The Sport Tae Kwon Do club is really good about advancing students very quickly. It is not uncommon for someone who has never done any martial arts the freshman year to have a black belt by junior year. Also, it does very well at competitions, including national level. The students in my dorm leave their doors open. Random Hall is actually a very close community and very few people even lock their doors because the security to get into the building at all is very good and the people who live there are very close. This is fairly unique to Random Hall though. I have never gone to an athletic event for any reason besides one of my friends being involved in it. I have actually never even been aware of anything athletic going on that did not include someone that I now personally. The social situation is centered around the dorms. See all of the other descriptions that are riddled in my responses. 2 am is not late. If I am not awake at 2 am, it is probably because I pulled an all nighter the day before. There are cookies at midnight (or later) on Tuesdays, so it is likely that I am eating cookies, or discussing random philosophy with friends, or exploring campus, or finishing some homework, or playing poker, or playing a video game, or playing piano, or making some project, leaning a new game, making a new game. If I am awake at 6 am it is either because I got lost in a really good conversation or I have a something due the next day that needs to get done. I will never be up at 6 am because I woke up early, it is always because I have not yet gone to bed, or I am not going to go to bed that night. Last weekend, I was conducting auditions for a student a Capella group that a group of friends are trying to start. (this illustrates the independence that students are allowed). Yearly events= CPW, REX, IAP, pi Day, There are impromptu parties all the time, with people just blasting their music into one of the lounges. Boston is awesome, full of restaurants, cultural events, museums, parks. If you can find time to fill, then you can fill it easily. Boredom is far from the prime adversary.
There aren't really most popular groups on campus, there are so many people that lots of different people are involved in lots of different things. I'm involved a lot with music groups, the orchestra and a wind quintet. Students in my dorm, McCormick, sometimes leave their doors open (I always do) but that varies by student. I've personally never been to an athletic event, but guest speakers are quite popular. I don't know much about the dating scene, my boyfriend is at school in a different state, but I think it's a bit larger in the coed dorms. I met my closest friends in my dorm. Last night we were up late, I didn't have much work to do but a couple of my friends did. We ordered pizza around 1am, were up until 3am, and weren't too worried about our classes the next morning. One nice thing about MIT is that most classes start as late as 9:30 or 10am. There are a lot of traditions at MIT, one memorable one was the pumpkin drop. Some students dropped frozen pumpkins off the Green building (tallest in Cambridge) which was quite entertaining. I think most of the partying happens at the frats and sororities, which are important to the large number of people involved in them, but really there are a lot of people who aren't as well, so it's completely up to what you want to do, or who you want to interact with. I have friends in sororities, but I'm not in one, it's not essential but it's an option for those who want that experience. My friends and I usually work together in the kitchen on the weekends and take breaks to go to the mall or to get a coffee. My Saturday nights never involve drinking, they usually involve a movie with friends on someone's laptop, or just talking, or (we're true nerds) work, especially if we went into Boston during the day. Off campus there's the Boston Symphony (my favorite!) or the entire city to explore. Public transportation can get you anywhere pretty cheaply. There's a lot of history in Boston to check out, there's shopping, there's pretty much everything.
fraternities/sororities and in dorms, floors/entries are all the big social groups. my floor is my social group. BURTON One!!! we are pretty much the shit. i love my floor more than anything! the open door policy varies per dorm, per floor. my floor is very open, you are best friends with the 40 other people whom you live with, so doors are almost always open to inspire friends to stop by/visit. WOOOOO MIT ATHLETICS!!! events in general, though, are usually only attended by friends of the athletes/performers, but some teams/groups (the volleyball team, for instance) have fans that will stop by one event and become permanent fans throughout the year. it is sooo cool. the fans that do show up though, are amazinggg. i met everybody really really randomly. orientation was a great time for meeting my good friends. hmm, 2 a.m. on a tuesday...i'm probably just getting started... too many to count. my favorite traditions are probably: the pumpkin drop, CPW!!, logs concerts, spring weekend, etc. people party more than you would think. many frats have parties weekly (different ones have parties every Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday) and most will have a big one on a Friday or Saturday night every few weeks! frats keep MIT socially active and definitely help the community on campus in many different ways. sororities kinda do the same. they are a social outlet for girls on campus to bond. oo, last weekend was a really really sad long weekend for me and i had to study the whole time. lame, i know. the world is yours on saturday nights. you can 1) go to a party and not drink; 2) start a dance party; 3) tool and do work; 4) work out; 5) go hacking; 6) sleep, b/c after the weeks at MIT, the weekends are ALWAYS needed to catch up on sleep.
Students in dorms do leave their doors open when they're in. The part of the dorm I live is very social. We go into and out of people's rooms and enjoy each others company. Athletic events at MIT are not very popular. People will go out to see a play or other events in the auditorium sometimes though. I just went to see a dance show by one of our dance groups this weekend and it was really good. People date, of course. There is dating within the school as well as with students from other campuses. That's a great thing about Boston. There are plenty of other campuses around. I met my closest friends by being roommates with them. If I'm awake at 2AM on a Tuesday, I am studying for an exam, doing a pset, or both. Sometimes, I may just be talking to friends. As far as traditions/events every year, there are too many to list. My favorite is Campus Preview Weekend (CPW), which is when accepted students come for four days to experience life on MIT's campus. Even though, I have yet to experience this as an MIT student, I am very excited and really enjoyed taking part in it last year. People party every weekend or so. There's usually plenty going on over the weekend and everyone is ready to relax a little bit. Last weekend, I went to a dance show and a comedy show. They were really good. Since I don't drink, I find plenty to do over the weekend that doesn't involve drinking. Admittedly, I prefer a calm, relaxed weekend to one spent partying. I usually hang out with friends, go to a movie, or play games. There is plenty of stuff in Boston to do off campus from visiting other campuses to shopping to going to dinner.
The dorm atmosphere varies widely. We have quiet halls, quiet dorms, party halls, hacking dorms, and everything in between. The MIT housing system lets you choose the personality you like and so you're sure to find a place with the atmosphere you imagine for your perfect dorm. If I'm awake at 2am on a Tuesday, I will most definitely be studying, no doubt about it. I try not to stay up that late working, but sometimes, psets just happen…. MIT is full of traditions. There are entire books written on it, if you’re interest definitely check them out. The culture of MIT is part of what makes MIT so endearing. Last weekend I went to Harvard with Campus Crusade for Christ, had a homemade brunch with my advising group, went to a planning meeting for IM sports, went to the Cheesecake Factory with a friend, went to the Spring Formal, attended Church, helped interview for Graduate Tutors for my dorm, and some homework. As you can tell, it was nothing like staying in my room working all weekend. There is plenty to do on campus that doesn't involve drinking. I don’t drink or party or any of that, and I never have a dull weekend. You can go into Boston, borrow a movie from the front desk of the dorm or go to one of the numerous events around campus. If you just look up from your desk, there's never a shortage of things to do.
I'm not certain what groups are more popular than others - people are into absolutely everything. I know people into musical theater, part of our movie screening club, medical lecture groups, etc. And as for the stereotype that we can't do sports, our pistol team has beat the army consistently over the past years. We're not physically unskilled (you're even required to take PE's here - I've taken pistol, archery, fencing, and sailing). Dorms have a lot of tradition, each unique to the dorm's personality. Some dorms drop pianos or monitors off roofs every year, others drop thousands of bouncy balls. We have "Bad Taste" every year, too, which is a show that is everything... in bad taste. People party often enough for me - my dorm usually has a party on one hall or another every weekend, and we're not the only ones. Frats and sororities are important to many people on campus, but you're not going to feel left out if you're not part of one.
Social life varies hugely from dorm to dorm: in some places, doors are always open, and residents do most of their working, eating and socializing in common areas and hallways. In other dorms, everyone works behind closed doors. There's never pressure either way. If you need to close the door and work quietly, your friends will drop by every couple hours and make sure you're alright, but will leave you alone to finish that problem set. But aside from final papers and research assignments, we usually study and complete problem sets in groups. Last weekend I slept until noon, bought groceries, cooked dinner, and watched a movie with my boyfriend. Most weekends, I spend five or six hours on homework, and a few doing laundry or cleaning my room.
Contrary to what most people think, MIT has a thriving social and activities scene. We have about 40 varsity sports team, which gives athletes of abilities and levels to participate. We also have numerous theater groups, dance groups, just about a group for any activity you can think of. In addition, MIT has a strong Greek system, although it's very different from the typical Greek system at any other college. We have 27 fraternities and 5 sororities. Fraternities hold events every weekend, including dry events. About 25% of the female student body belongs to a sorority. I've found that there is never a shortage of things to do. People are always around in the dorms, always ready to go out and have some fun.
MIT is great if you are awake late on a week night, there are so many people to talk to. I am a night owl, and my night owl friends who went to other colleges say that MIT sounds far more night-owl-friendly. It is also very easy to start conversations at MIT, perhaps because people are a little less socially aware here (this cuts down on feelings of embarrassment, exclusive devotion to one group of friends, elitism, and exclusionary practices). The easy conversations and the night life are the most special aspects of MIT social life. MIT also has an ample number of events, parties, movies, game nights, clubs, and so on, but almost every college has more entertaining activities than you can shake a stick at.
Whether or not students leave their doors open depends on the dormitory and the section of the dormitory. However, for the most part, people do leave their doors open. Athletic events are not really popular. Theater is somewhat popular. The dating scene exists and there are several MIT couples. I met my closest friends through preview weekend before I came here and through classes. If I am awake at 2am on a Tuesday, I'm trying to finish a problem set that is due later that day. Since people work so hard, they party hard. I do not drink and I find several things to do on Saturday nights that do not involve drinking. Off campus I go to events at other colleges, a lounge, or the movies.