I heard this quote on my second day in Cambridge, while Joost was taking my MSMS classmates and myself around MIT’s campus.
We were all standing in front of this wonderful piece of art, while trying to understand how studying in MIT could possibly be related to drinking from a firehose…
And then, I became an MIT student and started to understand what Jerome Weisner, MIT’s President from 1971 to 1980, meant by alluding to the fire-hose…
MIT stands for Madassussetts Institute of Technology
Only such an Institution would have students building a water fountain with a fire-hose…
The mission statement of MIT states: “We seek to develop in each member of the MIT community the ability and passion to work wisely, creatively, and effectively for the betterment of humankind”.
This statement sounds ambitious. And I agree it is. But so is MIT: its facilities, its ressources, its dedicated staff, its passionate professors, its entrepreneurial spirit… all of these components make the students crazy enough to believe in the statement.
Studying at MIT feels like being on a treasure island
I wouldn’t be able to list all the treasures I have found so far at MIT. I feel richer everyday, even though my bank account says the contrary.
Choosing my classes felt like choosing five or six items from an island that has infinite treasures. I was spoiled, I knew it. But I didn’t feel satisfied. Worse than that: I felt frustrated.
MIT is frustrating because you can’t drink all the water from the fire hose
You wish you had more time, you wish you were given the chance to have more than 24 hours within a day, you wish your body could commute within seconds in this huge campus, you wish an MIT neuroscience student could come up with an invention enabling you to study or work on your business plan while you sleep. …And, as a business student, you wish you would partner with this engineer to commercialize that invention.
I remember Giacommo, an MSMS alumni, telling me studying at MIT felt like being a child in a huge candy shop: he wanted to take all those candies back home. And he was right, it really does feel like being in a candy shop… or drinking from a firehose!
MIT is intense, just like the fire hose’s pressure
MIT is frustrating at the beginning. And then, you make tough and wise decisions and drop this class, decide to focus on your goals and do all that’s in your power to reach them.
And that’s when it becomes… intense
And it feels like living several days within a day.
Going from that class to the other, conducting this interview with my marketing team mates, attending this workshop on networking, handing in that system design assignment we spent half our week-end working on, giving that improvised pitch in front of the New Enterprises classmates, bumping into this computer science PhD that studied in HEC with me, learning great tips from him, trying to convince my classmates to work on my business idea, finding the time to eat and sleep… All this in the very same day.
Being a student at MIT won’t happen twice, that fire hose will help me make the most of it. No wonder MIT is such an amazing place to be, the fire hose drinking fountain was invented there…