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Husain's Parting Shot at the Institute - He'll Be Back

A. Arif Husain

Column by A. Arif Husain

Oddly, it is with a good deal of pressure that I write this last column as opinion editor of The Tech. So much so that I managed to miss my actual final issue, which was last Wednesday, instead hoping to slip my writings in belatedly without much notice on this first issue of the new volume. With that, I am happy to welcome Stacey E. Blau '98 as my successor, who I am confident has done a fine editing job on the print you now read.

The pressure that I feel stems perhaps in part from a need to give some closure to a small body of work that, if successful, made a little bit of my Institute experience accessible to the public. I find this sentiment compounded by the somber currents of nostalgia and introspection that slosh about me as I finally pack up my things and say goodbye to Mother Tute.

Sitting here in my makeshift room/lounge finishing up last minute business - suitcases and boxes strewn about - I notice a peculiar circularity. Three-and-a-half years ago, in a distinctly similar situation during my rush, I wrote my first opinion contribution as an MIT student, in response to the administration's sloppy mishandling of freshman housing assignments. Since then, I've managed to maintain my administrative irreverence enough to produce commentaries - occasionally tinged with a smidgen of sarcasm - which I hoped may either suggest a course of correction toward some widespread affliction, or at the very least irritate the transgressors.

On occasion, Iwas fortunate enough to see some results thatagreed with my enjoinments, not that that was ever the point. I did finally get housed, for example. Charges against Danieli and Tsang were dropped, Goosebeary's served me well for many a lunch, column portraits are still going strong, and a 50-cent write-off mysteriously appeared on my Bursar's bill, dated the same as the column in which I mentioned the charge.

Twenty columns later, however, I don't really know how to tie things up. By this point I presume that most February graduates have gone on their merry ways, so I feel confident that I can, instead, get away with churning out some pre-departure words of wisdom, with little competition from my similarly inspired graduating peers.

I saw a Steven Spielberg quote recently which read: A good story doesn't have a middle and an end but a beginning that just keeps beginning. In a way, that's how I feel about my college years. Most of us will have roughly six to 10 beginnings (an average of 8) before that relaxing afternoon in Killian Court, and for my part I suggest you make the most of them.

New arrivals to this campus are often stifled by intimidation. Seasoned veterans may suffer from the pressure to keep up. Even the best among us must at least once or twice feel less than sure-footed. But these are old truths.

Whether today is the first day of your last semester or the first of your second, keep in mind that you have time ahead to steer yourself back on track. Pick up that second sport, learn oil painting, join The Tech, get that UROP, and enjoy doing it. You'll be surprised when you look back at what you've done.

As I leave my post, I look forward to an MIT left better than the MIT I walked into a few years ago. I look forward to an MIT I will be proud to include on my resume, one that I will be proud to recount as my alma mater, and one that I may return to at some later date with as much goodwill as I now have leaving it. But of course, it musn't get too polished to warrant a column or two from this writer.

Somehow, though, I'm not worried.