College, MIT

How not to get lost in the buildings at MIT (9 of 30)

I still vividly remember back in high school when I would walk the empty halls a few days before the start of school. I would try different paths between classes and figure out when I could use the restroom in the allotted 10 minutes. I still recall how large I thought my high school campus was, but it turned out that colleges are even larger. After three years on campus, I still haven’t set foot into all the buildings, nor do I know where half the buildings are relative to each other; not that MIT is trying to be helpful, for that matter. So every semester begins with utter confusion.

MIT assigns most classes based on class size, which means that classroom assignments have nothing to do with convenience or location. I walked around campus at least twice over to get to my classes most semesters. Sometimes, I memorize the wrong room number (or time!) for one of my recitations, only to realize that the correct room was right next to my previous class after walking into an empty classroom on the other side of campus. :|

To add on top of that, buildings with adjacent numbers aren’t even next to each other. Are you trying to get to building 4? For starters, it’s not next to building 3 or 5 (you can check out the numbering here). Odd and even-numbered buildings below 20 aren’t adjacent to each other. But don’t forget that inside the buildings, cellular is nonexistent, and WiFI is unreliable. Make sure you know where you are going before you go haha.

There are a few positive things about the buildings on campus. Almost all the non-academic buildings are west of Massachusetts Avenue (and vice versa). So once my classes end, I can cross over and know that only exercise and dinner are left before I inevitably have to start on your homework assignments.


Going into my junior year, I also began to appreciate paths that just took me down the infinite hallway. Although not the most optimal route, the path I took allowed me to see many faces that I usually wouldn’t. I could catch up with people when they were selling/sitting in lobby 10 and feel happier seeing people around bustling to and from classes.

What I would do better:

Download an offline map (screenshotting is honestly the best option from, and take classes with people you know — cause then they can do all the complicated navigation. All you need to do is follow them.

I’ve also found that adding classes to my calendar with room numbers saves me so much confusion when it’s been a long day — especially recitations. Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask for directions. It might make you sound like a tourist, but it is way better than being lost, and who knows? Maybe you’ll make a new friend.

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