When I went online to start typing up this post, I noticed an unpublished post of mine from nearly three weeks ago. Apparently I started writing an “apologies for being too hosed to post” entry and never finished it, which is just as well because I don’t know what was going to be in it and don’t recall ever writing the thing anyway.
I’ve always liked being insanely busy, but this is just ridiculous. Let’s try this again.
So what’s been up with me? I passed my finals, and I can even tell all my friends that I have a 4.0 at MIT! Granted, none of them know that we use a 5.0 scale, but that’s not the point. I have a B average. At MIT. I am dancing. I’m also back in Florida, having moved out of Senior House for the summer. After some panic that I’d be jobless and living in a cardboard box under Harvard Bridge for two and a half months, I was offered a job as an RA for the Center for Talent Development at Northwestern University, where for six weeks, I’ve be living and working with middle school students taking introductory high school classes through the program. This is a source of great excitement for Hanna ’10, who lives near Evanston and is already planning to accidentally-on-purpose show up at scheduled activities in the area. (“So let’s all go out for ice cream! And what a surprise, we’ve managed to bump into my good friend Hanna again! Um, well..”) Not that I’m complaining – we’re suffering from radio show deprivation and no longer responsible for our actions.
Until I leave in two weeks, though, I’ll be at home hanging out with my friends and family, along with sewing a lot. Hey, it’s been a while. I’ll also spend a good amount of time reading the textbooks I got for my birthday. By the way, I turned eighteen on the 14th. Woo! I can be tried as an adult now!
Anyway, I’ve been emailing a few of you back and forth about all things MIT (and let’s not ignore the messages and wall posts on the all-powerful Facebook); you all have brought up some useful topics that I’d like to address here. Since the Freshman Housing Lottery just opened two days ago, let’s start with that one.
By now, you incoming frosh should probably have a general idea of how the whole thing works. You look through the information available to you (such as living group websites and the Guide to Residences in last month’s huge mailing), ask current students a million questions about what the dorms are like, rank all 15 16 (i-House is starting up this fall in New House 1, formerly Russian House) living groups in order of preference, and stick the list under your pillow just before you go to bed. That night, the magical Housing Fairy quietly removes the list from beneath your sleeping form, leaving a $2800 charge for next semester’s room in its place.
…scratch that last part. I think I just mixed this up with the stories my mom used to tell me when I was five.
All right, so you submit this list to MIT, where a computer puts everyone in a dorm using an algorithm designed to maximize the number of people in their first-choice living group. The room assignment chairs in each living group then use the rest of your application – all the stuff about your number of desired roommates, likes and dislikes, et cetera – to put you in a temporary room.
Don’t get too comfortable in your temp room; you’ll almost definitely be moving again. This is what REX (which some people refer to as Dorm Rush, a throwback to the way the housing system used to work before all frosh were required to live on campus starting in 2002) is for – once you’re actually here at MIT, it’s far easier to check out all the dorms and cultural houses for yourself. (Many of you started doing this during CPW.) We try to give you everything you need to make an informed decision, but there’s really no replacement for going and spending some time everywhere.
At the end of August, after you’ve been here for about a week, there’s an Adjustment Lottery. In the lottery, you can decide to stay in your temporary dorm or enter up to four places you’d like to move. Some of you will be happy where you are, and you may just want a different roommate or a room on another floor; of course, you might also decide to move somewhere entirely different. I got my second choice dorm in the Housing Lottery and got to MIT with the intent of checking everywhere out, since I wasn’t completely happy with where I’d been placed anyway. By the end of the Adjustment Lottery, I was moving clear across campus to a dorm that was originally my sixth choice.
Once you’ve been assigned your final dorm, an In-House assignments are held to determine your final room. Each dorm handles this differently; while Baker and Next both hold numbered lotteries, Senior House makes you fill out a sheet with your top choice rooms and explain why the room assignment chairs should care about what you want. This explanation may or may not be in the form of baked goods.
(Just For Fun: Click on this link and scroll down to the picture of Senior House. See the windowsill halfway painted blue? That was my room last term. A couple of years ago, someone living there decided to paint everything in the room that shade of blue, including the speaker for the fire alarm, the overhead storage shelves, the ceiling, and half the windowsill. By the time I got there, most of it had been painted over with Institute White, but the blue just won’t go away.)
It all seems really complicated, especially now that your friends going to other schools are all starting to get word of their roommates’ names, along with the locations of their bed, desk, chair, hall bathroom, complimentary loveseat, and the like.We just want you to be happy here. If you can have the option of deciding where to live, then why not give it to you?
I’ll end this post with links to some dorm tours put up by myself and the other bloggers:
East Campus: one and two
Senior House: one and two
And here’s a post Jessie put up a while back, which is really helpful and explains things better than I could have done.
Any more questions? Email me! All the cool kids are doing it. ^_^