When I first came to MIT as a bright-eyed young frosh, I was placed in my first-choice dorm, Next House. (I think my top four were Next, Simmons, Maseeh, and then Random.) I’d been to some good dinners at Next over CPW, and it seemed like a friendly, peaceful place with nice people. Random had some pretty awesome events, but it looked too wild and crazy for me to live there; it seemed like more of a place to visit every now and then. Frosh!dukhovni was kind of overwhelmed by this whole “college” thing, and just wanted some peace and quiet.

There was plenty of peace and quiet to be had at Next. Through a miraculous coincidence, at the last minute I was able to get a single room instead of the triple I would have been living in; I’m still not sure how I pulled that off. So I had a space all to myself, on one of the quieter floors of Next. It wasn’t a ghost town or anything like that; there were plenty of friendly neighbors and the occasional fun food-related study break, and I had people to chat, pset, and watch anime with. It was just a very calm, mellow, *normal* sort of place.

Continue reading ‘I’ve Looked at Tech from Both Sides Now’


So it’s finally REX proper, which means that, by today, most if not all of you should be at MIT, safely ensconced within your temporary rooms in your temporary dorms (unless you’re in McCormick — then you’re there for the entire semester, at the very least). The desk workers are checking in the last batch of pre-frosh today and tomorrow. Your FPOPs are finishing up if they aren’t already done, and if you’ve been here for a while, you probably have a good sense of where some dorms of interest might be.

There’s not much else to cover for pre-REX information, so today’s final summer reading will be fairly short. (Not short enough to forgo the <more> tag though. Sorry.)

Continue reading ‘[Random Hall] …And Don’t Forget to Bring Your Towel!’

Late. Laaaaate. Such late. Much wow.

In other words, it’s time for the second to last installment of your summer reading and the third installment of the “Oh God I Can’t Believe I Forgot to Write This and Left It Off for Three Weeks” blog series. We’ll be looking at things to bring, things to leave at home, things that will be here when you arrive, etc.

Of course, for about half of you, this post won’t be live until after you arrive at Random Hall. And for the other half, it’ll probably be too late to stop you from making any big purchases like a fridge or a second bed or a microwave. So basically, the timing for this post was awful, and we’ll fix it for next year.

Anyways. Onwards to the lists!

Continue reading ‘[Random Hall] You Don’t Really Need That Mini-fridge’

Part two of the “Oh God It’s Almost REX and I’m So Many Posts Behind Schedule” series of blog posts. Is it bad that I’m taking so little time to write each of these up? I can’t help but feel like writing a series of helpful things for freshmen to know should be harder than this. Unless I’m not doing it very well. Ah well.

In this week’s installment of your summer reading, we’ll look at where to find friends. Because unless you’re a math camper or go to one of those schools that sends n number of students to MIT each year, where n >= 3, you probably don’t know anyone here and are really eager to make new friends.

(Whoo mathcamp reference. Maybe after this we can go back and count how many times in this series of posts I’ve referenced something that has practically no meaning to anyone outside of a small subset of people that I know.)

Continue reading ‘[Random Hall] Finding the Proverbial Water Cooler’

(Yes, this post is multiple weeks overdue. As it turns out, it’s really hard to teach high school students, do summer work, and keep up with the blog at the same time. @_@ )

It’s a Saturday, which means I should have had this post written over three weeks ago or something and scheduled for deployment several mornings ago. But I’ve suddenly found myself with the tiny amount of free time allotted for the three blog posts that will be rolling out this weekend, so for those of you temp’d in the other half of Random Hall, the ones who were shafted these past few weeks and have had to wait nearly a month to hear about where you’ll be living, here’s your informational snippet for the week.

(Those of you waiting for me to lampoon the 290 side for God knows how long, sorry.)

Continue reading ‘[Random Hall] CYOA — Turn Right’

Another week, another installment of your weekly Random Hall-related summer readings. Feels just like high school English class all over again, doesn’t it?

So you all should have had over a week now to get accustomed to the idea of where you’ll be staying for the first week or so before the fall semester. At the very least, if you’re coming to stay with us in Random Hall, you should know your room number by now — if you don’t, go email random-questions@mit and someone should be with you momentarily to help you figure things out.

(On that note, if you have any questions at all but feel weird leaving comments, you should email random-questions@mit.)

And if you’ve been keeping up with your summer reading, you should also know by now which floor you’re on in which building, and perhaps have a vague sense of what that floor what might be like. But since there’s no kill like overkill and I’m beginning to run out of ideas for summer reading posts, this week we are going to attempt to go into excruciating detail about floor cultures on the 282 side of the dorm, along with their corresponding room numbers so you’ll know for certain where you are and what you should expect.

(Kitchen and lounge features to be discussed in a later post. This week’s and next week’s installments will be solely based on the culture and the people as I understand them, since for some reason no one could be convinced to write a blurb about themselves over summer break.)

Continue reading ‘[Random Hall] CYOA — Turn Left’

Oh hey there, reader(s). It’s been approximately a week since the last Random Hall-related post, which means we are just in time for the next installment of your summer reading!

By now, you’ve hopefully found out where you’ll be temporarily lodging for the duration of REX. If you haven’t yet, though, that’s also fine — unlike the housing lottery, room assignments vary by dorm, and as a result, different dorms will finish assigning and releasing their prefrosh assignments at different times.

In Random Hall, the initial temporary assignment is fairly… random. You get assigned a room just so you’ll have some place to sleep, but this initial assignment does not account for any of your likes, dislikes, possible interests, etc. Your first room is but a resting point, a swap space of sorts, some place for us to put you until you decide what you want to do with yourself.

So how do you make that decision? You visit all the floors and get a feel for the culture. But we’re covering that in a later post — for today, let’s discuss the housing process itself, and the logistics behind choosing a room for the semester.

Continue reading ‘[Random Hall] “But I Don’t Want to Pack Again!”’

First of all, welcome, prefrosh! You should have all gotten your rooming assignments yesterday — if you still don’t know where you’re staying this REX, go triple check all your email addresses again or complain to MIT housing. :)

For the rest of you, hi! Welcome to MIT. And Random Hall. But mostly MIT. I am suffering under no delusions that some of you, especially the guys, may not have gotten into the dorm that you want, especially if it was Random Hall. Sorry about that. But hey, there’s still FYRE, right? Still plenty of time to try to transfer in. Or, you know, see other dorms and decide that you fit in Next House or East Campus better.

(I’m being supportive and open-minded. Wheee.)

Since you’re still reading, though, I’m going to assume that you have some passing interest in Random Hall — if in not living in it, at least in not coming in completely clueless and getting lost between the two donuts.

(Also, I was sorted Slytherin. ‘Cuz we can’t all be witty and intellectual.)

Continue reading ‘[Random Hall] So You’ve Been Sorted Into Ravenclaw’

I woke up this morning to the shocking realization that I’d already squandered away half of my summer without managing to write up a single blog post. In my defense, this was not for lack of interesting activities to blog about — in the past month and a half, I’ve designed a T-shirt, managed seven high school students, written at least two lesson plans and three different Python scripts, played with karpathy’s character-based recurrent neural network, ingested copious amounts of tea, taught my computer to (badly) generate Taylor Swift music, and come up with at least three different events for the four or so days of REX that we’re getting this fall.

(Once again, Random Hall has a ton of events planned for REX, run by the same ten people or so. You’ll see me around, pre-froshlings.)

But since there’s not much interesting stuff going on at MIT right now and we’re a few weeks away from opening our doors to the Class of 2019, I figured I should probably devote a few posts in the upcoming weeks to stuff that future residents might be interested in. So behold — a rough schedule of what to expect from the blog in the following weeks, depending on how motivated I am:

July 18th, 2015 : So You’ve Been Sorted Into Ravenclaw

July 25nd, 2015 : “But I Don’t Want to Pack Again!”

August 1st, 2015 : CYOA — Turn Left

August 8th, 2015 : CYOA — Turn Right

August 15th, 2015 : Finding the Proverbial Water Cooler

August 22nd, 2015 : You Don’t Really Need That Mini-fridge

August 29th, 2015 : …And Don’t Forget to Bring Your Towel!

I’m sure I’ll come up with some content to match the titles sometime before the end of the week. They’re deliberately obtuse enough to fit any old topic I might want to write about. Expect the posts to show up at 8am on the aforementioned days — they’ll be written beforehand, then dispensed in an orderly manner through the scheduling feature so information isn’t being spammed over the course of a single week.

The past two weeks passed by in a blur. I spent much of the entire time punting this blog post, telling myself that I would write it tomorrow or the next day or even the day after that, when I would have more time to put down my thoughts and feelings while not tethered to the looming specter of finals and having to pack up my room for the year.

Now that I actually have that freedom though, it seems like I don’t actually have much to say. As it turns out, two years (omg! two years!) in this place have trained me to be wary of the calm — it’s the temporary lull before the storm, and I can already see all the things I’ll be busy with over the next few months.

So in lieu of a recap on all the finals I took and the cleaning I did this past week (trust me, it wasn’t that interesting anyways), let’s briefly summarize all the stuff I plan to do this summer so we can move on to discussing Random Hall-related stuff and convincing prefrosh (such as yourself! maybe.) to join us in the fall. :)

Continue reading ‘Let Me Count the Ways’