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.)

The first place to check for intelligent life in Random Hall is the kitchen. Perhaps because we have such nice kitchens compared to the rest of the dorms at MIT, the kitchens at Random Hall tend to act as hubs of social and interpersonal interaction — as it turns out, even MIT students need to eat food sometimes, and working where we eat is made much more convenient when our kitchens have tables and chairs and sometimes even couches.

In the kitchens you’ll find general kitchen things, like a stove, a sink, countertops, cabinets, fridges etc. Floors each have their own way of assigning cabinet and fridge space in the kitchens, but all residents generally get one or two cabinets/drawers, depending on the size of such cabinets/drawers and personal preference. Of course, you should not go through someone else’s cabinet or fridge for food. Additionally, different floors have different collections of spices and miscellaneous community ingredients, usually for baking, as well as community dishware. The floors also have dishwashers in varying states of functional, and different floors have different ways of getting residents to wash their dishes.

The general kitchen etiquette is thus: clean up after yourself. You are a college student, probably no longer a minor, and nobody here wants to be your mother. No, not even Nina, our house master, who is wonderfully motherly but has spent enough of her life cleaning up after and raising her own children. Not even Kirk and Maria, who are Random Hall’s facilities staff and already clean the general kitchens and bathrooms and take out the trash for you. At the very least, rinse off your used utensils and dishware and pile them into the dishwasher. If you are feeling even more generous and/or enterprising, wash them by hand, or run the dishwasher when it’s full. If you’ve made something for community, e.g a cake or a bunch of cookies, either clean up the ensuing mess yourself or ask some friends to help you in return for the baked goods.

So maybe you don’t want to hang out in the kitchen, on the off chance that someone else will make you do their dishes in exchange for baked goods. Or maybe you like keeping your work and your food separate, and don’t think your professors will much appreciate a pset that smells and tastes of barbecue sauce.

For those of us with some moral opposition to kitchens, there are lounges, which vary from floor to floor even more than the kitchens. Each lounge has, standard with its layout, some number of couches, some number of bookshelves, some number of tables, and some number of televisions. Each lounge also has a closet, filled with some kind of random stuff that also varies from floor to floor.

Basic lounge details are as follows:

destiny lounge (120)
Has couches set up in stadium seating arrangement, tied to the naming story of the floor. Also has giant TV, for no good reason. Has some number of game consoles and a closet full of God-knows-what. Generally left unused unless a Destiny-ite decides to host a movie-watching event in the lounge. Also has a piano.

foo lounge (140)

Biggest lounge in the dorm. Takes up around two-thirds of Foo floor space and connects to a small kitchen, from which community food may be served. Has the bounciest couches in the entire dorm, as well as an unobstructed view of desk, if you are into such things. Also doesn’t really have a lounge closet, though there’s a closet by desk that has random stuff in it.

loop lounge (220)

Quiet, and has cats. If you’re allergic, keep away from this floor. Great place for tooling otherwise, since very few people hang out here in a conventional way, and has a piano along with some Disney sheet music for when you feel creative. The closet has some cat stairs and what looks like an air conditioner of sorts. On the obsolete fireplace mantle can be found ex-ET rubber ducks, prisoners of a failed invasion, re-branded Loop.

black hole lounge (230)

Beanbags and cats. Again, keep away if you’re allergic. Great for taking naps in, since there are the aforementioned beanbags, and much of the work that goes on in Black Hole lounge is quiet. The closet holds general LARPing gear, e.g boffer swords, some number of costumes, etc. Bookshelves hold a collection of Viking bodice-ripping romance novels, as well as sex- and space-related books, joined in the middle by the aptly-titled Sex in Space.

clam lounge (320)

If you like playing or watching others play video games, this is the lounge for you. Has piles and piles of games for various game consoles, as well as at least two different Playstation 3s, one GameCube, two Nintendo DSs, one Nintendo Wii, etc. Has multiple blackboards for keeping track of Tichu scores and stupid things said by residents. Closet holds all the board games that Random Hall currently owns, minus a few that are laying around on Pecker/Clam somewhere.

bmf lounge (330)

Has a single beanbag that is probably kinda sketchy, as well as a bookcase full of class notes and random textbooks. Central location is good for playing board games and/or doing group activities, but be sure to ask the residents if it’s okay with them first, and clean up the area afterwards. The closet is a TARDIS, and has miscellaneous arts and crafts materials.

bonfire lounge (420)

Lots of pillows with pillowcases decorated by yours truly, as well as black lights and speakers for the occasional Bonfire party. TV is hooked up to a computer for Legend of Korra viewing parties and the intermittent attempt at expanding the horizons of the residents via Mean Girls and/or critically-acclaimed movies. Closet has random cruft left by residents over the years, as well as general lounge cruft that couldn’t reasonably fit in the lounge.

pecker lounge (430)

Unlike all the other lounges, does not have a TV. Instead, has a blackboard for lectures and miscellaneous debate, and a bookshelf full of math-related books. Also has a piano for playing piano accompaniment to lectures, or for delighting the entire dorm with renditions of Chopin. Closet contains some number of costumes from the last time someone tried to make a dedicated costume closet.

As with the kitchens, lounges are also nice for hanging out and having tooling parties. They also have air conditioning, which varies in effectiveness from floor to floor but generally keeps them cooler than the kitchens, which have stoves to counteract the air conditioning. Because many Randomites keep strange sleep schedules, the lounges are also occasionally used for taking naps in, and it isn’t unusual to find several people asleep on the couches at any given time. The general etiquette, again, to keep the mess to a minimum and clean up afterwards.

Whelp, there’s post two. Next up, look forward to the list of things you should and shouldn’t bring — though this post will probably come out too late to help any of you that are already here for FPOPs. :|