Seth Bisen-Hersh, MIT

Seth Bisen-Hersh, MIT

A weeklong electronic journal.
Oct. 11 1997 3:30 AM

Seth Bisen-Hersh, MIT

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       On Thursdays I have the same schedule as on Tuesdays. In H&C today we discussed four-part harmony. When that was over, my friends Jen, Eileen, Joe, and I (it's really cool because it works out we have the four parts of harmony among us) went to this big tent they have set up right by East Campus (my dorm). There was a vendor's fair running. Personally, I just went because there was free stuff. Ending up with tons of pens and candy, I walked to my calculus lecture around 1. (I should note that I just received an e-mail that informed me that "tHe CiRcUs Is In ToWn!!!" which means that there will be some people utilizing the tent at 1 for something that promises to be funny. Unfortunately, since I have a 10 o'clock class tomorrow, I'll probably skip it.)
       In calculus we discussed "constrained maximum and minimums," which I actually think I understand. Then, in archery my instructor taped us, then showed us the video and corrected our mistakes. At 3, I was off to the Hillel, where we decided on Guys and Dolls as the spontaneous musical we are producing over Independent Activities Period. Then I had a chemistry quiz on organic compounds. And, of course, after that Jen and I went for ice cream. I got pistachio today, and she got Hydrox cookie. Then we walked back to EC, where I finally got to check my e-mail for an hour before rehearsal. The entire cast was there tonight, and we ran through all the big numbers.
       On Fridays I have a weekly physics test, a chemistry lecture, a calculus lecture (or a test once a month--I have a test this week), and sight-singing lab. Tomorrow night I'm going to be ushering for Face/Off (this is with LSC, the movie club). Usually, after I usher on Friday nights I go frat-party-hopping with my neighbor, Shiva, and our friend, Urvi. There are usually tons of parties going on every night, especially on weekends. We are the 5th-top party school in the country, and have the best parties in Boston, according to Playboy! I think that we actually spend more time going from party to party than we do at the parties.
       Parties here consist of loud music and tons of people dancing and having lots of fun! The next question to answer is, "Are there drinks?" Well what do you think? (Actually, in light of recent events, the parties have been dry for a few weeks.) I personally never drink and don't intend to, but I have plenty of friends who do. Most don't drink too much, though. Most people totally respect me for not drinking, and I have never been pressured into anything by anyone here. I still have the time of my life at our wonderful parties, though! Other things to do on weekends include Boston and Harvard Square. There is always stuff to do here, so that's never a problem.
       Being concerned about alcohol and drinking, I joined the Alcohol Awareness Committee of the UA. We are hoping to get a famous celebrity out here to give a speech about drinking and the problems that come with it. Actually, I e-mailed a bunch of shows at NBC, but I haven't gotten any response except for form letters saying, "Thank you for your mail." But I will keep persevering, have no fear!
       Well, since I haven't truly explained the FLP (Freshman Leadership Program), I shall try now. One week before orientation week, 107 freshmen went on a retreat in New Hampshire. While there, we all bonded and got to know each other through wonderfully run programs designed to teach us about leadership. This was the second year of the program, which was the innovation of the 1997 class president, Pardis Sabeti. We discussed cultural diversity, racism, and prejudice, and tried to think of possible solutions. It was a remarkable week that I shall never forget. The last day we stood in a big circle and each burnt off some rope from this really long piece for a bracelet. Most of us wear them or have them hanging up in our rooms to remind us of those 106 others who are our friends.

Seth Bisen-Hersh is a freshman at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

(Note: Earlier this semester, the "Yale Five" announced that, in defiance of school policy, they were refusing to live in the campus dormitories because living in co-ed quarters violated their Orthodox Jewish beliefs. Last week, an MIT freshman died of alcohol poisoning at a fraternity party after having consumed about 16 drinks. Have our nation's elite colleges become hotbeds of binge drinking and sexual abandon? SLATE's diarists this week tell us what life at these top schools is really like.)