One of the obvious things that I will have in Boston is my laptop, and to cut down on the amount of stuff that I will have, I have burned all of my CDs to an external hard drive, and the actual CDs are stored at home. I’m toying with the idea of getting a Netflix account to keep me entertained, but there is also the public library (http://www.cambridgema.gov/~CPL/) that will have DVDs and other things like cookbooks and travel guides. Boston also has a great downtown library (http://www.bpl.org/) with a great digital collection online.
As an MIT student, I will also have access to the gym and various group classes (http://mitrecsports.com/). Yoga and pilates do have an additional cost to them, but I think that they would be well worth it (even just to try for a few weeks). They also have massage ($60 for 60 minutes), which is steeper than the IWU rate, but hey…everything is more expensive in Boston. Ashdown will also have exercise facilities to use, but I am not sure how much they will have.
Boston is also known for being a very easy city to get around, and I will be taking advantage of that fact. From dim sum breakfasts in Chinatown to walking Newberry Street going in stores that I can (and cannot) afford (http://www.newbury-st.com/) to the Boston Commons to Harvard Square…I have plenty to keep me busy!
As far as public transportation goes, since I will be walking to campus every day, getting a monthly pass wouldn’t be worth it. I’ll just pay as I go using my Charlie Card (a credit card-like pass that you load money onto at the stations).
I am also extremely lucky that my roommate has a car…it is very rare for students to have vehicles, and this will make my life easier if I choose to buy some additional furniture or really need a ride somewhere if the T is closed. A very common option for students here is a Zipcar (http://www.zipcar.com/boston/check-rates). The yearly cost is $50, and the hourly cost for a car rental is $9/hour. This covers gas, insurance, and parking…it is quite the steal when you consider all of the costs incurred when you own a car. It is definitely something I will be looking into after my first year here.
I am also planning to get a bike, but a crappy one. Too many bikes get stolen on Mass Ave for me to want a new bike out in Boston. This will also allow me to take advantages of some beautiful bike trails during the summer (Walden Pond, anyone?).
Also, *hint hint* I want some of my free time to be spent hosting guests...there will always be a couch available for anyone passing through Boston, and I would love to show you around town...