Thursday, July 5, 2007

The Top Ten Reasons I Love MIT #10

The Assassins' Guild

"You see a flock of 20 screaming chickens. Roleplay accordingly."

In high school, I was involved in a lot of extracurriculars. Community service, political clubs, Quiz Bowl, Science Olympiad...I could list all of them, but since this (fortunately) isn't a college application, I'll spare you. Suffice it to say I was a very busy beaver in high school. And I've always figured that's not likely to change when I head off to college.

After all, colleges have lots of extracurriculars too. Nothing strange about that, right?


At least when it comes to MIT.

As most of you probably know, MIT is not a normal school. Now you could be nihilistic about it and argue that there really is no such thing as "normality" anyway, but I think MIT would serve as a superb counter-example to that hypothesis. Just being on campus is enough for almost anyone to realize that MIT - from the architecture to the classes, from the teachers to the students - is like no place you've ever been before. Whatever your expectations about college, MIT and its students will defy them in the most extravagant way possible.

That is, in a nutshell, the reason I fell in love with MIT in the first place, because real life is not predictable. Real life does not conform to your expectations. Real life is wild, crazy, inexplicable. Real life is not a straight line from here to there, from birth to death - it is a twisting path, riddled with sudden turns and departures, the different trails combining and separating only to merge again, a beautiful pattern that only really makes sense many years down the road.

MIT is real. Sometimes the lows are lower, but only because the highs are higher. And even if everyone embraces the same traditions, there are still hundreds, even thousands, of variations on those cherished themes.

Other schools have traditions, sure. Other schools have strange campuses or funny quirks. And maybe I'm biased because I'm actually going to MIT, as opposed to one of those "other" schools. But just the same, no college I've ever visited has felt as real, as unpredictable, as wondrously strange as MIT.

There are a lot of examples of how MIT is different. As I go through this little Top Ten list of mine, I'll probably mention most of them, or the most common ones anyway. For me, though, one of the most concrete examples of what makes MIT different is embodied in one of the clubs on campus.

That club is the Assasssins' Guild.

First things first, that is indubitably the most badass name for a club ever.

More importantly - and to be perfectly honest I only realized this now, literally as I'm writing this entry - the basic concept of the Guild almost perfectly mirrors MIT's actual mission. Just like MIT itself is dedicated to finding new solutions to big problems, the Assassins' Guild is all about having fun in completely new and unexpected ways. Which basically means conducting outrageous LARPs - live-action roleplaying games, kind of like a novel or a play, except that you're writing the script, along with a couple dozen other fellow Assassins, who have their own ideas about how the story should end.

Then there's Patrol - the staple of the Guild, which is run (played) every Saturday night. Think paintball, except with dart guns. But that description doesn't even come close to capturing the sheer chaotic enjoyment of the game. Ah, there's nothing really like adrenaline, is there? I ended up playing Patrol during CPW*, and let me just say I am looking forward to next time.

I could probably say more, but this entry is long enough already. There's only one thing I really want to say, though, which I probably haven't been too clear about. The point of this entry isn't really that the Assassins' Guild, itself, is the #10 reason I love MIT - rather, the extracurriculars in general are the #10 reason. After all, all of MIT's extracurriculars are fantastic and I could easily write an entry about any of them.

It's just that the Assassins' Guild was one of the first clubs I discovered, even before I got in to MIT, thanks to a cleverly-placed flyer I found in the Infinite last summer. Even more importantly, though I have always believed that the Guild is truly representative of what makes MIT so different from any other school - and that is the primary reason I felt it was only fair to honor the Guild with its own entry.

And, as I said, I love the name.

*MIT-speak for Campus Preview Weekend, when hordes of pre-frosh descend on MIT to partake in a veritable orgy of crazy activities, numerous visits to classes and dorms, random visits to random parts of campus, liquid nitrogen ice cream, and lots of free food. Because no college activity is complete without free food.

And because the corollary to that theorem is that no blog entry is complete without links, here's the Assassins' own homepage. And while I'm on the topic of extracurriculars, I'm also rather fond of - among others - OrigaMIT, the Debate Team, and Rune.

Am I shamelessly plugging for these clubs? Maybe.

Is that because I'm excited to join them? Hell yes!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

AHHH MIT IS AWESOME. I played patrol, too. I'm definitely joining the Assassin's Guild once I get on campus. I want to roleplay =P