Bexley – the best and worst part of my time at MIT

For the last year and a half since Bexley closed I have been relatively unable to compile my thoughts into something coherent enough to be shared.  This is my attempt, bear with me.  It’s not all rainbows and butterflies.

I think I am somewhat on my own when I say that I hated CPW.  I found very few students who had similar experiences to mine in high school.  I came to MIT knowing I wanted to be a HASS major, and without the connection of loving math/science/insert STEM subject here I really struggled to identify with other MIT students.  Then I encountered some residents from Bexley Hall and for the first and only time that weekend, I had fun.  My running tour was the highlight of my CPW, and I believe that experience is what finally made me comfortable enough to pick MIT.

When I got to campus, Bexley challenged me every single day, just like the Institvte did.  Bexley was the worst and best part of my day all wrapped into one.  It gave me identity, it gave me family, but it also could be mean at times.  The same biting sarcasm that made me smile on Monday could be really hard to handle later in the week when my head was already reeling from my schoolwork.  Did I love Bexley?  Unconditionally.  Did it make me cry?  At least once a month.

It’s hard to describe why Bexley is so special to me, but I think a lot of it boils down to not feeling alone.  I was picking between MIT and art school, and so being surrounded by engineers is something I really struggle with.  Bexley was a place where I could actually go home and discuss things I cared about like film or photography.  It was like having all the people that had the most in common with me wrapped up in a tiny burrito of awesomeness.  We played Smash Bros., painted walls, and ran around in ridiculous costumes in the name of dodge-ball.  Most of my most fun memories are in fact because of Bexley.  It upsets me when people say it shouldn’t matter that the dorm is gone if we were all really friends, because these people don’t understand what it’s like to dance the jitterbug to a jam/funk band in the Bexment while surrounded by your hall-mates.  It’s magical.  They don’t understand that walking into the lounge just to see who’s there can then turn into the most meaningful conversations and jam sessions where you end up singing songs about beavers having sex underwater.  These are not experiences that can be replicated when my family is spread across Boston and Cambridge.

Since Bexley closed, I honestly have not seen any of my friends from that period of my life.  I see people in the hallway, and we claim that we will get together soon, but it never happens.  A few months ago when I had the engraving on my brass rat changed to include Sean Collier’s badge number, I also had the “BEX” removed that lived to the side of my initials.  I feel like I lost the right to have it there since I have done such a poor job remaining part of the community since I moved out.  I now live by myself in an apartment in Boston, and while it is nice to have space for myself, sometimes I miss the floor shaking jazz that used to occur underneath my room at two in the morning.

While it meant lost sleep, that jazz also meant that I was in a community of like minded individuals who I think also felt a little lost at MIT.  We were the artists, the hipsters, the troublemakers.  We were poets and painters, drummers and cat wranglers.  We were a little army of weirdos, but we were weirdos together.  Somehow all of the crap that you go through at MIT tended to fade away in the glory of buttrock (music played outside in the courtyard, for ye youngins).  Bexley was my home, and I can’t imagine my first two years at MIT without it.

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