Skip to content ↓
MIT student blogger Snively '11

CPW 2008: So I think I’ll go to Boston (Guest Entry) by Snively '11

More pictures than your body has room for!

By Ming Lu

The Thursday morning of CPW, I woke up bright and early to take a physics league test before zooming off to Metropark station to catch my 10 AM train. A couple days before, I had arranged to travel with Edward, another ‘12 from a town near by mine. We met up at the station, and to our surprise and delight, there were 4 other MIT ‘12s there, taking the same train. Here’s a picture of the six of us:

The train took around five hours to reach South Station in Boston, but the six of us entertained ourselves pretty well during the journey. Like the nerds we are, we passed time by throwing out logic puzzles for each other to solve, and math jokes, like this one:

A physicist, a biologist and a mathematician sit in a sidewalk cafe, looking at the building across the road. Two people go into the building, but three people come out.
Physicist: “This must be a measuring error!”
Biologist: “This is proof of procreation!”
Mathematician: “If one more person goes into the building, it will be empty!”

The train finally arrived at South Station at around 3:18 PM and from there we had to navigate to MIT student center. Here we are buying tickets for the T (only $2 to go from South Station to Kendall).

Look! The first sighting of the dome! We’re close.

We arrive at the check in place in the Student center around 4PM, but I had to hang around till about 4:30 before my host, Amina, arrived. She even left class early to meet up with me.

After a short walk to McCormick, we reached her room and I finally put all of my luggage down. Amina lived in a very spacious triple. I wish I had taken some pictures of McCormick; the dorm was very bright and clean. Quite a contrast from East Campus, a dorm I will visit later. But different folks, different strokes.

It turned out that two of the girls (Yun and Kathy) from the train were also temped in McCormick, and Yun had friend who was a current MIT student friend who offered to take her and any prefrosh she met to dinner in Cambridge. We headed over to the Student Center to meet him, his friends, and their frefrosh.

A thing about walking around in Cambridge: Watch out for trains. As my group was walking down a street, we only just in time noticed a freight train coming toward us and we had to sprint across the tracks. We were assured us that this was not a normal occurrence.

When we arrived at Mary Chung’s too, there were some other hosts/prefrosh there too, including Joseph, who was another guest blogger. He wanted to take a picture of the table for his blog, so I took a picture of him as to not repeat pictures in these blogs.

The hosts were adamant about the “never pay for food during CPW” thing, and paid for all of us!

After dinner, I went to the biology open house, where I met up with my friend Judy, who I met at camp many years ago. I think it’s great MIT can bring people together that haven’t seen each other in years. I’m sure there were other people I knew previously at MIT this weekend, but with 1000+ prefrosh running around, I didn’t get a chance to see them.

I then headed off to the CPW opening ceremonies and festival. It was great seeing all the activities that you can be involved in at MIT. It’s also amazing how much effort the student groups put into CPW and making sure the prefrosh had a good time. There was breaking dancing, smoky soda, a HUUUGE Twister game, Bubble Tea among other things.

It was here that I met Kevin, one of the two Kevins who went upstage during the opening ceremony, but it turned out that it was not his birthday. He, Judy, and I hung out for the rest of the night. We checked out the roof party on top of Baker. The party wasn’t all that great, but the view from the top of Baker is amazing. I just wish I had a better camera so I could have captured it better.

Towards the end of the night, the three of us ended up in Burton Conner, playing Uno and planning out what we would do tomorrow. We agreed upon getting up around 8:15 (blasphemy!) to go and get waffles at Next House for breakfast and then checking out some classes. The schedule for CPW is crazy. With so many activities, classes, and just plain random events (many of them hosted appropriately by Random Hall), the three of us had a pretty hard time deciding what to do.

Around 1 AM, a Burton Conner resident came in and asked who wanted a tour of the dorm. Burton Conner is a really nice dorm; if I decide to come to MIT, I think this would be one of the first choices. There were some really funny things hanging up. Like this advertisement:

And this, which had to be the world’s biggest crossword puzzle:

The tour ended around 2 AM, and I headed back to McCormick to get some sleep.

The next day, Judy, Kevin, and I met up in Next House to get waffles. Kevin went a little overboard.

I spent the majority of Friday exploring the academic part of MIT life, like classes and research and whatnot. After breakfast, Kevin and I headed to a class called Math for Computer Science. It was an unusual class, as it was taught in the TEAL mode. The students at the table we sat at were really nice; they forsaked their practice problems to talk to us about campus life.

After class, I took a tour of the applied math lab. Here’s one researcher, who modeled how thin pieces of metal came together due to surface tension when placed on water.

I wanted to go to a class in my prospective major, so I headed off to an environmental biology and chemistry class. I sat in an empty classroom for about 10 minutes with 3 other prefrosh before someone told us that the class was moved to the room right next to us.

Empty room:

Real classroom!

The professor was so enthusiastic about the subject matter and really seemed like he wanted everyone to love it as much as he did.

I left this class early to go to my UROP tour of a brain and cognitive science lab, which was gratefully located in the building right next to the one I was already it. Usually, there is a lot of walking involved when you switch events during CPW.

In the BCS building, there was a hack!

The tour was short, but pretty cool. Our guide told us that a lot of money is involved when doing neuroscience research (because of all the expensive technology you need), and MIT is a great place for this because there is a lot of funding and resources available. Here’s a picture of said expensive machine:

After my UROP tour, I hung around with some people I met and food was involved somewhere in there. We were basically biding out time till 8PM, which was when the ball drop was, at Senior Haus. They didn’t actually drop it at 8 PM, but there were A LOT of bouncy balls. Sadly, I couldn’t get a picture of the balls in mid fall, but Senior Haus looked pretty cool lit up in the dark.

I headed off to meet the bloggers and I met the bloggers. I had decent length conversations to Mollie and Chris, which was pretty cool. I also spoke to Snively for a bit. I have to say, a lot of the bloggers look a lot different in real life than they do in their banner pictures. Here’s Snively and me.

A 9, I went walking (or rather running) around campus. For a really long time too. This really cool guy named Jack led me and some friends around. Anyways, the night ended with donuts before I stumbled back to McCormick for bed, again around 3 AM.

The next morning (Saturday) was beautiful. My friends and I took this opportunity to walk around and take pretty pictures. Here’s some:

Sailing on the Charles:

Boston Citgo sign:

Runners along the river:

Wow, I bet you can get a really nice view from the top of that building:

Dome, sweet dome:


The Metal Sponge:

I then went to EC (the dorm) for some food with Kevin. EC is so different from McCormick and really awesome, in a crazy, vibrant, always something going on way.

Human sized hamster wheel:

We also went in the dorms to look around.

The walls of one of the lounges:

Murals along the wall:

I had to leave EC early to go the a capella concert. It was well worth going; I love a capella. All of the groups were so talented. Sadly, I don’t have much singing talent and would never be able to sing in one, but they way they harmonize everything just sends shivers down my back. All of them were amazing.

For dinner Saturday, I met up with some people from summer camp (NJ Governor’s School for Engineering) who also got into MIT or are current students, or just happened to be visiting. We all went to this small Italian restaurant in Boston, which was my first time across the bridge this weekend. MIT can’t be located in a better place. The bridge’s only .3 miles long (I checked on gmaps pedometer) and Boston’s such a nice city. The restaurant we went to was not that expensive, but really good. Here’s picture of the group in front of the restaurant:

After I ate dinner, I joined my friends at the Chinese Student’s Association for their dumpling eating contest. Whoever could eat 15 dumplings in the fastest time wins. Here are the two winners:

At night, Kathy, Yun, and I ended up walking across Harvard Bridge AGAIN to got a party at SigEp. The party wasn’t great, but we had fun amusing ourselves during our walk across the bridge.

By the time we got back, our feet were REALLY tired, and it was late, so we just sprawled out on the couch in McCormick and shot the breeze for an hour or so.

The next morning sadly, we all had to depart. Bye MIT, maybe I’ll see you next fall?


CPW was great for me, as someone still deciding which college to attend, to really get to see what MIT life and culture was like. I didn’t get much sleep, but when there’s a booklet of literally hundreds of events to do, who has time for such a trivial thing? It’s amazing how much effort MIT puts into welcoming the prefrosh and how nice everyone was, ranging from the professors to the undergrads there. During the short time that was CPW, I got a taste of what the next four years could be like, and the kinds of people I will be in contact with. The future looks good.

17 responses to “CPW 2008: So I think I’ll go to Boston (Guest Entry)”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I’m sure that this isn’t the right place to say this, but in the “Upcoming Deadlines” section of this site it says: “May 1, 2007 • Online Reply Form submission deadline for admitted students (Early Action and Regular Action)….” (i.e. some potential frosh will be going “OMG I MISSED THE REPLY DATE BY A YEAR!” any second now)

    (Otherwise, GREAT BLOG!)

  2. Judy '12 says:

    Yeah MING!!!

    Haha, Kevin w/ Waffle Iron = LAWL

    too bad I didn’t get to say goodbye to you guys on Sunday :( But anyways, hope to see you and Kevin this coming fall ^__^

  3. JWC '12 says:

    Thanks for making me look like an idiot while I was taking that picture… smile


    I sat in on Math for Comp Sci. last April when I was visiting MIT. Isn’t it a cool class?

    Nice post.

  4. Snively says:

    Hey! Your Burton-Conner tour was of my floor! Conner 2 ftw, we’ve spent way too many hours on that crossword puzzle, I’ve been looking for an excuse to blog it, I guess now I’ll have to. I live like, 20 feet away from that thing.

  5. Rutu says:

    MING!!!!!!!!!!!!! *glomp*

    Anyways, nice! Yay the math joke!!! Hehe, CPW was great!…….how’d science league go, btw?

  6. Ming says:

    @Rutu: Science League went alright, I got the highest score out of the 4 people taking the physics I test in our school, which was a 76. I don’t think I got top 10% this year with my top three scores. I really didn’t study as much this year as I did for chem I and II.

  7. Judy '12 says:

    Hey Ming, do you do Science Olympics at your school?

  8. Anonymous says:

    @Judy: Nope, we don’t have that.

  9. Judy '12 says:

    hmm.. I never got to ride on the hamster wheel … darn it

    Anyways, are you still thinking about P over MIT?

  10. Isshak says:

    Wow that puzzle looks crazy !
    Great pictures ! Another great prefrosh blog. Did you think that Chris looked much taller too ? (I read in many other blogs lol).

  11. Marie says:

    Hi Ming! lol i didn’t really see you after the first night :( and that tour of macgregor

  12. Sarah '12 says:

    OMG! I saw the same giant crossword in the SkyMall Magazine on the way back from MIT! (I was bored…I usually don’t look through SkyMall, I swear…)

  13. Paul says:

    Nice entry! I love the photos.

    By the way, if you went to Gov’s School, do you know Angel?

  14. Paul says:

    Haha, never mind – I can see Angel in the back of the photo you took. I had no idea there were so many Gov’s School alums at MIT. =)

    (In attempt to make this comment somewhat relevant, do you know what there’s also a lot of at MIT? ISEF participants!)

  15. Anonymous says:

    The Lounge wall is pretty great.

    I guess it would have been cliche to write chemical equations or something…

  16. Omar '12 says:

    Haha, one of the pictures here reminds me that I never got a picture with snively! oh well…

    Btw Paul, speaking of ISEF, check out this discussion on Facebook:

  17. Tamara says:

    Oh, is that the evil crossword from Mystery Hunt?