College, MIT

Charles River, Esplanade, and walks around MIT (20 of 30)

One really cool thing I like about MIT’s campus is the Charles River. It borders the south side of campus and gives our dorms some of the best views of Boston. After my first year, I’ve lived facing the river and woken up to the sun shining on the Boston skyline that I can enjoy in the comfort of my dorm room. In a way, I really got the most of my room and board. This river is also what separates Cambridge from Boston. Although the wind can be harsh, it is a walk that I am rarely annoyed at. I’ve been told by many friends that the river creates a physical separation between work and life. I love how I can distance myself from all the work that constantly piles up and enjoy my Saturday.

Best place to walk in Boston

I’m a big fan of walking and there’s never a bad time to walk around the esplanade. I’ve gone at all hours of the day and never have been disappointed. It’s a chance to watch the sunset, catch up with a friend, or just think things through. A round trip is around 3 miles and takes around 1.5 – 2 hours (or a great 25-minute jog). It’s nice to see so many people just walking and chilling by the water.

Keeping in touch with my parents

I also enjoy walking back from Boston. Other than the occasional weekend brunch adventure, I mainly walk back after chapter on Sunday. I used to call my parents during these weekly walks. When I was in my dorm room, I never remembered to call, but once I have nothing else better to do, it becomes the first thing on my mind. It’s also great because the walk defines the duration of the phone calls. No awkward silences or not knowing when to end the call.

I also share my location with my parents. During freshman year, my mother would occasionally call me, wondering what I was doing in the middle of the river. Turns out my location would occasionally become inaccurate and give a huge radius that happened to be centered in the middle of the river. At first, I found it annoying, but I realized it made it easier for my parents to call me. Now they check that I’m home before they call me, saving me the hassle of answering my phone calls in the middle of an adventure.

Traveling at night

I’ve personally never had issues with traveling around Boston and Cambridge, even at night. I think it’s safe to walk outside at night. There are not many sketchy people, and it doesn’t feel like I’m about to get a jump scare. Most streets are well lit, and hundreds of people walk around on weekend nights because of the density of college students. I still preferred to walk with at least one other person, though. Though central square and downtown Boston are a bit sketchy when walking alone.

Along the esplanade, it can be beautiful to walk at night. It’s usually an empty path but is well lit and near the streets. There isn’t much ‘quiet’ space, but it does its job. I occasionally walked around at night to vent steam or have some alone time to think about things. 

MIT Sailing PE

I took sailing PE at the end of sophomore year. This allowed me to take people out on the Charles River anytime before sundown during the school year. I’ve found that to be one of my favorite pastimes on the weekend. The wind is usually not that strong, and thus we can just float in the water as we enjoy both sides of the Charles River. I even got sunburned one time because I thought I didn’t need sunscreen :|. However, don’t fall in because it’s not exactly the cleanest water.

Many of my memories include walking down and near the Charles River. Although it makes MIT feel less like a college, it is one of my favorite parts of campus.

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