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MIT student blogger Laura N. '09

Flashback by Laura N. '09

A useless guide to MIT undergraduate housing.

So, being an incoming frosh, there’s really not much I can talk about. Unless you consider all of those 500 forms I needed to fill out and send in to MIT. So I thought, why not share my thoughts on some of the less boring ones? Today’s topic is housing, because it’s raining out and housing is the most fun topic.

I was so, so excited to get the i3 video. i3 stands for “Interactive Introduction to the Institute,” and it showcases videos a few minutes in length about each of the dorms so that the incoming freshmen can make a more educated choice about where they want to live. Of course, most of the videos are nothing more than 5 minutes of someone with a video camera running through the halls, someone with a video camera following someone dressed in a monkey suit running through the halls, or people stuffing themselves into dryers in the laundry room. After each video you usually have a headache and a few disjointed snapshot images in your mind about what some of the rooms look like (which will become all jumbled in your mind with images from the other dorms anyway), but it’s all good fun. If you’re dying to see these videos, some residences will host the video on their individual homepages. Visit and click on the name of the residence hall you’re interested in. From this page, you can click where it says “Go to visit [insert hall name here] homepage” and dig around the individual sites to find the downloadable video. If you can’t find the video for a particular residence, remember, I made no promises.

EDIT: Or, you could just visit, where all of the vidoes are located on one convenient webpage! (And here is example number 1 of me doing dumb things. I’m here all year, by the way… Moving on…)

So I filled out the Freshman Housing Lottery like this: I tied Baker and Burton-Conner for first and listed New House as my third choice. After that I barely even remember. I know I’d be happy in any of those 3, so it’ll all work out okay. In fact, during CPW (that’s Campus Preview Weekend, MIT’s admitted students event) I filled out some survey that came in one of the many folders and envelopes I collected during my stay. The results told me that I’d be happy pretty much anywhere- East Campus or West Campus.

Here’s the difference: West Campus dorms can be considered more traditional in terms of college atmosphere. There are lots of parties, dances, and social events. East Campus dorms (keep in mind there is also a residence hall called East Campus, which is a specific dorm which falls under the umbrella category of East Campus dorms) are more diverse and unconventional. Residents in this part of campus tend to fit more easily into the “stereotypical MIT student” mold. Basically, West Campus mocks East Campus for being “weird” and East Campus mocks West Campus for being “normal.” Good fun all around, and I really hope I expressed this clearly and won’t be getting any angry emails from students about the way I portrayed them. (Also, I hope it goes without saying that these are generalizations that shouldn’t be strictly applied to everyone.)

So, there’s my very short introduction to MIT housing. It is entertaining and witty, and contains almost no actual content. Be sure to visit the websites linked above, which can probably provide you with actual facts. Or at least quality video.

In about 5 weeks, when I only have a week left before I need to leave for MIT, I’ll probably start shopping for clothes and dorm supplies and all that. When it happens, I’ll be sure to share with you, my faithful readers. (For those incoming frosh who aren’t slackers, you can visit this page to get a good idea of what you might need to bring to campus with you in August.)

4 responses to “Flashback”

  1. Anthony says:

    The only I3 video I watched was EC’s. grin

    (okay, so I did watch all of the class of ’08 I3 videos last fall. but so what!)

  2. Laila Shabir says:

    Hey Laura!

    Welcome to the world of MIT blogs! It’s crrrrazy, u’re gonna love it :D

    Cya this fall! ( or, NEXT month :D )

    pssst.. dont delete the annoyin/embarrassin yet funny comments by anonymous ppl!!! wink

  3. Jessie says:

    Woo, i3 videos! They are fun!

    Of course, you should participate in Dorm Rush, a.k.a REX, when you get here. As you said, the i3 videos are mostly people clowning around for five minutes, so you want to actually visit the dorms and talk to the people before you decide where you’re going to live.

    I have some elaborations to make on your East/West descriptions, but will put them in my own blog and not this comment. smile

  4. Tim says:

    Hey. Welcome to Burton Conner. I kind of randomly stumbled across your blog…because, well, I get bored sometimes.

    I hope you enjoy Burton Conner. If you have any questions about the dorm or the floors on the dorm, feel free to ask me.

    By the way, if you liked B-C’s i3 video, you’ll probably like Burton 1 or Burton 3rd. But, don’t take my word, I’m a little biased.

    Talk to you later.

    -Tim (the kid responsible for 95% of the i3 video)