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What Your Campus Wheels Say About You by Emiko P. '25

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Something I learned very quickly when I first got to MIT is that our campus is deceivingly large. Freshman year, I made the unfortunate decision to attend the 9 am option for my physics lectures – which was admittedly a bit optimistic on my part. The mornings I had physics, I would wake up at 8:50 am and frantically dash from my dorm to class. Nothing will ever feel as far as that walk from New Vassar to the physics building.01 Looking it up now, that’s only 0.3 miles… BUT STILL  

That was my first taste of trekking around campus. MIT’s campus is a whopping 168 acres – which is 1.5x bigger than Vatican City! To get from one end of campus to another, such as from Tang Hall to the Sloan School of Management, it would be a 1.2 mile walk.02 Which is about the length of 12,672 standard sized hotdogs, if you’re curious.

This may seem a bit daunting, but don’t worry! There is a solution: the almighty MIT time. MIT time is a rule that applies to every single class at MIT03 at least for undergrads that states that class starts 5 minutes later and ends 5 minutes earlier than its scheduled time. While MIT time helps, it’s not quite enough, so all of us have had to come up with some ways of getting around campus a bit faster.

That brings us to our topic today! There are many different modes of transportation around campus, and each has its own pros and cons and silly stereotypes. So here’s what your chosen mode of transportation says about you.

1. Bikes

You are down-to-earth. You are very diligent, and everyone wants to be your partner in a group project. You probably like to hike or do something outdoors-y. You’re a pro at avoiding the most dangerous thing on planet Earth.04 Boston drivers A car has definitely almost hit you while turning off the bridge, and ever since then you’ve been wearing a helmet. You properly lock up your bike in the rack, although you sometimes forget where you locked it up and for a split second you think someone stole it. You do not cause issues, and everyone should try to be more like you.

2. Blue Bikes

You are not to be confused with the people that own a bike. You got the $40 yearly Blue Bike deal for students, and now every time you and your friends go somewhere that requires more than 5 minutes of walking you say, “Well, we could just Blue Bike…” You probably take some classes at Sloan, and you will be seen pedaling furiously down the sidewalk with your MIT Sloan backpack bumping along with you as you try to make it to class on time. You are a bit chaotic, but you embrace it, and everyone loves you for it!

3. Razor Scooter

If your transportation of choice is a Razor Scooter, you live on campus or in Cambridge – and it is very likely you are a male athlete in a fraternity. You ride the scooter in packs, with three of your fellow male athletes accompanying you on your journey. You never ride them particularly fast – in fact, you rarely scoot faster than walking pace. You usually park them in piles outside of the locker room or outside of the dining halls. You’ve come to terms with the fact that, when it rains, your pants will be perpetually wet from the wheel spray. You are nice and often let your friends use your scooter when they’re in a time crunch. They’re all a bit rusty from overuse, but your Razor scooter has been with you since freshman year, and you will continue to use it until you graduate.

4. Electric Scooter

You are a menace, and you most likely live across the bridge in Boston. Other students find you annoying because you zip around campus, narrowly avoid pedestrians, and casually gun 20+ mph on the bridge – yet somehow you’re still always late to class. Your friends always try to convince you to let them hitch a ride on your scooter (which involves a weirdly intimate ride as you both cram onto the scooter and hang on for dear life). You either drive a literal tank (200 pounds, can go 50 mph) or something with two wheels and a slapped-on motor that they then called an electric scooter. You are on your second scooter because the first one was stolen! Because you’ve ridden it so much and because Boston streets aren’t exactly smooth, your scooter is in disrepair, and you should probably go get that fixed instead of duct taping it over and over again.05 This is a direct @ to myself because my scooter battery is currently being held in place by a roll of duct tape… oops

5. Skateboards

You are cool and a bit of an enigma. You like to skateboard over the Charles River – and with the wind whipping your hair and the sun rising over the river, you are definitely giving off main character energy. You are an academic weapon, you always help people out with PSETs, and you do it all while maintaining this certain level of chill-ness. You have unbreakable confidence, and your ability to gracefully roll over cracks and not face plant is awe inspiring. Also, you definitely either ski or snowboard.

6. MIT Shuttle

MIT has a couple of shuttle systems: some that take you from your off-campus housing in Boston to campus, some that are inter-campus, and some that take you to places like Trader Joes. If this is your mode of transportation, you are just trying to go about your daily life. You probably have submitted at least a dozen complaints about the inconsistency of the shuttles, but you are still loyal to them because you refuse to get a scooter. Your entire schedule revolves around the shuttle and when it will pick you up. You spend a lot of time at the Stud, your daily workout comes from sprinting to make the shuttle in time, and you like to hang out with others while you do homework. You like seeing your friends on it in the mornings, and when it gets cold and snowy out, riding the shuttle home with the squad always makes you feel cozy.

7. Others

If you are any of these other ones, then you’re someone that makes MIT unique and fun. These others include people that rollerblade (especially that person that rollerblades down Massachusetts Avenue with a Hydroflask balanced on their head – you’re so cool) and that one guy that just rides that giant wheel around. Also, shoutout to the people that just walk. That’s what’s up.

At the end of the day, just remember folks: “It’s not about how you get around, but how much you get around” – anonymous skateboarder. Have fun whipping around campus and keep doing your best to make it to class on time!

  1. Looking it up now, that’s only 0.3 miles… BUT STILL back to text
  2. Which is about the length of 12,672 standard sized hotdogs, if you’re curious. back to text
  3. at least for undergrads back to text
  4. Boston drivers back to text
  5. This is a direct @ to myself because my scooter battery is currently being held in place by a roll of duct tape… oops back to text