schlep/SHlep/ – Noun: A tedious or difficult journey. Truth to be told, I learned this word here at MIT when picking up my first paycheck. Apparently, the distance from my office to the paycheck office is “a bit of a schlep.” While I found the walk a good opportunity to enjoy yasBd (yet another sunny Boston day [every single day for the past week and a half has been sunny]), it was a bit of a hike.
So what’s good in the hood? Cambridge is a beautiful city and made of all of the necessary components for a successful urban atmosphere (diversity, density, and a desire to live here). Boston metro has given me tons of things to do ranging from sandy beaches to facing off in trivia with graduate students at on-campus pubs. No doubt, this city and this school have it good.
If there are any lessons I’ve garnered since arriving here, it’s to appreciate the extremes and not to expect anything. “Tech” (as it’s so lovingly called) admits the best students in the country and puts them through four years of academic hell. What’s most confusing about it is that everybody, students, staff, and faculty, love it. The work done here puts its participants on a path that is hard to reach otherwise-a high road of learning, making mistakes, and sleeping very little.
Expectations here, aside from the expectation to give 300%, are a mistake. Student affairs at MIT are unique. Faculty involvement, which is something that many schools strive to find, exists here through faculty housemasters. And with that-the caveat-is that the faculty therefore make decisions of house each house (hall, dorm, or residence hall) is run. Greek life is something nearly half of the students are involved in. There are nearly 500 student organizations and only 10,000 students (undergraduate and graduate). It makes for an environment that I have never experienced before, giving me an opportunity to learn and reconsider a lot.
Since my departure from Michigan three weeks ago, I still keep in touch. I read Michigan news, listen to Michigan radio, and call people living in Michigan. I’m hoping I can take the lessons learned here and bring them back and see if they can be translated from this atmosphere to the Midwest. That doesn’t mean that Michigan doesn’t have a few lessons that I wish we could teach Massachusetts’ fine residents (namely: how to drive).
I’m knocking off things I want to do off my list and I’m enjoying my time. It’ll be over before I know it… and the drive back, well, it’ll be a schlep.