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Life does continue

Rush: the annual occasion for living groups to play God (as a good friend of mine from Peru used to say). It's the time to look for the few, the proud, the freshmen; diverse individuals seeking more than just academics at MIT; men and women who see their social life as an extension of their education. Sound familiar? Please refer to every page of the Undergraduate Residence Booklet.

The Ordeal should be over by now. How many egos bruised out there? (And this year there wasn't any alcohol to ease the pain!) How many are starting to regret their decision? Has it dawned on anyone that you don't have parties, cookouts, beachtrips, all expenses paid, on your daily schedule for your supposed four years at MIT?

Wait until classes start: especially for 6.001 where, as you enter 10-250, some eager-beaver is handing out problem-set number one.

You probably remember, if you paused stuffing yourself with Lobdell swill, the annual distinguished panel of speakers at the freshmen picnic who told you that you are all very smart (haven't you heard it enough from your dreaded relatives and friends: OOOhh! You got into MIT. You must be smart.) and insisted on telling you to have a great time during rush. "Go out there and be yourself. Meet people but above all enjoy yourself."

And undoubtedly some of you did. But were you ever warned about being redirected (a euphemism for flushed)? Did anybody tell you not to take things too personally because if you did, you might obliterate your self-esteem, or worse, think you are a nerd who has no social skills doomed to spend his days at the terminal?

Well here I am, a bit late perhaps. Life goes on beyond Rush. I can't picture too many of you being more onfused than I was during my rush. I actually ended up pledging one group, depledging it a few hours later, pledging an alternative group, staying there one night before deciding to depledge this second group and trying to join a dorm instead.

By that time it was too late to get into the dorm of my choice, and my assigned dorm seemed a little too avant-garde, even for me, a confused freshman.

What would papa say?

I ended up repledging the group I pledged in the first place, only after surviving a barrage of cross-questioning from the elders of the tribe which was witnessed by all the warriors. I had not realized just how many toes I had stepped on; like walking on a millipede, I suppose.

The whole experience was somewhat positive (ha, ha), because I had a chance to get an unprecedented sneak preview at Rush; a peek at all that secret, ritualized, computerized, behind-the-scenes stuff.

More importantly, I met members of the living group at a closer range and with a real problem to discuss, as opposed to the usual set of questons: where are you from, what major, who are you, and why MIT. I learned intricacies about Rush that I should have learned as a sophomore when I too would get the chance to play the Almighty and decide the fate of freshmen who tread our door in search of a home.

I guess my extreme confusion, blended with impulsiveness and a pinch of cockiness, provided a somewhat unsual experience. (The best was when I had to see Dean Immerman as a result of my indecision.) My extended Rush was tiring, to say the least. I had my belongings unequally distributed amongst two frats and my temporary dorm assignment. I did, however, receive a lot of unexpected attention; and some of us like that, don't we?

If you didn't have a good time during rush and you were rejected (or should I say redirected?) by a living group you really liked, who you felt really liked you, don't take it too seriously. Do not admit defeat, but do concede that you may have experienced some communication problems. Hardly surprising; so much play-acting and outright deception goes on during Rush that you have nothing to feel inadequate about. Fortunately, the whole thing is over, and I bet you can't wait to hand in those 18.011 problem sets on time so you can blow the weekends.

It is easy for me to sit here and tell you how disappointing and stressful everything is since the last three years living in my fraternity have provided some of the best friends and experiences I have ever had. But who knows: had there been a place in the dorm of my choice or had I not been able to rejoin my frat the second time around, I think I would still be enjoying myself, maybe at the expense of being oblivious to the Greek system.

It's a question of attitude. You do not have to make your living arrangements your raison d'etre.

MIT's Rush is constrained by one of the biggest contradictions I have ever heard: they will tell you that choosing a living group is an important decision not to be taken too lightly, and yet you'll be happy no matter where you'll end up. Either way it is preposterous that you only have two full days to market yourself.

Corrado: "Why not make MIT Rush longer?"

God: "It wouldn't be in the all-nighter spirit of the school. Somehow students here want to screw themselves from the very beginning."

So don't be upset or sore and make the best of it from here on. The admissions people liked you; you can be sure of that. (You are here, aren't you, dummy!)

We are all very fortunate to be here. Not only because "...we are all very smart," but also because our parents or our alumni can afford the second most expensive school in the country. Psssst! Rumor has it Bennington College couldn't boast about anything else, so they raised their yearly tuition by $90. They are the nerds if you ask me.

Have a great year.