Welcome to Boston

A Guide to Breaking Out of the Student Bubble

Congratulations freshmen! You have now officially become the envy of soon-to-be graduates. Why? You have that one thing that everyone seems to be running out of: time. I’m sure you just had a whole summer full of advice on all the potential you are about to unleash, so I’ll spare you the platitudes. Instead, I wanted to share with you the story of an epidemic that inflicts the thousands of college students that descend upon the greater Boston area each fall. I call it “student-bubble-ism” (SBI).

There is only one cure for this, and unfortunately many ignore the prescription. But I hope you, dear reader, will heed my warning at avoiding this plague, for it may leave you feeling unfulfilled when you have completed your time at college.

You see, I had SBI when I first started college and I hardly knew the environment outside of the university. It seemed like I had forgotten that I was a part of a city in constant motion. Once I was cured, the grass got greener, the sky bluer, and I found myself much happier.

So what are the doctor’s orders? Take one dose of exploration weekly and you should be set.

In fact, you might just end up like me and fall in love. I unexpectedly fell in love with Boston and it has changed my life forever. In all seriousness, I really do hope you choose to get off campus and even across the river to a city that is not only rich with stories of the past but also creates new stories every day.

This city is for runners, musicians, engineers, entrepreneurs, the risk takers, the thinkers, the passionate, the compassionate, and yes, a whole lot of Red Sox fans! I’m sure your time on campus will be spent doing problem sets and going to classes and even doing research, but I assure you that at the end of your four years you will not be asking yourself, “Why didn’t I spend one more hour studying for that organic chemistry test?”

Take the time to explore and take risks. Meet the musicians; not just those at the world renowned Berklee School of Music or even your classmates, but the undiscovered talent on the subway platform or the sidewalk. Go to shows at the Colonial Theatre, take a walk in the park at the Arboretum or Boston Common, go ice skating at the Frog Pond, go running at the Chestnut Hill Reservoir, meet the staff at Trident Cafe, volunteer your time for an issue you care about, attend the city wide pillow fight, eat at Santarpios in East Boston, attend a concert at the House of Blues, soak in the culture of Jamaica Plains, and even attend service at the 12th Baptist church in Roxbury, where worship is done through music (it really feels like a concert).

Those are just some of the amazing things to look forward to when you’re here in the Boston area. Taking the time to really explore and taking the risk to meet strangers everyday has made me appreciate this place I call home. In all honesty, it’s the first time I feel like I’m part of a community. I want you to feel the same way. I want you to feel that same sense of community, but not just within the bubble that is MIT. Take the risks and really immerse yourself in your environment. If you do that, you will have made your time here well worth it.

I never liked it when people told me “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” but I’ve come to realize how true it is. When you complete your formal education you’ll find out that the connections you made and the relationships you created will bring you greater joy than anything you will have ever learned within the walls of any institute.