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Next House Showers Bring No Flowers by Jess K. '10

They're just really, REALLY bad showers. Like really, REALLY bad.

It’s hard to remember a time during my senior year of high school when I wasn’t totally jazzed about MIT. I got accepted, and that was pretty much it for me. I was going to MIT. I never really entertained any possibility that there might be some cons to the pros – to me, MIT was perfect.

This is a bad attitude to have in all regards, because while it’s great to be excited, you forget that there’s no such thing as perfect. My friends at Stanford write me long, tormented emails about their food’s likeness to recycled cardboard; a girl I know at Berkeley calls me to complain about how her hall’s TV only plays in Spanish. I myself found MIT’s imperfections when I moved into Next House (not to mention that you can’t switch out of Next if you move here in your first year – but that’s a story for another time). We may not have fire alarms going off every month, but anyone living at Next House will tell you horror stories about our terrible, TERRIBLE showers. They have absolutely no pressure, so the water dribbles on you like it’s from a crack in the ceiling. Not only that, but the Next residents seem to lose all realization that they share the sanitation station with ten or so others the minute they get wet, and think it’s okay to leave the entire contents of their shower onto the part of the floor without a drain. At Next, you must swim before you shower.

Often times the aforementioned residents also think it’s okay to leave enough hair pooled around the drain to make you think they’d shaved a small cow.

Perhaps worst of all, we receive emails about every month telling us they’ll be shutting down all the hot water yet again to fix some eternally elusive water problem. Guys on my hall make arrangements to stay at their fraternities these nights; others (probably the people who leave puddles) think it’s not too much a price to pay to stay stinky for the day, at everyone else’s expense. Sometimes we don’t even get warning about hot water being shut off. The morning finals began, specifically on the morning of my 8.01 final that I was certain I would fail, I stepped into the shower to be greeted by water of temperatures like that of the San Francisco bay. Not a great way to start off a three-hour exam.

But don’t listen to me. Zach Ozer (Zozer) ’07, chairman of The Tech, can probably tell you about it better than I can. Here’s an email he sent out to Next Forum, our mailing list, about a week ago:

“Does anyone remember how, when the
elevator broke at BC, everyone affected got a refund of $25 in
TechCash from LarryBen’s Cookie Fund (http://www-tech.mit.edu/V125/PDF/N16.pdf)?

Since I’ve been here, I can’t even count the number of water shutdowns.

But I almost can :)

Here are my records… anyone with more complete records, please, by all
means fill in the blanks.

Total Shutdowns (Hot, cold, or both):
May 13, 2005
August 17, 2005
September 23, 2005
October 27, 2005
January 4, 2005
July 25th, 2006
August 23-24, 2006
September 13, 2006
October 17, 2006
December 8th, 2006
January 10, 2007
January 30, 2007

Partial (1+ bathroom afftected)
April 11th, 2005
September 9-26, 2005
Nov. 8th, 2005
Dec 6, 2006
Jan 11, 2006

If you read this as I do, we’re averaging 5 complete shutdowns per
year and 2.5 partial shutdowns. If your car broke down for a day 5
times in a year and wasn’t performing right 2.5 times per year, you’d
be able to return it under a lemon law.

Can we return Next House?

No. But someone from NextExec should raise hell about this.”

Now, I’m not saying that there might be some reason to why that guy I had to stand next to in chorus always smelled like old yogurt. MIT does have excellent showers in its other dorms (some of which have their own bathroom per room) and especially at the Z Center (they have great pressure!). But as someone who likes to enjoy a hot shower every morning, I’m almost definitely moving to another dorm next year. So to sum up, don’t get tunnel vision; your dream school most certainly isn’t going to be flawless. I’m here to share the wisdom I gain from college with you, so here it is: don’t be shocked when you get there to find everything’s not always puppies and rainbows. And pressurized hot showers.

39 responses to “Next House Showers Bring No Flowers”

  1. Bianca says:

    I had to live through the same thing at a summer program I went to at another college. Instead of the water dripping, it would shoot out at unbelievable pressure and was freezing cold. There was hair everywhere (not just in the drain, but on the showerhead, the handles, and the sides of the wall). It was almost like Cousin It was using the showers. The bathrooms filled my mind with unpleasant dreams and nightmares for weeks.

    Since you’re moving to another dorm next year, which one did you have in mind?

  2. Adam S. says:

    Yay, I love hearing about the negative aspects of colleges – all I generally hear is good things – I wish I’d hear more things like this. grin

    When college students call to ask me if I have any questions about their college, I usually tell them to convince me ‘not’ to go to their college. Usually it brings up a few things you wouldn’t otherwise hear!

    Oh, and apparently EC has radiators that clang and prevent you from sleeping.

    Now.. I know that you say that “there’s no such thing as perfect”… But Random Hall seems perfect to me, even if there were a combination of cold showers, clangy radiators, and people trying to send you messages while you use the bathroom.

  3. bbllp says:

    It seems to me that MIT is the only place where people admit there’s something wrong with their school. Thanks a lot. Haha, I wonder if your story explains why so many freshmen move out of Next right after their first year.
    @Adam.S:I’m under the impression that you’re the most active here and you know more about this school than most applicants. How long have you been finding out about MIT^^?

  4. milena says:

    Well….. Next is off the list for me! I’m more of a “bath” than a “shower” girl, but since I’ll have to shower in college, I’d at least like to have some nice showers with SCALDING HOT water!! How’s the water pressure at Simmons?

  5. nehalita says:

    showers are definitely not a strong point of next house (although there are other strong points) — i just visited back home recently and the pressure of the shower shocked me…i forgot what real showers felt like.

    i miss clean bathrooms… jess you didn’t even mention the toilets… not that anyone deserves hearing the grotesque details

  6. Jan says:

    intriguing…I appreciate the incite.

  7. Keri says:

    Senior House showers are, thankfully, pretty decent. I’ve never had to deal with a lack of hot water, at least (THANK YOU THANK YOU THERE IS A GOD). We do, however, have our downsides. It’s a funny story.

    …yeah.

    New House has bathtubs. I’d never take baths in them, though – come on, New House is a college undergrad dormitory too. Enough said.

  8. Sarab says:

    Weird, but ssomething I’ve learnt already. Living in India you learn to be really cynical till everyhthing is confirmed!

  9. reddy says:

    sarab you are so extremely right about the way indians think………it gets bugging at times

  10. Utkarsh says:

    Who cares!!!!!!!!!

    The only thing I care about is being at MIT and that’s it.

    I can skip showers for around 2 days a week.Now that shud smell you bad.Who cares~~~~~~

    The only thing I would ever care is get the best rank in my class and be the best or may be try to.

    I never gave a thought to what MIT’s dors are gonna be like and things like that – the only thing I care is to be at MIT. And be the best amongst the best.

  11. Shan says:

    Showers are fun! Hot showers are funner! I’ve been taking ridiculously long and HOT showers lately to make up for all the cold ones I was forced to take in the last few weeks..

    Dude. Next house isn’t that bad though!

  12. Aviendha says:

    AHHH!!!!!!!! I am reading through all of these blogs, and my heart is breaking because this school seems absolutely perfect. Great academics, extracurriculars, and best of all, great humor. Now, after reading many blogs, including this one, I realize that MIT is not made of candy canes and rainbows. It is still going to be cold in winter, the classes are going to be insanely difficult, the dorms are still going to be college dorms, the classes are going to be frustratingly difficult, I am still going to have to deal with the rest of my life, oh, and did I mention that the classes are going to be impossibly difficult? But even with these “flaws”, I am still falling in love with this school, and the knowledge that it is very possible that I will be rejected is killing me!

    I think that the worst part of it is that I do not know if I am accepted or not. I do not know if my worry about this possible future is going to be all for naught because, well, I did not get in. There is always the temptation to just stop thinking about it, but then what if I do get in, and am then completely unprepared for the implications that acceptance is going to bring? I do not know what is coming, and it is completely out of my hands from this point on. Frustration!

    Anyway, thank you for reminding me that MIT is not fluffy clouds and rainbows. It makes it a lot easier to deal with the possibility of rejection.

    I’ll get off of my soapbox now.

  13. Meara says:

    Euw, don’t even talk about cold things, especially cold water. It is five below zero outside where I am right now, and we’re not talking in Celsius; that is -5 degrees Fahrenheit. Brrr. In Cambridge right now it’s a (comparatively) sultry 22.

    That said, which dorm has the best bathrooms? Because bathrooms are important, possibly even more so than decent food. (Of course, in order for this actually to be an issue, I’d have to get IN first…)

    Anyway, thanks once more for the continually edifying blog.

  14. Anonymous says:

    YUK!!!!! How disgraceful……..I hate common bathrooms:( Are there any dorms at MIT where people get to have their own bathrooms?

  15. jenny says:

    yay. san francisco. smile

    but MIT still sounds pretty decent. enough said.

  16. Anthony says:

    Only some of the rooms in EC have loud radiators… and you may find that you don’t need the radiator turned on at all smile

    Simmons has bathrooms for each room, I’m pretty sure.

  17. Sean Liu says:

    Jess, you’re moving out next year?! Where to? Pooey. In addition to the showers, I’m not a big fan of the preferred dining. >_Jess, you’re moving out next year?! Where to? Pooey. In addition to the showers, I’m not a big fan of the preferred dining. >_<

  18. Solomon says:

    A lot of things are going through my mind right now.

  19. Solomon says:

    Jess can you really describe the showers in detail. Is it a large room with no dividing walls like what I used to have in my boarding school.

  20. Solomon says:

    Don’t refuse to answer me. I am asking whether the bathroom is one huge room with no walls dividing it into cubicles.

  21. Solomon says:

    Don’t refuse to answer me. I am asking whether the bathroom is one huge room with no walls dividing it into cubicles.

  22. Josh V says:

    Really? You can’t switch out of Next if you’re in it freshman year? Why is that? Is that the rule for other dorms as well?

  23. Anonymous says:

    Great job! Should be plenty of empty space in Next house next year. BTW it is not as bad as described above.

  24. Camille says:

    This blog was so funny!!! The way you describe Next’s bathrooms… well, you make it seem like a cross between a horror movie and a comedy!!! Thanks for giving the facts about dorm life!!! =) I will be sure to appreciate the showers and bathrooms here at home…
    Camille

  25. Gomodrilcheg says:

    Great site. Admin cool boy!!!
    Thanx for resoure

  26. Adam S. says:

    bbllp-
    “@Adam.S:I’m under the impression that you’re the most active here and you know more about this school than most applicants. How long have you been finding out about MIT^^?”

    I guess it could be said that I’m semi-obsessed with MIT. I’ve been reading the blogs since early last summer, so I’ve gathered a lot of good information over that time. grin I tend to check the blogs roughly once or twice a day, and comment when something interests me. The happenings at MIT always astound me – none of my other college choices seem nearly as unique or interesting to me.

    On that note, good luck to all deferred applicants! Selection committee will start in about a week. Scary, eh? grin

    Oh, and thanks for the info about EC radiators, Anthony!

    -Adam S.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Meara: the showers at Burton-Conner (well, I can’t speak for the whole dorm, but there would have to be a RIDICULOUS inconsistency in shower quality across the building for this not to be true) are amazing. Honestly, the shower I’ve used at BC is not only the best I’ve seen at MIT, it is, in all likelihood, the best shower I have ever been in. In my life.

    Funnily enough, I have to take a shower now but I don’t want to because I live in a dorm that is NOT Burton-Conner, and our showers suck.

  28. andie says:

    hey jess

    What were the things you wished you did during your senior year to prepare for college? I am trying to get ready for college and perhaps trying to see if i could challege myself in some way. Any advice?

  29. peach says:

    mmmm, showers…

    The thing about WILG is that we have clean showers with great water pressure. And you can take baths without worry of grossness.

    Live with me?!?!

  30. geofft '10 says:

    Maybe I don’t take showers often enough grin (actually, worst I’ve gone is 2 or 2.5 days between showers) but I haven’t really had shower problems. I’ve never taken an entirely cold shower: the shutdowns are generally 9 AM – 3 PM or so, so I’m fine.

    And it probably differs based on location; I’ve found our bathroom (5th farthest west) better than the others I’ve occasionally used. I have been able to take scalding hot showers (before the winter fell). And Derric said, around when zozer e-mailed, that his shower remained hot.

    Josh V: Next and McCormick (as well as Chocolate City and Spanish House, two cultural sub-dorms of New House, but they’re supposed to be different) have a system called Residence-Based Advising. Your advisor is assigned to your dorm and generally teaches a 6-credit (half a normal class) seminar, although I didn’t take that option. You can’t move out during REX because you’ve committed to RBA and to that advising seminar / advisor.

    You can switch dorms between the two terms and before the new year, however.

    I was kinda mad about RBA ’cause I think they put me in Next when I filled out the RBA application (and I wasn’t even taking a seminar), and Next wasn’t my first choice. I wanted to try to move to Simmons. Around the deadline for dorm moving, I decided I liked Next a lot better. Now I’m not sure if I really like Next the best and I’m thinking of possibly moving elsewhere next year (not ’cause of the showers, just ’cause I might fit better elsewhere).

  31. Monica says:

    now I really appreciate the showers at my house.

  32. Ritchie says:

    Long, hot, clean showers are a must for me. Guess I’ll have to find the right dorm on CPW…

    Unrelated question: You’ve had a Macbook for a few months, right? How well has that worked out for you? I mean, I think I will end up getting one but I just want to make sure I’m not going to have major problems or incompatibility issues with required programs and stuff before I throw $2,000 into one lol.

  33. Solomon says:

    Jess, Is it allowed for couples to share rooms with each other. I am a bit confused.

  34. Meagan says:

    If I get accepted to MIT I would want to live in Senior Haus, so I would be with Keri and hot showers.

    This entry does not put any damper on my MIT dreams….

  35. Alyssa says:

    Aviendha –
    I know exactly how you feel! The last few weeks especially I have been mentally wrestling with the different acceptance outcomes that I could face in the spring. I love MIT sooo much, and even more so after visiting the website so often and becomming a, (dare I say it), avid blogger. (Ok, so Adam S. wins for the most blogs from a prospective student, but hey). Too bad life isn’t a bed of roses and we have to all face rejection in some way, shape, or form. Hopefully not too soon? Meh. Who really knows, anyway.
    To everyone – enjoy your Senior year!

  36. Well, I’m sorry that you live next to a bad shower, but I assure you, there are plenty of pressurized showers at Next. Just go 50 feet down to the next bathroom. Every dorm has its bad parts, it’s what you make of it. For me, I love my great community of friends. Yes, we have maintenance issues (NOT something that Next Exec can complain about, it’s out of our league), but so do all the dorms including Simmons. Suit yourself though, I hope you’re happier at another dorm.

  37. Jess says:

    S. Zhu,
    I never said anything about Next House not having a great community. I’ve made so many fantastic relationships here with people I would never had met had it not been for wing events, etc; I’ve written entries about how the formal was almost definitive of my first semester at MIT and how I loved bonding with 3rd East at our service bbq and retreat. This doesn’t mean, however, that Next House is perfect – and yes, no dorm is perfect; I am well aware of this. But I’ve had many bad experiences with multiple showers within Next, not just the one in 3rd East by the bathrooms, and I’m not the only one. My wing constantly passes around emails yelling at people to close the shower curtain to prevent the questionable puddles left on the shower floor or stop leaving mountains of hair pooled around the drain. And don’t you think it’s at least a little bit ridiculous how often we get water shutdowns – sometimes without previous warning? I don’t know anything about dorm maintenance, but if these shutdowns have been occurring frequently for two years as Zozer said, I should think something could be done to possibly expedite their eradication. These problems certainly have nothing to do with the great community of friends.

    Part of my job is to share my college experience with prefrosh, and the main point of the post was that I don’t think it’s fair to perpetuate an image that everything at your dream school is perfect. I wasn’t being completely facetious when I wrote about believing everything at MIT would be flawless – an ideal that a lot of other freshmen have told me they used to follow naively – and I feel that a lot of prefrosh, especially the ones who read the admissions blogs, have the same image. To gloss over these flaws would not only be ignorant but also do a disservice to the next generation of MIT students, Next residents or not.

    I’m sorry that you felt attacked, especially as a member of NextExec. I fully recognize and acknowledge that these issues are no one person’s fault. The post was not intended to be personal at all, because like I said I’ve met some amazing people at Next, and I don’t regret living here. I just don’t think it’s where I’d like to spend the rest of my MIT career.

    Thanks for reading, and I hope you continue to do so. Please write back if you have any questions.
    Jess

  38. Solomon says:

    Jess, We could do with some pictures of the bathroom.

  39. grace says:

    Hmm… this is weird… I thought MIT had huge dorm rooms with super nice bathrooms in it. Maybe athletes get better dorm rooms?