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MIT student blogger Anastassia B. '16

retreating and proceeding by Anastassia B. '16

favorite thing about mit's campus? leaving it

(Looking for a CPW Post? Read Rachel’s! Looking for retreat opportunities freshman year? Proceed)

At least 1 out of 16 student bloggers agree: everyone should travel* at least once a month (from here on abbreviated as ‘estaloam‘, which can be stretched to mean ‘this soil’ in Spanish. As in ‘Mira esta loam! Me alegro de que yo viajo por lo menos una vez al mes.’ ). I don’t think I have to detail the personal benefit of travelling, but I can assure you that it is much greater than the sum of the complementary toiletries we collect from hotels.

*think further than Walgreens

This year, I’ve been a firm practitioner of estaloam and have had the opportunity to leave campus every month with an MIT group. There are heaps of opportunities to travel globally, but while it’s not summer or IAP, local exploration is a fine substitution. It’s just like non-carcinogenic sugar substitution, or u-substitution, in that monthly amounts are probably good for you. Presenting:


January – Warren Woods

One of the most important things I’ve learned so far at MIT isn’t related to genetic sequencing, the fluid mechanics of oil spills, or the eigenstates of a harmonic oscillator. It’s about sending emails. It’s vital to respond to emails timely, because it could be the difference between making people upset and making people happy to add you to the list of students attending FYE! One minute you’ll find yourself replying to the following email:

“Get outside the MIT “bubble,” meet new people and reflect on both MIT culture as a whole and your experience thus far. UAAP and First Year Experience are teaming up to offer an overnight retreat involving students, staff and faculty facilitators. This is a great opportunity for first-year students to get away from campus, connect with each other, and reflect on the past semester while planning for a successful second semester.”

And the next minute (or week, which was how often I checked before MIT) you’ll read:

“I am excited that you have been selected to join us in the inaugural FYE/UAAP winter Retreat. FYE and UAAP have worked hard to bring you an interactive and engaging opportunity that will help you have a successful 2nd semester and make connections that will last well beyond your time at MIT.”

Yay! Below is a photo of our cabins.

Instead of telling you about the trip, I strongly encourage you to check your emails.


February – New Hampshire Mountains


If you’ve (re)read Natasha’s fancy post recently, you’ll know exactly with which living group I went to Camelot with over Valentine’s weekend. I could facetiously pretend that we found the holy grail, but what we actually gravely found was that letting me place my soaked pants on the central stove results in the lovely aroma of fried pants for dinner. I was really excited to have found a great alternative to a dryer (just think! cooking and laundry simultaneously!!), but a bit less so when they ripped when I tugged their burnt crispiness on.



This is what it felt like:

winding snow path with crunchy boots,
a sledgehammer, a frozen river, darkness, orange buckets
the great pumpkin story featuring no plot twist!
fried mushrooms and bagels.
snuggling under a sloping nook
funnyduval, couches reading phantom tollbooth
ukulele fireplace, happy everyone
morning blankness, laying in the snow its so warm heavy
following prints, hung my coat on a tree branch, climbed 40 feet above
greek yogurt granola snow. pine clearing frisbee!
slippery slopes
tripping falling rolling sliding laughing
sensational pictionary recharge
cows above wood piles, a horse!
crystal lake.

(This demonstrates that writing full sentences while blogging is hard for me.)



March – Cape Cod

After we drove through Sandwich (yes, Sandwich, Massachusetts), my sisters and I arrived at a lodge along the beautiful shoreline. It was relaxing, pleasant, and special. Which has one adjective in common with MIT.

Photocred: Connie H. ’15


April – New York City

HASS classes fill two requirements:

1. MIT communication credits

2. Keeping you humanities-aware and cultured and able to talk to non-MIT students about non-technical topics (as rare as that may be). Like abstract art.

That’s why my 4.602 class, Modern Art and Mass Culture, took a field trip to the MoMA in New York this past weekend to see the exhibit: Inventing Abstraction. My friend Priya K. ’16 and I over-dissected the significance of every hue, every stroke, every carefully-planned figure with as much happiness as my 8.04 professor answering questions.

Before going home the next day, I took a casual pit stop at Yale and spent the night with friends watching two hilarious plays. As a practitioner of estaloam, I speak from experience that if you schedule free time (#mitoxymorons), you’ll be recharged for about one lunar phase of work. It’s a healthy cycle of life (at MIT).