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Feeling Lost On Campus? Guide To MIT Necessities

By Marie Y. Thibault

Your parents have just pulled away from your dorm, smiling and waving from the car window. And only now do you realize that you don’t have any shampoo. What to do?

This is a guide to all those little everyday things you’ll definitely need, at least if you plan on being comfortable for the next four years.

Hygiene products

CVS Pharmacy

624 Massachusetts Ave

Cambridge, MA 02139


Walk for several blocks up Mass. Ave into Cambridge. CVS is on the left.

Just up Mass Ave in Central Square, this is your basic drugstore, with everything you could wish for in the way of shower supplies and cheap makeup.


New Tech Barber Styling and Salon or Technicuts

Stratton Student Center basement

617-621-0848 (New Tech)

617-225-CUTS (Technicuts)

Pick either of these if you need a quick haircut in between classes or before an all-important interview. The quality isn’t amazing, but it’s fairly dependable with the more traditional cuts. Price: about $14-$30 for a haircut.

Newbury Street salons

Walk across the Harvard Bridge into Boston. Turn left on Newbury St.

If you’re one of those people who really care what your hair looks like, and I mean really care, head across the bridge to Newbury Street in Boston. There are a number of salons that will meet your expectations in terms of styles, professionalism, and interior design. They’ll also go above and beyond your expectations in terms of prices. Guys, if the salon isn’t for you but you still want to look great, hunt for a barbershop that specializes in your signature cut. Every guy has his favorite place (ask for recommendations) and you’ll find yours too after a few small disappointments. It’s inevitable, sorry. Price: anywhere from $35-$125 for Newbury salons and $10-$20 for barbershops.


829 Boylston St

Boston, MA 02116


Walk across the Harvard Bridge into Boston. Turn left on Boylston St and walk a few blocks to Supercuts.

You may already be familiar with chain salons like SuperCuts. They provide quick, inexpensive service and the stylists are adept with the traditional and popular cuts. Price: About $15.

Model Call Nights

If you’re wishing for quality service and a nice-smelling salon cut without the exorbitant price, sign up for the model call at select Newbury Street salons. A model call is a euphemism of sorts for stylist training night. Still, you’ll get the latest styles and cuts from the up-and-coming stylists. Most likely, you’ll end up with something very close to what you were hoping for nothing or next to nothing. Look at each salon’s Web site for more information. Price: $0-$15.


Bank of America

84 Massachusetts Ave

Cambridge, MA 02139

Open M-F, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.


MIT Federal Credit Union

700 Technology Square

Cambridge, MA 02139

Open M-F, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.


Once you get off of campus, it’s no contest. Bank of America (BoA) is everywhere, as their ads say. That means that you can avoid fees for getting cash as long as you use their ATMs. In addition, if you’re the type who sometimes has your parents wire you money, they can use a branch office like Western Union. BoA is an evil, multi-national conglomerate. They’re world renowned for charging mysterious fees to customers and for long waits on their customer service line.

If BoA is an evil multi-national, MIT Federal Credit Union (MITFCU) is the apple-pie baking grandmother. They’ve got the most ATMs on campus and they’re opening a new branch office in the student center. In addition, they exist to serve the MIT community. Literally.

On the other hand, MITFCU does not have a national network of ATMs, nor do they reimburse ATM fees. They’re also incredibly inconvenient if you ever decide to move.

Other necessities

Student Center Post Office

Open M-F, 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.



600 Technology Square

Cambridge, MA 02139


180 Somerville Ave

Somerville, MA 02143

Even the easiest tasks like buying a rug or mailing a package can be difficult in an unfamiliar city. The closest post office is in the basement of the Student Center. If you need to mail a package in record time, head to the nearest FedEx. If you’re willing to shell out extra you can ensure that your package is delivered on the same day.

If you’re looking for inexpensive home furnishings for your new dorm room, head to Target. Unfortunately, you’ll probably need a car if you plan on doing some serious shopping. Target is very similar to Walmart in selection, but is closer to campus and has a wider selection of dorm furnishings. Target also provides better browsing in the way of clothes, shoes, and even bed sheets.

Zachary Ozer contributed to the reporting of this article.