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MIT staff blogger Ben Jones

Fall Travel Days 8,9,10,11,12: PA, NJ, and Home! by Ben Jones

Part 5 of my Fall Travelogue.

Finally back in the office!

When we last left off, I’d just finished my Philly school visits. I visited Girls High (Alia’s alma mater), then drove downtown to JR Masterman, then back up to Central.

Those of you who live in Philly know that Girls High and Central are practically next door to one another, so sticking the Masterman visit in the middle wasn’t exactly ideal. But that’s how scheduling works sometimes… the schools call the shots, not the traveler. :-)

I got to see a lot of the city that day, which was neat for me because I was actually born in Philly. My parents moved to Baltimore when I was two, which is where I grew up. But now that my mom has moved back, I’d really like to get to know the city better and this was a great way to begin doing so.

So that was Monday. Monday night I actually had the night off, so I took my mom out to dinner at Tangerine. Not cheap, but I’d been eating junk for a week so I treated myself. Philly people: definitely check out Tangerine if you haven’t already. Yum.

Tuesday I woke up and drove to East Brunswick HS in NJ to meet with the guidance staff there. After a fun meeting with about 10 counselors, I drove around Jersey a little bit, ending up at Chili’s where I had a nice dinner with Joe DiLiberto, the regional EC chair for central NJ. The Central Jersey meeting went well that night; nothing out of the ordinary. Had a great time with Joe; hope to see him again next year.

Wednesday morning found me driving to Hackensack for the Northern NJ school visits & central meeting.

Disclaimer: I love Jersey. I spent every summer of my childhood on the Jersey shore. The people in New Jersey are some of the nicest people in the world.

But driving in Jersey? That’s another story.

You’d think that I, having lived in Boston for 7 years, would be able to handle anything (Boston was designed for horses and never updated, and The Big Dig has just made everything worse). But Jersey… dude.

Next time I am taking Laura, Akash, or Erin with me – it’s as simple as that.

First school visit was in Jersey City. Anyone familiar with the road that is somehow both Route 1 and Route 9 at the same time? I think it took me 2 hours to go a mile. :-)

But when I finally got to McNair, a bunch of kids came to see me, so that was rewarding. Then a fun drive back to Hackensack, where I dined with the Northern New Jersey EC’s at Solari’s. Northern NJ was cool because all of the EC’s seemed to go way back, so the dinner was highly entertaining and fun. Dale Krouse, the regional EC chair, is simply a wonderful host.

The Northern NJ central meeting at AAST was great. Their theater is amazing, and I had lots of help from AAST students Brooke and Georgia who ran tech for me. They gave me a fish, on which they had written “Ben > Matt – sorry Matt, but Ben wears a tie.” Thanks guys. :-) (See Matt? It’s all about the tie!)

Thursday morning I met first with students and then with the guidance staff at AAST. This was a truly wonderful school visit; the counselors and I had a really amazing conversation about admissions and MIT.

Thursday afternoon I drove back to Philly to catch my 5:30 flight to Boston. Arriving way early, I asked to switch to the 4:30. The dude driving the baggage truck backed into the plane’s taillight; by the time they fixed it, it was after 7PM. The 5:30 (my original flight) took off on time. Grrrrrr!

Anyway, finally got home late Thursday night, and spent Friday and the weekend hanging with the kids and responding to the 14,376 emails that were in my in-box.

Hope you guys had a good weekend! It’s good to be back.

3 responses to “Fall Travel Days 8,9,10,11,12: PA, NJ, and Home!”

  1. April says:

    That’s jersey for ya! great people…great place…HORRID roads…but hey i love jersey! it was great seeing u in hackensack!

  2. Laura says:

    Aw, yay Jersey.

    I’ll drive you around Jersey anytime, no problem. It’s really not so bad. =)

  3. gauri says:

    so large no of mails who send them:) i am wondering how will you respond to so many of them ??