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MIT student blogger Paul B. '11

Fall Formal by Paul B. '11

My Saturday evening.

One of the most common misconceptions about MIT is that the Institute is all about working hard, finishing problem sets, writing code, curing cancer, and otherwise having no fun at all. I know this is a common misconception not only because of all the prospectives students I’ve talked to about MIT’s supposed lack of fun, but also because I used to think the same thing.

Fortunately for all of us, MIT has a remarkably strong social life and (dare I say it on the MITblogs) party scene. If you’re done with your problem sets for the week (or even if you aren’t…) and are looking for something to do, you virtually guaranteed to find something going on. As has been said before, MIT definitely does know how to party. Just maybe not the same way that anyone else parties.

Of course, not every party at MIT is as strangely awesome as, for example, Fifth East’s Reawakening. Last Saturday, my fraternity, Phi Kappa Sigma, hosted our annual Fall Formal, which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: a chance for the Skullhouse brothers and pledges to invite friends over to our house for a classy dinner, some dancing, and an all-around good time.

Although most of the coordinating for our parties is done by our social chairs, the rest of the house always pitches in to set things up and ensure the party goes smoothly. Because we have four formals each year, we’ve set things up so that each class “works” one of the formals and puts in most of the manpower for actually running things during the party. As per tradition, the sophomores work the Fall Formal, which meant that some of us worked in the kitchen helping our (amazing) house chef, and some of us worked in the dining room being waiters.

I wanted to dress up, so I asked to be a waiter. :) Although most of the guys wore dress shirts and maybe a suit jacket, I felt like trying something a little more original. Here’s what I wore (posing with Emily ’10):

Anyhow, we started off the evening with delicious hors d’oeuvres in our chapter room, ranging from little spinach rolls to cheese and crackers to mini-hot dogs. I didn’t take any photos of the food, so you’ll just have to take my word that (a) it was delicious and (b) I was an excellent waiter and got many compliments on my choice of attire. :)

I did, however, take photos of all the happy couples enjoying the food.

Clark ’12 and Kate ’12.

Mitch ’10 and Lauren ’10.

Yazan ’12 and Viral ’12.

Claire (BU ’12) and Dan ’12.

I convinced Dan to let me steal Claire long enough to take a photo…

…and then I stole Dan from Claire. Because I could.

After the appetizers, we moved into the dining room, where things really began to get busy for me and my fellow waiters. We spent the next hour almost continually bringing up food from the kitchen (in the basement) up to the first floor. Since we were serving a three-course dinner to about thirty people, you can imagine how much running up and down this involved. :)

That said, the dinner was absolutely delicious and went pretty much flawlessly. Things started off with a simple caesar salad appetizer. For the entree, our chef Gerry cooked up a delicious chicken marsala, complete with mashed potatoes and green beans. Finally, dessert was extremely scrumptious cream pie (chocolate, strawberry, or vanilla).

After dinner, we had a dance instructor come and teach everyone how to do a little swing.

I, meanwhile, took advantage of the opportunity to take more photos.

Mitch ’11 and Hilda ’11.

Dan ’09 and Tammy (Wellesley ’08).

Kathleen ’10 and Brent ’10.

Becca ’11 and (my roommate) Cody ’10.

Jackie ’09 and Trip ’09.

Louis ’09 and Michelle (BU ’09).

Finally, after learning how to swing, the party moved back upstairs to engage in a more traditional dance party.

Some our new pledges dance together.

Katie ’12 dances with her date, Ben ’12.

Just another great way to spend a Saturday evening at MIT!

15 responses to “Fall Formal”

  1. Jessie says:

    Anonymous (the 2nd one): Okay, here’s the deal.

    *Living groups* are a big deal at MIT. Whether they’re dorm living groups, Greek living groups, or ILGs, they’re your support, your foundation.

    Paul’s living group happens to be Greek, and it’s no less reasonable (and laudable) for him to talk about it in blog entries than it was for me to talk about 5th East.

    If any entry from a fraternity or sorority member talking about their *home* is too much for you, that’s your problem, not the bloggers’.

  2. Anonymous says:

    awww! everyone looks so adorable!
    how many people came to your awesome party?

  3. Ahana says:

    @Paul,
    That’s one hot waiter!(esp the hat smile)

  4. Anonymous says:

    What is it with the blogs lately that all you guys talk about is greek life? Can’t there be an entry lately that doesn’t have the greek alphabet in it? geez. I didn’t know greek life was SO BIG of a deal at MIT… Caltech anyone?

  5. Anonymous: Seriously?

    The entire point of the blogs is to give you a taste of what living here is like. The admissions office employs a wide variety of people to try and show you that, because MIT is a very different place depending on all sorts of factors. Paul happens to have chosen Greek life, so you’re going to lash out at him and declare all of MIT invalid because you don’t like it?

    Here’s the truth about Greek life at MIT: there is /absolutely/ no pressure to pledge, and /all/ of the pressure to make sure that you know what you’re turning down. And you know what happens? People who didn’t think they would like the Greek system end up becoming their fraternity’s most active brothers because they find something that they like.

    You should learn how to be more open; I think you’ll find that both MIT and Caltech have very little tolerance for people who are unwilling to consider perspectives other than their own.

  6. Hi Paul, thank you for this blog as it gave me the opportunity to see pictures of some of my son’s new “brothers” but, especially because I got to see a picture of my son and his girlfriend. Also, thank you for being a waiter, I know it was a lot of work.

  7. @ Dorm Resident ’10
    I can’t believe you are judging for a simple comment. If you must know, I’m one of the most open people you could ever meet, and I don’t just say that, I actually get involved in things that could be considered for really open minded people. As far as me knowing, I’ve been reading this blogs for the past three years, and I think I know more than enough about both MIT and Caltech. Probably more than you would expect. My comment was to be rather amusing. But I see you are not that open when it comes to rivalry. ^_^

    @Jessie
    I know that, too. I was just making a remark on how often Greek related entries have become. You don’t need to lecture me on how it all works, but thanks.

  8. Muz says:

    Well, yeah, being outside MIT, I find it a bit weird how all the Greek entries are. It seems to be an American college stereotype. But hey, looks like fun.

  9. mmmmmm, you look soooo cute in these pictures, Paul, you have the littlest hands around wink

  10. Paul says:

    @ First Anonymous: About 45 people total. smile

    @ Louis’ mom: Happy to help. smile

    @ Muz: A valid point, although MIT’s fraternities are pretty different from fraternities anywhere else. Mainly because MIT students are pretty different from students anywhere else.

    @ Third Anonymous: Last weekend, the 20th.

    @ loving Little Paul: Somewhere I have never travelled

  11. Piper says:

    My hands are smaller than Paul’s.

    Jus’ sayin’ wink

  12. Anonymous says:

    That’s this weekend?

  13. Ivan says:

    Great post Paul, another part of fraternities for us to learn about.

    Off topic: When do you plan to blog about your research that you did a few months ago?

  14. Paul says:

    @Ivan: I’ve been busy with a lot of things lately (more on what later), so unfortunately I had to push back some of my planned entries. But it’s on the list! smile