Brass Rat

Today Taylor got her “Brass Rat” in the mail from her roommate (thanks Kyra) at MIT. She was really excited about it. Brass Rat is the name of the MIT class ring. Like many things at MIT there is a lot of thought and design packed into it. Taylor and I went to a website so I could read all about this year’s design. Taylor explained all the references that only MIT students would understand (like what “IHTFP” means.) Ordering the ring was one of the last things Taylor did before her health challenges started. After placing the ring on her hand, being careful to have the rat facing her, we took a picture:

She lamented that she wasn’t at the ring delivery ceremony in person, but was glad some of her friends called when they were there so she could hear the excitement of the event in their voices.

We then got to talking about MIT and she taught me why the beaver was chosen as the school mascot, beavers are hard working nocturnal engineers. She then taught me what must be the nerdiest fight song in the history of fight songs, the Beaver Call which she knew by heart. I kept thinking she was not being clear enough when saying lyrics like “du dx.”

She then asked me if she could return to MIT in the fall and I said it’s hard to tell but that it had a low probability. “How about in spring 2015?” I told her that it is impossible to tell when she will return, only that she will return someday.

Returning to school is her primary motivation. In some ways it seems cruel that after working so hard to get there in the first place she now has to work ten times harder just to get back. On the other hand it is great gift in life to have a clear goal and graduating from MIT and being able to turn that ring around is hers.

12 thoughts on “Brass Rat

  1. Taylor, I oversee Student Support Services and want you to know I am following this blog. You are amazing and strong. You have a spot to return to MIT as soon as you and your doctors say you are ready! It will truly be my honor to welcome you back.

  2. Dear Taylor,
    When my sister was at MIT I remember her telling me the story of the Brass Rat. She also has a great deal of perseverance and determination to do the things she cares about most. Seeing you in this photo I can see this is something many people at MIT share. Thinking of you and your family and sending love.
    Rev. Rebecca

  3. “Returning to school is her primary motivation. In some ways it seems cruel that after working so hard to get there in the first place she now has to work ten times harder just to get back. On the other hand it is great gift in life to have a clear goal and graduating from MIT and being able to turn that ring around is hers.”

    Wow, John, how beautifully you expressed the paradoxical nature of Taylor’s situation: in a time of suffering, Taylor, you, Kit, and Nathan, look to the future with hope and resolve. I believe your prayers will be answered.

  4. Congratulation to your ring!!
    Congratulation to Nathan’s graduation also.
    Thinking about you guys.
    Love Dalia

  5. Taylor, it is great that you are motivated to return to MIT and I’m hoping that it happens as soon as possible. I know it must be sad to have to work so hard to relearn so much. Your strong spirit tells us that you will do it.


  6. Taylor,

    I remember how much you were looking forward to getting this ring, so I’m so so happy that you finally have it!

    Always thinking of you and sending lots and lots of love,


  7. Taylor!!!!!!! The ring looks great I’m so glad it worked out (I had to send mine back for being too small). You look so happy in that picture I can’t stop smiling. It was fantastic texting you yesterday! And don’t worry about *when* you return to MIT, because I know you’ll do it on your own time, and we’ll all be there for you when you get to come back. I just find it so incredible that you’re able to bounce back as quickly and fully as you are! You’re insanely impressive (but you always have been so that’s really no surprise) and I love you to the moon and back.

    Rooming with Justine next year in our room but OBVIOUSLY you’re welcome back. We’ll flip a coin to see who is on the futon hehehe.

    All my love,

  8. My dearest Taylor,
    Wow! I learned so many things about MIT today! The ring looks great on you! Your mom, dad, and Inge have been doing a great job posting updates on you. I have been reading the updates every day. Today, I sent you a package and letter in the mail. There are some cookies that are more British-style than American style. If you have someone dip the cookies in tea to make them soft, you could probably eat a ton of them. I have been thinking of you every day and praying hard for you. Poh-poh and gung-gung must be looking after you, too, because you are doing an amazing recovery. Keep up the good work and know that you are always in my thoughts. Lots of love….Aunt Ying

  9. Dear T-bone,

    That brass rat looks great! I’m sure that you will make it back to MIT one day. I know that you will achieve your goal because you are hard working, talented, and persistent. The university will be lucky to have you when you return.

    Yiping and I miss you, and want you to know how important the work you put in was. You should be extra proud that your work was so impactful. I can’t think of a younger author in a Nature Nanotech paper. You’re the record holder as far as I know. I had a paper when I was your age, but it wasn’t anywhere close to this. Like – not in the same galaxy. You did such a great job, and are continuing to make us proud each and every day. Keep up the GREAT work.


    PS – you may already know them, but there is a trendy band you may want to try out. The name is ‘Purity Ring’, and you may like the music.

  10. Dear Taylor,
    You are perfect. I’m so proud of you for earning your ring! You are a trooper, you’ll be back to MIT before you know it. You have so many people routing for you and cheering you on here in Tyngsborough, MA
    Hang in there girlie.
    With love,
    Donna McPartlan

  11. I’m so glad you got your Brass Rat!!! You were missed so much at Ring Delivery! Rachel, Kyra and I all got ready in your room and got a lovely send off by Veronika. MIT isn’t going anywhere and will always be ready for you to return. Sending all my love to you and your family in Denver!!

  12. This is a great photo of you Taylor! Congrats on getting your brass rat!! You should’ve seen some of the shoes the girls were wearing on their way to the ceremony! Just like the ones you like 🙂 I don’t know how you girls manage to walk in these shoes 😛 We all miss you here and talk about you all the time. And when you do come back to MIT, M1NE will have a huge party. It will be the craziest party in Maseeh 😛 By the way, this year, we only had like 5 rooms open for the fall because everyone wanted to stay on Maseeh 1 – that made me smile. Well, I miss you and I’m sending you and your parents lots of hugs. XOXO Veronika

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