Somebody Else by Sam M. '07
Seven undergrad blogs not enough for you? Now some of them have multiple authors.
And now for something completely different.
Sam is allowing me (Ruth ’07) to write a guest blog entry. It might not make for the best guest spot of all time, but I did lift the title of an obscure yet underrated song for the entry title.
As the most Humanities-oriented student at MIT, having just wrapped up an STS UROP, now contemplating a second major of Urban Planning, having declared a HASS concentration in Economics, and continuing to tell the world that Political Science at MIT is ranked 10th in the country, it’s about time I was allowed to blog.
Also, juicy details on what it’s like living next to Sam Maurer for a summer, as told by his surrogate Mitra.
First things first,
Sam’s only letting me write this so I can talk about the MATCH school. It’s one of the many Community Service jobs available to MIT students. It’s probably the best paying, though. Last summer, when I hugged squirrels for Keep Covington-Newton Beautiful, I learned that “Federal Work Study” means the Fed forks over 75% of the student’s pay for community service-type jobs. This is important for some jobs. I may be the only person who enjoys paint recycling jobs (did I mention I’m anosmic?). But other jobs, like the MATCH school, don’t have hazardous conditions or oppressive heat. The “high pay” “good conditions” combination leads to a plesant work environment, high competition for job placement, and high retention rate among tutors between summers.
The school’s mission is to prepare its students, that arrive a few grades behind, for a 100% college graduation rate. So for four hours, four days a week, for five weeks, MIT, BU, and Wellesley students tutor incoming freshmen in math and English to begin catching them up. Most people do this – I teach rising sophomores in writing.
Let me tell you, for those that haven’t read The Color of Water, it’ll make 200 pages of Veto Bargaining a piece of cake when you take 17.20 Introduction to the American Political Process.
Seriously though, it’s really fun to take some of your own enthusiasm for learning and force it upon younger people. It kind of reminds you why you’re here at MIT in the first place. In my case, having returning MATCH students is really nice, too, because they’re already indoctrinated to the discipline and dress code, and they behave so very well. I’ve got the sweetest kids, ever. And I’ve been responsible for quite a few children in my day.
Ok, that’s the boy’s side of camp, but that cabin greatly resembles one I stayed in for a few summers during high school with 4H. Moving on…
I mentioned that MATCH has a good retention rate among tutors. Returning tutors are invited to be team leaders. The team thing is important to explain, too. The school has lots of ways to motivate its students, so they pit the tutors against each other in a Harry Potteresque competition. You earn and lose points for your team based on your tardiness, originality, enthusiasm, and general ability to suck up to the program coordinators. Speaking of sycophancy, Jon ’06 is a lead tutor for the MATCH school this summer, and the second person I met at MIT. That was way back in Fall 2002, before the Admissions page told you anything useful, except how to be a hosted prefrosh. Jon and my host lived on Conner 2, and enlisted me to help with their Freshmen Dinner and Apple Bake. Those were good times. ’10s that are reading this, you should seriously considering visiting MIT in the fall.
Ok, moving on. After the two tutoring sessions, we have tutor meetings and discussions, and then I’m off to my second job in the Lewis Music Library. This is my desk:
People will tell you that the sweetest (“cushiest”) jobs at MIT are working desk in your dorm. Secondary to working for Admissions, of course. The basic idea is that you’re sitting down, there’s not a lot of physical labor, and a wide range of highly interesting people stop by for you to conversate with. There’s only so many desks to work, so those tend to get filled up fast. Something not many people think about though, is the libraries. MIT has tons, all with their own desks and cushiness and conversations.
I chose the Music library for its awesome architecture and offbeat subject matter. “Offbeat” at MIT just means “not science.” There’s only so much engineering a person can take, but I have a high tolerance for music. I don’t know as much about Maria Callas and Tchaikovsky as I should, though I did spell Tchaikovsky just now without dictionary.com. I am comfortable making recommendations in the Pop collection, and we’ve got 13,000 CDs, so I can’t be expected to know them all, anyway. And 70-something thousand scores. And a bajillion books. And 5 iPods, but those aren’t ready for circulation yet.
This is my favorite Opera CD.
So, life with Sam.
That’s actually a picture from last summer. Sam, Beckett ’05, Moria ’05, myself, and Moria’s blueberry tart ’04 went to Boston Common for a picnic and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. As you can see, Moria is an excellent chef. Unfortunately, she’s in Michigan.
But without Moria, we will carry on and see Hamlet in the Common tonight. You see folks, Sam feels a duty to you, his stalkers, to do interesting things to blog about. That’s how dedicated he is. Who knows, maybe next week he’ll take the wrong MBTA bus at midnight and blog about his walk home. Or choreograph a dance to Toxic. Or prepare potatoes in a way that even I will eat. There’s no telling with this kid.
That’s it for me, until Admissions gives me my own blog. Until then, Miller Out.