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MIT staff blogger Ben Jones

Back From Vacation by Ben Jones

Tales of swing sets and answers to the various questions in my inbox.

I’m back!

Here are the answers to some common questions that have been piling up in my inbox…

Where the heck have you been?!?

April 6-9 was CPW, followed by my first real vacation in over a year. A whole week off! Just got back today – 1000+ emails in my inbox – good times. :-)

What can you tell me about next fall’s Orientation and Pre-Orientation programs for admitted students?

Those are run by the Academic Resource Center (ARC) and not by Admissions, so I’m not really an expert on those topics. For the best source of information, please visit You’ll find various dates and ARC contact information there.

What is the deadline to accept MIT’s offer of admission?

You need to return our form by May 1 (postmark date) if you intend to enroll at MIT.

How much is the deposit to secure my place in the class of 2010? Where do I send the deposit?

No deposit is required. Just be sure to send in the form by the May 1 deadline.

Are you taking anyone from the waitlist this year?

We won’t know until a few days after May 1, when admitted students let us know if they intend to enroll.

If you go to the waitlist, when will decisions be made?

If we need to use the waitlist this year, we will begin looking at candidates during the week of May 8.

How can I apply to be an admissions blogger next year?

Contact us in August and let us know that you wish to be considered for a blogging position. As most of our bloggers will be returning, we will likely only be hiring bloggers from the class of 2010 (and perhaps one additional upperclassman).

There is no formal application process, but please note that we only hire experienced bloggers, and therefore your current blog (i.e. your “portfolio”) is the major factor in whether or not we choose you. The quality and frequency of your content (and how long you’ve been keeping your blog) will all affect your chances of being chosen. In other words – if you don’t currently have a blog and you want to be considered, you should probably start a blog ASAP. :-)

So what did you do on your vacation, anyway?

I built a swingset for my kids!

Prior to CPW, I used a wheelbarrow to haul boulders out of the woods to make a 32′ x 26′ perimeter.

On the Monday following CPW, I had 29 tons (yes, 29 tons – it sounded absurd to me too) of gravel delivered to the spot, which was dumped in a big pile. It took all of Monday and Tuesday to distribute it evenly throughout the perimeter of boulders (I used only a shovel). Towards the end of Tuesday, it looked like this:

And then I spent Weds, Thurs, and Fri building the thing:

Not bad for a non-engineer, eh?

On Saturday, my MIT co-workers all came over (with their kids) to test out the finished product and celebrate the end of the admissions cycle. It was quite a party, and we had amazing weather.

Sunday and Monday felt more like real vacation days, which were much appreciated.

And today… I am back.

Next up: my long-overdue personal CPW recap!

19 responses to “Back From Vacation”

  1. Christina says:

    Dude, that is a high quality swing set!

  2. Extremely far out! High quality Dad. grin (Welcome back!)

  3. dan jang says:

    welcome back!

    That looks like one fun playground for your children. Looks great.

  4. Timur Sahin says:

    You can always check mine, although the content can swing across multiple spectrums.

    So uh, don’t be shocked. raspberry.

  5. How’d you get to be such a rockstar?

  6. Dani says:

    Fun!! I want one! Unfortunately, I’m too preoccupied building a hovercraft for physics to have time for swingsets… there is always summer though.

  7. Looks awesome. Good work! I guess I had better get started on that blog I’ve always wanted to do, but never had time for. Gosh. smile


  8. Laura says:

    I want a swingset! Good work, Ben. Being a good dad and all. How cute!! =)

  9. Arka says:

    Thats really a great swing, ….”extreme engineering”

  10. renuka says:

    That is a lovely area you live in. The swingset looks cool. It is interesting that the trees on one side of the swingset are lush green and the trees on the other side practically have no leaves.

  11. Evan B. says:

    That looks like it’s from the same company as our 10-year-old swingset. However, it looks much cooler, and ours doesn’t have the little rock climbing wall.

    Congrats on finishing the swing set and another year of admissions.

  12. thekeri says:

    Now that’s what I call a swingset!

  13. Josh W says:

    Man! That is one nice swing set!

  14. Biyeun says:

    That swingset is rockin’! grin

    Ahh, there’s nothing like building stuff over vacation…

  15. Elina says:

    Great Swingset!!

  16. Jess says:

    oh, I’m so jealous of your kids :D

  17. Masha says:

    Wow, that is an amazing swing set. I guess the engineeringness of MIT rubs off on you smile