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MIT student blogger Jessie L. '07

Bed arrangements in dorms, and beauty on campus by Jessie L. '07

Correction from my previous entry: I’m told that you can paint your room in Burton-Connor too, as long as you clear it with the house manager and paint it back at the end of the year.

Just so my readers know, I’m always happy to answer your questions. I’ll demonstrate this by answering a couple. :)

Nicole R. asked: “Do most of the dorms have bunk beds or two seperate beds?”

I can’t speak for every dorm, but at East Campus, most rooms, and virtually all non-frosh rooms, are singles, making this a non-issue. However, there are a few freshman doubles on every hall. In these, the beds are made to fit together, not built as a single entity. So you can choose whatever is more pleasing for you, bunk beds or two separate beds. Most people I know in doubles use bunk beds because it saves space. My friend in Senior Haus, Alex ’07, lives in an enormous double with two separate beds. I’ve seen bunk beds in Simmons but don’t know if they’re universal.

In some dorms, such as MacGregor, all the rooms are singles. But not all dorms are limited to singles and doubles. In Baker, there are singles, doubles, triples and quads. For a quad, I suppose, one could have four separate beds, or two sets of bunk beds, or a set of bunk beds and two separate beds, but I don’t know what the norm is, or if there is a norm.

Over in Matt’s blog, there was a question about why MIT is on the Princeton Review lists of Professors with Low Marks and Campus is Tiny, Unsightly, or Both. I thought Matt did a great job answering the one about professors. And, for that matter, a good job answering the campus one, but I had something to add to it:

Most people will tell you that MIT has an ugly campus. And, in general, I tend to agree, in the sense that the campus is mostly the opposite of pretty. But it is an ugliness that I like. This article from 1999, which I think may be one of the most insightful articles ever written about MIT by an outsider (and look for the familiar name quoted in it!), talks about MIT being different from other universities, more like a government (or these days, government and corporate) research lab, the “Los Alamos of the East”. I think the ugliness is a reflection of that. I love walking alone through the basements of Main Campus buildings and looking around at the “ugly”, industrial scenery, listening to the hum from inside the labs and machine rooms, because I feel like there’s something alive in the air. I like being barefoot and feeling the bumpy, waxed floors under my feet. MIT is a place of stone and pipes and concrete and machinery, and for me, the ugliness is almost mystical. Like it’s a special place, a never-ending lab holding many secrets, a place that the outside world knows about but doesn’t know, doesn’t relate to. It’s my place.

And while I think most of campus is the antithesis of “pretty”, I think there’s a lot of beauty if you know where and how to find it. By “beauty”, I mean something that is not necessarily pretty but transcends prettiness somehow, something deeper than a scene where someone will look and say “Oh, how pretty!” or some equally inane comment. Take the picture in my banner, for example, which was taken by a friend of mine. That’s MIT. That’s MIT, seen in a way that’s beautiful. Those of you who came to Campus Preview Weekend and met Jack Florey while you were there – that’s a chance, among other things, to see campus in a way that makes it beautiful. The gestalt effect of all the murals painted on a hall or floor, or of multicolored lights, in dorms that let you do that, is beautiful. I’ve always believed that Killian Court is beautiful at night, especially seen from the right angles, whereas in the day I find it merely somewhat pretty.

Except in a situation like this, which is a beautiful sight no matter what the time of day. ;)

3 responses to “Bed arrangements in dorms, and beauty on campus”

  1. Anthony says:

    Great to see you blogging – I stayed on your hall during CPW =)

  2. madmatt says:

    Well said! This helps to answer the question much more completely.

  3. Kiersten says:

    hey I just read your intro post, so – hi some crazy sophomore/rising junior (aka jessie)!! Course 9??? That rocks my non existent socks. (I’m dancing right now, for reals).