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‘Survivor’ Orientation Kicks Off

By Jennifer Krishnan


Orientation 2001 kicked off in Kresge auditorium last night, and members of the class of 2005 found that they were already learning new things.

“I thought everyone was going to be a geek,” said Danchai Mekadenaumporn ’05, “but I guess I was wrong.”

Mekadenaumporn was among the thousand freshmen who gathered for the opening ceremonies of Orientation 2001, entitled “Survivor Orientation.”

Ceremonies featured speeches from Dean of Admissions Marilee Jones, who introduced herself as “God of Admissions,” and Dean for Student Life Larry G. Benedict, who was brought in on a stretcher created on the fly by a team of freshmen.

The Orientation Coordinators also led a short series of games, including a parody of the game show Who Wants to Be A Millionaire?, in which Jones participated.

While one freshman incorrectly identified Course XXII (Nuclear Engineering) as “Environmental Astronomics” and others were unable to define 10-250 (a lecture hall) and 8.01 (Physics I), Jones “won” the game by successfully defining osmotic pressure and determining what the letters “MIT” stood for. At the end of the game, Jones took the stage for her welcome speech.

“MIT is not just a school; it’s a concept,” Jones said. “When you graduate from MIT, you’re going to fix the world.”

Jones reminded freshmen that they were each “hand-picked,” informing them that each applicant was reviewed five times before being accepted, a fact that stunned the crowd.

“Some of you have always been the smartest,” Jones continued. “Fortunately, that period in your life is over.” This remark was met with wild applause.

Benedict’s Thrival Tips

After being delivered to the stage via impromptu stretcher, Benedict offered the audience “Larry’s Three Simple Tips for Survival and Thrival at MIT,” which were based on his own first year at the Institute. These tips include living a balanced life, making a connection with someone, and getting enough sleep.

“Sleep is a secret around here,” Benedict said. “In four weeks, 90 percent of you will be sleep deprived.”

Benedict ended by quoting “one of my favorite philosophers, Dr. Seuss: ‘And will you survive? Yes, you will indeed.’”

Freshmen discuss experience

Yesterday’s program “was a lot of fun,” said Christopher C. Simeone ’05. “They really built up a sense of [school] spirit.”

Simeone said that his favorite part was Jones’ speech. “She did a good job of explaining our role at MIT,” he said. “They brought us here. We were hand-picked.”

Even before Orientation officially began at 5 pm yesterday, students were already getting settled in and beginning to meet each other.

“I was pretty nervous about coming here,” Mekadenaumporn said, “but now I’m comfortable.”

While Mekadenaumporn didn’t arrive on campus until Tuesday night, Shauna X. Mei ’05 came to Cambridge on August 16 for the Freshman Leadership Program.

“It was awesome because ... it wasn’t your typical leadership camp,” Mei said. “By the end of it, I felt like I knew 100 people really well. But it might be a disadvantage to be people who don’t do them.”

Mei said her favorite part about MIT was “the fact that it’s [Pass/ No Record] and you get to pick where you live. That’s such a plus.”

However, the disadvantage to MIT’s system of residence selection, Mei said, is that since each living group has a specific reputation. “There’s less diversity within the houses,” she said.