After a short burst of productivity in January, I proceeded to not write a mere sentence for months on the blogs. This makes the 6-month hiatus my longest dry streak here… oops. I’m making the New York Knicks’ drought look good out here. The lack of writing was complicated… it was not out of not wanting to, but nothing manifested even if I got a few lines in. I barely wrote during the spring, save for my intensive writing class, in which I still struggled to write most of my essays. Regarding classes, you might be wondering, “Waly, how was your semester,” but let us not ask such provocative questions. That we can talk about… later, another time, maybe never. Instead, let me steer the conversation very clear of my academics… to clothes. Lovingly referred to as, “merch.”
Over my 1.5 years physically at MIT and my one splendid Zoom U semester, I have constantly been on a mission to better myself. By that, I mean bettering my wardrobe with an exorbitant amount of MIT merch. If one were, for some reason, to just take a look into my closet, they would be a little confused why I have so many tangentially MIT-related clothes. Virtually all my T-shirts have slowly morphed into being bonafide merch. I am fairly certain I am still missing some in this blog. This “merch” I speak of does not count the numerous MIT-related stickers, mugs, towels, masks, branded tape measures, squeezable pigs, posters, plushies, and random other stuff that have come into my possession without being bought. An onlooker peeking into my closet might even think I represent the school in some way, work with admissions, or do some stuff in student government… which couldn’t be closer to the truth. As I packed up most of my clothes as the spring semester ended, I decided to be that onlooker in my closet and made a slightly sketchy catalog of the pieces of merch I have gathered over MIT so far.
Before moving forward, I wanted to thank Nisha ‘21 for blogging about a quilt she made using MIT T-shirts, since reading it long ago spurred this idea :D
Shirts! Jackets! Hoodies!
The UPOP T-shirt… is one I have an awkward relationship with. This might be because I dropped UPOP in the spring semester. UPOP is a career accelerator for sophomores, and I would say a decent share of our class is a part of it. Think maybe 400 sophomores? I dropped it not because I didn’t like the program; I felt it was cool for the most part, even though I was familiar with a decent share of the content. But I valued sleep more than having a career, and I did not have it in me to wake up for 3 days straight at 9 am for a training/conference weekend. It was our first 3-day weekend of the semester, and I was already getting uppercut by my classes. I needed a break, not a 9-5. I know that some high schoolers might be reading this and saying… 9 am… that’s just disappointing. And if you are thinking that, you aren’t exactly wrong; I would agree with you. I woke up around 5:30 every morning in high school, and I’m fairly certain sophomore high school me would disown sophomore college me for this. But I promise you, 9ams in college just hit different. Fighting a body that refuses to budge from the warm sheets is an everlasting struggle. I still have this t-shirt because it is nice and soft, and though I did not complete the UPOP program, there were helpful elements I took from it.
Sometime during sophomore spring, the OME (Office of Minority Education) emailed about having shirts they were giving away to students. I never turn down free things, so I got a shirt :D. Not too much more to this story, since I haven’t done too much with the OME, but it is a nice shirt, and the HOME logo is very snazzy.
This shirt also lacks a lengthy backstory. Funny enough, I have never even worn this shirt before and recently donated it. One day, I found myself in the EECS student lounge with a friend, and the lounge was giving away T-shirts that preceded Course 6’s redesign. SuperUROP as a program still exists, so I’m not sure why it was being given away. We each took some since they were… good T-shirts. I just somehow neglected to check if this shirt would even fit me. It was virtually a badly-made crop-top, which I couldn’t rock too well.
MIT EECS Shirt
Wow, I 100% did not get this shirt from the same box as the last one! This shirt luckily fits me far better than the last one. Considering I was not a Course 6 when I was getting the shirts, not too sure again why I took it, but maybe I was preparing for my sellout era. I wound up switching majors to Course 6 in a not-so-shocking turn of events. In high school, I was fairly certain I would never be a CS major… ha… ha. I had a god-awful teacher who taught like he hated all of us and screwed everyone’s grades over unclear instructions. I swore to never do CS after that class, but apparently, I cannot be trusted. Overall, at MIT, I have vaguely liked most of my CS classes, especially 6.08 (Interconnected Embedded Systems), which I took this past semester. In retrospect, it’s interesting how much having a good/bad teacher can make or break one’s opinion of a subject.
Let me preface this shirt by saying I am not a massive narcissist who walked out one day and bought a shirt with his face on it. This shirt sits in the very depths of my closet, out of the light. Friends have made multiple offers to take it off my hands. Though someone else wearing my face is a little funny at first thought, I am quickly taken back to the horrifying reality of that situation if it were to happen. This shirt was given to me (and the other bloggers) by Admissions, and I’ve worn it on two occasions, both of which I believe were Meet the Bloggers during CPW. Though I greatly appreciate the shirt (it’s pretty soft), I can’t fathom wearing it out in public
MIT MakerLodge Shirt
This shirt is probably the oldest one I have from physical MIT. After getting on campus in February, I was very excited to get makerspace training, and I signed up for it rather quickly. After going through the needed lessons, students received a toolbox (which has been actually pretty useful) and a shirt from Makerlodge. Though I haven’t gone to makerspaces as much as I would have liked during the semesters, I did laser cut a few sheets of acrylic over this year :)
2024 Orientation Shirt
If you didn’t know, I am a 2024 (for now). This means we had a fun thing called virtual orientation, which was an interesting affair. The student engagement was virtually 0, but I liked that they put effort into the opening show. I haven’t worn this shirt too much since freshman year, but it is still nice to lounge around in or something like that. Orientation was not very memorable for me, since Zoom can only be so engaging.
Calsol/American Solar Challenge/Minnesota/GT/MIT SEVT Shirts
Lots of T-Shirts all grouped here. Lots of these T-shirts don’t say MIT, but they are quite related. Last summer, MIT’s Solar Electric Vehicle Team raced our car, Nimbus, across Missouri (barely), Kansas, Colorado, and New Mexico. At the final pitstop in Las Vegas (not the one you are thinking of), lots of teams exchanged merchandise, sort of as a souvenir. I exchanged shirts with certain teams because I really liked their designs, especially that of Minnesota’s shirt. I’m not as certain where the ASC shirt actually came from. It might have been what every participant on a team received at the very start. I could talk a lot about the race last year, but I kinda already have… In other news, our team is racing again this year on a different trail for 2022 :D! They are driving Nimbus on a longer route going over the Oregon Trail to Idaho! I wanted to go to some portion, but summer plans became somewhat chaotic for me in April/May, and it just didn’t work out :(
Jack Florey Shirt
Around CPW, a Jack Florey shirt appeared in my room. I had no recollectiion of how this black and white shirt had appeared there. A few dollars had also mysteriously disappeared from my possession around the same time. After pondering on it for a while, I realized –
Jane Street/Virtu/HRT Shirts
During the school year, there is this dandy thing called the career fair. From the upperclassmen, I have heard legendary tales of going to booths, receiving so much merch, and talking to many, many people. As a 2024, I have yet to see a career fair happen in person, and I have unjustly been deprived of free merchandise, ahem career opportunities, from varying companies. Though our past 2 career fairs have both been virtual, some companies still offered a form to have merchandise mailed to you, which I filled out. I wasn’t sure if anything would come in the mail, but sure enough, some things trickled in after a few weeks. These t-shirts are probably some of the ones I would rate the most comfortable and wearable, even though I have no clue how to handle money as well as these companies do
Associate Advising Shirt
Ah, another complicated relationship shirt. If a ranking were to happen, I would, without a doubt, be a top 10 associate adviser. From the bottom. I genuinely was not a good Associate Adviser, and that is one of the (many o__o) things that I was disappointed with myself regarding this year. I wish I was more present as an AA, not just around registration times, and planned a decent get-together of some sort. The thought was there, but the actions did not materialize well. The hells of sophomore year just… got hands, but I still could have collectively done much better than I did. The professor I associate advised with is one of the nicest people I would say I’ve met at MIT, and I talked to her on a few occasions regarding majors and struggling in classes. I probably can’t verbalize how helpful those talks were. At MIT, I sometimes feel I’ve been unintentionally, but the damage is still there regardless through my, for a sheer lack of better words, incompetence, and I feel sad that I probably did that here too. Sigh. Mild digression aside, comfortable shirt, not as comfortable reminders.
At some point at the end of last summer, I volunteered for an FLI (first-gen low income) first-year dinner as a part of being an Associate Adviser. I was the only non-freshman there somehow, so that was mildly awkward, but it was alright overall. I got this shirt from that event, and it’s pretty nice. Got some nice graphic design I must say. During sophomore year, I wanted to go to some other FLI student events, but it just never happened. Most of them overlapped with other plans I was having socially or regarding extracurriculars. The other times, I didn’t want to go to an event I didn’t really know anyone at. Raging introvert energy. For someone who writes stuff random folk on the internet read, one might expect me to be a whole lot better at random social situations. But I am often a quiet potato.
My fpops are programs first years can do to explore campus and learn about a major/interest area For DME, we explored Boston/Cambridge, and we got to explore the MechE building! At least I wish we did. Though DME was virtual for my year, as was everything else, it was a pretty cool experience. I think they did a great job of making it still really engaging while virtual. They mailed us a bunch of things we would need, and we wound up building an automated hand sanitizer dispenser. They also had a few presentations about MechE, and I think this was what first piqued my interest in MechE. I came in as a Course 10, violently pivoted off that in record speed, and then was between many options. And I kind of still am. Ah, how the times don’t change
This shirt was pretty cheap, but also not free, so it’s kind of a cheat. As one could guess, this is without a doubt, a very, very official MIT shirt that is made by students. It is certainly not modeled after the name of a familiar tech school on the other side of the country. A school that may also have a beaver as a mascot. A tech school with a cannon we may or may not have picked up in a heist. Masstech I feel has a nice ring to it, and I could like it if we were called this instead. 2 syllables are so much easier to say than 3.
World Bibim Week Shirt/Jacket
Over this past IAP (January Term), I taught for MISTI-Korea’s GTL program with my team, and it was a great experience. One that I should probably blog about at some point in time. We taught hands-on STEM workshops in two cities, Seongnam and Jeonju, and I received these in the latter. After teaching for the week, we were gifted a goodie bag with some presents from program administrators and the city government, which was so sweet and really heart-warming. I don’t think I could sum up this experience in a paragraph, so I guess I will be left with no choice but to unleash words onto a google doc shortly.
Yet another complicated relationship. Actually, it is not that complicated, just slightly awkward. During freshman fall, I got a dormspammed email about WMBR and thought it was pretty cool that we had a radio station. As an overambitious froshling, I signed up to learn more and got a t-shirt. I winded up not joining WMBR, but of course, since I had the T-shirt, I still wore it. One day, as I was getting lunch from the Macgregor Covid-era Dining Hall, someone excitedly saw my shirt and began talking to me about WMBR. I had to give the conversation an untimely demise by saying I actually wasn’t a part of the group. I believe I have not worn the shirt out since.
I got this shirt during the fall of sophomore year! I was in MOSTEC is an MIT OEOP six month STEM enrichment program for hs juniors, particularly from underrepresented backgrounds. I would highly recommend applying to it (and/or MITES) if you are a high school junior during the summer of 2019, and it’s probably the major reason why I went into engineering. For better or worse. The Office of Engineering Outreach Programs held a MITES/MOSTEC reunion on campus, which I attended on a Saturday morning. It was really nice to see some people I hadn’t seen in a hot second, and also see the program administrators, who are all great people. During the reunion, they had some extra merch from our years along with a nice brunch. I got another t-shirt like the one I originally got in high school since that one was a bit on the older side
Summer HSSP Shirt
Last summer, on a few Saturdays, with some friends (a black belt and a yellow belt), I taught a virtual Taekwondo class. It was mainly geared at late middle school/early high school students and took place over 6 weeks. We taught 2 weeks a piece and covered punches, kicks, stances, and went through the white belt form. It was rather casual and for the most part, a fine time. We did struggle with getting people to turn on their camera, though considering how much I don’t turn it on, it would be hypocritical of me to complain about that. The panda on the HSSP shirt was the animal mascot for summer HSSP, and I find this shirt to be one of the cutest I have.
I think anyone who has had the fortune (or misfortune) of asking me about ESG has heard that I really love ESG. It single-handedly made my freshman year much better, without a doubt. Looking back, the structure that ESG had, especially attendance-wise, was really helpful for me. For someone who hates structure, I desperately need it. I’m not too sure how exactly I got this shirt, but it might have been from volunteering for CPW or for just being a frosh in ESG. There are some lizards on the shirt since it is ESG’s mascot! We are, indeed, just lizard people at MIT
Blog or Die Shirt
Just around the same time that we got the cursed shirts with our names and likeliness on them as bloggers, we also received shirts that were thanks Jeremy :) This shirt, which has probably one of my favorite designs, says lovingly, “Blog or Die.” This may or may not be why I am writing at this very moment.
EC Rush Shirt
No, I was not an MIT student in 2017. Instead, I was having the time of my life as a sleep-deprived high school student. But when REX, a time for first-years to explore dorms, was happening, many shirts from old year’s hall rushes were being sold for some low number like 2 or 3 dollars. The cat one was exceptionally cute, and though it is a tad large on me, I love to wear it very often. I don’t have much else that is Black and Blue, which is a feature that I liked as well.
One day, I learned that an event near Sloan was going to be handing out free Chipotle. Like any reasonably sane college student, I would never pass up on free food, so I headed over to the event after I held office hours for a class I TAed. Of course, the Chipotle miraculously ran out in lightning speed, and all hope was lost. They had some stickers and other merch like this shirt at the event, so I took some things as a consolation prize. The shirt is really nice quality, so I wear it sometimes, but less than many others on this list.
I (heart) MIT/Orientation Leader Shirts
At the end of last summer, I was an Orientation Leader for the Class of 2025, which involved mainly giving advice, talking about key topics (academics, clubs, drug use, the usual), and helping around with anything else. For the most part, I enjoyed being an OL. It was a bit hot some of those days, and there were times attendance was dwindling, but since I had no other commitments at the time, I was able to be pretty focused on being an OL. I would say I did an alright job overall, with no major regrets or that sort of thing. Well, I am still extremely salty that the in the competition of the orientation teams, Black team lost to the Brown team, but that is all.
During my Sophomore fall, I took an Artificial Intelligence class, mainly for the sake of it being cool and tangentially aligned to my interests. I’ve heard some people say that “it is the easiest class in course 6,” which must mean I am either very dumb or disagree with that sentiment. I liked the class a lot, though I found some parts, particularly coding-wise, to be a bit challenging at times. It was my second CS class after 6.0001/18.0002, which are introductory coding classes, so maybe that was a compounding factor. At the end of the fall semester, 034 had a website where they sold these shirts pretty cheap, so I got one to always be able to recall my inability to understand alpha-beta pruning
Last summer, for a week I also was a mentor for DynaMIT, which is a middle school STEM outreach program for kids in the Boston area. During the program, we taught some basics in Math, Astronomy, Biology, Mechanical Engineering, and Chemistry. 4 students were paired with 2 mentors to create a “family” for the week. I really loved working with DynaMIT, and it really reminded me of some of the STEM programs I got to do when I was a younger soul. Lots of these programs made me find things in notice I did not include math here exciting, and hopefully, we got to provide that for some of our family members last year :)
The long-awaited ring premiere ceremony happened this past February. Ringcomm works on the class brass rat ring design over the fall semester and eventually presents it in its glory to the class. During the last summer, I, with around 5 other students in Student Government/2023 Ringcomm, helped select the 2024 Ringcomm, so it was nice to see things go pretty full circle. I had no involvement in the design or anything past the selection process really, so it was nice to go into premiere with no knowledge of what was going to happen. As part of Class Council, I feel I know what is happening in the vast majority of the class events we have had so far, so it was nice to just enjoy an event.
Ah, another shirt that came from me attending a free food event. Early in sophomore fall, NEET, which holds many tracks to explore specific engineering interests, had an event to talk about their new climate and sustainability track. I found the track pretty interesting, but as someone who likes HASS classes a lot, the track would have been rather limiting. Mainly academically due to the extra classes I would need to take. The shirt is a bit on the smaller side, so I actually don’t wear it too much. It is just lying around
MIT 2024 Hoodie
This hoodie was designed by a member of our class and was voted the top design choice by 2024s. It again is another cheat as it was not free, but in the general scheme of talking about merch, I wanted to talk about it a little bit. As Class Council, we held a design competition, where students submitted their design ideas, and navigating through the many submissions was really fun. The hoodie is a nice warm one, slightly large, but I like baggier clothes if anything, so it works out pretty fine.
I was far too lazy to collect pictures of everything in this category, but here are a few…
Army ROTC Backpack
I am not in ROTC. In fact, I am horrible at push-ups. I would never make it in the army for that reason alone. One day, I was going to Stata Loading Dock, where valuable garbage is often left, and found a bunch of ROTC stuff left to be thrown out. Some of it was pretty cool, so I got a backpack. I used it to hold my Taekwondo uniform and belt for when I would actually show up to practice, and it has served me very well.
Toy Lab Hat
2.00B! Probably my favorite class at MIT, this was a toy product design class I took during freshman spring. Since this was a though one could say every semester so far has been a covid semester many safety precautions were put in place, to make sure we didn’t have superspreader after superspreader. We had a face shield that would attach to the front of the baseball cap since we worked in pretty close contact with each other. An interesting thing about these hats is that they each were slightly different from one another. I guess they were actually tie-dyed.
This beanie is one I got from moving in! We got a bag of goodies before we had to quarantine for a week in freshman year as we arrived on campus, and this hat was there. It works really nicely when I want to use headphones to listen to music, so that has been cool
Considering I switched from Course 2… I hope they do not request this beanie back. During the winter, the office for undergraduates was offering beanies to all current students, so one day I went and claimed mine. I really like beanies, even though they are kind of horrible for my hair, and this one is no exception
Onto the next semesters of merch we go!
- unintentionally, but the damage is still there regardless back to text ↑
- fpops are programs first years can do to explore campus and learn about a major/interest area back to text ↑
- MOSTEC is an MIT OEOP six month STEM enrichment program for hs juniors, particularly from underrepresented backgrounds. I would highly recommend applying to it (and/or MITES) if you are a high school junior back to text ↑
- thanks Jeremy :) back to text ↑
- notice I did not include math here back to text ↑
- though one could say every semester so far has been a covid semester back to text ↑