Health Insurance: Due to Massachusetts’s new health insurance requirements, MIT students need to have extended coverage (a basic package is included in tuition, which is paid for in our fellowships). This extended coverage includes emergency room fees, as well as dental and optical, which is great, given that I like clean teeth and having up to date glasses and contacts. Word to the wise: keep a record with notes from your doctor’s appointments, especially if you had to go to the hospital for something (your primary care provider has to order these records after getting your signature, and it usually takes a month to get ahold of them, which is, from experience, a pain in the neck). Also, bring along copies of your prescriptions: there are laws about doctors from your home state calling in prescriptions to other states. Apologies to my male readers for mentioning this, but please, if you’re a lady, keep track of your cycle. The big picture and possible problems (from infertility to cancer to hormonal imbalances) can sometimes be hard to see if you’re wishy-washy when things are happening or not happening. This is advice gleaned from both doctors and scientists: the better and more complete the data set, the better the knowledge, the better the diagnosis.
Orthodontics: I had about six years of braces, and there is no way I am wasting the time and money it took to get my teeth straight…I use a retainer every night, and I now go back every year or two years (when I am home) to get them checked up. My orthodontist is also a friend of the family, so it’s kind of a fun visit. If I have any troubles or something breaks, I would give him a call and see what he would advise.
Voting: I am very torn between voting in Minnesota or in Massachusetts in this upcoming election. If I do choose, however, I have my voter’s registration from Ramsey County, and I will be able to go to my polling place (probably somewhere in Cambridge) and register there with my driver’s license and proof of address.
Telephone/Cable/Internet: These are all included in my rent (as well as heat, water, and gas). We have Ethernet, local MIT calls, and basic cable...but I don't think I'll be buying a TV. They have a good number in common rooms, and I just don't want to spend money on something that could be a potential distraction.
Compost/recycling/garbage: I’m still trying to figure out Cambridge recycling rules, as well as how I could work out composting. My roommates and I composted in our backyard last year, but doing so in an apartment may get tricky. There are three different variations: a compost machine (about $400), vermiform composting (basically a plastic bin full of worms) and bokashi (a Japanese fermentation process). I'm going to keep looking into things and also see how the roommate feels about any of these options.
Car insurance: my parents are trying to make a case to our insurance company to drop me from their plan by insisting that I will not drive when I am home (which is fine with me).
Passport/birth certificate/social security: I will have my passport and copies of the latter two while in Boston.
Banking: Since US Bank does not have branches in Boston, I will be opening a Bank of America debit card...there is an ATM on nearly every corner, which is certainly more convenient. However, I will be able to keep my credit card with US Bank and just pay my balances online, which is rather nice.
Transcript: I only have a copy from before I graduated, and I will have to present MIT my final transcript and grades, so I will need to contact IWU and get said transcript (as well as a copy for myself just so I have one)
CV: I just finished updating it with my final GPA, future plans, etc...keep it handy, because you'll never know when you'll need it. (Also - convert it to a pdf file to print: it will look much prettier http://www.zamzar.com/)