The first MIT sign appears on the corner of the gracefully named Emerald Parkway 20 walking minutes from the destination. Whoever made the track this far through the August sun must’ve cared greatly for his guests.
Last year, I came as a fearful though pumped pre-frosh. I could not even fantasize the reality of college life. Would my sister Skype with me often? How could I stick all my essentials into 2 allowed suitcases? Could I pass an MIT class? Was MIT going to be as awesome as planned? What would happen next?
Next, I met MIT friends in Central Ohio. Calm upperclassmen who taught me how to pronounce Maseeh (rhymes with “classy”). A senior who could tell all about the MIT life. And packing. I was terrified of packing then.
I met a graduate of 1984 who would’ve been the next door neighbor at my temporary room assignment. So would his wife. Another Central Ohio pre-frosh got a temporary room on that same floor.
I saw 2 fellow pre-frosh for the 3rd time at a Central Ohio get-together. We’d celebrated Christmas as uncertain applicants. Rejoiced in the decided spring. Next, ready to blast off into our dreams. This time with 2 peers who traveled π hours from Indiana to celebrate the end of dependent life...
A year of MIT passed after my 1st Send-Off. The 3 Central Ohio pre-frosh from that picnic converged in 1 East Campus building. I heard of and from them at random. They took awesomely different paths from our common Ohio ground.
At my 2nd Summer Send-Off Event, I looked at the world through a new lens. I had changed. I no longer worried about packing and sibling communication and college independence.
I talked to a recent graduate, and we welcomed the 3 Central Ohio pre-frosh of the year. What wonders did they have in store! REX, Orientation, first day of class, Career Fair… So much, so soon. So awesome!
An alumnus told the tale of his fraternity, Lambda Chi Alpha, and how it created the legendary new unit of measurement, the smoot (now incorporated by Google Calculator). Our local narrator knew Oliver R. Smoot personally and partook in the essential task of refreshing the smoot markings on the Harvard Bridge. Not the average late-night fraternity tale.
Also present under the roof were MIT students and alumni of 46 years between the classes of 1973 and 2019. All had something in common. A sense of connection. Years after leaving, and the alums might as well be us, secretly transferred from the future.
A severe case of IHTFP.
In 10 years, I predict another picnic in the playground shelter house in Emerald Fields. More generations will munch chocolate chip cookies and laugh at MIT jokes. The one about the Smoot mark “halfway to hell.” The Bexley shenanigans. The hacks. The 18.01, 8.01, and 18.03. The living groups.
And always MIT friends.
A gigantic THANK YOU to all who make these Central Ohio experiences possible and awesome!
P.S. to the Class of 2019: make sure to check if there is a Summer Send-Off Event in your area HERE and share your experiences in the comments below!