Imminent Collapse De-Froshing in 7 Quick Steps
By Bill Andrews
CAMPUS LIFE EDITOR
I realize you’re getting sick of all the advice you must be getting, freshmen. You’re probably getting sick of being referred to that way, too, but don’t worry: from now on, you’ll be thought of strictly as ‘10s, or in my mind, ‘010s (“oh-tens”, snappier pronunciation thanks to my fianc e). But, before it’s all over, indulge an old undergrad who’s been around the Infinite once or twice, and try to heed some last suggestions.
I have compiled a list of Don’ts you can follow to de-frosh quickly. Please, take no umbrage at the implication that I want you to change; I know you can’t help it and, believe me, I was once just as froshy as you are now. Perhaps you might even enjoy your froshness, revel in it, and that’s fine, don’t let me take away your fun. Just know that the upperclassmen (and properly de-froshed ‘010s) will be annoyed, and might think less of you for your condition. It’s unfair, I know, but that’s just how things are; so, if you want more quickly to earn the respect and admiration of my peers, you could try not doing the following:
This’s the easiest way to spot a recent addition to the MIT frosh community. We’re all smart here, we trust each other to be smart, and we don’t need you to point out the 98% you might have gotten on your 18.02 exam or the multiple academic awards you won in high school. It’s not that we don’t care, but bringing such things up out of the blue or on the flimsiest pretenses (“hi, nice to meet you; say, what’d you get on your SATs?”) makes you look arrogant and froshy, a dangerous mix. Non-academic bragging rights, of course, can be exercised with slightly less caution; I’d like to know if I’m talking to the world champion Tetris player, or something.
Don’t be excited about everything.
Here we have the number two way to recognize a member of the freshman class. Actually, I like this trait in you guys, you’re always eager and excited about practically anything. Too many upperclassmen associate de-froshing with becoming jaded (don’t worry, you will be), and while that’s a big part of it, it’s still important to be interested in stuff. But, if you’re really anxious to blend in, be apathetic and cynical (for example, “I would never join the UA because they suck”).
As any upperclassman can tell you, few things are more annoying than rushing down the Infinite, late for a class, trying to eat breakfast/lunch, and having to maneuver around clumps of people casually chatting in the middle of the halls. First of all, we get jealous that you get to talk to friends while we’re starving and late, but also there’s only so much space, and if you’re not moving you’re wasting precious real estate. Prepare to be jostled rudely if you insist on doing this.
Don’t mess up the line in LaVerde’s
Look, it’s hard enough having to work an extra job just to shop in LaVerde’s market, without six different lines forming at the cash registers because of uninformed frosh. There’s one line per register, and it runs parallel to and alongside the counter; yes it’s still crowded and cramped, but it’s been scientifically proven (I’d bet) that it’s the most efficient way of waiting in line there. And for the love of physics, don’t socialize in LaVerde’s! There are couches and chairs not twenty yards away. If you are disrupting and crowding the lines just because the conversation is too good to walk away from, people will want to kill you.
Don’t be a jerk
I’ve found, in my long tenure @mit.edu, that there are two basic types of nerds here: the generally friendly kind who won’t talk to you because they’re too shy, and the jerks who won’t talk to you because they think they’re better than you. (There are also some non-nerds here, but I’m focusing on generalities today). Don’t be in the latter category. If you’re so devoted to yourself and your ego that you scoff at others, pretty soon you’ll find yourself with no friends, however great you might be; and friends, you’ll find, are worth their weight in gold up here. Most jerks mellow out by junior year due to loneliness, so save yourself some time and start now.
Don’t spread yourself too thin
Yes, MIT’s got millions of extracurriculars for you to try, but you have eight semesters to do so. If you find yourself in fifteen groups by Thanksgiving, odds are it’ll take you more than eight. Plus, the groupmates who are counting on you will get increasingly pissed when you overbook your days, and you’ll look unreliable. Pace yourself, relax, and remember that your primary reason for being here is to pass classes. It’s surprisingly easy to forget.
Don’t be too proud to ask for help
Not just with big things, like depression and failing classes, but little things too. If you don’t know how to do something on Athena, asksipb(@mit.edu). If you don’t know how to walk to the North End, call Nightline; in fact, if there’s anything you don’t know, ever, call Nightline. They’re awesome and friendly and can probably help you out no matter what. Incompetence is not the MIT way; getting stuff done is. Be comforted in the fact that there are many people here whose sole job is to help students out. Take advantage of such things, you’re paying for them (or anyway, someone is).
I tend to stop myself when I get preachy, and anyway seven’s a good number for advice. I hope it was helpful. From now on I (and most everyone else) will treat you like equals. Don’t worry ‘010s, you probably deserve it.