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MIT student blogger Bryan O. '07

Making the Switch: Chapter 2 by Bryan

Making new friends at MIT

In the first installment of “Making the Switch,” Melissa ’11 asked: “Oh, and in later chapters, please include the being alone without family/friends aspect and making new friends =)”

Moving away to college for me was something that I looked forward to and feared at the same time. There was one other person from my high school coming to MIT the same year. I didn’t really know any current students, and I surely was not going to be driving distance from home. I remember packing up my room and leaving a few posters on the wall. I was going to college. I would be away from home for at least 3 months until Thanksgiving. The longest I had ever been away from home prior to then would be my three week stints at CTY. What am I to do?

I was going to MIT. At that point, my mind was made up, so there wasn’t really anything else I could do.

August 22, 2003: Bryan boards flight 382 from Houston to Boston.

So I get to my temporary dorm in Baker House, and I walk into my quad.

And now for an excerpt from my personal blog from the day I came to college:

“so i enter baker house, pick up my key, and head up to my room where the fun really starts. i open the door to the quad only to see that none of my roommates are there yet the bottom bunks have all already been claimed. so of course, i take a top bunk, and immediately try to piece together my roommates’ characters by what they have out: “cocoa pebbles, spongebob, anime movies, a fan, an animal pillow” [my eyes continue to wander] when i pan across a box labeled “Lifestyles: XTra Pleasure” Oh my goodness. I only hope that I’m not in the room when they are put to use and I must commend my roommate for their preparation and protective measures. So I try to take a short nap but all my attempts fail because you know what “IT’S HOT AND HUMID JUST LIKE HOUSTON.” and did i mention my dorm has no air conditioning? what a crime.

so i do a little travelling about the campus and do a little eating; not many people are here yet; so i kinda stick to myself calling everyone in my phone book to tell them i’m here and safe.

college firsts:

first shower: it’ll take a lot of getting used to.

first night: misery of no air conditioning.

i don’t really know much about my one of my three roommates except that his name is [name protected], he hails from san antonio, and he’s a ddr fan. that’s all i know.”

When it came time to select permanent roommates, I decided that it might be a good idea to live in a quad because I’d get to meet three other people and their friends and it would just propagate along. I ended up with one person who I knew from CPW, one person who went to high school with people I’d gone to elementary school with, and then one semi-random person.

Here we are, Baker 411, in December 2003. (You’ll note I had a mustache. What a bad idea.)

Living in Baker availed me the opportunity to be in a dorm with a lot of freshmen which was really great. Keeping our doors open the first week, a lot of people would come in and introduce themselves and that way I got to know a lot of people. Taking classes with all freshmen was also a great way to get to know my fellow classmates.

However, there are three special groups of friends that I want to highlight. Living in Baker, my first year, I got to know a collection of 8 people, heretofore known as the Godzillas. And yes, I’ll explain why they are referred to as the Godzillas. I don’t remember who was the first person of the Godzillas that I had met, but somehow a group of 9 individuals seemed to converge on this uncanny and rewarding friendship that has sustained me throughout the past four years.

So I think the way we came to be is that one night, a few friends convened in my room for a harmless game of Taboo. A clue card comes up for “King Kong” but my friend, Elyse, she’s got the answer and she knows it. She stands up in an excited burst of energy, and yells, “GODZILLA!” We look at Elyse as she recognizes at the same time that her answer was wrong. But it was too funny to let the joke die right there. So for a long time, we called her Godzilla. And somehow, the group of friends that included Elyse became known as the Godzillas. We have our own mailing list that gets more traffic than the Autobahn, and I love it. We’re a very diverse group in terms of activities, hometowns, and majors. I think everyone at MIT has a group of friends like this, so you will form yours.

Another group that is particularly important to me is my fraternity. I came to MIT saying that joining a fraternity was a bogus idea, and that it wasn’t for me, and now I’m vice president of ZBT. Funny how that works. I ended up joining a fraternity because I realized that Animal House did not do justice to what MIT fraternities are like. I have found my experience to be a very rewarding one where I have people who have gone through MIT before me and can share advice with me. Now that I’m a senior, I can do the same for the young’ns. Living with a group of individuals from all different walks of life has been an experience that I am very thankful for.

Then, there is the group of friends that I will refer to as Team Awesome. This is the catch-all for the really close friends that I have that don’t belong to the groups mentioned above (don’t think that I forgot you).

And while I refer to these friends as belonging to groups, it’s not that they’re exclusive. The groups blend more often than not.

So as far as the question of “will I make new awesome friends” goes. The answer is yes.



13 responses to “Making the Switch: Chapter 2”

  1. Vytautas says:

    The one. Number one. This post is number one.

  2. Melissa '11 says:

    Thank you, Bryan!

  3. MH says:

    Bryan with a mustache? Oh my.

  4. Vytautas says:

    Yes Bryan, a wonderful entry. I’ll be dreaming this night how awesome my college year will be even if I don’t get into the MIT.

  5. Diana says:

    i love the freshman roommate photo. you guys look like you’re trying too hard to look tough wink

    i looooooooove the godzillas photo. we look so hot. that ipod idea was one of your great ones.

  6. Awesome post, which one on the Godzillas picture is you? I have an idea, but I’m not completely sure.

  7. Daniel '12 says:

    Great post! Can’t wait!

  8. Ritchie '11 says:

    “college firsts:

    first shower: it’ll take a lot of getting used to.

    first night: misery of no air conditioning.”

    Now I definitely can’t wait any longer to go to MIT lol

  9. Maia '11 says:

    Bryan, or anyone else, how do you get your stuff there? I live near Atlanta, so driving is really out of the question. My mom thinks I should take my clothes and ship the rest. How has everyone else gotten their stuff to their dorm room? Did you buy most of it there? (Is there a Wal-mart or Target nearby?) Should I build a giant catapault and buy lots of bubble paper? Anyone who has a plan to get their stuff from home to MIT, please speak up.

  10. Bryan says:

    De Petagma Saru,

    I am in the top center in the Godzillas photo.


    I took most of my clothes on the plane with me and shipped everything else. I bought my fridge and bike here in Boston. There is a Target you can take the bus too, and sometimes, MIT will offer free shuttles during the first week of classes.

    Hope this helps.

    – Bryan

  11. milena '11 says:

    Gosh I am going to miss my friends A LOT!!!! I mean, I’ve met a few people already, but I don’t have like that special thing me and my friends have with anybody :-( Anyway, great entry!! I hope my experience is as good as yours has been grin

  12. bon says:

    Coming from San Antonio TX I also have quite a trip ahead. While I like the catapult idea my mom is set on driving me up there (with the car filled to bursting point) and driving back on her own. I think shipping is probably the better idea, but who can argue (and win) with Moms?

  13. Emma says:

    YAY CTY!!!!

    Actually, WTP beat that out for me, with 4 weeks at MIT. It was good practice grin.