Dear members of the MIT community,
We have greeted the incoming Class of 2022. Our labs and classrooms are bustling with activity as new students acquaint themselves with this special campus. The vibrancy of MIT culture was brought to life in recollections offered by alumni in response to last month’s question, “What was your first impression of MIT?”
Susanne von Rosenberg ’83 shared that MIT was the only college she visited with a woman leading the tour. She was struck by the friendliness and self-deprecating humor of the guide, a physics student. “After looking at three Ivies that took themselves so very seriously, it was a pleasure to be in the much more real atmosphere of MIT,” she wrote. “My first impression was right on target. MIT’s lack of pretentiousness remains something I truly value about my experience.”
Our quirk and camaraderie around problem-solving was captured by Lee Gearhart ’76 via an anecdote about arriving at Logan Airport to find his luggage stuck in the baggage area. “Incoming freshmen shimmied up the conveyor into the overhead, cleared the jam, and started throwing the bags down to their classmates,” wrote Lee. “I got both my luggage and my first hint of how MIT students are not bound by convention. Way cool.”
MIT folks also tend to possess an ability to bond and thrive in a competitive environment. Len Enriquez ’75, SM ’76 described meeting a group of students with long hair in corduroys playing chess. They only looked like average teenagers of the era. “I was quickly wiped out in the first game, during which I found out that the guy I was playing had written two chess books in high school! In the second game, I was destroyed in a few moves by a guy who had read both of the first guy’s books,” wrote Len. His initial apprehension soon transformed into elevated learning and lifelong friendships. In his email to me, Len copied fellow alums on the shared memory.
This is a community where a passion for learning is a given. Virginia Adams ’18 reveals the depth of her interest in both human and machine language in a spotlight video about her MISTI internship in Shenzhen, China. Our spotlight article on Will Dickson ’14 features a talented engineer pulled back to MIT by the desire to inspire students and enjoy the feel of a campus that makes the appearance of brilliance and wild opportunities an everyday occasion. My question this month, “What do you think makes the MIT community unique?”