In this space, with these people, I grew up

I am trying to find the right words to explain why East Campus was integral to my growth as an individual.

Maybe it was the fact that I needed to learn to cook for myself, and learn how to eat healthily through some trial and error (I was 18, I could bounce back pretty fast from any ‘errors’).

Maybe it was interacting with the blend of zany people I have only ever found in East Campus , and realizing that I likewise didn’t need to define myself by the expectations of others.

Maybe it was the build culture of my hall, and the chance to learn how to use power tools every Rush for the fun of it.

Maybe it was the support of my friends when I was crying from the stress of MIT, and the freshman year roommate who always knew that I just needed a hug and someone to sit with me until the feeling passed, even at 4 am.

Maybe it was the day I walked onto a hall fraught with tragedy because one of its members was in the hospital, and I learned how to be a rock of sanity, supporting both my friends and also people I barely knew, all touched by the same sad sequence of events.

Maybe it was more than all of these combined, because for four years East Campus was my home. It was where I had free reign to live my life as I thought it should be lived. It was where I was trusted to take care of myself, and as a result I learned how to take care of myself. It was where many good things happened to me and my community, but it was also where bad things happened that made me thankful for the caring, if rough on the edges, community of EC.

I learned that you cannot stop the bad things from happening in a living group, no matter how many rules you impose to prevent them. You can only soften or silence a vibrant community which revels in its freedom and in the responsibility it knows it must adopt to maintain its members in light of this freedom.

I grew up in the halls of East Campus because of the people it attracts, and because of the freedom I was given to define my life both day to day and when unforeseen events manifested. I sincerely hope all students coming after me are able to revel in the same freedom, and likewise the same personal growth, as they navigate their way through the rigor of MIT.

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