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MIT student blogger Laura N. '09

What MIT students do on Friday nights by Laura N. '09

Who needs clothing, when you have duct tape?

Friday night was Burton 3rd’s “Anything But Clothes” party, which is exactly what it sounds like. I personally had no intention of going, but I knew two of my best friends would be there, so I caved to peer pressure. Actually, I knew a lot of people who would be there, so I figured I’d stop by for a little while and say hi. Unfortunately, as the name implies, no clothes are allowed at this party. I’m not a big fan of public nudity, so I decided to go with the good old standby: duct tape.

Of course, once I started “throwing something together,” I got terifically excited by the fact that I was making clothing out of duct tape and decided to go all out. I even thought, hey, everyone will be wearing duct tape. What can I do to add to that?

Well, what other non-clothing-really-cool-all-purpose material is there? I know! Zip ties!

(I spent about 5 minutes on the duct tape purse. Most people dealt with lack of pockets by simply leaving everything in their rooms and taping their room keys somewhere to their body, which was sort of interesting.)

I showed the outfit to Adelaide, and she immediately lent me her caution cape to wear as a cool accessory. (Thanks Adelaide!) A caution cape is also exactly what it sounds like:

At the party, there were a lot of duct tape outfits, as well as some caution tape, bubble wrap, trash bags, saranwrap and a suitcase. It’s like Jessie said– MIT kids actually do party. Just maybe not the same way that…well…anyone else parties.

In other news, Dave thanked me for answering his question, saying, “Thanks for the info; although it may seem strange to care about food in comparison to all the great things about MIT, I’m a cross country runner (=50+miles a week) so food is very important to me.” Well Dave, you’re not alone. Food is important to just about everyone, and athletes especially. On that note, I thought I’d share my thoughts about food here from the athlete’s point of view.

As I said, I rarely eat in the dining halls- in fact, I’ve never eaten in any of the house dining halls (except during CPW), so I can’t say much about them. I know a couple of other freshmen on the field hockey team eat in dining halls regularly, and they’re not dead yet. =) I make a weekly trip to Star Market and pick up some essentials: bread, cold cuts, tuna fish, gatorade, soup, granola bars, mac and cheese, cereal, pancake mix, cheese and crackers, string cheese, grapes, and of course, frozen pizza. I also try to throw together the occasional real meal, but it can be kind of hard with a cramped schedule. As I see it, there are 3 distinct challenges to my eating habits:

1) Figuring out what, and how much, to buy. I don’t know about you, but I never did grocery shopping before. My roommate April wasted a good amount of money the first few times she went shopping because she bought too much produce, and a lot of it went bad before she had a chance to eat it. You have to remember that you’re buying for yourself, and that you have limited time/skills to prepare food. Even it you cook at home, you’ll probably take some things for granted. It’s easy to buy pancake mix and then realize, “Oh wait…I don’t have vegetable oil.” There are a lot of stupid little things you need to remember. (I solve this problem by buying anything and everything that has the words “Just add water” on the box.) Luckily, practice makes perfect in this case. After a few weeks you figure out how much food you’ll need in the next week, what things you’ll actually eat, what things you’re able to prepare.

2) Chicken and meat. You may have noticed that my grocery list is a little light on these two items. For me at least, it’s pretty hard to incorporate these things into an easy-to-maintain diet. I do my best with Chef Boyardee, hot dogs, and frozen dinners. Luckily for me, I get fed dinner for free on field hockey road trips, which usually means Subway or Boston Market. I also get free dinner a couple of nights a week (for newspaper meetings and my advising seminar). And if I’m feeling particularly hungry, I make my way over to the Student Center for a meatball sub from the Italian place or a hamburger or chicken sandwich from the grill station.

3) Timing. This is specific to varsity athletes: Two hours a day are blocked off for athletics: from 5 to 7. It’s great that MIT is so supportive of athletics, but at the same time, those are prime dinner hours. For example, most of the house dining halls are open from something like 5-8 for dinner. If you eat lunch at noon or 1, you’re going to get hungry again before 7. You want to eat something before practice to get your energy level up, but eating a full dinner at 4:30 is a really dumb idea. It’s kind of hard to find a balance at first. I generally eat my lunch no later than 2, and then have a midday snack around 4- maybe cheese and crackers, a bowl of cereal, a granola bar. It’s just something to keep me un-hungry and ready to exercise until I have a chance to eat a fuller meal after practice.

So there you have it- my thoughts on food. Speaking of food, I have to go get ready for the Conner 2 frosh dinner, which is tonight. On most floors, this would mean getting ready to go out- the frosh dinner is where the floor takes the frosh out to dinner. On Conner 2, it means I have to go assemble cooking supplies- it’s where the frosh cook dinner for the floor. I happen to be the frosh who made the mistake of suggesting that we cook baked ziti, since it’s the only thing I know how to make. This led to me somehow being designated as being “in charge” of cooking. This could very well be disastrous…

11 responses to “What MIT students do on Friday nights”

  1. Anonymous says:

    um, didn’t that hurt to take off? At any rate, you have truly inspired my halloween costume. Duct tape is amazing, and the zip ties add a quirky flair.

  2. Timur Sahin says:


    You are my new idle…

    A question though, wasn’t it extremely cold in nothing but duct tape? 0.o.

  3. Timur Sahin says:

    IDOL! Yarrrgh. ><

  4. Laura says:

    OK, so for clarification: you don’t actually stick the duct tape directly on your body! Geez that would hurt! You basically double up two layers of tape so that the sticky sides are facing each other. Then both the inside and outside of the duct tape “fabric” are non-sticky.

    And the party was conveniently located in my dorm, so I didn’t need to go outside. So it wasn’t particularly cold, no. In fact, it was pretty warm (being inside in a small space with a large crowd…)

  5. Haha, that’s cool. I was wondering about how you would peel off that duct tape. Well, now we know what happens.

    On a side note, just take note of CHICKEN nowadays, especially with the bird flu spreading worldwide. If possible, cut down, reduce, reduce, reduce, and in my case, I’m gonna abstain from chicken for a little while. Which probably leaves fish as the only meat in my diet.

  6. Dave says:

    Haha! See, correct grammer pays off! Anyway, if you’re lazy you can just stick duct tape straight to your skin, taking a shower afterwards makes it slouch off, especially if you are lucky enough to have someone to help. However, hair can be a problem, OUCH! Thanks for all the info on the food situation, and I hope your Halloween is as fun as this weekend looked.

  7. Ben says:

    Oh that is just awesome. You could sell that purse on Newbury Street for like $400.

  8. C’est l’art smile

    duct tape prom…i remember that being a scholarship…

    Pretty interesting.

  9. Jonathan says:

    Ok, just have to ask after the duct tape comment… are you from Texas?

    You are my Hero…

  10. nehalita says:

    I saw the duct tape and zip ties and thought “oh she’d make a perfect FIRST dork” and realized you already were one…

    Jeez you guys have the craziest parties. But it sounds so fun…

  11. mike says:

    hey, just a question about athletics. I am interested in playing football at MIT. Are football practices from 5-7 as well? That’s really short! I haven’t had a chance to contact the coach yet.