Graduating Class: '14

Laura Meeker

Mechanical Engineer (2) & Literature (21L)

“Like most literature majors at MIT, I didn’t initially intend on studying literature. I fell into it slowly and rather late in my time at the institute. In high school I was an avid reader, but with the chaos of engineering classes I found that I rarely read for pleasure at all my first two years at MIT. Something was lacking, so I decided to take a literature class, figuring that it would force me to take the time to do something I enjoy. I was hooked. I decided to make literature my HASS concentration, and took a few more classes. Soon, I was having so much fun that a concentration wasn’t enough and a minor replaced it… then a major. I found that the more literature classes I added, the happier I became and the more balanced my life felt. I think John Keating, the English teacher in Dead Poets Society, said it best: “…the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, those are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love…these are what we stay alive for.”

It would not be hyperbole to say that studying literature completely turned around my MIT experience. I was struggling to maintain perspective in the day to day engineering grind and the literature department offered captivating conversation, small classes, and phenomenal professors who are passionate about what they teach as well as teaching. I also found a supportive community that feels like a family. Although I now work as an engineer, I am so grateful to everyone in MIT’s literature section for exposing me to a variety of wonderful texts, teaching me how to think analytically about them, and most importantly for reminding me that keeping in touch with my human side is every bit as important as my engineering pursuits.”