[Guest Entry on MIT blogs]

While I’m not cool enough to enroll at MIT on an iTouch or to dedicate myself to MIT for four years weeks before CPW, I am cool enough to now say, “I am enrolled at MIT!” In fact, I just enrolled moments before finishing this very blog entry and am proud of it. Now with that out of the way…Hi, I’m Omar!

I come from a small Midwestern town located on the lower left side of the palm that is Michigan (I wonder how many people actually get what I mean by palm :-p). After a two hour flight, in which I met a matriculating Harvard Medical School student who tried to convince me to go to a public university, I was definitely ready for some MIT action. I left the plane and descended upon the luggage claim where I met my first MIT friend Shubhi. Although I never saw her again during CPW, there's no one like your first MIT prefrosh friend (words of wisdom).

To those who have heard rumors of a clandestine, transcendental chat group full of amazing people, let me assure you. There is an MIT 2012 chat room (commercial: if you would like to be part of this, for a one time only fee of five dollars (just kidding) you can join this interesting bunch by going to your favorite AIM client and joining the chatroom “MIT12”).

And here are our trusty sidekicks:

For the past few months, while waiting for my MIT decision and even after it, the chatroom provided me with my daily MIT fix. We laughed, we cried, we made fun of Harvard and Caltech, and we anxiously awaited CPW. All of us chat people became closeknit and couldn’t wait to meet at CPW. When I stepped off the Peter Pan bus onto MIT’s campus, I looked around hoping to spot someone I "know." As I edged closer to the student center, I saw some people doing an odd version of the cha cha slide and by the time I turned on my trusty, dandy, handheld video camera with laser deathbeam and all, I had realized that they were all MIT12 chatters!

(They are all going to punch me at orientation for posting that picture.)

My first duty on campus after registration, of course, was to find the admissions office. I quickly scanned the doors in the infinite corridor until I found:

After the chat group finished taking pictures we knocked on the door and an MIT student asked, “Are you prefrosh?” and we just giggled and nodded yes and she told us that all of the admissions officers were in the student center. We didn't care though, we got what we came for: a picture of the names.

Now, one of my personal goals during CPW was to collect as many free shirts as possible. While I ended up only getting 4, I still came away feeling like I had somewhat accomplished my goal. Two of the shirts were actually unexpected, while the other two I snagged from the enourmous activities fair. While I do not have a picture of the activities fair, I do have a picture of the CPW festival, which was held in the same place and looks exactly the same as the activities fair minus a naked guy in a box.

At the activities fair, I saw Paul again and he was at my favorite booth. He works for the MIT Undergraduate Research Journal staff and if I recall correctly is going to be co-Editor-in-Chief next year. This journal rocks and so I did what any prefrosh would do...I put my email address on "the list."

I ended up obtaining another shirt from the Arab Students' Organization (ASO). I adore this shirt because it spells “Massachusetts Institute of Technology” in Arabic. Yeah, you wish you had one of these. While on the subject of the ASO, let me go off on a tangent and say that I am very impressed with how MIT regards religion on campus. I went to a Muslim Students Association event held in the Religious Activities Center and it was amazing. There was a well-furnished prayer hall filled with everything a Muslim student would need. Out of all the universities I visited, MIT treats religion the best. End tangent here.

Aside from rocking out in Rock Band throughout CPW...

...some of the highlights of my trip at MIT included:

1) CPW Welcome

My favorite part about the welcome was definitely the MIT Logarhythms, MIT’s all-male a cappella group. For your enjoyment, here are two of the songs they performed:

Here in Your Arms:

Thanks to Sam '12 for uploading this second video for me :-).

2) Battle of the Bands

In this event, I received my fourth free shirt as one of the bands threw a shirt and I luckily pushed and shoved people out of the way and caught it. At first I was like “Meh another shirt,” but then someone pointed out to me that the band members on the shirt actually spell out “MIT” and then I was like “OMG this shirt rocks!” and I walked around feeling victorious.

3) Walking on the Harvard Bridge…like a bajillion times!

I quickly found the Skullhouse fraternity on the other side of the river to be a nice safe haven for breakfast, snacks, monster drinks, and, of course, rock band. As a result, I trekked a few times back and forth across the Harvard bridge, killing my feet in the process. That’s ok though because otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to stomp on something that relates to Harvard and I wouldn’t have taken this picture below, which adequately describes how I feel now as the orientation approaches and the next four years edge closer.

4) Bouncy Ball Drop

This event rocked. It absolutely rocked. There is nothing like being the target for 10,000 bouncy balls that are being subjected to the cold-hearted force that is gravity. One moment it was quiet and calm, the next moment it was raining bouncy balls. I must admit that the strobe light was a nice addition, especially since it helped illuminate the floor in our scramble to collect as many balls as possible. Right as we all began collecting balls though, the fine folks of Senior House began pelting us with water balloons. After being struck by the third water balloon, I decided it was time to high tail it over to the Meet the Bloggers event before I was late.

5) Meet the Bloggers

With wet, soggy pants, I power walked through East Campus and the infinite corridor and reached the student center with time to spare. Inside, Ben Jones himself was preparing all the necessary supplies to make a scrumptious root bear float. The event eventually kicked off and all the bloggers filed in! After each person gave a brief introduction, everyone would clap with Ben and Snively earning the loudest clapping/cheering (no surprise there :D). When the introductions were complete, we were scoffed down root beer floats and conversed with the wondrous MIT blogging team. I got to chat with Ben, Matt, Paul, Snively, Melis, Mollie (college confidential ftw!), and Chris. Chris by the way does look a lot taller in person. I think that is the general consensus. To top off the night, we did the obligatory group picture!

6) Underground Capture the Flag

On the last night, a huge game of capture the flag took place in the vicinity of the infinite corridor. The underground tunnels, the main floor, and second floor were all fair game and made for an interesting battle. While my feet were killing me at this point due to the continuous walking for three days, I toughed it out and played offense with Sam ’12. We snuck around for most of the game, until we were deep in red territory (we were Blue) and were spotted. I made a run for it and somehow ended up out of bounds. Nevertheless, I hid around a corner for five minutes, but just as I felt I was safe again, a red person came out of nowhere and took me to jail where I found Sam ’12 sitting. Then just moments later, we found out the game had ended and everyone walked back to lobby 10 to discover that the Red team had dominated. Well, at least it’s “better dead, than red.”

7) Math until you die

I died after 30 minutes. Here are the poor souls who I left behind:

While I only stayed 30 minutes, the math involving group theory and topology was still fairly interesting.

8) Simmons Hall

After seeing the tour, I absolutely fell in love with Simmons and will be putting it as my first choice (disclaimer: all feelings I express now are subject to change). Let’s start with the basics:

a) Meditation Room

b) Cool architecture

c) Random walls that jut out

d) A very new feel (maybe because it is new)

e) Amazing, hard-to-reach views (can you guess where in Simmons this was?)

If I decide I don’t want Simmons anymore, I would definitely choose Baker. I think Baker made the cut when I saw this board filled with physics. It reminded me of The Big Bang Theory, one of my favorite shows.

If neither Simmons nor Baker work out, I could always live in the best room on campus: the study area within the great dome!

I must say that MIT has really shown itself to be a safe campus. It’s great to know that campus police have thought about every possible situation and have come up with ways to protect the student body. This really puts my parents at ease too.

After walking past this excellent hack, I was innocently rickrolled (yes, I'm streching the meaning of the term) as someone was cruelly playing Rick Astley's music video for "Never Gonna Give You Up" in the hallway. Of all places!

The welcome ceremony was also entertaining, giving us another performance by the MIT Logs and an amusing act by a guy with Chinese Yo-yos. Click here to see their performance of "Save Room" by John Legend.

At the end, I saw none other than Ben Jones himself and got a picture along with Pam ‘12:

Overall, CPW was a great way to experience MIT in a fun way (I hear it's not like this at all next year, go figure). It was so much fun that it persuaded me to enroll. I cannot wait to be a full fledged MIT freshman next Fall. I visited a few classes, such as Physics II (not too bad), Linear Algebra (I understood it all yay :-) ), and Applied Electromagnetics: From Motors to Lasers (cool stuff). The premed panel was also very helpful. I was afraid I'd come to MIT, leave with a bad gpa, and end up practicing medicine in my parent's basement, but it's not true! Just about 90% of premed undergrads get into med school :-).

I am very happy to say: Only four months left!