I love MIT. I get excited whenever I meet a fellow alum, I donate every year, and whenever I’m asked about the school I gush about my undergraduate experience.
This is largely thanks to my experience living in East Campus. I fell in love with East Campus when I visited as a high school senior and it was my home for all four years of college. I loved that people could build furniture for their rooms, paint the walls, cook up weird concoctions, and really feel free to be themselves. The residents of my hall were extremely supportive, accepting and celebrating each others quirks and oddities, and pitching in to help with fun projects.
For the first time in my life I really internalized the fact that I didn’t have to accept the status quo, I could change it. This, more than anything else, more than any class material, is what I got out of my time at MIT. The freedom to build, paint, experiment, and act outside the dictates of social norms, made me realize how much I could really take my surroundings into my own hands.
Living in East Campus was the single most exhilarating part of my MIT experience. It made me love the smell of sawdust. It made me more open, daring, and confident. It made me the person I am today. And it made me eternally grateful to MIT.