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MIT student blogger Paul B. '11

All these days I spend away by Paul B. '11

What does "home" mean to you?

BREAKING NEWS: Stu Schmill ’86 Named New Dean of Admissions – go wish him congratulations!

Shockingly, MIT does occasionally grant its students reprieve and respite from the constant deluge of problem sets, essays, and tests so commonly found throughout the dread halls of the Institute. These beautiful, glorious lulls come in a variety of flavors, ranging from ever-welcome three-day weekends to (most beloved of all) the month of relatively controlled insanity known as Independent Activities Period.

As holidays go, I’d say Spring Break falls somewhere in the high middle end of the spectrum. On the one hand, it’s an entire week without any class. But on the other hand, most professors still expect us to put in a reasonable amount of effort over the break. (Kind of like high school. Yeah, it’s sad.) I’m not sure if my situation is representative of the MIT populace as a whole, but I have some amount of work to do – or to get a head-start on – in four of my five classes (the only class without any actual assignments is 5.12).

For the past few days, though, I’ve mostly been enjoying myself. I am, by the by, back home in South Bend. I use the word home somewhat hesitantly, because…well, yes, South Bend certainly is my hometown. I was born here, I spent eighteen amazing years here. My house is here, as are my parents and all my siblings. I’ve spent the past three nights in my own bed, in my own room, and it certainly still feels like home. But on one level, I’ve come to realize South Bend is only really my second home now. My home-away-from-home, as it were.

My real home, as strange as it sounds, is MIT.

I didn’t expect that to happen. Last year, if you’d told me I would be writing these words, I probably would have just laughed you off. MIT, home? I would have told you that those words don’t even belong in the same paragraph, let alone the same sentence. But it’s actually true. And in the long run…I wouldn’t want it to be any other way.

I think this is part of the reason MIT gets so excited about Campus Preview Weekend. And when I say “MIT,” I don’t just mean the Admissions Department and the other administrators in charge of planning CPW, I mean that the entire campus comes together to make CPW as enjoyable and awesome an experience as it possibly can be. Sure, maybe we complain a lot about how ridiculously challenging MIT is, about how hosed we all are all the time…but, paradoxically enough, we’re also ridiculously proud of our school, of the communities, cultures, and student groups we have helped create – and CPW is our chance to show those off to you, to show you what MIT means to us.

And, even more importantly, it’s your chance to discover if you really want to become part of MIT – part of our culture, our communities, our traditions…in a word, our home.

Because maybe, someday, MIT will be your home too.

21 responses to “All these days I spend away”

  1. Natasha says:

    MIT will be my home…*sigh*
    That feels so good to say.

  2. a says:

    first? i want mit to be my home now

  3. |Lex! '12 says:

    I can’t be sure, but I already feel like MIT is my home (and I haven’t even visited yet)! I know that it would take Armageddon at CPW for me to fall Out of love with that place. I hope that a year from now I will be able to write those words myself.

  4. Tanmay says:

    MIT, home? hahaha I would want to be a MIT “lifer”. smile

  5. Caroline '11 says:

    oh, paul. my dear sweet darling paul. of course MIT is your home. i realized MIT was my home sometime during my pre-orientation program. =)

    ps. all you prefroshies – do a pre-orientation program! in particular, do FAP, the freshman arts program! it’s FANTASTIC and AMAZING and WONDERFUL and i couldn’t have been gladder that i did it.

  6. Ragheb '12 says:

    The thing I’m worried most about when I think about going to college is missing my family and friends and feeling like I don’t belong… From these blogs it seems that my worries are really ridiculous, I LOVE THIS PLACE! I’m not ognna be able to make it to CPW :'( (due to the distance: I live in Lebanon)
    Thx paul for this gr8 n reassuring blog!

  7. Ragheb '12 says:

    Btw, I want to take course 20 too, but I’m also considering 2A which do u recommend?

  8. Aditi says:

    “My real home, as strange as it sounds, is MIT.”

    Awwwww smile

    I really wish I could come for cpw!
    Anyone can help with the organizing bit right? I want to help next year.

    Why do I live so far far far away :(

  9. Shruthi says:

    That was sooooo sweet Paul smile

    P.S – Congrats Stu!!!! smile

  10. Wow. There are more responses to alot of blogs today in the first two minutes than there was the entire 30 days that that blog was active. Looks like the blogging community has really grown.

  11. Sorry. Didn’t give an antecedant. “That blog” refers to the “hosed” link, with the MIT Firetruck.

  12. Snively says:

    And by FAP, Caroline clearly means DME.

  13. Isshak says:

    Er, what does DME mean ?

  14. Celena '12 says:

    I have an off-topic question/suggestion– I hope you don’t mind!

    I’m a little bit confused about CPW– do we live with a student and then they act as our tour guide? Or do we just stay with them at night only and wonder off by ourselves during the day? And how should we go about picking activities/going to dorms! There are so many options– it’s almost overwhelming!!!

  15. Omar '12 says:

    Hey you’re only an hour away from me right now hehe.

    Ragheb take course 2A with me grin.

  16. Tina '11 says:

    Hey Paul –

    I miss you! Hope break is going well! And I agree, I miss home, too. And for me, home has definitely become MIT. Being here in LI is nice, but I wanna go home! (No, that does NOT mean I want psets and exams…just to be home with my friends). See you next week!!!

  17. I would really like to make MIT home one day!

  18. yiwen says:

    Aw this post made me feel all warm and giddy inside; I really can’t wait to feel the same way about MIT next year! smile

  19. Tanmay says:

    Isshak, DME = Discover Mechanical Engineering. (right?)

  20. Paul says:

    Celena – Great question! In general, you have a lot of freedom to do what you want during CPW – you don’t have to stay with your student-host at all if you don’t want to. Generally, though, most students will spend the day with their host, do their own thing at night, then meet up with their host again at night to crash in their host’s room…and then start it all over again.

    I’m going to be putting up a detailed Q&A post in a day or two, so if you are willing to wait, I’ll have a more detailed answer for you then! smile

    Caroline – Haha, so did I, but that fact still surprises me sometimes. wink

    Tina – Miss you too! Have fun with your family for now (I know I am), I’m sure we’ll be running into each other in the Infinite again soon enough. :D

    Tanmay – Yep, that’s right.

    For those who may be confused, Caroline and Snively are referring to two of the Freshman Pre-Orientation Programs (collectively known as “FPOPs” – at MIT, everything has an abbreviation) that freshman can participate in. It’s just like the name says, you show up about a week before Orientation actually starts and get to meet a bunch of your fellow new MIT freshmen…it’s sort of like summer camp really. There’s about a dozen different programs, focusing on everything from mechanical engineering to the arts to community service. You can find more information here, or check out last year’s website about the FPOPs here.

    Again, this is something I’ll try to address in more detail in my forthcoming Q&A post.

  21. CPW, yeah buddy! Thanks for your advice; the schedule is sort of overwhelming.
    Now to find a way to get there…