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Stand Up and Tell People Who You Are

Column by Eva Moy
News Editor

Welcome to MIT. I'm not the first one to say it, and I certainly won't be the last. But welcome anyway.

So here you begin your journey through this hallowed institution. Four hard years of tears and toil will shape you as the professional and as the person you will be. Here you stand, looking up at a long flight of stairs, ready to take the first step.

The first step is the easiest.

This afternoon you will go to the President's convocation; it's mandatory. Within a few days, you'll figure out that "mandatory" is only a suggestion, like traffic lights in Boston. That's why they try to pack all the mandatory stuff at the beginning of Residence and Orientation Week. In the meantime, give President Vest a chance to tell you what a great honor it is to be here.

Seriously, though, look around. This is your class. These are the people you will be working with and competing against for a long time to come. Pick out a friendly face and smile at it. Wave. (There are enough hermits at MIT.) Maybe one day you'll become lab partners. Or best friends. Or married. Maybe you'll never see them again, but then again, maybe you will.

And if the convocation still doesn't interest you, try lecture Bingo. Scan the rows during the speech. If you find five people asleep in a row, stand up, and say "Bingo." We'll all understand.

And after the convocation, after the picnic, be yourself. I'm not the first one to say it, and I certainly won't be the last.

Ask yourself if are the people you meet are real. Are they who they say they are? Wear a sign with your name, state, potential major, and interests on it, and see if they can carry a conversation with you then. Maybe. Maybe not.

Don't be hesitant to tell people who you really are. Tell them if you build model cars. Or collect dust. Tell them if you like to read Organic Chemistry for fun. Tell them if you want to check out the new Sparc stations at Athena. Tell them if you were a championship bowler in your local league. Tell them if you are gay.

Give other people a chance before you judge them, but more importantly, give yourself a chance. As you ascend these stairs, keep your spirits high, reaching for your goals. Let yourself climb as far as quickly as you can. Don't be afraid to reach out to those ahead for help, but don't forget to look back down to see what you've accomplished and help those still behind.

If getting into a certain ILG means being somebody you aren't, ask yourself if you'll really be happy there. If somebody is making you uncomfortable, politely excuse yourself and leave. You don't have to decide where you ultimately want to live in the next five days; you have four more years to decide.

And don't be scared to stand up and say "Bingo."

Eva Moy, a junior in the department of mechanical engineering, wanted to see the Jackie Chan movie but wrote for The Tech instead.