This is the first of my “entries-on-request” – as you probably remember, in my last post I asked for people to provide me with MIT-related topics to write about. Today’s entry was requested by Anonymous (come on guys, let me know who you are!)
Question: “How about how you made your close friends?”
I’m sure that some of the incoming frosh reading this have the same question. It can be intimidating to go alone to a new place where you don’t know anybody.
However, I thought it might be fun to share a few particular stories, of cases where I remember more specifically how I met or befriended the friend (in many other cases, I either don’t remember or it was fairly mundane…or I don’t want to share it with the public :)).
Dennis ’08: I think we actually became friends because we knew a lot of the same alums and kept turning up and the same alums’ parties and talking. But I remember the first time I saw him. It was mid -fall of his freshman year. I was in the front lobby of Senior Haus talking with a friend who was using the quickstation there. Suddenly, a tall, excitable, black-clad, blue-haired kid burst through the front door wielding a huge-ass Nerf gun like he thought he was about to storm Iwo Jima with it. “Oh, hi Phaeton!” called out my friend with a wave (“Phaeton” was Dennis’ frosh-year nickname). He turned around, smiled, and greeted us before running down the hall.
Riv ’07: She was my Big Brother in APO (a coed service fraternity) when I pledged as a first-term sophomore. In APO, the tradition is that Bigs are supposed to let their Littles know that they’re their Bigs in some creative way. But Riv was having trouble thinking of anything. We were at a Conclave (sectional meeting) at Maine Maritime Academy, and as part of the festivities, there was a formal banquet with strict mess-hall rules, and “punishments” if you broke them. Pretty soon, people were turing each other in all over the place to see what kind of entertainment would result! Riv and I did something (I forget what) that got us both called to the front for “punishment” at the same time. We were sentenced to drink “grog”. Suddenly, she turned around and announced to the entire sectional that I shouldn’t be punished because I was a pledge and she had led me astray, and that as my Big she would make sure it didn’t happen again. I was totally shocked because I’d had no idea that she was my Big…she had still been thinking of a good way to reveal it, and had decided to make her speech on an impulse. The “sentence” was changed so that I held the cup while she drank the grog. :) She was a good Big and we gradually became good friends.
Sarah ’08: Before I even had a livejournal, I went to check out the MIT community because I’d heard of some interesting post there. While browsing through, I discovered a post by an incoming frosh who was temped on my hall and wanted to know what it was like. I looked up her AIM screenname and IMed her, and pretty soon we were chatting a lot. I remember that she asked me if all upperclassmen at MIT were as helpful as I was. *grin* It was nice to finally meet her in person when she showed up with her stuff. She ended up living on my hall, and we’ve been good friends ever since.
Ken ’00: Near the beginning of my sophomore year I went to a Central Square goth club with a group of people, including Laura ‘0? (I don’t know what year to call you, Laura!) and Peter ’01. After the club closed for the night, Laura and Peter and I went back to Peter’s place, where he lives with a few other alums, and which I hadn’t been to before. When we walked in, a guy I had never met with a strawberry-blond ponytail was sittng at the computer in the living room, typing. He was introduced to me as Ken. The group of us sat and talked. I was having some social angst issues at the time. Ken, as it turned out, knew a whole bunch of stories about vaguely related social angst issues from years before, and is a wonderful storyteller, and spent the next two hours humorously telling many of the stories.
Katie ’09: She moved to my hall from Simmons very early in her first term. My first memory of her is going out into the hall from my room and finding people having wrestling matches in the hallway. I thought it looked like fun, and wanted to wrestle, but there wasn’t anybody who was really my size. However, the new frosh who had just moved from West Campus, shorter and stockier than I, also wanted to wrestle somebody. So we wrestled. After several minutes of nobody getting a pin, we gave up called it a draw.
Matt ’00: Back in the day, Matt was Undergraduate Association (UA) President. As a sophomore, I was a UA Senator from East Campus, and I was really into it. I would frequently ask for advice from a friend, Lex ’00 (and I don’t remember how I met him – probably just “around the hall”), who was an alum of my hall and who had also been Matt’s vice-president. He kept saying that he should introduce me to Matt. Then, another friend, Sondy (Wellesley) ’07, met Matt in some non-UA context that I don’t remember. She knew that Lex had been saying I should meet Matt. The next day, all three of us turned up in Matt’s office to say hello. He looked pretty surprised. :) And I’ve paid many, many visits to his office since then…
Anyway, by now you get my point, and hopefully enjoyed those stories. The way you make your friends is to meet and interact with people! Take your choice of housing and activities seriously, put yourself in situations where you will meet people and keep an open mind. The rest will follow.