Thursday, November 13, 2014

My Confused Grandma

My grandma is 76 years old and still very with it.  She reads books, does crossword puzzles and is up to date on the news.  In fact, she's so with it that she often reads my facebook posts and comments on what I put up.  Recently I added a picture of Kathryn and me holding our bacterial photograph from mod 2.  A few minutes later, she asked me what I had won and why I was holding a metal.  I responded that I was actually holding a plate of photoreceptive E.coli, she got confused and asked again what I was holding.

That's when I realized that the research we're doing for a lab class at MIT is so far outside of what people consider mainstream, that the average person doesn't understand it.  No matter how many times I tell my grandma that I'm holding a plate of bacteria, she can't wrap her mind around it. Instead of growing algae or dissecting organisms, we're engineers. We're working to change what millions of years of evolution has been working towards, and that's awesome.

It's easy to forget that MIT is more than grueling psets, tests, and all too frequent all-nighters. It's more than the 3am panic when your code isn't running.  MIT is an opportunity.  It's the chance to work in top notch research labs as a freshman in a UROP.  It's a place where everyone is motivated and excited about science.  It classes where professors don't assign textbooks because you're learning from the primary research.  It's a community where you can totally geek out about biological pathways or organic structures and find people who are just as weirdly excited as you.


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