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the two sides of CPW by Nisha D. '21

CPW as told by a prefrosh and an upperclassman

It so happened that my younger sister got accepted into the Class of 2023 this year. She also happens to be quite a good writer, so we decided to do a dual blog post about our CPW experiences – hers as an excited prefrosh, and mine as a jaded East Campus CPW chair.

The Build-Up [Ankita]

I committed to MIT a couple of weeks ago, so my main goal at CPW was to figure out housing. I thought it would be easy, but seeing the huge variety of events at each dorm was completely overwhelming, so I started creating my schedule pretty much the moment this year’s events leaked :’) Like a true #13, I spent hours creating and revising my schedule, and though I definitely didn’t need to invest so much time and energy in it, I don’t rEaLly regret it—it helped hype me up for everything to come.

Thanks to the phenomenon known as the Prefrosh Group Chat™, I already had a group of friends to plan with. We were pretty meticulous with our scheduling (see: color-coded spreadsheets) and even had a group video call to figure out which events we all had in common (lol yeah we went OFF)ankita's CPW scheduleHere’s a screenshot of my spreadsheet. I went to 18/33 of the events I put on my schedule so…not bad, I guess?

 

The Build-Up [Nisha]

I got elected as one of the three CPW Chairs of East Campus a while back (maybe in January, but I honestly couldn’t tell you the exact date because this year has been a blur). Our job is to basically coordinate all of the events that East Campus runs for the prefrosh, which probably sounds a lot easier than it is (and honestly, I thought it would be easier than it was). This involves bugging people to run events, buying them all the stuff they need to run the events, and making sure that things actually happen. Our spreadsheets were notably less exciting than Ankita’s, and most of them looked something like this.

nisha's cpw planning spreadsheetIn the week or so leading up to the actual event, we also had to go on a few shopping trips, including one to a sketchy warehouse where we picked up 65 cases of Yerba Mate (this is the second East Campus event they’ve sponsored!) and a Costco trip that maxed out a credit card limit.

THE YERB WAREHOUSE

Thursday [Ankita]

I arrived at CPW around 10:30 and attended orientation/put my luggage in Burton-Conner, the dorm at which I was staying for the weekend, before RUNNING to the Course 15 Luncheon. I then met up with some friends and briefly went to a couple more housing events as well as Where Will I Live?, the International Dinner at Number 6, and the Admitted Student Welcome. After, I walked around with my orientation group for a bit and then went to Baker Horizons (which was…interesting) and then Midnight Waffles at Maseeh.

Honestly, Day 1 was a bit underwhelming. It might’ve been because I allotted 45 minutes to an hour for certain events that I ended up not spending more than ten minutes at. Food events, quite reasonably, are generally more about socializing than the food itself (I admit to eating chocolate-dipped Oreos alone in a corner once) but it was hard to spend much time with as many people as I’d hoped when everyone is running off to different events.

Highlights:

  • Face masks with the squad at 1 am in the Student Center
  • International Dinner at Number 6 (great people and great food—I wish all the food events I attended were as fun as this)
  • Frilled Cheese With F-Entry

Thursday [Nisha]

I woke up bright and early along with a fellow CPW chair to start up the grills. Thankfully, it was a beautiful morning that boded well for the rest of the CPW weather – there’s a longstanding joke that “the MIT weather machine is always broken for CPW”.

Why were we starting up the grills at 8 in the morning? East Campus has a tradition of grilling almost nonstop throughout the ~72 hours that CPW spans. If prefrosh walk by, we always want to have something to offer them – more specifically, a delicious Costco burger with all the condiments possible and melted cheese. The East Campus courtyard is a great place to come hang out and chill and have a burger, and we try to wake as many people up in the mornings so that the early rising prefrosh will always have somebody to hang out with at EC.

I spent the morning hanging around and making sure things were all set up to run smoothly. At some point, I realized that we had forgotten to buy cheese :P which prompted one of not two, but three Costco trips that we took over the span of 3 days.

Other than that, the day only had one major thing go wrong, and it was the strangely popular “set a cake on fire” event. Apparently to set a cake on fire, you need a LOT of vanilla extract, and the event runner had only requested a single bottle :P after running around distressed for a while (and setting some of the cakes on fire in the oven), we just hoped that a single bottle of extract would work and went for it anyways (it didn’t, but it was fine). Fun fact, though: vanilla extract is 70-proof???

All in all, though, the day went pretty well. I collapsed in bed at midnight (super early for me) completely exhausted and not ready to do it all again in the morning, but such is the life of a CPW chair.

Highlights:

  • The “bee cupcakes” event was adorable and the cupcakes were delicious
  • The sweet taste of a Costco veggie burger filling my mouth after so, so long
  • Going to sleep

Friday [Ankita]

ankita w/ MIT mirchi

ankita w/ MIT mirchi

Friday was where things started to pick up. I had a Wholesome Breakfast of barbeque chips before going to BC Field Day and then Bolly and Boba with Mirchi, MIT’s amazing Bollywood fusion dance team.
After picking up some swag at the Academic Expo, I hung out in McCormick with some friends until Taste of Cambridge (long live Insomnia Cookies) and Charades Against Humanity in Burton-Conner, which was exactly what it sounds like and definitely one of my favorite events.

academic expo

academic expo

My friend group hung out at Taste of New for a bit before migrating to S’mores at Maseeh. We didn’t really participate in the event—we just sat in a giant circle talking—but it was still one of my favorite experiences of CPW. Old Town Road played twice…bless

maseeh courtyard

maseeh courtyard

I spent the rest of the night exploring campus, hanging out with friends, and getting food (shoutout to the Clover on Mass Ave for being open 24 hours a day)

Highlights:

  • Charades Against Humanity
  • Chilling at Maseeh
  • Seeing Nisha in her Blogger shirt uwu

Friday [Nisha]

Another day of CPW, another alarm set at 7:45 am. I dragged myself out of bed to light the grills, but was met with a slightly concerning issue around 8:45 am: our 9 am event runner was nowhere to be seen, and prefrosh were already starting to gather in surprisingly large groups. It turns out that said event runner had stayed up till 5 am doing her taxes, and was rightfully too tired to run her event. What ended up happening was an impromptu display of East Campus spirit – when everything is on fire (figuratively, sometimes literally), everybody pitches in to help. We had the prefrosh help us make the batter for the promised crepes and pancakes, and also had them help us make the aforementioned breakfast foods in the kitchen. We somehow managed to meet the demands of the enormous group of prefrosh who had gathered for crepes and pancakes with batter (so much batter) to spare. Shoutout to that one frosh who was really good at making crepes.

We also had a brunch for parents and gave tours afterwards, and man, am I ever tired of giving tours. I must have given four or five parent tours during CPW, and this doesn’t include the tours I gave the prefrosh. Parent tours are a little hard because we have to censor ourselves to some extent, and the questions that they ask can sometimes be really obvious and frustrating. Like, yes, this dorm is co-ed, just like pretty much all the dorms at MIT??? :P

Other than that, I pretty much just ran around micromanaging the whole day. I managed to rack up around ~15000 steps just from being on my feet the whole day, which was impressive.

Highlights:

  • Catching a flying wad of whipped cream in my mouth not once, but twice, to the applause of many impressed prefrosh (lol)
  • Wearing my stupid blogger shirt with my face on it 
  • Taking a quick trip with Jack Florey

Saturday [Ankita]

An hour of sleep later, I was speed walking to Anime Karaoke. It ended late, so I went directly to the Activities Midway, which was really fun and helpful; I spent the full two hours there visiting the booths and watching all the performances.

the taekwondo team at activities midway

the taekwondo team at activities midway

Later, I went to the Mocha and Ridonk Workshop, which was absolutely amazing. I was super excited to check out the dance scene at MIT and the workshop confirmed that I have a lot to look forward to in fall!!

the CPW closing show

the CPW closing show

The sleep deprivation really kicked in after the Closing Show. I left Poker Night early to sleep but instead found myself slumped in a corner of C3 having a very healthy dinner of brownies and Oreos at Fondue Night (yikes). I felt gross and tired and decided to go to bed at 10:30, but after changing into pajamas and taking out my contacts, I checked my phone and saw that my friends were about to go party hopping…so I put my contacts back in, y e e t e d myself into my thigh high boots from hell and RAN to Maseeh to meet up with everyone.

Was it worth it? tbh, yes. After checking out the parties, we went to the lounge on Conner 5 and spent the next three-ish hours playing Sporcle and Contact. I passed out face down on a beanbag for an hour and then walked to the Harvard Bridge to see the sunrise…but rip, it was cloudy :( Still pretty, though!

cloudy sunrise over the charles

cloudy sunrise over the charles

Highlights:

  • All the dancing!
  • Rope swinging to Electric Love by BØRNS in East Campus <3
  • thicc squirrels

Saturday [Nisha]

By the third day in a row of waking up at the asscrack of dawn to light the grills, I was fairly sleep deprived, grumpy, and distressed at the fact that I hadn’t done any work in the last three days. Like, seriously. Zero work. I had even skipped mandatory classes :P

But thankfully, Saturday turned out to be a glorious day. It was the day of the East Campus signature event. This year, Admissions asked all the dorms to put on a “signature event” that best represented the culture and feel of each dorm, and we chose to throw an East Campus carnival, complete with a bounce house, a rope swing, spinning arts and juggling, and spray painting the yurt that several upperclassmen had been building since Thursday.

Since I hadn’t been in charge of the signature event, I took the day to chill out and ignore my responsibilities instead of running around panicking. I took the opportunity to pick up a spinning staff for the first time and play around with it for a few hours, and found that I really enjoyed it. I might continue on with it next year if I have the time.

Saturday was genuinely one of the best days that I’ve had in a very, very long time – it was great to see all of East Campus come out and ignore their psets and responsibilities to hang out in the courtyard together. It was a gorgeous day spent surrounded by friends, and it was wonderful.

Highlights: 

  • The BOUNCE HOUSE
  • The moment when you swing down for the first time on the rope swing
  • The Japanese Student Union takoyaki event where I binged myself on Japanese snacks
  • Getting a staff trick right

Summary i guess?? [Ankita]

CPW was a tumultuous, overwhelming, glorious, and honestly kinda surreal?? 3.14ish days. I ate sooo much unhealthy food (but walked >45 miles), met tons of wonderful and unique people, and definitely figured out which dorms are right for me ;)) I’m so grateful to all the upperclassmen (especially my lovely host) for offering such great advice and helping make my experience so amazing!!

If I were to do anything differently, I’d…

  • embrace spontaneity. planning how long I’d spend at food events was a big ol’ waste of time
  • HYDRATE.
  • not wear uncomfortable shoes, obviously (pray for my feet)

…But that’s pretty much it!

Removing CPW 2019 from my Bookmarks Bar feels like the end of an era :( can’t wait to be in Nisha’s shoes in a couple

years!

45 miles walked!

notice the drastic increase @ CPW

Summary [Nisha]

Overall, I’d like to say my experience as a CPW Chair was positive – I liked the chance to be able to represent my community and do good things for it. Unfortunately, I guess I had been expecting it to be a rewarding experience, which it wasn’t really. But hearing the positive comments about East Campus from the parents and the students reminded me that somebody had to do my job, and I think I did a pretty good job of doing it. So all’s well that ends well, I suppose. I was glad when Sunday afternoon swung around and all the prefrosh were finally gone, and I could settle down for a nap and a session of binge watching Season 7 of Game of Thrones in preparation for the season premiere.

To finish off this post, here’s a great picture of Simmons that Ankita took. And, soon to be officially true…welcome, class of 2023!

Welcome to MIT, class of '23!

Welcome to MIT, class of ’23!