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Columnist Reminisces Experiences at MIT and The Tech

Column by Matthew H. Hersch
Contributing Editor

As I sit here this Commencement Day, perched on lawn furniture, wearing a sheet, I can't help but think about one thing ... that if I had $11.5 million to spare, I could have spoken at graduation, too.

Not that I'm not enjoying the day's festivities of course; it's just that after four years of college I guess there are still a lot things I don't understand about the world - like what Chuck Vest actually does for a living, or why, a week before graduation, I suddenly have lots of friends in the Alumni Association Office.

But I can't say I've gained nothing from my years at MIT, especially since I have no desire to have my degree revoked and burned. So instead of dwelling upon the negative in this, my last column I'd like to mention all of the positive things that have come out of my MIT experience. For just as my new-found knowledge has made me a hit at social gatherings, it is my MIT experience that I thank for transforming me into the gaunt, sarcastic, well-rounded crank I am today.

At MIT, I've had the opportunity to associate with men and women of piercing intellect, and had the chance to watch them pick their noses. At MIT I've had the chance to take some great classes taught by professors deserving of the name (including one at Wellesley), and I've also had the chance to fall asleep in some of the most uncomfortable lecture halls in America, only to awaken, floating in a puddle of my own drool, wondering what year it is.

I can think of few other institutions of higher learning where I would have been driven out of electrical engineering, screaming, so quickly in my undergraduate career. I can think of few colleges where people watch Star Trek more often than they bathe. And I can think of few institutions at which I would have learned not only the intricacies of international relations, but how make a nuclear weapon out of two coconuts and a spoon.

And last, but certainly not least, I've had the chance to work with all the folks at The Tech, America's best college newspaper, and through my efforts, harass the MIT administration to within an inch of my life.

Through The Tech, I've also watched the international scene evolve and change around me - from old, 1990ish problems like Yugoslavia, Russia, and North Korea to ... well ... okay, bad example. But at least I got the chance to write a bunch of columns about bad cafeteria food and score front row seats to lectures by really frightening guest speakers.

And it is as that, your not-so-humble political columnist, that I must now hang up my hat, at least for now. If there is anyone I'd like to acknowledge most for my undergraduate experience, (in addition to my parents, who sprung for the whole deal) it's all of my compadres who took the time to read my columns, especially during class. My heart goes out to all of you, even the guy who later called me up at 10 o'clock at night and screamed at me in Cantonese.

I have ways of finding you.

Matthew H. Hersch, a senior in the Department of Political Science, wishes to thank the MIT Campus Police for not killing him. In the fall he will be attending law school, where he hopes to learn how to sue people.