Campus Life by the numbers

18 things to do this IAP

In case you need help figuring out what to do with your life this January

Welcome back to campus! Figuring out what to do with yourself at MIT can be hard when you don’t have a schedule, set by classes and UROPs, to regulate your life. Here are some suggestions on how to spend your time this IAP.

1. Reconnect with old friends you lost touch with over break and the end-of-fall-term crunch. Make plans to catch up, perhaps over lunch at Clover or coffee at Flour.

2. Clean your room. Let’s be real, you got the f*ck out of Cambridge after finals, so your room could use some tidying up, and that’s putting it nicely. Do your laundry (make sure to clean your sheets!) and recycle old papers and psets (burn ‘em).

3. Wallow in a lack of productivity. We’re thinking blanket forts. Netflix. Hot chocolate. A plus.

4. Go thrifting in Central Square. It’s getting pretty chilly in Cambridge. Hit up Goodwill or Boomerang and supplement your wardrobe with a few cozy sweaters. Garment District in Kendall square is another solid option.

5. Read a book or two. The MIT libraries do have books about subjects other than chemistry, math, or algorithms. You could re-read Harry Potter or start a murder mystery novel. Check them out!

6. Luxuriate in the feeling of being on campus sans psets. If you’re taking an IAP class with psets, uh, sorry.

7. Go to Star Market. Ya know, one last time, before it closes down permanently in February. We hear they are having some pretty solid sales, so stock up on canned goods, toiletries, and other items you can stockpile for those times when a trip to the grocery store is the first thing you skip in favor of psetting or sleep.

8. Make some goals for next semester. These are similar to New Year’s resolutions. Some examples popular with our editors are to “attend lectures” and “be more mindful of deadlines.” It might help to come up with actionable ways to enforce your goals, too.

9. Iron out your sleep schedule so you can make good habits in time for the spring. All those late nights this past fall sure aren’t gonna cut it next semester. In order to meet your goals from number 8, you’re going to need proper sleep. I know it’ll be tempting to stay up late all IAP, but do so in moderation if you can manage it.

10. Get ahead on your spring classes by browsing OCW (OpenCourseWare). Save yourself the trouble of class shopping, and do a trial run by reviewing the first few lectures of candidate courses. If you find one you really like, keep watching! Skip the psets, though. No need to subject yourself to that.

11. Participate in Mystery Hunt, one of the oldest and largest puzzle hunts in the world. Join a team with your floormates or student club comrades, and experience one of MIT’s most famous and nerdy traditions.  

12. Explore Boston in the snow. Make snow angels on Boston Common or stay warm indoors at the ICA or MFA. Have you been to the Boston Public Library yet? If not, a visit to BPL is a good way to accomplish item number 5 and get off campus in one fell swoop.

13. Build a snow sculpture or fort (and send pics to The Tech!) There’s still snow on the ground from last week’s blizzard. Take advantage of it before it’s gone by making some snow art, or just pelt your friends with snowballs.

14. Go to Bad Ideas, a yearly event where students can finally try out all of their wildest, most terrible ideas. For example, previous years’ events include butter sculpting, human dog sled racing, a Python bee (like a spelling bee, but for coding), and a 2^n cookie-making extravaganza. Or pursue your own bad ideas — IAP is a time for experimentation!

15. Bake a ton of cookies to share. It’s an easy way to make friends! Karleigh loves oatmeal chocolate chip, but Emma recommends chocolate crinkles.

16. Attend an IAP not-for-credit talk, lecture, or event. There are offerings like Game Design and Development 101, A Brief History of Kanye, and How to Read a Patent. Check out the full list of offerings on the IAP website.

17. Visit The Tech office for free dinner on a Sunday. :)

18. When IAP winds down and you’ve completed items 1-17, pull yourself together, and email your advisor to schedule a reg day meeting.

No matter how you choose to spend IAP (heck, maybe you’re doing something at home, abroad, or an externship!) just remember to take some time for yourself. Do something fun, try something new. You deserve it!