Campus Life the first year

Learning to take rain by storm

A California girl is introduced to rain

This was it. This was the day I had been dreaming of for the past few months, the day I had been fantasizing about in my mind over and over again since my official enrollment into MIT, the day I thought might never come: today was the first rain.

Coming from California, which has been in some form of a drought for most of my life, I’d been taught to value water as if the reservoirs were on their last few drops. Which, actually, currently is the case. And so, now, on this rain-filled Boston day, I felt like I was in Californian heaven.

If you were to have looked at the texting history with my family, you’d find that I’d been sending screenshots of the rain-filled Cambridge 10-day forecast for the past nine days. This wasn’t one of those “California rain forecasts” that I was so familiar with. In California, if it says it’s going to rain, you can bet that by the time the day actually arrives, the forecast has changed to sunny and 75 degrees. No, this was the real stuff.

Upon waking up, I could hear the splashes of the raindrops against my window; it was such a beautiful sound. I immediately sat up in bed and just stared in awe at the mysterious water droplets falling from the sky. I felt so prepared for this day. After wasting about 20 minutes or so just watching the rain, I finally got out of bed and organized my rain gear. I had my running shoes, thick jeans, a sweater, a rain jacket, and a $2 umbrella from Ikea, newly bought specifically for Cambridge because I didn’t have one back home. I just knew this day was going to be so much fun. I mean, what could possibly go wrong?

After finishing breakfast, as I walked outside along with 30 or so other Simmons residents to catch the Tech Shuttle, I spotted someone with a tarp on top of their backpack.

Wow, that looks ridiculous, I thought.

It looked a bit like a Superman cape as it flapped in the wind, and I wondered why he thought he needed it. However, I quickly forgot about the tarp as my thoughts returned to the Tech Shuttle stop.

As a result of living in Simmons, which is the last dorm on the Tech Shuttle’s route around campus, the shuttle was beyond full. It was so crowded that there were people practically falling out of the door, and so it took about a two-second glance to realize I wasn’t going to be taking the shuttle. And so with a defeated, and seemingly unanimous sigh, everyone around me backed up away from the shuttle and started shuffling down the long trek to class. This wasn’t exactly how I had expected the day to start out, but my good mood wasn’t going to be ruined that easily.

As I started out my walk to class, I became super excited as I pulled out my umbrella. I guess I now know what people mean when they say “you get what you pay for,” because it only took about 30 seconds before my $2 Ikea umbrella turned inside out and became permanently useless. But even this wasn’t enough to ruin my mood, and so I soldiered on.

Walking to class was most definitely a dampening experience. By the time I arrived in 34-101, I was drenched. I might as well have taken a nice and long shower, because I don’t think anyone could have told the difference. My shoes made it feel like I was walking in my own personal puddle — one that conveniently followed me around wherever I went.

Even though I was clearly drenched, I naively imagined that my backpack wouldn’t be. And so you might imagine my surprise when, after opening up my bag before class, I found that all of my notebooks were completely drenched. The pencil marks were barely visible and I certainly couldn’t take notes in them that day. Now this was the final straw for me — no one messes with my notes. No one, not even rain. In that moment, I decided I was done with this new thing called rain.

The rest of the day continued as you might imagine, as I frustratedly attempted to dry my notebooks and air out my clothes. The day had not turned out as I had expected, to say the least. My clothes were less dry, my umbrella was less functional, my notes were less readable, and my mood was less agreeable.

But eventually as my notes dried and my mood improved, I realized that maybe the bad day wasn’t the rain’s fault, but my own lack of preparedness. Maybe, just maybe, rain boots might have been better than running shoes, a $2 umbrella not that great of an idea, and a Superman cape actually a fantastic addition for my backpack.

When I returned home to Simmons, I immediately went online and ordered the gear I needed in time for the next rainy day. I might not have looked as stylish as before, but damn was I prepared. And so, when the next rainy day came, I was able to go out into the rain with that same stupid-happy grin that can only belong to a Californian.

Gillian Belton is a member of the Class of 2019.