Source: MIT Slice of Life, Oct 2016
<from the comment section>
she listened to me as we discussed the professional and personal aspects of my school selection. She shared with me her story and her choice to come to MIT. She talked about her passion for pursing projects impactful to real people. She spoke to me as a collaborator, perhaps even a friend.
At an interviewee poster session, I stood apprehensive by my work, anticipating a barrage of pointed questions and judgmental head tilts. Instead, I encountered a community of people who wanted to get to know me, hear about what I was working on, and get a feel for how I was framing and tackling research problems.
After small talk died down around the lunch table on the last day, the department head opened the conversational floor to the few of us remaining. In a moment of boldness, I asked the question I was dying to ask, “As a tenured faculty at MIT leading your department and your field, do you feel like you’ve made it? Do you feel that you’ve finally arrived?” He smiled broadly as he considered my question, tilting his head and his gaze slightly upward. I can’t remember the exact words he used to give his response, a response that was both human and hopeful, but I do remember that he took me seriously and answered me honestly. He treated me as a colleague.
I was invited here as an equal, and encouraged not to prove my worth, but to capitalize on the opportunity.