, and the feeling was something I had never experienced before. Like so many other MIT students, I packed my schedule in seemingly impossible ways and traded time with friends and meals for more time in the lab. I continued down this path for 1.5 years before I finally felt like I was banging my head against a concrete wall. After taking a hiatus to study for the MCAT, I returned with a new, more balanced perspective on my time here. I’ve since learned to love science in a different way.
“Friends are relatives you make for yourself.” — Eustace Deschamps
The beautiful thing about Course 10 is that we all sit in this room called 66-110 for all of our classes, and somewhere around sophomore year, we seem to have chosen informal assigned seats for ourselves. I spent my first chemical engineering class sitting alone near the front of the class. I didn’t do this so I could interact with the professors, but so I didn’t have to acknowledge other people and possibly make a fool of myself. Things changed sophomore year when I finally started talking to Jacky. Even though we didn’t share classes together in the fall, we found time to spend with each other. We bonded over our shared major, but our friendship became so much more. I’ve always thought that I was only compatible with extroverts, but I learned that comfortable silence can be a way to prove true friendship. No one can make me laugh with fewer words. Now, I sit in the back row of 66-110 with some of the brightest people I’ve met, and our friendship goes far beyond that room.
“You are my sunshine.” — Tee Udomlumleart
In the grand scheme of things, I’ve never been one to go chasing after a crush. I was content with admiration from afar until I decided to sit next to him during 7.45 lectures. I decided that admiration from a bit closer would also be nice. Asking someone out at MIT is a bit hard. Even in the off chance where the stars align and you both are completely free on a Friday night, both of you spend the silent moments where you are both chewing your Anna’s burrito wondering so do they like me or...? You never expect unrequited love to become not-unrequited love, but sometimes things work out. At MIT, we’re surrounded by more brilliant, creative, uniquely passionate people than we may ever be in our lifetimes. Give a little love to the person who lives down the hall, the random classmate sitting next to you, or the cutie you find yourself staring at when walking down the Infinite. You never know what may blossom.