from Ann ’14!
When I first found out about “Campus Preview Weekend,” it sounded pretty vague to me. Despite the massive listings of events that had been available for my browsing pleasure since December, I didn’t quite know what to expect when I arrived in Cambridge on Thursday. In fact, although I was tempted to plan out exactly how I would spend every moment of the weekend, I was pretty sure that it would be fun to just improvise. All I was really certain of was that I wanted to take advantage of every moment on campus… and I’m pretty sure that it’s safe to say: Mission accomplished.
You know all those events I was talking about? Well, there were two themes that I noticed: free food and discouragement of sleeping. Really that could sum up my experience – in fact, all of that food was amazing, and CPW was the first time that I pulled a non-academic, non-Harry-Potter-related all-nighter (whoa that was a lot of hyphens!) Free sodas and coffees from the student center’s grocery store (LaVerde’s) also helped to keep me and my new friends caffeinated. It seemed like West Campus smelled like barbecue all weekend (except Friday, the day that the weather machine got temperamental) and everyone was baking cookies to distribute to prefrosh that passed by dorm common rooms. Not to mention that CPW was the first time that I have ever tried liquid nitrogen ice cream – and the first time that I’ve gotten sick of eating too much ice cream! If there’s one thing that can be said about MIT, it’s that no one starves.
Of course, the most valuable part of the experience was meeting future classmates. That’s what really showed me that I can see myself at MIT for the next four years and what made me disappointed to leave. CPW was a unique opportunity to meet new people everywhere and to spend 24 hours a day learning about such a rich campus culture together. The book of events also included endless opportunities to explore dorms, walk the Infinite, meet professors, and pick the brains of really friendly students about my random little questions.
But all of this glosses over the spur-of-the-moment activities that were even more exciting. So here’s a rapid-fire list of my weekend’s highlights:
¬∑ A group of ten of us was bored waiting for a tour guide and decided to (try to) build a human pyramid in the middle of Lobby 7 at 11 PM on Friday.
¬∑ When I visited the headquarters of the campus newspaper, The Tech, I met a Rhodes Scholar, learned about their layout process, ate pizza, and then mentioned that I hadn’t had a chance to visit East Campus yet…
¬∑ … So a couple of residents took me there to see what they were building in the courtyard before we took a detour on the way back to photograph the hack (a full lounge room, complete with pool table and potted plant, suspended upside down at the Media Lab entrance).
¬∑ Then there was that all-nighter that I mentioned: a group of us played mafia at Next House, with another Rhodes Scholar (who played God/narrator), between 10 PM and 7 AM.
¬∑ Several of us spent another hour playing ping pong using our hands as paddles before leaving Next and crossing the bridge into Boston.
¬∑ But as awesome as all of this was, the grand finale was the game of Underground Capture the Flag between 12 and 4 AM. We got free t-shirts (GRAY TEAM!!!!), explored the basement tunnels, and channeled our inner ninja.
By this point, some of us had been awake for 45 hours straight, but it was certainly worth it. All that time I could have been peacefully resting in the comfort of my sleeping bag back at Ashdown House, but would that have been nearly as much fun? Of course not.
I hope that my description has provided some valuable insight into those few days living at MIT, taking advantage of everything I could without having to worry about work. This was by far the most exciting experience I’ve ever had, all packed into four incredible days. If orientation (a.k.a. REX) is anything like this weekend, bring it on!