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MIT student blogger Nisha D. '21

MIT Memory Quilt by Nisha D. '21

insert many sobbing emojis here

At MIT, one inevitably collects a lot of shirts. Like…a lot. There are shirts from random events, from REX/Rush, athletics, internships, and of course, Career Fair. These shirts pile up in your wardrobe slowly over the course of 3 years, and you pretty much have no other wardrobe.

But then, graduation comes around. You realize that it might be sort of weird to just keep wearing some of these shirts around in your post-college life. You also realize that a lot of the shirts you’ve been hoarding carry a lot of good memories with them, and that it might be nice to do something with them instead of just letting them collect dust at the bottom of your drawers forever.

People always joke out of making quilts or blankets out of old MIT shirts, but the idea first occurred to me as something that I could actually do when I saw a post my boyfriend’s sister had made about a memory quilt that she had custom made on Etsy out of her sorority shirts. This was sometime in September, and I had already finished arranging my shirts in my closet at school, and didn’t feel like tearing through them to see which ones I still had, so I shelved the idea until I started slowly packing up my room again in November.

At this point, I could lay out all the shirts that I had accumulated over my years at MIT, and I realized that…I had a LOT. Which was really no surprise, because my entire wardrobe for the past few years has been solely comprised of MIT shirts. So I decided that ordering a queen sized memory quilt would be a perfect way to clean out my wardrobe, as well as actually memorialize a lot of the good memories that I’ve accumulated along with the shirts.

I started by sorting shirts into ones that I actually wanted to keep because I could still wear them places, shirts that have really good memories associated with them, shirts that I have vaguely positive associations with, and shirts that I literally don’t care about in the slightest. I kept the ones in the first category, donated the ones in the last category to housewear circulation at my family home, and partitioned out the middle categories into shirts that I would actually send off to be made into a quilt. This came out to twenty eight shirts, and I still kept around a dozen. Seriously. So MANY shirts…

With some amount of trepidation for the sheer amount of my wardrobe I was sending off into USPS’s hands, I shipped off the box of shirts to the seller my boyfriend’s sister had used (who I highly recommend if you also want to get a memory quilt made!). Thankfully, it reached safely, and after a few weeks, the seller sent me a few pictures of the quilt in progress. I gotta say, I still haven’t processed the sadness of being robbed of a year of my college experience, so the first thing I think I’m going to do when I actually get my hands on it01 At the time that I'm writing this post, I'm still a few days out from receiving the quilt, but I will replace the in progress pictures with the actual picture when I get it! is lie down and cry underneath it.

When I was going through the shirts, I tried to remember where I had got them and the memories I had associated with them. It ended up being a really nice trip down memory lane, so I thought I’d share it here with y’all.

  • – I got this from a friend repping his company during sophomore year career fair. Apparently he had specifically made sure that the career fair shirts the company gave out were super soft. It was, in fact, super soft.
  • Flatiron Health – I mostly just liked the aesthetic02 it says end cancer if you don't read html of the shirt, but I remember really enjoying the coding challenge for this company, something that I REALLY cannot say about most coding challenges. It wasn’t because I did well or anything, but I remember feeling really tranquil sitting in the third floor of the Media Lab with my hot chocolate and feeling at peace with the world. I did not, however, get an interview.
  • Blogger shirt – The cursed shirt…for those of you newer to the blogs, all the bloggers get shirts with their blogger avatars on them specifically to wear to the Meet the Bloggers event during CPW. I don’t know where you’re supposed to wear them OUTSIDE of that event – like who walks around with a picture of their own face on their shirt??? – so for a couple of years, I had given it to a friend of mine, who actually did wear it unironically. Thankfully, it is finally at rest, never to be worn again.
nisha wearing the blogger shirt

it is so cursed…

  • First East – My hall at East Campus. Gonna miss it.
  • MIT Athletics – I have like four copies of this shirt accumulated from three years of athletics, so I figured the quilt could have one of them. Fencing was an amazing time03 i never made the fencing post and i'm [email protected] don't come for me and I’m glad that I got to be a part of the team.
  • Splash 2018 – I had attended Splash as a high schooler, so it was cool to be on the other side of it. My friend and I ran a Protobowl session with a bunch of trolls who we had to tell off more than once, but it was still fun.
  • MIB International – This was from when I got to rep Sony from the top of a moving bus in the LA Pride parade! It was the first Pride parade that I actually got to be in, and I think the new Men In Black happened to be coming out that summer, so we were basically just walking advertisements for the movie. Still, it was a really excellent time to just vibe to music while on top of a very slowly moving bus.
  • Spark 2019 – Spark is like Splash, but for middle schoolers. My friend and I ran the Protobowl class again in this really dark basement computer lab that had serious middle school vibes in and of itself.
  • HackMIT 2017 – This was my very first HackMIT and my very first hackathon! I’ve attended all four HackMITs from 2017-2020,04 and made linearly more effort every year but in 2017 I…didn’t really do much. We basically just grabbed a ton of swag, vaguely tried to make a meme generator for like an hour, and then bailed to play pool at Next House.
standing in front of the hackMIT sign

a very low quality picture of me wearing that sweater

  • GEL – The Gordon Engineering Leadership program is for juniors interested in building skills in leadership and teamwork. It was pretty fun before the pandemic, but the whole hands-on teamwork part of it did not translate well online. Still, the one in-person semester I got to do was pretty fun.
  • MIT HASS – Honestly, I probably shouldn’t have sacrificed this shirt to the quilt because it’s the only MIT humanities shirt I have, but I still wanted to represent all the amazing CMS classes I took during my time here.
  • Jack Florey – Jack Florey is a cool dude
  • SEGA – I got this shirt05 there was some minigame involved in getting it that I don't actually involved a climbing wall i think??? at my very first06 and hopefully not the last E3! Working in the game industry seriously has its perks. I remember just walking around the expo hall wishing that I could tell my 8th grade self that I would be there one day.
  • East Campus Rush 2017 – This was my Rush! I didn’t actually own this shirt, so I literally went and purchased it from the East Campus desk the week before leaving MIT forever just so I could have it in this quilt.
east campus fort 2017

i genuinely don’t remember if i took this picture, but this was what the fort looked like my rush

  • Jibo – This is Jibo, my robot son. He’s one of the robots that came out of the lab I’ve been UROPing07 and now actually RAing like a real adult! at for 2 years, and he’s the main feature of the study that I’m running. I’m very fond of him. This shirt, however, was like an XXL because it was all my lab had left, so I figured it would be better off in this quilt than hanging off me like a dress.
  • Distant Worlds: Final Fantasy: I wanted to a Distant Worlds concert since the 9th grade. They were in Boston and I couldn’t drive yet and it was too hard to coordinate with the friend I wanted to go with and I MISSED IT. Thankfully, five years later, I succeeded. My friends and I decided to dress up real fancy and make a whole thing out of it. It was an amazing night and I cried like five times hearing the songs that are basically the soundtrack to my soul.
nisha and friends dressed fancy

peep the buster sword necklace

  • I <3 MIT: I got this shirt on the very first day of school! It came in the really creepy QR code backpack that all of the 2021s got.
  • Jane Street: Jane Street generally has pretty good career fair shirts, but the real reason it’s on this quilt is because my very *first* coding challenge ever was from Jane Street! It was freshman year and I absolutely bombed it, naturally.
  • HMMT Staff – I was big into math competitions in high school, but had never actually put together a team to go to HMMT, so getting to volunteer for the day and see how it all worked was pretty cool.
  • The weak shall be eaten – East Campus’s motto, on the back of every Rush shirt we have. For me, they’re sort of the five words that changed my life forever; I didn’t go to CPW my year, so when I was trying to choose a dorm, I just had the i3 videos and dorm websites to go off of. The fateful moment when I clicked on and saw THE WEAK SHALL BE EATEN in all caps was the moment I decided to choose EC as my first choice dorm. And man oh man, am I ever glad I did.
  • Broadway Tech – This was another shirt acquired from a friend during my junior year career fair. Meeting your friends at career fair is honestly super fun because you can relax and turn off your desperate-student-trying-to-get-employed persona and just chat for a few minutes.
  • SIE Intern – This was the one shirt from my PlayStation internship that I was willing to sacrifice to this quilt, because the rest are God of War dev team shirts and those are just too cool to get rid of. Besides, I can wear those to work or game conferences in the future and it’ll be a good conversation starter.
  • 2021 Ring Premiere – Ring Premiere is the event where the Brass Rat design committee reveals the design of the class ring for the first time. Everybody typically gets…pretty *wild*. I recall not feeling very *wild* myself that night and being really annoyed by all the hollering because I genuinely wanted to listen to the design committee, but it was a fun night overall. I really love the 2021 ring design, and had been waiting for my own Brass Rat since entering MIT.
  • UPOP – This is the sophomore year career development accelerator program thing. The one thing that it substantially did for me was improve my ability to network without feeling like I was going to die, and honestly, that’s an important life skill.
  • ESP (Splash 2018) – The backs of the ESP shirts are always really satisfying; I don’t know if they actually write every class from that *specific* session of Splash on the back of the shirt, but it looks like they do, and it looks cool.
  • 1E: This was the modernized version of my hall’s shirt, created to reflect the vibe of the newer culture that had come to grow there. It’s cute and very accurate.
  • Quizlet: This is mostly on the quilt because it reminds me of this super on point meme (yes I know Quizlet is not Dropbox but the shirts have very similar vibes):

post bang in the real world vs post bang at MIT

  • Roblox – I got absolutely DESTROYED by the Roblox coding challenge – like harder than I’ve ever been destroyed by any coding challenge in my life, and that’s saying something – and the fact that it was Roblox that did me so dirty couldn’t not be funny. Oof.
  • Air Traffic Controller – East Campus has a really cool tradition of inviting local indie bands to come perform at FREDFest, an annual outdoor music festival we have every year. The chairs in 2018 did a really amazing job and the bands they got were great. Air Traffic Controller is actually a decently well known band, so it was cool to see them literally perform in our courtyard,08 they also came inside EC and hung out for a bit for some reason??? i have a picture of a bunch of us with them which is the only reason i remember and it was a really spectacular night overall. I actually really like this shirt and was somewhat loath to give it up for the quilt, but that night was a really great memory and belongs in the quilt. I can always buy another shirt.
  • MIT equation shirt – For some reason, I have two copies of this shirt, so I just threw this one onto the quilt.
  • Twitch – I have an obscene amount of Twitch merch and figured that I’ll be getting a ton more when I start working there this summer, so I added this one to the quilt to commemorate the best internship ever, and a shockingly great summer in Seattle that I never would have had without the pandemic.

There are many, many more memories that I have from MIT, and these are just ~25 of them, but I’m glad that I’ll get to have them all in one place, and can literally snuggle up with them and hold them close. And I hope that I’ll have this quilt forever, so that even in a couple of decades, I can still look at this quilt and think back fondly to my brief time at MIT.

Final edit: Here’s the real thing!

nisha's memory quilt

  1. At the time that I'm writing this post, I'm still a few days out from receiving the quilt, but I will replace the in progress pictures with the actual picture when I get it! back to text
  2. it says end cancer if you don't read html back to text
  3. i never made the fencing post and i'm [email protected] don't come for me back to text
  4. and made linearly more effort every year back to text
  5. there was some minigame involved in getting it that I don't actually involved a climbing wall i think??? back to text
  6. and hopefully not the last back to text
  7. and now actually RAing like a real adult! back to text
  8. they also came inside EC and hung out for a bit for some reason??? i have a picture of a bunch of us with them which is the only reason i remember back to text