“Through my experience with literature classes at MIT, I found myself acquiring certain skills and attributes, such as empathy, or the ability to cogitate over social, cultural and philosophical issues, that are not necessarily ‘learnt’ from the hard sciences. These qualities have helped me formulate the kind of scientist and engineer I want to be as I start my graduate studies in biomechanical engineering: an ambitious, high-achieving scientist, but nonetheless a humane one, who puts moral values above scientific achievement.
I believe that taking literature classes at MIT has helped me better put my experiences, from challenges, triumphs and falls, into personal context. For instance, my ‘Existentialism in Literature’ class has helped me realize that it could be tempting to give up our self-agency and lead our lives as if we are the upshot of the circumstances and events that happen to us. However, ultimately, we are solely responsible for formulating our own beliefs, conducts, and forward trajectory, and while such prospect of self-responsibility can be perhaps disquieting at first, once embraced I found it quite liberating, especially as I was choosing to venture into graduate school after MIT.”
View Ali’s profile with MIT News MIT senior wins 2020 Rhodes Scholarship