I’ve been chatting with a girl named Sara, who also got into MIT, since December, but had never actually met her. We talked on the phone and arranged to meet Thursday morning for breakfast before going to MIT to get registered. We took the red line to South Station and waited there. Then I get a text:
“meet in the main area in South Station”
Ok, cool, no problem. Too bad I’d never been to South Station and didn’t know where the main area was. My mom and I stood in what we thought was the main area, only to get another text:
“I’m here, where are you?”
Uh-oh. After calling and trying to figure out what was going on, we realized that we were a level below where we needed to be, so we walked upstairs and BOOM, huge open area with banners, stores, restaurants, people, and all sorts of stuff. And, there was Sara! It was really exciting seeing her for the first time, I’m not quite sure how to describe it. It’s really cool getting to know somebody for a really long time and then finally getting to see them in person. We went to a little bagel place for breakfast. Here’s the thing I discovered about ordering food in Boston, it’s really unorganized. You order and then just kind of hang out until food lands on the counter, and then you grab it and hope it’s yours. Turns out the food I ordered isn’t the food I ended up with. Oh well, tasted good anyway!
After breakfast we went back downstairs and hopped the train towards MIT. Sara and my mom seemed to think that sitting was fun, but it’s obviously more fun to try to stand in the subway! Eventually they forced me to sit down, but it was fun while it lasted.
After we popped up at MIT we met Sara’s host and she led us to registration, which hadn’t started yet. She and Sara left us there and went to drop off Sara’s luggage where she was staying. My mom and I went into the student center and sat in some couches waiting for The Coop (the bookstore) to open so we could buy all sorts of MIT goodies. Here was our view from where we were waiting:
Once the doors opened we emersed ourselves in MIT goodies to last a lifetime, but settled on a few necessities. I got a black sweatshirt and baseball hat that you’ll see me wearing in a bunch of my pictures. We bought my dad a coffee cup and a window cling for his car. We also bought a window cling for my stats teacher because she collects them from the colleges her students get accepted to.
Once we were all shopped out it was finally time to go officially register for CPW. We headed upstairs where we caught our first glimpse of Tim the Beaver, MIT’s mascot!
That’s him with his helper, she helps him into elevators and makes sure he doesn’t get hurt.
Registration was in a large room ringed with tables and laptops. Registration was the first real time to meet a bunch of the admissions officers whose blogs I’ve been reading for the last year.
And Matt McGann:
And after somebody saw me taking his picture, they had us stand together and get a picture of both of us:
He seemed excited to see me, and asked how long I'd been at MIT. We chatted for a little bit, but I noticed that he never dropped my name. I never mentioned my name, so I wasn't sure if he recognized me from the MIT blogs or if he was pretending to know me and was hoping I'd say my name. Turns out he knew it was me, because check out what his 9:55 event was in his blog.
I got my folder of papers and discounts, my schedule of parties/events, and my food card and I was set. The food card is basically a debit card for something called TechCash, MIT’s money system. Everybody’s CPW TechCash food card was loaded with, get this, $20.11. How fitting, very creative. Matt McGann’s idea. Here’s my typical convo with people about the amount on the card:
“Yeah, we got $20.11 because we’re the MIT class of 2011.”
“Cool! So that means you get one more cent than last year’s class!”
“Um, actually, they got 30 dollars.”
Yes, it’s true, we got ten dollars less this year, but after MIT realized that last year’s class went the entire CPW without spending any money and then spent all of it on wiffleball bats right before the weekend was over, they decided to cut back. Too bad!
After I was all registered I found Sara again and we took all my stuff over to my dorm to dump it. I met my host, Michael Johnson. He’s the drum major of the MIT marching band, plays clarinet, and is a mechanical engineer. Basically, me in 2 years, perhaps minus the drum major bit. After dumping our stuff he showed us the workshop/lab area for the 2.007 mechanical engineering robot competition. It’s very cool, my kind of place, lots of tools and joysticks and hockey pucks and balls and flashy lights and wood and Michael Snively stuff. We parted ways after that and then Sara and I were on our own. We quickly met up with Sara’s host, who had a class coming up soon, but decided to show us a quick little aspect of MIT that not a lot of people get to see.
We were taken to building 9 and then led through a labyrinth of hallways before reaching our destination. A bit of background: MIT builds new buildings. When they build a new building, they often attach it to an old building via a hallway. Well, such was the case in this particular hallway, except they decided to, um, stop building the hallway halfway through completion. So basically it’s a hallway with a couple of stairs that lead directly into a wall. MIT students thought it was stupid/hilarious, so they decided to take advantage of the situation with a mural.
Yes, that’s the coyote from the roadrunner cartoons, smacking into his ACME tunnel. Poor guy! Here’s a zoomed out view of the entire hallway:
Sara’s host had to dash off to class, so Sara and I were alone, at MIT, in Boston. It was still kinda surreal at that point. We checked the schedule and decided that a tour of the Stata Center was in order.