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MIT student blogger Jessie L. '07

Temp assignments and cautionary tales by Jessie L. '07

I hear that if you’re an incoming frosh, you got your temp housing assigment.

If you’re a prospective student, allow me to explain. During the summer, you get to rank the dorms in order of preference, based on information sent in early summer, and CPW observations if you went to CPW. In July, you get sent a temporary housing assignment (this year, everyone got one of their top three choices). When you arrive on campus, a period officially called Residence Exploration (REX) and unofficially called Dorm Rush, allows you to visit and attend student-planned events at all the different dorms, and choose a new one if you wish. After you get your final dorm assignment, most dorms have an In-House Rush where you choose a hall or entry or whatever your dorm of choice has. And then, after that, there’s FSILG Rush (well, FILG Rush, sororities currently rush over IAP), though you can’t live in an FSILG until you’re a sophomore.

Unfortunately, in these troubled times, incoming frosh often receive different messages from students and administrators as to the purpose and importance (or the name, for that matter) of Dorm Rush. As a result, they aren’t quite sure what they’re meant to be doing. There are certain mistakes in the approach to things that are often made. I’m using this entry to warn you against a few of these, using the situations of fictional freshmen.

Be aware, however, that while these freshmen are fictional, I’ve seen their real life bases running around, though not necessarily in the same living groups.

Disclaimer: All of these people are fictional and are being used by me to illustrate points. The use of a living group’s name is not meant to imply anything about that living group.

Little Johnny, the Tunnel-Vision Frosh

Little Johnny found out about 3rd East, East Campus from an Internet community, and decided that he had to live there. When he entered the summer lottery, he stated that he was going to die if he didn’t live on 3rd East. He was subsequently temped in East Campus, where the irate RAC (Room Assignment Chair) put him on 3rd West instead. Crushed but undeterred, he arrived on campus and proceded to spend the entirety of Dorm Rush on 3rd East inadvertently annoying the residents. They encouraged him to explore other options, but he professed his undying love for 3rd East and disregarded their advice. During Hall (In-House) Rush, he stayed on 3rd East the entire night, and when he filled out his form he put a ‘1’ next to 3rd East and left all the others blank. In line with the Hall Rush policy of not giving those who refuse to participate what they want, he was put on 5th West.

Little Annie, the Apathetic Millennial

Little Annie was temped on Burton One. She registered this, but didn’t understand why she couldn’t have been told her room and roommate in the spring like all her friends going to state schools. When she arrived on campus, she found Burton One pleasant enough, so she started to settle in and ignored Rush completely. Upperclassmen on her floor tried to tell her that she should get out and look at other dorms, but she said she liked the one she was in just fine, so why bother?

The next spring, she made a couple of friends in Simmons and began to spend a lot of time hanging out there. The more time she spent there, the more she realized that it fit her personality so much better than her current living group, and that she was closer to the people there than her own hallmates. Burton One was still pleasant enough, but now she felt a knawing discontent. She eventually applied to transfer to Simmons, but the waiting list was long and it took a year before her transfer was granted.

Meanwhile, the powers-that-be announced that as such a small percentage of students had picked another dorm at the end of Rush (or “REX”, as they called it), it had been decided that it wasn’t really necessary, and the time and resources allotted for next year’s Rush would be cut in half. The student body, including Little Annie, reacted with shock and dismay.

Little Joey, the Wannabe-Sophomore

Little Joey ignored Dorm Rush not because he didn’t care where he lived, but because he knew he wanted to be a fraternity brother. He’d never actually seen any of MIT’s fraternities, but he’d already decided that dorms were for losers. He’d just picked whatever for the summer lottery. He bided his time, waiting for FSILG Rush, and eventually pledged a fraternity. Which is great, except that you can’t live in a fraternity until you’re a sophomore, so he ended up spending a year in a place that he hated, and where many of the people hated him. He drowned his sorrows by getting involved in student government. By the time he was finally able to move to his fraternity and be happy, he had a very negative view of dorms and the people in them, especially as he’d never bothered to hang out in any of them except the hated one he had lived in. He brought this perspective to his student government work, and it damaged relations between the fraternity and dorm governning bodies.

What I’m trying to say is, when you come to campus, treat Dorm Rush like a proper rush and look around. Even if you love your temp assignment and don’t plan to switch dorms, at least find out what you’re rejecting and get some free food. You’re not expected to switch dorms, but at least consider doing so. Realize that you don’t have to settle for “okay” – you can get “amazing” instead. Rushing FSILGs later is great, but as you have to live in a dorm for a year, you might as well find one that you’ll enjoy. Participate, participate, participate, and have fun!

4 responses to “Temp assignments and cautionary tales”

  1. Jenn says:

    mmm. I was one of those “I want to live at East Campus and no where else!” frosh last year…though I did look at some dorms during CPW atleast.

    I like to think I redeemed myself by hitting all the halls during in-house rush, as well as checking them out beforehand, to meet the residents and get the real feel for the halls. and then i stayed where i was temped, 4w, because its awesome smile

  2. Mollie says:

    As a former rush chair (Macgregor, last year), nothing makes me madder than people like the above.

    Let’s beat people over the head if they don’t take rush seriously this year. Reverse hazing, as it were.

  3. I have no clue where I want to live, but out of the two dorms I’d checked out thus far, I chose the one that seemed more fitting.

    During rex, I’ll be running around to the different dorms that seem applicable (not including the three or four that just don’t) and trying to figure out where I want to live.



  4. Talia says:

    “He drowned his sorrows by getting involved in student government.”

    made me laugh out loud. really. thank the gods there’s no one else in lab with me.