MIT has one of the most notoriously rich campus cultures in the ’verse. I still have a photo from Campus Preview Weekend of a Ghostbuster standing at the Massachusetts Ave. crosswalk as proof of the fact. The unfortunate side effect? An onslaught of incoming freshmen who are under the impression that the MIT of lore and the MIT of daily life are one and the same.
In the time it takes them to realize how false that is, the collected tales of their various faux pas and missteps could probably fill a volume the size of the latest How to Get Around MIT. Make no mistake, we have plenty of good reasons to be enthused about this place, but after all, just because we live at the Institvte doesn’t mean we can’t spell it “Institute” from time to time.
The other day, just before taking a chemistry quiz, I seriously contemplated asking whether it was acceptable to give a value for wavelength in Smoots. Thinking back, to ask would have been pointless, because at the time, I couldn’t even remember how long a Smoot was (1.7E9 nanometers). That I thought about asking such a question, for no other purpose than to illustrate my loyalty to MIT, made it immediately evident that I have a problem: an unhealthily enthusiastic addiction to the MIT culture.
Fellow sufferers of culture-holism, as I’ve oh-so-creatively named my affliction, will understand just the kind of ostracization that this epidemic can cause if left unchecked. The symptoms are manifold but easy to recognize:
You discuss your favorite hacks with people who neither know you nor care to, and you smirk with pride as if you’d perpetrated the hack yourself.
You repeatedly declare your deep personal vendetta against Caltech/Stanford/Harvard, yet are surprised when said declaration fails to make you instantly popular.
You force all of your friends to watch “Good Will Hunting” and pause whenever Killian Court appears on screen just so everyone you know can bask in the MIT aura whether they want to or not.
I think that freshmen under the influence of culture-holism need a support group, if only to have other people to talk to about MIT culture who won’t resort to violence to silence them. Ideally, Culture-holics Anonymous will help the freshman class temper their enthusiasm in 12 easy steps (Step 5: stop incorporating IHTFPs into everyday conversation). Hopefully, plans to name their first-born children “Tim” will die down before the culture-holics evolve the ability to procreate.
Culture-holics, if you seek support and healing, meet me on the Great Dome at 1:17 a.m. Bring donuts, your “Friends don’t let friends go to Harvard” T-shirts, and boffing sticks if you have them. First thing on the agenda is a movie. Three guesses what it is.