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MIT student blogger Shannon M. '12

A Pythagorean Triple of Awesome by Shannon M. '12

Otherwise known as the weekend of the 4th of July. Just another long weekend in Beantown.

I should probably start out with this: oh hey, guys, I’m living in Boston this summer in my sorority house with a kickass river view of Boston,


I’m UROPing in the Doyle lab in the basement of building 66 (which is the ChemE building), I actually have time to shop at Trader Joe’s at least once a week, and my life is awesome.


Case in point. During the school year, it’s really easy to forget that you actually go to school in Boston. Freshman year, I could literally lie in bed and know whether or not the Sox had a home game based on if lights were on in Fenway. Even then, though, I was lucky to make it into Boston (and I’m excluding visiting the numerous fraternities who have houses in Boston, because those aren’t exactly representative of the city itself) once a weekend. Honestly, the activation energy required to get across the bridge, even if you take Saferide, is sometimes just too great to overcome when you can just stay Cambridge-side instead and conserve your energy for other things (like studying… and hanging out and other not-so-nerdy things). And truly, there’s so much to do in the MIT/Cambridge area that this isn’t a bad thing at all.

BUT. In the summer, there is no studying (unless you’re taking the GRE or MCATs, in which case your summertime life is just unfortunate anyways). In fact, there is sometimes so much free time after you get out of your UROP/internship/volunteering or on the weekends that we crusty upperclassmen who are so accustomed to filling EVERY SINGLE MOMENT of EVERY SINGLE DAY with MAXIMUM PRODUCTIVITY just don’t know what to do with ourselves.

Activation Energy

So we actually get to experience Boston. And it is awesome.

Real life example: my 4th of July weekend.


There are 20 girls living in our sorority house this summer, and with the whole being-sisters thing, we understandably like to hang out. Couple this with a bunch of our sisters visiting Boston for the holiday weekend, and Jen ’13 came up with the awesome idea of kayaking on the Charles. It’s very touristy, I know, but when you’ve walked around Boston along the Charles more times than you can count, it’s really cool to see the city from a little kayak.

The place that rents out these kayaks, though, is on a first come first serve basis, so we dragged ourselves out of bed at the ungodly hour of 9:30 so that we could get over to Kendall Square and reserve enough boats for everyone. And that we did, spending an hour making references to being on a boat and splashing each other and getting yelled at by the Sheriff for being too close to the fireworks barge. It was rousing good time.


Whattup racial diversity and million dollar views. THE Jen ’13, Rachel ’11 (who you will be hearing a lot about), Kathy ’12, and Marianna ’13.


That’s our house, that you can kind of see through the trees on the left. As for the hand thing… every sorority or fraternity has some sort of symbol, and ours is the kite.


See it? Good.

Like popsicles and political terms and everything in between, even the best of urban kayaking excursions must come to an end. So after our hour on the water, we grabbed bubble tea at Leisure Station (which, by the way, offers free delivery for orders of two drinks or more—use this information wisely), and headed home to shower up.

Because remember these fools that I roomed with freshman year?


Thought you would. Robin, the one in the bear(?) hat on the right, lives in Brookline and invited Sam and I over to her place for some afternoon tea and sandwiches and just catching up. Robin took a year off last year and went to Paris for a semester, and then took classes at the Harvard extension school; Samantha is in another sorority (APhi, the same as Alina) and heavily involved in MIT’s DanceTroupe. Needless to say, the three of us don’t really run into each other all that much on campus.

So we spent a lovely afternoon on her front porch catching up and eating a whole tub of honey-lavender infused goat cheese with incredible bread and delicious curry chicken sandwiches from Whole Foods (I am including this only because I know my fellow Midwesterners have probably never heard of this store, which is a pity). It was fun, we all ate too much, but by 6:30 or so Sam and I both needed to head back home.

Robin lives within walking distance of the Green Line of the T, which is uber-convenient given that both of us needed to get off on stops along that line further into the city (“Inbound,” for those of you following along at home). Sam is living at her sorority, which is just off the Kenmore stop, and I was heading to meet up with some of my sisters at the Boston Pops rehearsal concert in the Hatch Shell, which is just a short walk from the Arlington stop.

Just as we’re getting onto the train, though, I get a call from my sister, Elli ’11, who’s currently at said Hatch Shell and tells me in not-so-many words to get there as soon as humanly possible because they’re starting to cut off the line to get in. Ruh roh.

But no worries, this entry would not be as interesting if I hadn’t made it and gotten a wristband from someone quasi-legally and managed to get through security and into the main oval for the show. Which I did.


We had an hour and a half to kill before the actual show started, so Rachel and Elli did what Thetas do best… eat. And take pictures.


Not a wristband, wristband, wristband, wristband… and cross-apply that kite stuff I explained earlier. It’s kind of a big deal.


And it begins. SO. MANY. PEOPLE.




And after a full program of patriotic hoo-rah music,


the 1812 overture was played, there were real live cannons (!!) to the left of the Shell,


confetti was released,


and then we and 50,000 other people tried to get back home. Needless to say, we just walked.

SUNDAY, THE 4TH OF JULY (happy birthday, Amurica!)

Well hellooooo 95 degrees. After our fun-filled 3rd, the 4th got off to a relatively slow start. Rachel, Elli and I started out the day at a leisurely hour of noon with a trip across the river for Starbucks and Trader Joe’s, as documented in this flattering picture,


with a small side of window shopping along Newbury street, during which I risked my life to take this picture for you fools.


On our way back to the house at 1pm, boats were already anchored out claiming spots for the fireworks.


So Rachel goes for a run, Elli and I hide in the air conditioning, and later that afternoon we decide that, for our own pop culture edification, we should go see the new Twilight movie. It was terrible. Don’t go see it unless it’s boiling outside and you get matinee tickets. And even then… don’t go see it. We actually burst out laughing when some key character died, which the teenage girls behind us did not seem to appreciate, but whatever. Apologies to the few of you Twilight fans out there who actually read the MIT admissions blogs. (Also, for the record, though this should not be seen as my endorsement of the “films”/”novels”: Team Jacob.)

Anyways, this was all made up for by the fact that right outside our theater were stand-up blow-up dolls for that new movie Despicable Me.

Elli: Wait, can we get these for the house? Can you imagine how awesome these would be during exams?


Now, I should also explain something about how Greeks (that is, people who are in sororities and fraternities) view the 4th of July.

For many fraternity men, it goes like this: I am going to watch the fireworks from my beautiful brownstone mansion’s roof deck and invite over all my friends and grill potentially massive amounts of food with my brothers.

For many sorority women, our thought process goes along the lines of: Which fraternity (that I have friends at) has the best view of the fireworks? Best food? Where are my sisters going? For us, the 4th of July is not a one-stop deal. It’s an optimization problem of eating, socialization, and fireworks viewing, with potentially multiple stops spaced out throughout the day. We’re women. Did you expect this to be simple?

By the time we get out of our $9.50 pop culture lesson, it’s 6:30 and time to eat. Elli gets a call from a friend at a fraternity along Bay Street, which is on our way back to Theta from the Boston Commons Loews Theater (the easiest movie theater to get to from MIT). We stop there for a bite to eat, during which Rachel and I quickly realize that we don’t really know anyone from this fraternity, and decide to bounce and grab some Sweet cupcakes (I wasn’t kidding about this being a true Boston weekend) on our way back to campus.

Rachel tried the Lemon Raspberry,


while I stuck to a more patriotic Strawberry Shortcake. Yes, it did taste as good as it looks.


Also tried and true: the Red Velvet cupcake, if you’re into that. Literally the best red velvet anything that I’ve ever had. Amazing. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.

At this point, though, it’s 7:30, and time to claim a spot to watch the fireworks. We narrow our choices to Killian Court or another fraternity on campus, and start heading back down Massachusetts Avenue towards home.



Halfway across the bridge, we unexpectedly run into our sisters Sumi ’12 and Anila ’10, who are actually legit biological sisters and are in town from New Hampshire for the day with their parents. They have enough space staked out for a family of 10, and in a primo location, so we decide to just go back to our house, grab some blankets to sit on, and come back and join them.




Fatal flaw in this plan, though: our TV room has air conditioning. And someone had left the Boston Pops AND the AC on when they left. Needless to say, we got comfortably sidetracked after all that walking…


until the fireworks that accompany the 1812 overture (aka, not the real fireworks display) started and we ran out of the house, convinced we’d missed the entire thing.

We didn’t.

Now the bridge is closed off to any more people, though, meaning that our original viewing plan is foiled. Halfway to Killian Court, we decide to just watch them from there for a true MIT fourth of July rather than backtracking to the frat.



And with that, the 4th ended.

MONDAY, THE 5TH OF JULY (… and this is when all of you suddenly get the title of this entry.)

Monday is notable for one reason, and one reason only: Flour.

Flour is perhaps the best bakery ever. It used to only have two locations, one in Fort Point and another in the South End, the latter of which was a kind of destination location for MIT students, as it was just close enough to be reachable on a sleepy weekend morning but far enough away that it remained a special treat.

This all changed 3 weeks ago when Flour opened up a third location: Central Square.

Central Square doesn’t really even describe its location. Formally, it’s actually closer to MIT than Central Square, as in, it is roughly 2 short blocks from 77 Massachusetts Avenue (MIT’s mailing address, and it main entrance). This is dangerous. Oh, so dangerous. I’m on a self-imposed once-a-month ration to keep myself from eating too many of their delicious sticky buns.


It’s half for my health and half for my wallet. Their sticky buns will run you $2.95, and sandwiches are $7.50? if I recall correctly. They have enough different pastries to satisfy an 8 year old, and enough incredible entr√©e-type food to satisfy you or your food-snob aunt. It’s great. So much so that there were no less than 3 independent groups of Thetas there for brunch at the same time. Rachel and Courtney ’10 left before I remembered I had my camera on me, but from top right are Kathy ’13, Nancy ’13, Nancy’s French Toast, Marianna ‘13’s sandwich of some sort, Marianna, and Camilla ’13.


After Flour, I just went back and enjoyed my river view single and put my feet up. Because, hey, it’s summertime in Boston, but sometimes it’s just nice to stay at home in Cambridge.

19 responses to “A Pythagorean Triple of Awesome”

  1. rachel '11 says:

    SHANNON you are amazing and i love you and i didn’t even realize we had spent that much time together until it was documented like this! hahaha also. we should make cupcakes…or flour…or sbux…or all of the above happen again soon!

    p.s. love the activation energy profile

  2. Jen '13 says:

    Wait…my last post didn’t work. :(

    Let’s try this again…

    Wait…my last post didn’t work. :(

    Let’s try this again…


  3. Jen '13 says:

    Loooove you!

    Haha…the heart symbol doesn’t work here. Fail.

  4. subha says:

    AHH you guys are so cute!!!

  5. steph says:

    wait, why am I here again??

    P.S. Te echo de menos!
    P.P.S. I think you should have a boba run in my favor. It would be kind of baller for all parties involved.
    (haha get it…boba…baller…okay)

  6. Kathleen '04 says:

    Sounds like an awesome weekend, Shannon! I hadn’t heard about Leisure Station before, definitely excited for a new boba place near campus!

  7. Anjali T '12 says:

    this. is. adorbs. you guys make me jealous to not be in boston right now!!

  8. umm says:

    (…and by “in my favor,” I actually mean “in my honor.” grammar fail. I think I¬¥ve been in Bar√ßa for too long)

  9. ((and by Barça I mean Barcelona. apparently all I do here is not talk in english and discuss the futbol team???))

  10. Ernie says:

    Shanner Bananer. Boston looks awesome! Nice pics.

  11. Cecily says:

    this is unbelievable shannon. the food looks amazingggg. god, i’m jealous haha

  12. Kristen says:

    gah i’m so jealous, summer in boston looks wonderful! wish i was there, i miss you + all the crazy people in your photos smile

  13. Sumi says:

    so that’s what happened to you the night of the fourth! smile

  14. OldFartAlum says:

    I miss the Boston fireworks! And the fact that an exciting city is minutes away… oh well!

  15. Snively says:

    Look up the html code for a less than symbol, that’ll work.

    Also, Flour is delicious! I’ve been there like 4 times already AND I got there early on the day they opened so I could eat the first sticky bun. Delicious delicious delicious!

  16. Anonymous says:

    <3 !!!

    There, it worked this time smile

  17. mag says:

    I read this, and didn’t get the title. So I read it again. Still didn’t get it. And then…oh wow! I get it! very clever shannon smile

  18. LShields says:

    dude. there are totally whole foods in the midwest.