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Hello! My name is Stephanie, and I am a senior at Phillips Academy in Andover, MA. When I first drove over the Charles River this afternoon, I had my first glimpse of MIT — a fleet of at least fifteen sailboats gliding smoothly down the river, the dome in the background, the setting sun gleaming off its top. On the other side of the bridge, I was startled to find a combination of city and campus life, with restaurants and strolling students on one block, and labs on the next.

After registration in the crowded student center, I met my host, Shireen, who took me to McCormick, where I will be staying for the next couple of days. I climbed up several flights of stairs to the penthouse of McCormick, which offers a beautiful view over the Charles, as well as of several uniquely-shaped buildings and dorms to my left and right.

I had my first taste of college food at Baker’s dining hall, where the food seems almost home-cooked. Sitting at one of the round tables in the dining area with other prefrosh and students, I watched a band set up for a performance. Outside, music boomed from one of the windows in Baker, relaxing the visibly speedy pace of life on campus.

The Prefrosh Welcome in the Cage turned out to be a series of surprises. I especially enjoyed watching the Logarhythms, who interrupted Stuart Schmill ‘86, the dean of admissions, by sprinting towards the stage from various locations in the audience and jumping into a song. The second song had an almost recorded, CD-quality effect, beginning with the soloists hidden behind the group to produce a distant, faded sound. Their enthusiasm really broke the ice and nervousness among us.

Later on, while visiting the Activities Fair, various clubs and student organizations seized and dragged me in different directions to sign up, watch their demos, and try their food. The variety of interests on campus amazes me — from Ballroom Dancing Team to UPOP, every student group’s enthusiasm became contagious, and I was tempted to sign up at every other booth.

I am looking forward to attending classes tomorrow morning and getting a chance to meet more students and faculty members. I interned at MIT Sea Grant last summer, so I vaguely know my way around campus, but I know that experiencing the campus during the school year is sure to feel different. Though my academic plans are not yet completely set, I am interested in studying environmental engineering, in combination with International Relations and Music. I hope to join the music program at MIT, work for The Tech, study abroad, and become involved in the Energy Initiative.