You know the scene in The Sound of Music where Maria skips up to the gates of the Von Trapp Manor with two pieces of baggage and a song about beating imposter syndrome? That was figuratively me moving to MIT in 2015.
We were a group of young, forward-thinking individuals who celebrated diversity and learning, discussed enlightening topics over lunch, and had weekly lab meetings to hear presentations on the group’s research.
In 2003, when I was in the third grade, my mom developed Guillain-Barre Syndrome and was paralyzed from the neck down. My grandpa also passed away around this time. My brother and I suddenly had many more responsibilities at home.
The “MIT bubble” is ubiquitous and yet sometimes invisible. Even Cambridge itself can seem like an enclave, the town of the ivory tower. Those of us who staff the MIT ambulance live in a sort of twilight zone, half in the bubble and half out.
I had watched the scene unfold twice before. In the busy shuffle between classes and club meetings, the phone call comes. My friends learn that someone they loved has died, and by physical proximity, I am the first outsider to know.