Friday, June 15, 2012

Happy Go Lucky

Great sailing weather and the Boston skyline
After three days of adventure, today marked our final road trip to MIT. This was a fine finish to the eye-opening experience which has stimulated much self-reflection. It's been intensive, and I'm walking on air now with a solid grasp of what I want in an education; and this is a feeling everyone should get to experience.

Upon stepping onto Mass. Avenue, which divides largely residential west campus and the main east campus, MIT has a distinctive diverse architectural style with modern edge. To students however, the real distinguishing factor is the energy. The motto of Mens et Manus (mind and hand) embodies the MIT philosophy of problem-solving, knowledge and then application. After listening to the varying insights from tour guides, students, and an admissions officer, I can't sum it up better than an active culture of curiosity-driven students applying learning creatively for innovation and solutions to improve the world. On the other hand, there's an unexpected laid-back air with plenty room for fun, epitomized by the MIT "hacks"- heists of humor enlivening the atmosphere.

MIT medical building

MIT chemistry building
View of the Cambridge-Boston waterfront from MIT

Comparatively, this community differs from Wesleyan's emphasis on ease of access, personal attention, involvement, and classrooms (and a community) of students engaged in the subjects they're eager to learn. It's different from the worldly-wise flavor at Yale with the bonding of residential colleges, and the active, close-knit Dartmouth environment steeped in colorful traditions.

I think it's important to ask how each college community sets itself apart. These college personalities are among the distinctions we should all know in the monumental college search for best fits. It's a lucky opportunity the select ILCers have in this exposure outside of a district where the need for awareness in this arena is crystal clear. 

With the current resources we have to encourage community awareness on the wide range of opportunities available and the preparation these institutions expect of applicants, it's unfortunate how many of our peers consider neither East Coast nor liberal arts education. This is why continued support and our roles in the snowballing effort is so crucial and relevant to the future of our school district.

The impact thus far has been enormous. Our ILC program grows every year along with its footprint, but it's much bigger than the tremendous support from our school district, city councils, administrators, sponsors, and families back home. Active and springing up on both ends, it's the gift that keeps giving.
Through our travels, we've discovered amazing contacts via ILC alums who've successfully become Ivy Leaguers. Then there's the extensive network of admissions officers, representatives, and just standout people wined, dined, and converted as supporters for our cause by Mr. Ramsey and Ms. Kronenberg. 

Speaking and interacting with these students, alums, and incredible human beings is the difference-maker. We witness the captivating passion and personal insight that tours and info sessions don't convey.

Just one instance tonight, I had a one-on-one discussion and a sought-after opportunity to make a first impression with Mercedes Domenech of Brown's Warren Alpert School of Medicine. She's amazing, well-traveled, personable, has an extraordinary memory, and happens to read and give verdict on all the PLME (program in liberal medical education) applications.

This was the chance to express what I've discovered about myself this week in regards to the desire for a breadth of education. I'm looking to diversify and be able to maintain a focus on medicine while exploring new passions; I want the whole college experience and a community that fosters that connection, enrichment, and involvement. I love that I've a better appreciation for PLME's particular goals because of these college visits- which, in the first place, opened me to liberal arts education and the importance of options.

Other special highlights included meeting Ana, PLME student and music major. She even directed me to Maddy, from whom I found out about her immunology research in mice and asked about Brown's lab setting.

Dessert with the Brown alums

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