Two weeks ago, I arrived back at MIT.
This is the view from my new room:
I’m living in MacGregor, one of the two MIT undergraduate dorms open for those of us living on campus for the summer. In August, I’ll move back to French House, but this is where I’ll come home to for the next couple of months.
MIT during the summer is a beautiful thing. No psets. No exams. No pressure to cram in lunch between lecture periods. If I see sunset, it’s because I’m laughing with a friend, in his/her room, and not because I’m moping over an unfinished p-set, in my room. Finally, I have time: to do the things I always wanted to do during the school year, without the weight of “oh why am I here doing this I should be there doing that.”
I’ll spread those things out over a few posts, but thought I’d begin with two stories: one embarrassing, and one awesome. I’ll let you decide which is which.
A Trip to Mount Auburn Hospital
I admit that a trip to the hospital wasn’t really how I envisioned my first full day back…but it made for a good bonding experience. And a good story.
My flight from London landed in the evening, and that night I wandered around campus with friends, getting a private tour of their respective labs (PEOPLE HERE DO SUCH COOL WORK. just saying.) Someone suggested that we go chairing, to which I replied: “what’s chairing?”
Answer: Chairing involves riding a wheelie chair down a ramp in the basement of one of the main buildings. It’s the best thing ever.
Me: What happens when you reach the wall?
Answer: You use your feet to stop.
Me: Oh…really? Wouldn’t that hurt?
Answer: Nah. Not if you do it right.
I guess I did it wrong, because when my chair slid to a stop (and the thrill of WHEE-ing down a ramp was gone), I could barely walk. My shin felt like it had crumbled into lots of little pieces.
My friend Juan, though (shout-out to Juan ’12: do forgive me for telling the world about this) apparently did it even more wrong, because I walked back around the corner to find him sprawled on the ground, chair practically on top of him.
Long story short, the two of us ended up at MIT Medical the next day, where I had a super-embarrassing conversation with the triage nurse:
Nurse: What happened?
Me: Uh…I hit a wall.
Nurse: Oh! So…you tripped, and hit the wall?
Me: …No. I was in a chair.
Nurse: You…tipped over?
Me: …No. It was a wheelie chair.
Me: I rolled into the wall.
*five minutes later*
Nurse: What happened?
Juan: I was in a chair.
Nurse: Oh. Did you hit the wall, too?
Juan: No. I hit the floor.
Yup. Goodbye, dignity. Anyway, both of us were fine – I had to take a little detour to the hospital to get an x-ray to confirm that this was in fact the case – and we limped on our merry way back to MacGregor.
Moral of the story: Chairing may or may not be for everyone.
Positives: I can cross “chairing” off my list of “things one ought to do while at MIT”, and had a nice bonding experience with Juan :)
The Cambridge Dance Party
Cambridge is a wonderful place to spend your college years. You probably know that it’s young, that it’s lively, that it boasts gorgeous river views and is totally walkable – but did you know that it has an annual citywide Dance Party?
That’s right: once a year, the entire city is invited to the same party, held in front of City Hall. It’s a pretty big deal: they close off that entire portion of the street (bus service stops, too), and when I arrived at 9:30ish it was packed. I went with three friends from MacGregor, who I met for the first time at dinner that evening – and after we nudged our way to the center of the dancing masses, felt compelled to take this picture of City Hall:
When you’re dancing in a setting so packed that at least three strangers feel your every movement…when you’re holding a stranger’s shoulders and running behind him, singing, in a conga line…when you’re doing the cha cha slide in a mass of hundreds…you can’t help but feel like a part of a community. It was the first time that I genuinely felt like I lived in Cambridge: that this is my community – the city I live in, the people I live with.
I took a couple more pictures, but it’s hard to do justice to what the atmosphere was really like:
Positives: I got my exercise for the day, and made some new friends. Shout-out to Jamal ’14, Amy ’13, and our lovely RA Moji ’11 :)
To come: what I’m actually doing here on campus (aside from dancing and injuring myself), and other ways to take advantage of summertime.