The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 57.0°F | Partly Cloudy

In The Parlance of Our TimesTop Ten Complaints or Things You’ll See in The Tech Every Week

By Zachary Ozer

Dear Froshies,

By now, I’m sure you’re tired of people telling you how going to a prestigious university provides you with “a wonderful opportunity” and how college is such “an amazing experience.” From the outside, it seems like MIT may be the greatest collection of brainpower since Raphael brought together Ptolemy and Plato in “School of Athens.” And yet, that doesn’t seems to make people here happy. In reality, they always seem miserable. What everyone on the outside doesn’t see is that our fingers are calloused from endless typing, we walk with our faces to the floor, and we sleep fewer total hours than the entire population of the Falkland Islands. And still, we come back year after year; some even marry other MITers and send their kids here.

Is it that MIT really stands Masochists In Training?

Hopefully, during your tenure here you’ll come to realize that the answer to the question is “no.” Instead, you’ll realize that The ’Stvte is the place you love to hate. You see, most people here aren’t masochists. We’re actually perfectionists or suffer from several different varieties of OCD. It’s like the closing paragraph of that paper you’re turning in late because you were way to drunk to turn it in on time or the one little drop of bleach on the back of your favorite shirt. Basically, if it really sucked, you would have done something drastic. Instead, it just bugs the hell out of you. Thus, I bring to you my “Top Ten” of things you need to change in the next four years. I realize you won’t read this until Day Four of Orientation, but somehow, I think those four days won’t help that much.

10. “SafeRide, We Have a Problem”

SafeRide’s tenuous reliability is infamous around campus and has resulted in a student body that watches ShuttleTrack more closely than the Homeland Security watches luggage. Matters worsened, however, when SafeRide drivers began kicking students off of overloaded vans. This prompted many students to purchase a bus pass, thus avoiding the trepidation associated with the journey across the Harvard Bridge many make throughout the nine, harsh months of winter.

9. Two… Four… Six… Eight… Who do we appreciate? Facilities!

Yes, that’s right, construction has begun on Buildings 2, 4, 6, and 8. For some reason, however, Facilities seems to exhibit some sort of hostility toward green space. This may be a result of the fact that any achievements made in the landscaping of campus are often undone by the effects of winter. Irrespective, I know that I look forward to the first real day of spring, when campus breaks out of its cold, mechanical mold and blossoms into a bright and vivacious place. This effect may be minimized this year, as the PDSI construction project has paved over the Eastman Court and will turn the Atomic Courtyard into an atrium. Most of this green space will eventually be restored, but probably not before I graduate.

And while Facilities does a fantastic job of maintaining campus, the prioritization of projects and selection of schedule for construction by the Cities of Cambridge and Boston leaves much to be desired. Do I even need to list examples? Cough. The Big Dig. Cough. Memorial Drive. Cough. Mass. Ave. Cough. Man. I’m glad I cleared my throat.

8. You’re Still Here?

MIT keeps students around longer than Strom Thurmond was in the Senate. Just look around: the administration, your professors, your best friend’s parents (both of them) went here. If some departments didn’t have the requirement that people who get undergraduate degrees here go someplace else for their graduate degree, people might never leave. Honestly people, get out and explore. There’s a whole wide world out there, and Boston isn’t the epicenter of the it (although Manhattan might be).

7. A Riddle Wrapped in an Enigma Wrapped in a Robe

Around here, one quickly comes to understand that graduation isn’t about completing one’s understanding of some inherent defined body of knowledge; it’s about completing major requirements. The problem is, that in order to understand the CI, HASS, Institute, and your major’s requirements, you have to have passed 6.046. Yet, someone has clearly written an algorithm that can figure all of this out, since you can do an online degree audit. Could someone please e-mail me the source code, cause then I might actually figure out how to graduate.

7. MIT Card

In a bid to get attention when they were doing absolutely everything right, the MIT Card Office decided to change the design of the MIT ID into something so incredibly tacky; even Elton John would have a hard time stomaching it. Somehow, they misinterpreted students’ disheveled appearance and frequent heavy lifting as a sign that they wanted an ID with a trendier design rather than more doors with proximity sensors.

6. MIT Cable — The Least Trusted Name in Entertainment

I don’t know about you, but I have never been more sick of watching “Law & Order” and “Everybody Loves Raymond” than I am right now, and yet I continue to watch them. Why? Because MIT currently seems to have an exclusive contract with Turner Media to broadcast only those stations whose signal originated in Atlanta (TBS, TNT, CNN). I know that the company that provided our cable went bankrupt a couple of years ago, but c’mon, we don’t even have the Discovery Channel and let’s just say that I’m not exactly expanding my horizons watching “Sex in the City.”

5. Apathy on Campus

What happened to Aimee Smith? No, seriously, I don’t know. Speaking of apathy on campus, I don’t care about writing this article anymore, but I do hope that this has been a springboard of ideas for things you want to improve. I’ll be here for a while longer, so if there’s something you think is worth complaining about, drop me a line. My inbox is always empty; my door is always open. I’m looking forward to a miserably wonderful two years with all of you.