I arrived on the MIT campus in August of 1982 with all my “stuff” crammed into four suitcases. I quickly discovered that MIT and Baker House was the place where I would happily spend the next four years of my life. There were moments of frustration and exhaustion, but also a whole lot of fun. I survived that first year, passed all my classes and came back prepared to take on my sophomore year having declared my major and settled in for the long haul. I joined the Chorallaries, I helped design my class ring and I got involved with lots and lots of activities.
Over the years I’ve spent time on campus. I haven’t missed a class reunion since I graduated and several times each year would come up with reasons why I needed to visit the campus. Alumni Leadership Conference, Campus Preview Weekend, and Tech Reunions all represented great excuses to come to Boston for a few hours or days. I also became an Educational Counselor and interviewed students every fall for over a dozen years. I still felt connected to the place although I really didn’t have a spot to call my own on the campus anymore.
Last fall all that changed. I was given an opportunity to come back to campus but this time as an employee working in the Admissions Office. I had an office and my name was painted on the door but in many ways it really was like freshman year all over again. Sure, I knew which building was next to which and that the even numbered ones were on one side of Lobby 10 and the odds on the other. The Student Center had long before been renovated but it was still where you could get lunch. I also knew the every other floor rule for finding a restroom in an obscure corner of the campus so I thought I was all set.
But yet, it was still kind of like freshman year all over again. I started working, collaborating with my new colleagues on a daily basis, and stayed up some pretty late nights (but not all night) reading application files. I didn’t take 8.01 last year but I did attend the last 3.091 lecture of the term–again. And over the summer I learned to sail—never quite got around to that one when I was a student. I took my ice skates to my office recently, I know the rink will open soon and I want to be ready.
Fortunately, once again, I have survived freshman year and so I’m back for sophomore year. I didn’t live in a dormitory last year like the rest of the freshmen but I have moved into a sorority for sophomore year this time around. Such a thing wasn’t even an option when I was here the first time but now I’m the Residential Adviser for Alpha Phi. Being a part of a living group in that way is giving me a great chance to be better informed about what life is like for every student who walks up the steps at 77 Massachusetts Avenue each morning. I do that every day too—just like I did every day for the four years I went to school here. But the coolest part is that when this four years is over, I don’t have to graduate or land my dream job…because I already have.