The first road block

When I was 11 years old I told my dad I was going to be a scientist and go to MIT. He said, “Ok.” When I was 13, I was told to be more cautious.

Mr. Work was the popular biology teacher. He was amazing. He made biology come alive. I loved biology. I told him of my passion, because I hoped he could help me find things I could do to make myself a better scientist. It was clearly not an easy thing that one wandered into by accident.

Don’t dream too big.

He wasn’t trying to crush me, just caution me. I probably wasn’t the top science student. I certainly wasn’t top at anything else. MIT was ridiculously hard to to get into. So, why did I not dream smaller? Maybe because I didn’t know what else to dream. Maybe because I had met people who went to MIT, and they seemed pretty normal and definitely fun. Maybe because of Mrs. Smith.

Mrs. Smith was my science teacher for 4-6 grade, and no one has ever encouraged me more. Every time I had a question, every time I wondered, she didn’t just listen– she sat down with me and helped me try to figure it out. She made me feel like we were in it together. I never thanked her properly. I should have.


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