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What Did You Do for Summer Vacation?

Column by Michael K. Chung

Welcome back to MIT, everyone. "Wait a minute," many of you may be saying, "didn't this guy graduate? Why is he still around this place?" But then, many of you may not have any clue of who I am anyway (i.e. if you're a freshman, don't worry - you're not supposed to have any clue who I am).

I suppose that this past summer had its fair share of activity, whether shocking or pleasantly surprising. I'm sure you've all heard the O.J. Simpson joke by now:

"Knock knock."

"Who's there?"


"O.J. who?"

"Congratulations - you're on the jury!"

And how about the World Cup? Though I never saw a live game, seeing the coverage on television and reading the sports column by Daniel Wang '97 ["World Cup Game Proves to Be a Memorable Experience,"] in the July 20 issue of The Tech only helped me to catch World Cup fever. Though the World Cup fever has seemed to have died out considerably, the "R/O issue fever" is just starting to spread at The Tech, so keep your eyes peeled for these daily issues spouting the latest on what's going on around the Institute.

By now you may be wondering what I did over my summer, since the headline of this column reads as it does (but of course, I might just be deluding myself). What did I do - I worked out fairly regularly in June and July, but a mere two times in the month of August. Maybe taking the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) on Aug. 20 had something to do with it.

Other exciting news about my summer ("Oh please, Mike, tell us more!"): I played violin in Killian Court during the twilight hours a few times toward the end of summer. If you play closer to Lobby 10, you may be able to hear the echo from the buildings. If you play near the flag pole on the east side of the court, you may get approached by tourists for a photo session. Not that I minded, of course; it's just that it was the last thing I expected to happen amidst playing (or rather, "trying to play") the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto.

Other than these seemingly random things, there weren't a whole lot of highlights to my summer. As a recent graduate of MIT, I am pleased to say that I enjoyed my years at MIT. As some advice to you freshmen getting your start at the Institute (this may even apply to some of you upperclassmen as well), I hope that you take advantage of some of the many opportunities that the school affords. From the purely academic to the purely recreational, there is a great wealth of resources from which to draw at MIT. Go to the Activities, Athletic, and Academic Midways with an open mind and a lot of questions. You may be surprised at just how much is available to the student body.

But don't wait for things to come to you. Even if some things do, it's entirely possible for you not to like them and put MIT activities off in general. Keep in mind that "everyone you will talk to in the next few days is a salesman," ["Freshmen: Stay Alert and Rush Will Be Fine," August 28, 1992]. As retired Opinion Editor Bill Jackson '93 explained so eloquently in one of his many columns addressed to the entering freshman class in 1992, "Cut through the sales pitches. Make the right choice. And keep your head out of the sand."

No matter what, don't let yourself become intimidated while you're at MIT. Soon President Vest will reassure each and everyone of you that "you were not admitted by mistake," ["Vest Welcomes New Students to MIT," Aug. 28, 1992]. Sure, times may become tough, challenging, and humbling. But remember what qualities were responsible for bringing you here (if you don't know, you owe it to yourself to figure it out), and don't let go of the vitality that has brought you the success that you already have experienced.

Remember the old saying: There are three types of people in this world - those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who asked "What happened?" Don't become grouped with the wrong classes of people. Good luck to each of you: May your time be truly meaningful here.

It doesn't take much to twist former opinion editor Michael K. Chung's arm to help out with the R/O issues, in spite of his new job.