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MIT student blogger Rachel D. '16

CPW Q&A by Rachel D. '16

I asked current freshmen about the things they wish they knew for their CPW!


Was the name of my last blog post I wrote prior to CPW last year, and it is, once again, that time of year!

This year I’d like to make it Q&A styled, where I answer some questions that you might have about this exciting weekend!

Feel free to post any additional questions you have in the comments section below, and I will do my best to answer them as soon as possible!

How do you decide which events to attend?

I know that it gets confusing with the over 200 events listed on the CPW schedule, but you will decide as you go along.  You might be so excited that you want to go through the CPW booklet and highlight every event you want to attend or star each event for every day on your phone so you don’t miss a thing (I actually did that) – but relax! Take advantage of every second of CPW by meeting your prospective classmates and doing things with them that you can both enjoy.  Some of my best friends at MIT are the ones that I met at CPW and during orientation/rush, and I remember the fun I had with them more than the specifics of the events that we took part in.

My parents are worried about me going to CPW by myself. How do I make them feel assured that I will be okay?

I went to CPW alone as a prefrosh, and my agreement with my mother was that I would check in with her via text or phone each day.  I also gave her the number of my host in case she couldn’t get in contact with me.

If that isn’t enough for your parents, you can tell them that MIT has a 24/7 student-run ambulance service filled with volunteer student EMTs, and we are awesome.  We also have MIT Medical right here on campus, which has a walk-in urgent care center, available each day 7am-11pm, in case you are not feeling well.  Additionally, each dormitory has its own collection of Medlinks, which is another student run organization that connects students to MIT Medical by providing over the counter medication and bandaids, as well as other emergency care materials.  If you ever do not feel well or get hurt during the weekend, there is a huge support system here at MIT to help you out.  You can always call the MIT emergency line at 617-253-1212 if you do not feel safe or are in an emergency at any time during the weekend.  If you cannot find a Medlink wherever you are, try to make your way to East Campus and ask for me, Array. I’m a Medlink here in East Campus, and I’d be happy to try my best to heal you :)

How should I approach CPW if I have already ComMITted to MIT versus if I am still considering other schools? (Question submitted by Barbie D. ’17)

If you have already ComMITted, congratulations! If not…

But in all seriousness, if you have comMITted, focus the weekend on exploring each of the dorms.  Make it your goal to visit an event or party at every dorm, and get a feel for if you fit in well with the culture there. Talk to different upperclassmen and ask them where they live, and do your best to meet as many people as possible, especially your future classmates! Like I said, some of my best friends here at MIT are the ones I met during CPW, such as my friend Emma S. ’16, who I make a point to see at least twice each semester even though she lives really far away in Simmons.

If you have not comMITted, make it a point to check out the resources that MIT has to offer. Perhaps try attending a class or go to some information sessions for specific programs you are interested in, and try to see how well MIT is a fit for you academically and culturally.

How do I get around campus? What if I want to go somewhere off campus? (Question submitted by Alyssa H. ’17)

Alyssa H. ’17 told me to “tell them where Pika is.”  During her CPW last year, she got lost walking to Pika late at night in the cold, and was unsure how to use the MIT shuttles to get back to campus.  She thinks that she is defective for not knowing how to get around Cambridge, but she is not!  I still get lost getting to Pika, which is a co-ed independent living community here at MIT that has awesome events and is a ton of fun to hang out at.

My answer to this is to go to your mobile app store on your phone and download the MIT Mobile app:

For Android/Google Play

For IPhones

This App is MAGIC!  I used it so much during CPW and rush, and it is how I get around campus even today when I am confused about what building I should be in or what bus I should be taking. It gives you up-to-date schedules of the shuttles that are running around campus, such as the Saferide shuttles that run at night, which so happen to go to Pika!  If you do not have a smart phone, I highly recommend finding someone who has one and sticking by them during your time at CPW, because it is really helpful! Additionally, if you find yourself lost and scared at anytime during CPW, call the MIT Police. They are extremely helpful, and they are there for you always, especially if you feel unsafe in any way.

Here are some screenshots of the magical application:

How much sleep is the right amount of sleep? (Question submitted by Elena B. ’17)

Elena B. ’17 claimed that she often heard advice from upperclassmen saying that “if you’re sleeping enough, you’re doing CPW wrong!” However, I have to disagree with that statement to an extent.  There are things going on during CPW at all hours, and it can be overwhelming at times when deciding to miss out on events in order to try and get some sleep.  My advice is to do what feels best for you.  My friend Jake I. ’16 and I got so tired at one point during CPW that we just got angry and aggravated at the smallest things, and it got to the point where CPW just wasn’t as much fun as it would be with more sleep. So we put away our red bulls from the night and got a good few hours of sleep, which made us feel a lot better.

About 4 hours of sleep was about right for me during my CPW.  I stayed awake using energy drinks (my CPW was my first energy drink experience!), and spent the time with my new best friends exploring the Institute in any and every way that we could, and I don’t regret it one bit.

But your body is different from mine which is different from every other student who goes to MIT and who will be at CPW, and therefore you will need a different amount of sleep from other people. If someone is telling you that you cannot sleep but all you feel like doing is sleeping, go to sleep! You will feel a lot better once you have gotten sleep and you will be able to enjoy the CPW experience a lot more than if your brain is deprived of rest and unable to comprehend anything that is going on.

If I am totally in love with one dorm, should I spend more time there? Or should I focus on exploring the other dorms? (Questions submitted by Elena B. ’17 and Sebastian G. ’17)

Like I said, try to go to at least one event at each dorm. But if you go to an event at a dorm and realize that it is your favorite place in the world, I recommend spending the bulk of your time at that dorm.  For example, as a prefrosh, I found that I really fit in at East Campus and Senior House.  After attending events at every single dorm, or at least walking in to each dorm, I spent the rest of my weekend in the East Campus and the Senior House courtyards, trying to figure out which one was a better fit for me.  After all, when you fill out your housing preferences, you have to rank each dorm from first choice to last choice, so you better have a good idea of what each dorm is like so that you can rank them in a not-so-random fashion.

How much time should I spend with my host? (Question submitted by Elena B. ’17)

This is a fantastic question, and one of the reasons why it is a part of the host-matching questionnaire you filled out when you submitted your form that you are attending CPW.  How much time you should spend with your host depends on how you want to spend your CPW.  I barely saw my host during CPW because she was a double major and was extremely busy studying during the weekend, so I spend the weekend with my new friends exploring campus. Last year, I barely saw my prefrosh, Victoria P. ’17, even though we were friends before CPW, because she went off to see all of the other dorms and ended up choosing to live in Baker house, which was a better fit for her and I know that she is very happy there today!  I want to make clear that we chose to be CPW hosts because we are excited to meet prefrosh and convince them to come to MIT, and we are here if you need us, but do not feel pressured at all to spend all of your time with us.  You can spend as much or as little time with your host as you would like, but make sure that you do some exploring on your own, too!  Most prefrosh will choose a more flexible option where they check in with their host each day, but are mostly on their own, and this is how I plan on leaving it with my prefrosh. However, if she wants to grab food together or go to an event together, I would be more than willing to do so.  And I am sure that your host feels the same way :)

Should I go see what the classes are like? Or should I mostly go to non-academic events? (Question submitted by Elena B. ’17)

This goes back to the question of “what if I have already ComMITted?”  If you already ComMITted, then you will have four years to see what the classes at MIT are like, go have fun!  It might be a good idea to see what one class is like so you can feel more prepared for your freshmen year, but don’t spend all your time on academics, focus on trying to find a living group that best fits you.

If you have not comMITted, then I highly recommend attending some academic events across campus.  Getting a feel for what MIT is like in the classroom and out of the classroom will give you a good idea of if MIT is right for you, and it should help you make your decision.

Is CPW a lie?

You might hear this rumor from time to time during the weekend. There will be whispers from upperclassmen across the courtyard, bitter from a week of tests and problem sets due. “CPW is a lie,” they’ll say.  And I disagree, to an extent.  CPW is a time when we MIT students get to show you the things that we love to do and would love to do on an every day basis if we could.  However, it is not a representation of what MIT life is like each day as a student who is hosed with tons of problem sets and exams and studying and labwork and more.  This doesn’t mean that CPW is for nothing – you will learn about what MIT students are really like as people, and get a feel for which cultures you fit in with.  MIT can be extremely tough at times, but we like to use CPW and Rush (orientation) as times where we can explode from the inside out with our creativity and passion for what we study and where we live.  Some things about CPW do happen outside of this weekend – we often have burgers grilling in the courtyard of East Campus during the nice weather, and we occasionally enjoy (probably on a monthly basis) smashing old computer equipment and other cruft (usually maybe sometimes in the form of throwing it out windows).  We also have hair dyeing parties and various other carnivals during the year.  It just isn’t every single day, like during CPW.

Are upperclassmen scary? (Question submitted by William L. ’16)

Yes.  William L. ’16 says that when he was a prefrosh, he thought that it was scary talking to upperclassmen, or current MIT students, about what it is like to go to MIT.  But now, he is extremely excited to talk to you, and “suck the happiness out of you.”  He is kidding, don’t worry.

In all seriousness though, come and talk to us! We want to be your friends and we love MIT so much that we want to share our joy and experiences with you! Ask us questions, let us dye your hair, let us take you on tours of campus (I can show you where Baker house is, if you would like), and more!

“Has anyone really been far, even as decided to use — even go — want to do look more like?” (Question submitted by Max J. ’17)

I don’t understand Max, if you understand this please comment below and say mean things about him.

How do I meet the bloggers?

Connie H. ’15 has a blog post regarding where you can find the bloggers around campus during CPW, but also you can come and meet all of us Friday on the third floor of the Student Center (W20) from 9pm-10:30pm.  We want to see you and talk to you! I’ll even show you more pictures of cats if you want!

What are some other “don’t miss” events? (Question submitted by Elena B. ’17)

These are some of my favorites!

  • Thursday, 3pm – Cupcake Roulette! My friend Marvin R. ’16 (“Marvin the Cupcake Man”) is making a ton of cupcakes for you all! Come to Talbot lounge, which is located in East Campus, at 3pm tomorrow and grab some cupcakes!  Hopefully you’ll get one of the yummy ones, and not one filled with wasabi or some other terrible thing :) Seriously, our kitchen smells SO good right now!
  • All The Time – The Great Depression at East Campus! Come to the East Campus Courtyard pretty much any time during the weekend and grab food and get your hair dyed! I am excited to turn your head into a rainbow! Also, our theme this year is the Great Depression. I don’t know why. Jake I. ’16 told me to mention it.
  • All The Time – Dorm Tours! Get a tour of each dorm! (Our walls have awesome murals here in East Campus) Make sure you get a tour to Baker House, those are always the best!
  • Thursday, 5:47pm – LN2 Ice Cream and Giga Pudding! Random Hall has LN2 events each year during CPW, and it was so much fun when my friends and I went during my CPW! Go have LN2 ice cream – it is so good! If you miss this event, there will be more LN2 ice cream at East Campus Friday at 5pm.
  • Thursday, 11pm – Firehose! Take classes on anything and get to know the members of the Educational Studies Program here at MIT! Kate R. ’14 will be there!
  • Friday, 11:30am – Career Development Open House! I work here! Go to room 12-170 and meet the career development team! They will have tasty treats and a lot of information!
  • Friday, 4pm – Acapella Jam wth the MIT Wellesley Toons! Ester J. ’14 from Tetazoo wants you to join her and the Toons in Lobby 7 to sing your hearts out in a room with amazing acoustics!
  • Friday, 6pm – Spring Greater Boston Invitational Songfest! Again, Ester invites you to see all of MIT’s incredible a cappella groups! Rachel N. ’16 says “All the a cappella! Such harmony! Many sing! Wow!”
  • Friday, 8pm – Roadkill Buffet! Rachel N. once again says “improv! Stacey’s mom! wooo!”
  • Any time, Anywhere – BBQ. Emily L. ’14 states that “It will all taste similar and it will all be good, filling, and plentiful.”
  • Saturday, 12:30pm – Adventure Tours an Cruft Smashing! Kate R. ’14 says “This ain’t no typical dorm tour!” Also we like to smash things here.
  • Any time – SigEp (518 Beacon St, Boston) Edwin Z. ’16 claims that they have a huge red chair and infinite burgers, hot dogs, and freeze pops!
  • Saturday 3pm – Patrol! Shoot your friends! Shoot your enemies! Shoot that random prefrosh you just met! Shoot the upperclassmen! Patrol is a nerf-style dart-gun combat game run by the MIT Assassins’ Guild every Saturday in Building 36.
  • Saturday, 11pm – Pirates vs. Ninjas Capture the Flag! This is run by Pika!  They are going to bring swords and projectiles, and it will be epic.

I can’t wait to meet all of you at CPW!  AHH CPW!

Let me know if you want to come meet Galileo :) He is even more excited than me about CPW!