Friends and Guest Lists at MIT (10 of 30)
Wouldn’t it be cool to tap into another dorm and immediately be able to enter it without having someone let you in? Well, if MIT really wanted us to be more social, they should allow any undergrad to enter any other dorm. Sadly, they don’t, and many people use that as an excuse to spend their entire time at MIT in one dorm, rarely venturing outside.
Not to brag, but I managed to get on six guest lists (out of 9). It’s super cool to surprise a friend, grab something you left in his room, or hang without the annoyance of preplanning a visit and getting tapped in. Thus, one of my goals freshman year was to get on all the dorm’s guest lists. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. I realized that meeting new people is hard and making friends was harder. I suspect that most students make an initial friend group when they first arrive and then get lazy and have less incentive or desire to meet more people.
So why do you want to be on guest lists again?
Although I made most of my friends who don’t live in my dorm through clubs, I got to know many of them better because I hung out on their floor. It’s more casual and also less about school and homework. It’s fun to see each dorm and floor’s vibes and also meet even more people! One of my regrets sophomore year was being so busy that I didn’t go to other dorms to hang out as much. It’s easy to stay in your dorm and hang out with the people you’ve already met. But while I know almost everyone on my floor, I feel like the people I clicked with the most weren’t always the ones living there.
What to do if you want it all
Well, if you do want to have that freedom, it’s pretty easy to get. Step 1: ask a friend to add you to their guest list. That’s it. Although one note: Maseeh’s guest list closes after a week after orientation, which means that if you aren’t on the guest list, you have to wait a few months before the guest list opens again. Other dorms are more generous, but starting sooner gives you a chance to make friends earlier (and also makes you aware of clubs, which I genuinely think is the best part of MIT). Visiting dorms also gives you a chance to meet other students taking the same classes as you (so you can pset together!).
I believe that college is all about the activities you do and the people you meet rather than the classes you take. People can help you learn so much more about yourself and the world around you. And besides, in 5 years, MIT OCW will be available for everyone anyway. :)