I’ve worked a number of overnight and late night shifts during finals week throughout my tenure at MIT and it seems that there are a few constants of these shifts.
The first is boredom.
The second is multiple mental reminders to yourself to focus on how nice your paycheck will be at the end of the week.
The third is that you’ll wonder why no one else appears to be on Facebook on the one night you could use an entertaining distraction.
The fourth is that when you’re finally leaving campus and you think you’re the last person awake in the city, you’re bound to encounter at least six different people. In my experience, they’re pretty much always the same six people.
Without any further ado, here are the six people you encounter leaving MIT at 2am during finals week.
1) The Janitor
I don’t get janitors.
They’re always lurking, but I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen one doing their job. They just seem to hover around campus at all hours of the night or day.
I fear they may be secret agents who are spying on the nerds of MIT, but I cannot verify this without further surveillance.
2) The Sleeping Burnout
These poor bastards are the ones who always think that libraries should be open 24/7 so that they can do more work. Granted, all they seem to do when we are open late is show up, spread their work out everywhere, and almost immediately pass out.
You can find these peeps scattered pretty much all across campus during finals week.
Last night I walked by a young lady who was unconscious on a bench while a video of a lecture continued playing.
3) The Drunk Kid
This one is probably pretty common at 2am during finals week at any university, but it is certainly one of the many archetypes that cannot be avoided at MIT.
It seems that for every dozen or so students who are completely burnt-out and stressed over finals, there is one kid who has no finals and has basically been in constant party mode since the end of classes.
4) The Artist
The type of artist varies pretty much every time—last night it was a juggler in a stairwell—but there is almost always one “artist” lurking.
I’ve encountered people singing, playing instruments, painting, juggling, and dancing.
I don’t know what it is about the middle of the night that seems to get these cats inspired, but whatever it is, it’s working.
5) The Dog Walker
It never fails; someone is always walking a dog on campus.
This is just another reason I’m a cat person. You won’t find anyone walking their tabby around a college campus at 2am.
6) The Tourist
I’ve never understood why, but it seems that at any given hour of any given day, there is going to be at least one tourist wandering around campus with a camera around their neck, a backpack, and a map.
They always seem incredibly confused that nothing is open and look supremely disappointed in the lack of students bustling about.
Naturally, I assume these people are insane.