Opinion guest column

Dear Non-Bexlians and Non-Bexlietes

Although Bexley has its fair share of problems, the community is my family.

You are lucky to have been spared from the time living in Bexley.

There are many things I dislike about Bexley. For one, the radiators are always completely off when it’s snowing and cold, and full-blast when it’s warm out, so the temperature of my room is rarely comfortable. It’s unfortunate that the knobs on the radiators are merely for show. It’s also unfortunate that each year when the radiators go on, they spew noxious fumes that are “not toxic, just water.” Another dear set of faulty appliances is our washing machines which regularly end their cycle with my clothes sitting in a large pool of gray water. I would perhaps opt to hand-wash my clothing, but my bathtub is somehow incapable of trapping in water, so washing machine it is. This sopping pile of clothes of course takes about nine dry cycles in our dryers, but the machines will only let you run up to seven cycles at a time. While waiting for my clothes to dry, the housewife in me may desire to bake cookies, but I’ve yet to find a cookie sheet for sale that fits in my Fischer-Price oven.

Don’t get me wrong — some of Bexley’s faults are very convenient. I sometimes feel awkward walking past three to four people every morning while I walk-of-shame through their suites in yesterday’s clothes. BUT there’s usually a burnt-out light in at least one of the hallways, so I have the pleasure of being partially obscured in darkness. To be honest though, most of Bexley knows how I look right out of bed regardless because La Verde’s only sets off our fire alarms between the hours of 2 a.m. and 7 a.m., most often just after I’ve fallen asleep.

I could probably go on for a while — the bexment floor is more often sticky than not; there is absolutely no such thing as quiet hours; despite what has been advertised, the walls are absolutely not soundproof; no matter how much I clean the floor of my room, it will always look dirty. You get the idea.

So, you are lucky to not live in Bexley. You are lucky to be spared the grief of being ripped away from the people who make you happiest at MIT, and the disorientation of having a brick, four-story, apparently-structurally-unsound rug pulled out from under you. Earlier this year, in the depths of ill-mental health from MIT-stress, I ended up spending the night in a psychiatric ward, and thereafter started treatment at MIT Mental Health. Depression is really tough, but cereally, Bexley’s community played a major role in my recovery. Even just walking through people’s suites to cross the building, and being genuinely greeted by everyone I pass makes me feel more supported.

The people here are eccentric and loud and crazy and awesome, and it’s hard to imagine that I have to finish my time at MIT without them. I feel like I’m being forced to graduate a year early, saying goodbye to all the people and things that I’m parting ways with — except that I still have to drink from the firehose next year, without anyone else to prop me up. I’m sorry; I don’t really know how to write sentimental shit. But I’m crying, and I’m glad you don’t have to share my pain.

Nicole M. Power is a member of the Class of 2014 and a resident of Bexley.

Anonymous almost 11 years ago

God I love you Nicole. It takes so much to write what you did publicly.

Anonymous almost 11 years ago

"Even just walking through peoples suites to cross the building, and being genuinely greeted by everyone I pass makes me feel more supported." Nicole, I think every Bexley resident is behind you on this one. Thank you for writing this. Never forget, you are loved.

Anonymous almost 11 years ago

great piece, nicole.

i loved this part "the disorientation of having a brick, four-story, apparently-structurally-unsound rug pulled out from under you"

describes my feelings exactly.


Anonymous almost 11 years ago

I just don't understand all of the tears about this. Bexley residents apparently live in some utter craphole, then act like their world is shattered when it's closed. Is your culture really so fragile that simply relocating will ruin it? Have you really chosen your friends and built your personal support network based solely on who happens to live near you, such that there's no hope of finding happiness elsewhere? Are these friendships really so weak that, even at a college with only 4000 students, moving out of the dorm is the same as "saying goodbye" to all of them?

Is being forced to move 5 minutes away (on foot!) really this life-changing?

Anonymous almost 11 years ago


Unsure if you will read this response, but here goes.

If you're an MIT student, you might understand that we do not have an excess amount of free time, generally. Therefore, the people you see the most overlap with you in some way - maybe you're in the same club, classes, or living group. What brings people together is that time that you're brought together by that common thing. So when that common element is torn away with little notice, it is distressing, which I think Nicole beautifully and justifiably describes. Also, no longer living together does create an obstacle in friendship and community - why do you think most frats encourage members to move in?

Also, you may not have ever been inside Bexley. It is a truly unique building on campus that represents the personalities of those who have lived in it for decades. Seriously, people have (maybe not even jokingly) called it "modern art". The structure, design, and decor of the building enhances the community, as any architect or urban planner will tell you.

I think you missed the point of her article. I don't think she meant to complain about how Bexley is an "utter craphole"; she looks beyond those (possibly endearing) faults to describe how the community has supported her throughout her time here. It's meant to be an emotional, sentimental piece (or at least, that's my impression).

Last, sorry if this came off like a righteous sermon. I certainly didn't mean for that. I just think that you're scoffing at someone's honest thoughts and emotions, without taking the time to empathize.

Anonymous almost 11 years ago

#4 - Is your living group or group of friends so crappy that you wouldn't feel the same having to move away from them? Is your residence so plain and boring and lame that you wouldn't feel any hesitation or disdain for moving to a different residence? do you understand the concept of 'home'? or are you a plastic (d)bag blowing in the wind with no attachments because you have no heart? i think the real issue is that you're mad that you were probably rejected by bexley at some point because you couldn't possibly live up to the awesomeness. let us know when you're house burns down and let us know if it moves you at all, mr. grinch. one more question, did you find the part where bambi's mom dies sad at all? or was that a happy moment for you? (Thank Fran Drescher for that one)

Anonymous almost 11 years ago

I love you Nicole, and I love you, #5 and #6.

Here's to hoping the administration keeps us together so we can keep it together.

Viva Bexxxley.

Anonymous almost 11 years ago

Oh 6, you're adorbs. I've moved. I've moved and I've moved and I've moved. I've moved with my family and without them. And with my friends, and without them. Sometimes my friends have moved away from me. Sometimes I've known it was coming, sometimes I haven't. But if I can still feel the same connection with people that are suddenly 20, or 2000 miles further away, I think you or Nicole or any other Bexile who actually does care more about 'people' than 'being bexley', won't have a problem at all. If you aren't one of those people though...Well, you're not losing anything that you needed anyways. I know about home, and it's got nothing to do with where I live next year.

Anonymous almost 11 years ago


It might not have anything to do with where you live, but it is certainly about the people you are surrounded by. MIT is tough. Many of us find comfort in our friends and the people we live with; we find support in our Bexley family. The times I spent with the Bexley community are some of the only moments at MIT where I felt truly loved and supported and a little less alone. As someone who is trying to put their life together and deal with their depression, I was putting a lot of stock on the living situation I had planned for next year. To live with a group of supportive people who understood what I was going through and had been with me through both the good and the bad. I know that no matter how much I rely on the support of my friends, if I am physically separated from them I will only end up isolating myself more. If we are separated there will be no one to stop by my room on their way to class and help me want to get out of bed every morning - to help me take one step at a time. For me personally, having that structure, that support that I was so heavily relying on to help me heal, "pulled out from under you" sent me back to a place I thought I had left behind. It made me feel lost and helpless and alone.

Anonymous almost 11 years ago

I am a parent of a former Bexley resident in the 1990's. Before atarting at MIT, my son wanted to commute instead of living in the dorm. However, after 1 semester of living in Bexley, he did not "need" to come home anymore because Bexley had become his new home. It was not the building, it was the new community that made it home.

Those of you who have found each other and contributed to this Bexley community are, understandbly, unhappy to be wrenched away from your MIT nuclear family, and scattered to other living groups. I encourage you to keep in touch with each other wherever you are, continue to lend support to each other especially when some crisis come upon you. But let yourselves connect with new friends too. After you leave MIT, you will be replaying the same scene. Keep your memories, good luck.

Bexley forever!

Erin D almost 11 years ago

#4 - It doesn't matter how crappy the structure is, it's the people that matter. Unless they are moving the entire population of Bexley en masse to another dorm, the sense of community will take a hit.

I'm a Student House alum. Sometimes (especially during work week) that place was a hole, but it was the people and impromptu shenanigans that kept many of us sane.

Anonymous almost 11 years ago

#4 here

Most of the responses to my post have the same critical flaw--the implicit assumption that friendship and community don't exist at other dorms/living groups. Guess what: the people at other dorms really aren't that different. They care about each other just as much. It's incredibly stupid to think that the friends you made a Bexley are the only friends that can be made. In fact, as someone who didn't live in Bexley, it's kind of insulting.

And again, you're not losing your friends! You're not being relocated across the country in an age before the telegraph, you're being forced to relocate as little as a few hundred yards away in an age with smartphones, texting, etc. If they're real friendships, then they'll survive just fine. Nicole's last paragraphs about being "ripped away" and "saying goodbye" and "finish[ing]... without them" are just absurd.

Anonymous almost 11 years ago

you should be insulted for not having lived in bexley and for any judgement passed on you. suck it.

Anonymous almost 11 years ago

#4 - There'a a big difference between having a friend living down the hall from you and having a friend live in another building. Of course friends can exist outside of where you live, and friendships can survive the distance of a few buildings, and community can exist in other places too. That's not that point.

It's different when your friends live with you. You do things spontaneously. You watch silly movies at 3am. You eat breakfast together in your pajamas. You cook together. You come home from classes upset because you failed a test and they're there for you and can tell something is wrong right away. No matter how close you are to someone living somewhere else, or how often you hang out with them, they just aren't going to be there for all the things the people you live with are.

The people in Bexley have a community and friendships that have been developing for years. Now they have to go to new places, possibly all split up. It's like when you move out of home for the first time -- you still love your family just as much as you ever did, but you're not going to be sitting down to dinner with them every night anymore. Even if you find something else that's good, you're still missing something that can't just be replaced.

Anonymous almost 11 years ago

"It's like when you move out of home for the first time -- you still love your family just as much as you ever did, but you're not going to be sitting down to dinner with them every night anymore."

Exactly. And then you found a new community at Bexley. And now you'll find a new community somewhere else.

Stop acting like the sky is falling.

Anonymous almost 11 years ago

It is easier for freshmen to make new friends with other freshmen than it is for upperclassmen. MIT has enough challenges, this is just another hurdle.