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Orientation is a wonderful and exhilarating time to be on campus. Representatives from the many diverse segments of the MIT community — from living groups to student activities, athletics teams and learning communities — are part of the process of showcasing this amazing place to the incoming class. Since this is my sixth year on campus participating in orientation, I can tell you that no year’s events are ever quite the same — there are always new things to discover. In fact, there seem to be so many sessions, events, demonstrations and parties that it can sometimes seem completely overwhelming.

Though it can often seem too much to handle in just a few days, Orientation is your introduction to life the MIT way — as the saying goes, it’s like drinking water out of a firehose. Make the most you can of the experience. This is a wonderful time to make new and long-lasting friendships, to explore the campus and the surrounding community, and to uncover the many exciting opportunities there are to live and learn at MIT. However, somewhere amidst all of the running around and all of the consumption of free food, try to take a few minutes during this week to reflect on how you think you can fit into this unique community — we all have our role here, our piece of the puzzle.

For example, consider well whether your assigned dormitory is really the right fit for you — you can always try to switch. Think twice about skipping important Rush events — you may be missing out on that living community where you might most feel at home. Take a chance and sign up on the contact list for that interesting club or student activity you saw at the Activities Midway — I assure you, you will actually have plenty of time to participate.

Don’t worry quite yet about classes — that’s for next week. Don’t worry quite yet about unpacking — you’ll probably have to move to a new room anyway. Try your best not to worry too much about your parents (I know that can be a challenge). Instead, you should worry about spreading your roots in this special new environment. Even though MIT is certainly different from your high school, in time it can become just as comfortable and supportive if you find the right living groups, activities and programs to support you in your time here.

In these pages over the next few days, we will publish columns from representatives of some of the various elements of the MIT community that make this place so special. These pieces will elaborate on the way that living communities, student activities and student advocacy groups contribute to student life here and how participating in these endeavors can fundamentally affect your MIT experience.

I hope that these features can help to guide you on your nascent journey to discover your place in our unique community. Best of luck in your endeavor, congratulations on your auspicious achievement in getting here and of course — Welcome to MIT!