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COLUMN

CPW Wins MIT Converts

Guest Column
Matthew Sanchez & Alberto Gayon

One cannot help but feel a sense of awe when first setting foot onto the hallowed grounds of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Eight hundred fifty prospective students experienced this when they attended Campus Preview Weekend (CPW) from April 4 to April 7.

The most engaging feature of the weekend was the sheer amount of activities made available to the prefrosh, compared to the few allowed by the preview weekends of many other colleges. There were numerous parties, classes, lectures, and games, as well as other diversions. Despite the variety of options given by MIT, we often found that attending those activities not organized by the Institute allowed us a more complete view of student life on campus. Participating in various dorm socials and club meetings gave us a much better chance to get to know the residents of MIT than we otherwise would have had. In addition, we were amazed at the relative freedom given to prefrosh in pursuing and attending these activities. All events were open to everyone, and no restrictions were placed on which events had to be attended. This contributed to a more realistic college environment, without unwanted influence from parents and other authority figures.

Perhaps the most informative aspect of CPW was the selection of classes that students were allowed to attend. The two of us sat in on Mechanics and Materials I (2.001). We found this class to be very interesting, as it differed dramatically from any classes that we had ever seen before.

We were especially impressed by the hands-on exploration done by all of the students, which allowed the lesson to be more easily understood in practical terms. The instructor did an exceptional job covering the material, as even we were able to understand some of the equations. It is likely that we would have found most other classes at MIT to be as interesting and understandable as this one.

There was also an extensive variety of foods on campus. The quality of the campus food was fairly good, especially considering the amount of people that the culinary staff had to prepare for. However, we did notice that many students preferred to stay in their dorms and cook for themselves. In the residence where we stayed, the Spanish House, it was a nightly ritual for someone different to cook for the entire house. We also found it to be a positive point that a kitchen was within convenient distance of most dorm rooms. Due to CPW, there was also food to be (literally) given away at the various parties and social events during the weekend. All of these culinary options allowed us to simulate the dining experience at MIT.

The one thing that we regret the most is that there was not enough time to do and see everything that was available at CPW. Although we were told that this was meant to simulate the time-management situation one must assume at college, we still wish that there was more time during the weekend to see the campus and the Boston area. In addition, students coming in from the West Coast had less time to participate in the activities on Thursday, due to the extended transit times. This is merely a small qualm, however.

As we sit back and reflect on the short time that we spent at MIT, it is readily apparent that this was the experience of a lifetime. We were treated to a firsthand look at student life at one of the nation’s most prestigious universities, observing and participating in both academic and social aspects of the college experience. There is no doubt in our minds that anyone who has attended CPW will strive their hardest to attend the school in the fall, because of the incredible friendliness of both students and faculty alike.

We would like to take this final space for a small personal message: Thank you to everyone that was so good to us during the weekend, for this great experience would not have been possible without the dedication and empathy of all of the hosts that we met. On that note, we would like to send out a special thank you to Icidro and Alfredo, as well as all of the amazing people at “La Casa.” Farewell to all of those at the university ... we’ll see you in the fall!

Matthew Sanchez & Alberto Gayon are prospective members of the Class of 2006.