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MIT student blogger Jenny X. '13

Our homework is to go camping by Jenny X. '13

on a school night...!

Aye, I’m back with more architecture adventures. I feel like all I ever blog about is architecture stuff – but who am I kidding – it literally consumes my life. I complain sometimes – okay a lot – but deep inside, I really would not have picked a different major at MIT. I am SO glad to not have any psets or major exams. Keep scrolling to find out why this semester has been especially fun and out-of-the-ordinary.

So two weeks ago –
…the assignment was to construct a bamboo-and-canvas shelter to be erected on the lawn of the Endicott House – MIT’s private mansion used for conferences and fraternity/sorority semiformals, etc. Our structure has to

  • provide sleeping area for the 10 people in our class and
  • provide shelter in rain or shine
  • be designed and built in one week

And this is what went down.

We slaved away at the woodshop day and night to prepare the bamboo structure –

Then slipped on the canvas roof cover sewn by ourselves –

And built 5 sets of double “beds” so that there’d be 10 beds in total.

Before the entire process began, our professor warned us “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.”

We didn’t WANT to believe him, but we still held our breaths as everything unfolded. And for good reason, because who knew that the night before we were supposed to go camping, the sewing machine would stop working when we still had to sew a whole set of beds as well as parts of the roof cover?? Or that the week before our camping date, the weather forecast predicted sunny clear skies with only 20% chance precipitation… but when the time actually came, Tuesday – our camping day – would be the only rainy day that week??

Personally, I was perversely excited by these emergency obstacles, because really, it was the closest I’ve ever come to Project Runway – and being confronted with a Tim Gunn “Make it work” moment. (any Project Runway fans?)

Did you guess? We made it work. I’ll let the pictures tell the rest ~

Moving in at last!

And the cots were surprisingly strong enough!

Er…so what’s the moral of the story….ANYTHING THAT CAN GO WRONG, WILL GO WRONG!
Maybe that’s not the best takeaway, but just so you know, it could all happen. :O Pay attention to detail, and be prepared for the unexpected! Everything that goes wrong…can work out after all.

7 responses to “Our homework is to go camping”

  1. Kate says:

    Reminds me of survivor! How cool!

  2. Muna says:


    Now I’m like UBER excited about studying architecture!

    And I bet MIT is the perfect place to begin my journey!

    btw… HUGE ProjectRunway fan over here!

    ‘Jenny, Talk to me’ and ‘Make it work’!


  3. Gavin West says:

    I am, at this moment, _extremely_ jealous of all people who got to sleep in that shelter. It looks so cool. :DDD

  4. Jayant says:

    It reminds me of the show, Man vs Wild on Discovery Channel. Anything that can go right, will go right!

  5. José ('17?) says:

    WOOOOW, I’m a boy scout and I just think I wish we would do something as cool as that

  6. Victor says:

    I am so looking forward to MIT! I love challenges like this, and the thrill when everything finally works out right when it was all going wrong.

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