By Students, For Students: Conquering MIT

Meghan Campbell, Staff Associate, UAAP

For the fourth year in a row, one of the main events during MIT Class of 2019 Orientation featured current students sharing their own personal challenges at MIT, and the lessons they have learned. The panel, called “By Students, For Students,” was introduced by Chancellor Barnhart, who also described her new initiative, MindHandHeart. Both the panel and the Chancellor’s initiative seek to encourage students to ask for help when they need it, in order to build a healthier and stronger community.

By Students, For StudentsThis year, six brave upperclassmen stood on stage in Kresge Auditorium in a Ted Talk-like format and shared stories of the struggles they have encountered, how they learned to ask for help, and the success they found after connecting with different campus resources. Some of the topics the student speakers touched upon included academic struggles, mental health, balancing health and academics, family concerns, and learning that there is more to MIT than academics. All of the presenters urged freshmen to seek out help from Student Support Services, Mental Health and Counseling, Student Disability Services, their advisors, residential life staff, and other resources on campus. The presentation ended with a question and answer session with the first year students, followed by lunch and small group discussions with Orientation Leaders on Kresge Oval.

The program was well received by the freshmen. One first year student said, “The students sharing their difficulties made me feel that, should I go through something similar, I am not alone.” We are grateful to all of the student presenters for their candor about their experiences!