Feb 7, 2007
By the numbers
Posted in: Visit
There are certain...traits, shall we say, that are generally indicative of true MIT students. They’re the things that aren’t necessarily true of all MIT students, but are certainly not true of people anywhere else that I know of. They’re the kind of thing that serve as a dead giveaway that the person you’re talking to has been fully and wholeheartedly immersed in the MIT culture.
I am certainly a full-blooded MIT student, and one of those traits is speaking without words.
You’ve all heard the rumors- at MIT, everything is given a number. Classes, buildings, trees...no joke. But I think the fact that we can name any precise location on campus in under 6 digits (usually 5) is pretty distinctive.
Here’s how the numbering system works: the number before the dash gives the building number. The first number after the dash gives the floor in the building, and the numbers after that specify the room. So 54-100 is building 54, first floor, room 00. Simple enough.
But only a true MIT student would know that 16-2 and 8-2 don’t exactly line up, or that most floors of 11 are awkwardly hidden, or that 13 and 54 rooms go into the sixth digit, or that the dome is 10-5 through 10-8, that 32 has sides D and G and God help you if you don’t know which one you’re on or which you’re going to (as is often the case, for me anyway), that 68 is the only building on main campus to run at a non-right angle to all the rest, that 66 is the 30-60-90 triangle, that 18 appears to stand alone but is really connected underground through 56 and 14 or that sub-2 always smells funny.
And only a true MIT student would answer the way I did just the other day to the question, “Do you know where the Lewis Music Library is?” by promptly spitting out “14!” as if that more accurately indicated its location than the full name. The looks I got following that proclamation sorely tempted me to amend my statement, in case those in my company didn’t know where 14 was.
“You know, 14. Right between 2 and 50. Doesn’t everyone know this stuff?”