Coming from South Florida, MIT is far away… specifically, 1427.6 miles away. That being said, the life I lived off Kismet Parkway where I’d ride down the block on my bike, wave hi to my aunt, and return back to my front door where I’d scream, “MA, IT’S ME! OPEN THE DOOR,” so I could get back inside for a home-cooked meal, seems so long ago. In reality, it has been three months-ish since I got on campus over the summer.
For just about everyone, the change is sudden and doesn’t even necessarily hit you completely until you’re here in a dorm, in a town you’ve only been to during CPW (the preview weekend in April), and on your own doing adult things. At a school like MIT, people are from around the globe, so I know I am not alone in feeling this. It never truly hit my until just a few weeks ago when my sister and mom finally got the chance to visit for a weekend.
Thursday, on September 14th, I got a text from my sister saying the plane had landed at Logan. The whole week prior was us saying prayers that flights didn’t get cancelled because Hurricane Irma was around that we feared would cause delays or cancellations. Thank god, the planes assumed regular schedule just the day before their flight! Anyways, I was sitting in a biology recitation, and I knew I only had a class after this before I could ride my bike to the place they were staying and finally see them again!
Immediately, it felt like I had never left. I read in an article that found some individuals found it difficult reconnecting with their families after being away, but I definitely did not share that sentiment. It was like I was back home again around them; joking around, teasing one another, and constantly looking for places to eat. To be fair, I call my mom just about every night to update her on what major I now am looking at (It literally changes daily), adventure I had taken into a new area of Boston, or just to talk about the daily routine after my work is done for the night.
It was definitely the most exciting weekend I have had thus far here at MIT. Thursday, we headed to Quincy Market in the heart of Boston, where I had been explaining for weeks the assortment of foods one can get there that my family couldn’t wait to try. That weekend, we went to the North End for my mom’s birthday dinner, which kind of was an early birthday dinner for me as well, I showed them Newbury Street, the Prudential Center, and some of the areas of Cambridge that are my favorite places to walk around or visit. MIT is quite literally in the perfect place to have too many things to do around off-campus and having too little of time to check them all off the list. We ate Mike’s Pastrys, Bova’s Bakery, and Shrimp Cocktail from Eataly. We got stuck on our bikes in a thunderstorm where we took to a revolving door at a biotech company for shelter, screamed as a car splashed a puddle on us, and stood around a getting a ring on a peg game on State Street for a solid fifteen minutes of intense competition. I took them sailing, where we didn’t capsize! (definitely was nervous it was going to happen since this would be my first time taking others out)
In full, I got to show them what my new life was here. I showed them the lecture halls I go to, the best and worst dining halls on campus, the places I study, the places I relax, and the things I do now in an environment far from home.
MIT can offer you everything in terms of academics. I could not ask for more. I am learning more than I ever have, and I am more excited to see what I will learn next. However, I believe there’s another part of everyone that can’t be pushed aside. It comes from the family and friends you truly can be yourself around that you knew before coming to this nerd paradise. Being far from your family sucks. Separating from your high school friends is never easy either as everyone goes on different paths for college. It’s the greatest thing ever when they can come visit, and it gives you something to look forward to outside of the schoolwork which can seem at times nonstop. The week before they came, I was working double time, so I would not have to work while they were here for the weekend!
As of last week, they just confirmed tickets to come up here for another weekend around Thanksgiving! I am definitely looking forward to that! Until then, find me walking down dorm row on the phone with my mom at ten at night ranting about either food, bugs in my code that I can’t find, or the latest book I am reading.