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Imminent Collapse Welcome to Hell

By Bill Andrews

Welcome one and all to MIT. I’m sure you’ve all worked hard to get here, and are prepared to work harder soon. Perhaps, like Luke Skywalker, you’re thinking you’re not scared of a little hard work. But, like Yoda, I feel I must warn you: you will be. You will be. MIT is definitely the ‘Empire Strikes Back’ of your academic career, and there aren’t even any chase scenes (probably). I’m not going to sugarcoat it for you: MIT sucks. You’ll hate this f…oresaken place soon, mark my words. If you were looking forward to college being the best years of your life, you’ve made a wrong turn, buddy.

That’s not to say, of course, that it’s not worth it to come here. I’m sure you people of froshness can quote to me a million and one reasons why MIT is the best school in the country (which it is), and I don’t doubt any of them. But I do doubt that ‘it’s a fun place to be’ is in that list. We’re known for being hardcore, uber nerds, who know what capacitors are and use words like uber. The only time people think of MIT and ‘partying’ in the same sentence is when fatalities are involved. Hey, I’m just telling it like it is.

But that’s no reason to get depressed. MIT realizes it sucks, and does what it can to suck less, even occasionally becoming fleetingly enjoyable. To start with, there are roughly 1.4 billion student groups on campus that you can be a part of. Theater groups, political, gaming, film, musical, writing groups, we’ve even got a marching band here; odds are whatever you’re interested in, there’s a club for you, full of like-minded people who could possibly become your friends (and, in my case once, my fiancee). And, if you can’t find the right club, you could probably start one yourself and get some (modest) funding for it.

There’s even a wide array of athletic groups, teams even, that would be happy to have you, assuming you aren’t terrible (and very few people are so terrible they can’t make MIT’s sports teams). Some teams are actually really good, such as the Pistol Team, which regularly whips West Points’s collective butt. Now that’s nerd pride. I mean, when a school’s mascot is the Beaver, you know it’s not entirely without a sense of fun.

If that’s not enough to keep you entertained, there are also these things called hacks that pop up every now and then. Nothing can brighten an otherwise dull and dreary afternoon like looking up at the big dome and seeing, say, a police car on top, or perhaps a telephone booth.

If all this isn’t enough for you, I hasten to point out that Boston is right across the river from us, and it’s a pretty cool place. Historical, trendy, urban, and lots more adjectives, you can have fun in Boston with relatively little hassle. I implore you to remember this when term starts to get rough, and you do nothing but eat, go to class, and maybe sleep (and please, God, shower too). Just taking a walk through the city can be immensely calming.

These are all things that should be made clear to you during the week, this magical time known as orientation. Just so you know: this is the best that it gets. At no other time will you be as without responsibility or work as you are right now, so enjoy it. Don’t buy anything (food, supplies, even text books) until classes start, you never know who will be giving away what. Eventually orientation will end, and you’ll find yourself in the midst of term. Then you’ll see what this whole IHTFP thing you’ve heard of is all about.

Yes it’ll suck. But it has to suck. MIT is like baseball, if it were easy everyone would do it. Luke suffered trials and tribulations in Dagobah, but it made him a Jedi Knight. You’ll go through some sleepless nights, some administrative nonsense, and some hard times, don’t doubt it. But you’ll emerge an MIT graduate, which, I hear, is about as close to becoming a Jedi as we can get.