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checked off by Waly N. '24

101 things to do before you graduate...

This blog has been in the works for a… long time. I first started this one on April 2nd. Of last year. I was looking through my blog drafts and realized I have a lot of half-finished blogs, which is a bit tragic. But alas, this one got finished.

During Orientation, every first-year gets a list of 101 things that they should do before they graduate. Since I am graduating (at the time of this being posted, graduated), I thought it would be interesting to look back at how many of these items I actually completed during my time here. So, here goes number 1…

  1. Learn all the course and building numbers ✅
    This one I was able to accomplish pretty fast. The course numbers part came easy, but the building numbers were a bit harder. The main campus buildings are easy to remember because I go to them every day, but some of the further away buildings and grad dorms are pretty easy for me to forget.
  2. Participate in a UROP… or two ✅
    I’ve done two UROPs so far at MIT. Both of these were during my freshman year, the first one jointly being in Course 15 (Management) and 22 (Nuclear Science and Engineering). The second one was with the Media Lab. So I guess I satisfied the “or two” part of this prompt.
  3. Ace a test ✅
    I got around a 96% on an exam at some point in my freshman year, and that was when I peaked during my MIT career. A grade that high on an exam was never seen again.
  4. Play on an intramural sports team ✅
    I’ve been playing on an intramural basketball team for about 3 semesters now! We play in the C League (Leagues go from A to C, in decreasing difficulty), so for a person like me with a terrible jump shot, it’s a nice but competitive level to play at. Though you always have that one ridiculously good team that has no reason to be in the C league. Last semester, I picked up intramural soccer, which is nice since I used to play soccer pretty regularly as a kid but fell out of it a bit due to some circumstances.
  5. Pass the swim test ✅
    I… can’t swim. I swear when I try to, I just sink. People say, just breathe and you will float. BUT I DON’T. It’s not even that I’m nervous, I just… don’t float. I passed the class… so I checked it off but I feel that is cheating
  6. Show off your Boston sports pride ✅
    I went to a Boston Celtics game and got a poster saying Authentic fan… so I must be one now by law. At least the C’s won’t disappoint me like the Knicks (and Nets depending on the year)
  7. Go to Tosci’s for ice cream ✅
    I have been suffering from withdrawal because of how good Tosci’s Earl Grey ice cream is. I’ve only gone to Tosci, a local ice cream shop, about twice and each time, I share a two-scoop cup with a friend so that we can save money :D
  8. Use your MIT ID to go to the MFA for free ✅
    During the summer of my sophomore year, I went to the MFA with a friend just to check it out. I’ve also gone as part of a class trip for 21M.601, Drawing for Designers. I don’t quite remember what we saw, but it was a nice change of pace to be outside of the classroom
  9. Jump in and take a selfie with a tourist ✅
    Inviting myself into randos selfies is always a fun thing to do…
  10. Take free sailing lessons at the pavilion ⛔
    This is something I really wish I did. I never took the sailing class at MIT because I took the swim class rather late (during Senior Fall). To take the sailing class, I would have had to then pass the boat test, which requires threading water for a few minutes, and I have/had no confidence in my ability to do that.
  11. Watch the sun set and rise from the Harvard Bridge ✅
    I’ve only seen the sun rise once from the Harvard Bridge here (I have, however, seen it rise multiple times from my desk or a classroom on campus o__o). During Senior Fall, Class Council held an event called Senior Sunrise, which basically is seniors coming out and sharing munchkins as the sun rises. I’ve seen the sunset from the Harvard Bridge so many times, so that one was easier to get
  12. Go window shopping on Newbury Street ✅
    Everything sold on Newbury Street outside of food/boba is violently outside of my price range, but I still look…
  13. Go to an outdoor concert ✅
    Didn’t think I would check this one off, but I did within the last month. This month, we had Springfest, which is basically a student organization bringing an artist with some level of name-recognition to perform a concert on campus. This year, the artist was Cordae, and I went to Springfest for the first time. Cordae dapped me up at the end, so I can now officially say I’ve met a celebrity 😊
  14. Take a stroll through Little Italy in the North End ✅
    I really like the North End part of Boston, and I’ve walked around it several times. I’ve walked around most of Boston casually, especially during my first 2 years here.
  15. Take a ride on a swan boat in Boston Commons ⛔
    Again, I can’t swim… why would I pay to ride a boat on a lake ;-;
  16. Take a road trip to an away game for MIT sports ✅
    Kind of cheating on this one, but I am counting club sport tournaments toward this. When I was doing Taekwondo, I once went to a tournament at the University of Vermont, which is also my one and only visit to the state.
  17. Get to know your professors outside of class ✅
    I’ve talked with them I swear
  18. Find your new favorite food truck ⛔
    I feel every food truck that comes to MIT tends to be pretty expensive, so I haven’t liked any of them so far.
  19. Enjoy a free steak and lobster dinner during rush ✅
    Cheating again a bit… I didn’t have steak/lobster but it was still a fancy dinner so I think it fits the vibes of this question.
  20. Attend a MITSO concert in Kresge ⛔
    Some people here are incredibly musically talented, so I wish I saw a MITSO concert while I was here. MITSO I believe is our symphony orchestra. I don’t have much more to say here… I don’t know much about music oops.
  21. Take a class during IAP ✅
    My first IAP here I took Japanese 1! It unfortunately was virtual as things were in January 2021, but I still enjoyed the class a lot. My Japanese is atrocious but it’s still cool to be able to say some basic stuff. I took Japanese 2 the following semester, and after a long hiatus, attempted to take Japanese 3 Senior Fall, but dropped it after a few weeks.
  22. Check out the parks on Rose Kennedy Greenway ✅
    Haven’t visited all of the parks on the greenway, but I went to the rose garden! It was really pretty, and when I went, the roses were in full bloom. Unfortunately, I got kicked out like 15 minutes after I entered because they were closing early that day for some unknown reason.
  23. Get dressed up for a formal ✅
    I’ve gotten dressed up for three formals during my time at MIT! The first was Twenty Fourmal, an event I planned with Class Council during our Sophomore Fall. Then there was Ring Delivery, where we got our Brass Rats during Sophomore Spring. Most recently, we had Senior Ball, our final class-wide event, at the Prudential Center’s Observatory, which had really nice views of Boston and Cambridge.
  24. Walk the Freedom Trail ✅
    During my 1st year strolls, I walked most of the Freedom Trail! I don’t have particularly strong memories of it, but I did really enjoy seeing the obelisk near Bunker Hill.
  25. Go to the Skywalk Observatory in Prudential ✅
    Spoiled this two items ago, but I went to the new version of the Skywalk Observatory called View Boston for Senior Ball!
  26. Check out the view from the ICA ⛔
    Never been to the ICA…
  27. Zip around the ice rink at Spooky Skate ⛔
    I’ve skated at MIT before, but never during Spooky Skate :(
  28. Behold Boston’s 4th of July fireworks ✅
    During my first summer here, I went to watch the 4th of July fireworks with some friends. We watched from the Longfellow Bridge. I think it was raining a bit that day, but the fireworks were still pretty nice. Inferior to New York’s, but good for Boston.
  29. Host an incoming first-year during CPW ✅
    I’ve hosted three students for CPW! I did my fair share of fly-ins when I was in high school and always appreciated my hosts who gave me a better idea of the school, so I really enjoy hosting prefrosh. I’ve also hosted for WISE twice, which is MIT’s fly-in program.
  30. Build a snow fort on Killian ⛔
    Never found myself invested enough to create a snowfort on Killian Court, but I have had a snowball fight there before. To be fair, we have had like 3 tame winters in a row, and I have a habit of escaping the US over IAP, so this might have contributed to me never completing this one.
  31. Take a 48-hour social media cleanse ⛔
    I am simply too addicted for this to actually happen. I think it would be very good for me though.
  32. Try something new in a PE class ✅
    Air pistol! I had never shot anything more powerful than a nerf gun before this class, so it was cool to do something a step (or several steps) above that. I started off real bad in the class, but I improved a lot by the end, so I was pretty happy with my level by the end :)
  33. Be an Associate Advisor ✅
    During my sophomore year, I was an AA. I feel I was a pretty bad AA though… I had a really rough sophomore year and definitely wasn’t as active as I would have liked to have been. The professor I was advising with was really amazing and was more of an advisor to me than my actual advisor, so I still appreciate her a lot ;-;
  34. Visit all the dorms ✅
    This one took surprisingly long for me to finish. I visited most of the dorms by the start of sophomore fall (we had a thing called Covid that stopped me from visiting them earlier), but Baker was eluding me. It wasn’t until later in Sophomore year that I ate at Baker dining, completing this task
  35. Go to an event advertised in the infinite corridor ✅
    I’ve gone to several events advertised in the Infinite… too many to really count
  36. Cross register at Harvard ⛔
    To be honest, not having done this one is probably one of my biggest regrets at MIT. I basically kept saying to myself every semester that I will cross-register during the next one, just to not actually do it at all. I was planning to at least get my Harvard Library ID (which MIT students can get) this year, but Harvard Yard was closed to outside visitors for quite a share of May this year.
  37. Watch an LSC (Lecture Series Committee) movie ✅
    I think I’ve only gone to one LSC movie night, but it was a pretty fun time! I watched Spirited Away on 35mm with some of my friends on a Friday or Saturday night. I haven’t watched many Studio Ghibli movies but I’ve seen some, with my first one being Ponyo back in like 2011.
  38. Take a selfie with TIM the beaver ⛔
    TIM the beaver has been avoiding me my whole time at MIT, and it makes me very sad. I don’t know what I could have done to deserve this :(
  39. Enjoy a game of candlepin bowling ⛔
    I don’t know what candlepin bowling is, but considering I dislike bowling unless I get a strike/a spare, not sure how much I would enjoy it.
  40. Drink only water for a week ⛔
    Not healthy enough for this one.
  41. Sleep in Barker ⛔
    I have slept in a few places on campus, but Barker is not one of them. I remember once taking a nap on a couch in the MIT.nano building, which was pretty comfy. I also procrastinated a project too long this semester and slept on an ESG beanbag instead of my bed in my dorm.
  42. Get a burger at Tasty Burger ⛔
    People have recommended Tasty Burger to me a few times, but I never got around to trying it. I almost did one day, but then my friend and I got lazy and decided to do delivery from another place instead. Had I recalled, this was an item on the list, I might have dragged her to go with me.
  43. Attend the 2.007 competition ✅
    I attended the competition… on Zoom. But lots of stuff during Spring 2021 was virtual, so I counted it towards the
  44. Run/volunteer/go to the Boston Marathon ✅
    It took a while, but I went to watch the Boston Marathon during Senior spring. I had an assignment to do for my photography class related to taking pictures of people, so I felt like the marathon would be a good place to make a stop. I was doing analog photography, and I feel I got a few nice negatives out of the event, but I didn’t know how to focus well so some of them could have been better.
  45. Taking a picture with the Make Way for Ducklings Statue ✅
    During our first spring at MIT, Class Council planned a scavenger hunt for people to be able to explore Boston/Cambridge. This was one of the quests people had to complete and I did it with my pod, which is a medival term referring to the group of 6 people (inclusive) you could interact with unmasked during pandemic-era MIT.
  46. Enjoy a summer at MIT ✅
    I’ve spent about 1.5 summers here! I spent my first and part of my second summers working on campus. My first summer I was doing a UROP, and my second summer I was working with the Edgerton Center. It was nice to be at MIT without the looming pressure of classes, and just enjoy the area for real :)
  47. Have liquid nitrogen ice cream ✅
    I’ve had lots of liquid nitrogen ice cream here, most recently at ESG’s senior dinner. One of our professors made 8 or so different ice cream flavors, which I really liked :))
  48. Explore Castle Island in South Boston ⛔
    I did not realize Boston had an island until looking at this question… so I have not visited any so far.
  49. Go to an improv show ⛔
    I feel I’ve seen some improv shows at MIT posting flyers, but they aren’t too frequent, so I’ve never actually attended one.
  50. Get your brass rat at ring delivery ✅
    During ring delivery sophomore spring, I got my ring and Covid! I really liked Ring Delivery since our venue was pretty fancy, meaning that we could take pretty pictures. There was also a pretty good amount of food, an ice sculpture of a brass rat, and photobooths.
  51. Go to Boston Public Library ✅
    It wasn’t until Senior spring that I went to the Boston Public Library Main Branch but when I did, I had wished I went sooner. It is a really pretty library and there are nice murals and study spaces with varying levels of quietness. I went back again during that same week just because of how much I enjoyed BPL.
  52. Walk to the Harvard Arboretum ✅
    I walked to the Harvard Arboretum from MIT during what I believe was Junior Fall. It was right around the time foliage was pretty, so I was hoping to take some pretty photos on my camera. I didn’t get as many nice photos as I liked
  53. Go to the Lawn on D ⛔
    Never been, though I considered going pretty often. They seem to host special events rather regularly, but I always found myself wanting to sleep in on Fridays/Saturdays
  54. Go to Mr. Bartley’s for a frappe ⛔
    I searched up Mr. Bartley’s for the first time today to see if this is an actual place that exists and it does! I’ve never been there, but it seems like a nice place to go sometime. Maybe if I ever return I will go…
  55. Go to the great glass pumpkin patch ✅
    I stumbled on this one day on my way home! The pumpkins at the glass pumpkin patch were all way too expensive for me to ever afford, but they were very pretty. There was a big acorn that was close to $1,000 dollars, which I was too scared to touch in case I accidentally shattered it.
  56. Nap on Killian Court⛔
    I am not a fan of napping outdoors. I have napped on campus, but it tends to happen on couches or in a lecture hall, not on the grass of Killian (when it has grass, since it gets killed every year by Commencement).
  57. Visit the Kendall rooftop garden ✅
    The rooftop garden was closed for my first two years due to renovations, but I made a visit once it finally re-opened up. It is a pretty nice space near campus and sometimes they have free food events too. I once got some finger food and cotton candy which I very much appreciated ^_^
  58. Get a Red Sox ticket from MITAC ✅
    I got a free Red Sox ticket from the Office of the First Year, does that count o__o
  59. Grab a gumball from the OFY ✅
    Talking about the Office of the First Year, they have free snacks and gumballs. I haven’t grabbed many gumballs from them, but I have grabbed my fair share of chips and the like from their stash.
  60. Watch tetris on the Green Building ⛔
    I don’t think this has every happened during my time at MIT? It is possible that maybe I just missed it, but I don’t think that is the case.
  61. See penguins at the New England Aquarium ✅
    We had our signature junior year event at the aquarium! There were a lot of penguins in their enclosures, though some of them were starting to go to bed since our event was pretty late.
  62. Go on a Duck Tour ⛔
    During Orientation, I think a lot of freshman get to go on a Duckboat that tours them around Boston. Unfortunately, our year never got to do any of that stuff, so I probably will never know what a Duckboat is truly like.
  63. Ride all the T lines ✅
    I said I did this one on a technicality; I’ve ridden some of the Silver Line buses, but not all of them. I think I’ve taken the SL1/2/3 but not the SL4/5. I took the red line pretty early on, along with the green (all of them) and orange lines. The blue line took a while to take, but I eventually found myself on that train on the way to the aquarium one day.
  64. Find your favorite place in Quincy Market ✅
    I had a good lobster roll once at a seller in Quincy Market, so I guess that was my favorite place. But sadly, lobster rolls are too expensive for frequent consumption.
  65. Be an Orientation Leader ✅
    I was a OL for the Class of 2025! Being an OL was a good experience, and I met some friends that I continued to talk to for the rest of MIT. Special shoutout to the 5ish people in my OL group (Black 83 I think) that consistently showed up– I appreciate y’all :)
  66. Ride an orange trolley ⛔
    I have no clue what this one means to be honest
  67. Earn a pirate’s license ⛔
    Really wanted to get a pirate’s license, but unfortunately, I can’t thread water well, so I didn’t take the boat test needed for the sailing PE class at MIT. I also failed at getting into fencing a few times. One time, I was 1st on the waitlist and the last registered person only showed up with 5 minutes left in the class, taking the spot >:(
  68. Take the T to Revere Beach ⛔
    I don’t think I’ve been to a beach in Boston, but I imagine it is more of a rocky beach instead of a sandy beach? Correct me if I am wrong though.
  69. Check out the Tree Lighting ceremony in Boston Commons ⛔
    I think the tree lighting ceremony in Boston is right around the busiest times of the fall semester, so I never saw the tree lighting. I do find tree lightings a bit underwhelming though, so I don’t think I missed too much here
  70. Go to Haymarket ✅
    During the semester, I find that I am usually a bit too busy to go to Haymarket. I also don’t cook as often, so buying a lot of fresh fruits and veggies that I forget to use isn’t always the best of ideas. But during the summers I was here, I went to Haymarket quite a bit! I liked to go on Saturdays close to closing because there sometimes are really nice deals
  71. Eat at every dining hall ✅
    I’ve eaten at all dining hall and my verdict is that they are all kind of average but with really high standard deviations. Somedays I get something that is amazing and cooked well, while other days I will get rice that has been cooked into a paste. To be fair, I pretty rarely go to dining halls, so my experiences are a bit limited.
  72. Study abroad ⛔
    So I’ve done lots of teaching abroad, but I have never been a student. Part of me thinks study abroad would have been a cool thing to have done, but another part is happy I didn’t miss out on parts of MIT either
  73. Take a Boston harbor ferry ride ⛔
    I’ve never taken any of the ferries, cause nowhere I go has ever required the use of one so far.
  74. Go to a block party at City Hall Plaza ⛔
    I did not know City Hall had block parties? I think there is a chance this is a thing that ended when Covid started, but if it isn’t, I’m sad that I’ve been missing out.
  75. Send a postcard home ⛔
    During my time here, I’ve gotten a lot of postcards, but I like to mainly use them as dorm decor. I hang them up on my walls or sometimes on my fridge. I’ve never actually sent a postcard to anyone, not sure if I ever will.
  76. Get a Flour Rasberry Seltzer ⛔
    My friend this week actually mentioned that they liked the Rasberry Seltzer at Flour, so maybe it might be worth trying. I usually am rather seltzer-averse, so it might take some encouragement for me to do so.
  77. Get 25 free t-shirts ✅
    I wrote a blog on this a while back, but I have lots of free t-shirts. So many that I have bought
  78. People watch in Lobby 10 ✅
    I’ve staffed tables in Lobby 10 for ticket sales for some student organizations I’m in, so I’ve just wound up watching people walk by as a result.
  79. Go to the Pride Parade ✅
    Does going to Pride in another city count? Boston hasn’t had a parade in a while, but I went to Seattle Pride last year when I was interning there over the summer
  80. Eat at ??? Pastry ⛔
    This one got ripped off slightly on my paper, so I don’t know whether it says Modern Pastery or something else.
  81. Walk 364.4 smoots across the bridge ✅
    I think this one is just saying to cross the Harvard Bridge, which I have done so many times here.
  82. Green Building Stairs Challenge ⛔
    Absolutely not. Why do the Green Building stairs when I can just live all my 3.5 years on campus in dorms without elevators? For reference, the Green Building is a little under 20 floors.
  83. Get boba in Chinatown ✅
    As a boba addict, I have tried boba from every corner of Boston, including Chinatown. I think I’ve gone to maybe three stores in the area and my experiences have ranged from very mid to actually pretty good bubble tea.
  84. Master the tunnels ✅
    Boston can be way too hot during the summer, and for the most part, the tunnels have AC. You can walk from Lobby 7 to the Kendall T stop using only the tunnels, so I’ve managed to get pretty good at navigating them to avoid the elements.
  85. Visit the Mapparium ⛔
    My friend and I were considering doing some grad photos here, but alas, it never happened :(
  86. Go to an Acapella concert ✅
    I think I have seen most of the MIT acapella groups perform at least once! I love their shows so much, since they are at the end of the semester it is a really nice break from studying/project work. I usually go to the shows of groups that I know people in, but I sometimes also go to any show that seems interesting, has a cool semester theme, or has good vibes.
  87. Host a study break ✅
    During my first summer at MIT, I was doing a UROP and also a summer RA. As a summer RA, I planned some study breaks for the people I was an RA for, including a smoothie study break. I guess it wasn’t a study break persay because it wasn’t during the semester, moreso a time to get to better know each other.
  88. Volunteer for a campus event ✅
    I think being an Orientation Leader should count for this one…
  89. Pretend to be a prefrosh during CPW ✅
    Since we didn’t have a CPW, my first in-person CPW as a student was spent masquerading as a prefrosh to experience the events, get some food, and have that whole experience.
  90. Met 10 MIT people from 10 countries ✅
    Quick roll call → On the top of my head, I’ve met people from India, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Nigeria, Palestine, Albania, Venezuela, Switzerland, Ukraine, and Mexico. And a few more. So I think I checked this one off.
  91. Tie dye a shirt ⛔
    This is probably one of the easiest ones to get, but I just never got around to doing this. Oh well.
  92. Watch Head of the Charles ⛔
    Head of the Charles starts a bit early I believe, which meant that chances are I was not going to be found in the crowd of spectators.
  93. Hack something ✅
    I think my pen slipped and I mistakenly checked this off.
  94. Visit all of the Cambridge squares ✅
    I’m not sure if I have all of the squares down (Inman, Central, Harvard, Kendall), but if I do, I think I have visited all of them before. I’ve only set foot in Inman Square once though, to pick up a coffee table I got for free on the reuse mailing list. The cleaning staff later threw out this coffee table unannounced, much to my annoyance.
  95. Find your favorite coffee shop ✅
    Coffee is not my beverage of choice, so I don’t like coffee shops. I do, however, like boba shops, and Teaholic has been my favorite one since it opened. I have mixed feelings about Teado and Moge, which are also both in Cambridge not far/on campus.
  96. Do a PKG service trip ⛔
    PKG is another thing I think would have been cool to have tried out at MIT, but there simply wasn’t the time to do it.
  97. Attend Career fair ✅
    I have attended every career fair minus the virtual ones we had during my first year. I love getting tons of free and honestly pretty high quality merch from companies I never heard of before. I do not love, however, having a recruiter review my resume live in front of me with slight nods and headshakes of disapproval (personal experience).
  98. Visit the MIT museum ⛔
    I might do this tomorrow… it is my last chance to check out the museum before I leave this place. Even though it won’t count towards the 101 things to do before I graduate, it would still be cool to see. Especially since Nimbus, the old Solar Car build by SEVT, has a home there.
  99. Find the hidden Kenmore Bodega ⛔
    Since this bodega was hidden, I never found it. I also never really searched for it either, so I guess I would have only gotten this one if I magically stumbled upon the bodega.
  100.  Attend Senior Week ✅
    I skydived! One of the senior week events this year was tandem skydiving up in Maine. Ngl, I was worried I might throw up when I jumped out of the plane with the instructor but I did not!! The initial freefalling felt like when you are in a dream and you are falling and can’t stop falling but it was for real. After about a minute, the instructor opened the parachute and flew me through a cloud, which is still kind of crazy to me
  101.  Earn your degree ✅
    Somehow did this one…