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Bryan O. '07

Apr 24, 2007

Drinking from the Firehose

Posted in: Visit

Dorms. Multistep retrosynthesis. A cappella music. Hacks. Everything I experienced at CPW was just amazing. How can one compare an MIT education to a drink from a firehose? There is so much more than water at MIT!

Thursday, I arrived at CPW two hours later than intended. My flight through O’Hare airport was delayed, and it took over fourteen hours to get to Boston from my hometown. I was soaked from the weather, completely unable to find Terminal E, and jet lagged.

By that night, I was bouncing with glee and sugar in the elevator to the fifth floor.

The chocolate and peanut butter ice cream with eleven toppings I ate at the dorm probably played a part in that total happiness. So did the welcome event and festival- I was entertained, I was deeply impressed, and I was incredibly relieved that I wouldn’t have to give up Taekwondo or good chocolate at MIT. It was my very first time on campus, so I was struck by the sheer variety of activities that students do. All it takes to make a group is passion.

Over the weekend, I learned about everything from tie-dying to the fourth Roman Emperor to complex Fourier series. I went on tours that went over, under, and through all that is MIT. My favorite building is the one I have affectionately decided to name “sponge-waffle square dorm”... because who needs a pineapple under the sea with a place like Simmons? Everywhere I went, people were nice and doors were metaphorically open.

At the MIT museum, my favorite things had to be the photography display, the artificial intelligence exhibit, and the t-shirt in the gift shop that said “There are 10 types of people in this world- those who understand binary and those who don’t.” Seeing some of the history behind MIT was surprisingly interesting, mostly because famous hacks were mentioned. Hacks are the absolute best part of the culture. I must disagree with the shirt and way that there are two kinds of people in this world- hackers and those who wish they were hackers.

The nanotechnology lab I visited on a UROP tour was also exciting, and they gave out soda can holder things.

In fact, I got a bunch of free stuff that I wasn’t even looking for. Besides the two soda can holders, I was given a mug at the Women’s Dessert Reception, a t-shirt at the Beaver and the Geek show, one I tie-dyed myself, a pair of two way radios at the Dorm Life raffle, and a red clip ring. And that’s not even counting whatever I bought with my $20.11 of Tech cash and my mass of brochures, folders, and booklets. Haha!! Plunder!! It’s great that MIT actually cares about its prefrosh and wants them to see what the place is really like. As if I still need convincing that it’s the best.

Saturday night, I went to Next Act’s Beauty and the Beast instead of Battle of the Bands. It was the greatest part of CPW for me! Since it was the “hacked” version, every scene was slightly changed to keep the Disney feel but make it 1000x more hilarious. It represented MIT better than any other event I went to. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that it was MIT, condensed into a play and stuffed into the biggest, most colorful costumes I’ve ever seen.

And now for some random and wonderful CPW moments:

Tim the beaver dancing to “Total Eclipse of the Heart.”

The organic chemistry professor exclaiming “Please ask dumb questions like that!” after she miswrote an equal sign as = and a student asked if it was a triple bond.

This awesome person.

When it was finally time to pack it up for the flight home, I wished I could stay. Boston is already my home. Happily, I woke up to a hack at the student medical building. (Actually, I watched X-Men, X-Men II and Spiderman instead of sleeping, so change “woke up” to “set down my ice cream and put on shoes and a sweatshirt”). So I was able to leave with a huge smile on my face, confident that the students will still be just as awesome when I return in August.

The parting hack. That walk button lights up the red and green parts alternately.

Comments (Closed after 30 days to reduce spam)

wooowww!! i wish i could have been there! thanks for your detailed post! smile

Posted by: gy'11 on April 24, 2007

epic. it all is worth it. every last piece.

Posted by: Lendz on April 24, 2007

Yay! Taekwondo..... and there are a few colored belts like me as well!

Posted by: Basant'11 on April 24, 2007

My daughter just sent in her notice to MIT, the one that says, "I'm coming!" She said the top factors in her decision were the students there, CPW, and an overnight she did on the MIT campus when she was a junior. After CPW at MIT she went to Yale, and she characterized the contrast this way: "At MIT the students put together hundreds of activities for prefrosh, and wherever you go, you can build something, solder something, create something, or engage in interesting discussions with students. At Yale, prefrost went from one meeting to another, sat in a room, and listened to people talk." Her hostess at Yale escorted her to the dorm, then disappeared until after 2:00 in the morning, when she showed up totally drunk, rambling about having had a "hook-up with some random guy." Other students in the Yale Dorm showed off their cabinets stocked with vodka. Maybe Yale students are bored, or have too much time on their hands, but there didn't seem to be much to do there apart from drink, go on tour, and sit and listen to presentations. Bravo MIT for letting students put together the program; I heard it was fantastic.

Posted by: Parent on April 24, 2007

...and I had just gotten the Ghostbusters theme song out of my head...

Thanks.

Posted by: Greg Courville on April 24, 2007

Hey Bryan, the dude in the ghostbusters costume is Brandon Moore, the resident costume fanatic in Random Hall. That particular costume won him first prize in the SAVETFP costume contest on Halloween.

Posted by: Josh on April 24, 2007

I went to Stanford's Admit Weekend after I went to CPW...jet lag, anyone? (I live near Atlanta. Yay for the East Coast!) And I felt kind of the same way. First off, I had never been sent a schedule book, which had about 30 events in it, but no LOCATIONS, so I couldn't FIND anything, and I couldn't get there because the campus is HUGE and I had no bike. (I tried to steal one, but they were all locked....darn!!!) All the buildings look the same, so I got lost. And though Stanford students had great solidarity and were really, really, really nice, their idea of an activity was a Progressive (read: walk down the hallway, eat food, and talk). One of my friends also said that while touring her dorm she ran into a guy just like Kumar (of White Castle fame), complete with a bag of green on his desk.

The biggest difference I felt was that MIT had a HUGE amount of energy--everyone wanted to show you how the people at MIT were cool and how everyone was so passionate about just about everything. At Stanford, everything was very laid back, very relaxed. (The shuttles didn't even RUN on weekends, so I couldn't get to the bus stop without begging an upperclassman to take me. It's like they want you to stay in the dorm all day.) People at MIT and Stanford both loved their schools, but there's some kind of intensity about MIT that just makes it magnetic to me. (No Right Hand Rule needed.)

Sorry for the long post--I just wanted to throw that out there to anyone else who is trying to decide between schools, or who wants an opinion from some random person.

Posted by: Maia '11 on April 24, 2007

Wow that was awesome!
Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

Posted by: Vihang on April 24, 2007

you shoulda' seen the traffic light in the dark. Much better. Unfortunately at 4:30AM the big group my friend and I took over to see it wasn't up to a game of red-light green-light and instead wanted to order pizza, so that game never happened, but I'm glad news of the hack spread. We got to meet the hackers we were so early;)

Posted by: 0 on April 24, 2007

woah, I was at the movie marathon too (albeit since spiderman because of underground Capture the Flag), after which we all went as a group to see the (in)famous hack

Posted by: random guy on April 26, 2007

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