Missin’ KoreaBy Akshay Patil
One of the nice things about being the Features Editor and feeling obliged to attend the news meetings here at das Tech is that I hear about a lot of stuff before you do. That’s right, while you sleep soundly in your beds Sundays at 5 p.m., unaware of the turmoil that surrounds us, I hear all the juicy gossip about who’s getting fvcked by the Institvte this week.
It was in one such meeting that I found out that Na Na Keum, more popularly known as “Miss Korea 2002,” was admitted to the MIT class of 2008. Now to be fair, she was also admitted to the Harvard class of 2008 and has not, as of yet, committed to either university, but despite my strict “no research” column writing policy, I decided this was too curious to pass up.
After three phone calls to Miss Keum’s mother, a remarkable woman who somehow manages to speak English better than I can speak Korean, I was able to convey the fact that I would like Miss Korea 2002 to give me a call at das Tech, if she could. Ten minutes later I was talking to Na Na over the glorious but sadly non-visual medium of telephony.
Positive Sinking: So you’ve been in college in Korea for a while now, what made you want to leave and apply internationally?
Na Na Keum: Well, after I attended the Miss Universe Pagent in Panama, I got a better sense of the world and I wanted to go some place with an international reputation in competitive areas of study.
PS: Why the U.S.?
Keum: You know the U.S. is one of the most leading countries in the world and the most developed in many study areas, especially at the engineering part. MIT is very famous, so I just wanted to come there. The professors are very famous as well, there are many professors there who get the Nobel prize. The students there are very good at their field, so I would like to be one of them.
PS: What have you heard about MIT besides academics?
PS: Yeah, have you heard about the social life? Any of those other aspects?
Keum: I don’t know, that’s a good question... I’ve just heard the MIT saying.
PS: What’s the MIT saying?
Keum: Saying? Like MIT is well known, especially about their engineering part...
PS: OK, So what do you plan to major in if you come to MIT?
Keum: Uh, I guess that I’d study biology.
PS: What do you plan to do with your degree?
Keum: My degree?
PS: Yeah, so once you’ve finished your studies in biology, do you have plans for the future?
Keum: I especially like biology and after that I’d like to go to medical school.
PS: OK, have you thought past medical school?
Keum: I beg your pardon?
PS: Do you have any plans besides medical school? I read something about working for the World Health Organization?
Keum: Oh yes, there are two kinds of things for me. One is to go and be a surgeon, the other is to be a kind of a research doctor... and if I become a research doctor I can learn more about the medical part and then get a lot of experience and then make my career worth longing and then apply to the WHO. If I can make it, I will be very happy.
PS: Do you worry at all about being older than most MIT freshmen?
Keum: I think that’s not a big deal. Age is not a big deal. As long as I have a strong will to study at MIT, there’s no problem about that, I think.
Keum: Age is just a number.
PS: Have you heard about the phrase “IHTFP”?
Keum: I beg your pardon?
PS: Have you heard about the phrase “I-H-T-F-P”?
Keum: I-H? no...
PS: Alright, it’s not important. Don’t worry... Do you date geeks?
PS: So this is a less serious question, but, uhm, MIT students are known for being geeks... which are people who study a lot and don’t have many social skills. So we’re curious if you date geeks.
PS: Geeks, yeah.
Keum: Date geeks? what?
PS: Ok, uh, hmmm... Alright, I guess that won’t work. Uhm...
Keum: I think that there is a kind of vocab of words I can’t understand.
PS: Ok, so you do have the concept of going out, right? Uhm <pause> a guy and a girl who are interested in each other “going out on a date.”
Keum: Going out on a date? Sure, sure, as long as it doesn’t bother my studies.
PS: Alright, well thank you very much... I can give you my e-mail address...
Keum: Uh, sure. Do you want to know about my e-mail address?
And so my brief, but awkward, conversation with MIT’s most famous pre-frosh came to an end. One has to marvel at the resolve of someone who, two years into college and already crowned “Miss Korea,” decides to leave it all behind for a chance to study ’stvte... it’s pretty impressive, really. That is, of course, unless she goes to Harvard.
Crazy? I was crazy once, they locked me in the rubber room... then the worms came, I hate worms, they make me e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.