What? Did I read that correctly? Yes.
A Brass Rat is the famous
infamous MIT class ring. For some reason, we get them as Sophomores — perhaps as a reward for making it surviving it this far (halfway to graduation).
Here are some photos of my Brass Rat and then after that I will explain a bunch of stuff about them!
So for starters, the Brass Rat is a big deal at MIT — as you can see it is big and clunky and incredibly recognizable. There are stories of people walking into interviews, shaking hands with the interviewer and then interviewer notices the ring and hires them on the spot. Like I said, it’s recognizable and not matter how legit you are, everyone knows MIT has major street cred.
You can kind of see from the photos I took that there is a ton of detail on the ring. In fact, we have an entire committee who worked all year up until this point to design the ring — each class year has its own ring and its own committee made up of students from that year. There are some things that you will find on every class year’s Brass Rat: the skylines, the beaver, the dome, the MIT seal, etc, but there are a lot of slight customizations that are done for each year. Here are some pictures to help you get a better idea of what I mean.
So the bezel of the ring has the beaver (our mascot, nature’s engineer) with “IHTFP” etched into the tail (see if you can spot it!). IHTFP is an amorphous term students use to mean (usually at least) one of two things: I Hate This F*cking Place or I Have Truly Found Paradise. Sometimes you say it with both ways in one day… The beaver is standing on the Harvard bridge — one of the connections between Cambridge and Boston. MIT is on the left and Boston is on the right. On MIT’s side the ring depicts the Great Dome, the Green Building (the super tall building that students hacked so that the windows become pixels for our Tetris games!) the Media Lab, and the Stata Center, the Computer Science and Electrical Engineering and Philosophy and Linguistics building designed by architect Frank Gehry.
On the Boston side we see the famous Citgo sign and the Prudential Center.
Personally, my favorite addition to this year’s ring is the Dalek (a robotic monster from Doctor Who) over the beaver’s shoulder to the left. Nothing is randomly or arbitrarily included in a Brass Rat design — during my year’s Campus Preview Weekend, we were greeted with a hack of a Dalek on the Stata Center.
Next we have the shanks (the sides of the ring).
And finally the skylines! Cambridge on the top and Boston beneath.
So that’s all you can see from looking at someone wearing a Brass Rat, but there is a secret underneath the bezel… the Hackers Map! ~95% of MIT’s main campus is connected by underground tunnels. This shows a map of all of those!
Until graduation we wear the Brass Rat with the beaver’s head pointing away from us and we flip the ring once we’ve graduated. The polite version of the story has to the with the skylines — while we are undergrads we look to Boston/the-rest-of-the-world *from* MIT and then when we graduate we have to look back on MIT. The non-polite (and more commonly told) version of the story is that while you are studying at MIT the Institute poops on you and then once you graduate, you poop on the world. Anyways, I am super excited to have mine! For more info on the details of the Brass Rat that I didn’t feel like typing out click here.
One ring to rule them all?