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Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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Alexa J. '20

Dec 1 2017

Thanksgiving Nostalgia

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Life & Culture

10,968 hours. That’s 457 days, which is 1 year and 3 months since I’d last been home. This past Thanksgiving break, as I turned into my driveway as I had done thousands of times before (driving was weird in and of itself), it felt foreign, nothing like walking through the familiarity of the infinite. Maybe it seems silly, but even grabbing something out of the fridge felt like I was a guest in my own home.

Even more than that, I feel like a different person than I was in high school, which is a rare observation because I think it’s often hard to notice change in yourself since you hang out with yourself 24/7. Here are some thoughts about what else has changed.

D E S K  S P A C E
As a student, I spend an inordinate amount of time sitting at my desk. As a student studying computer science, I spend nearly all of my waking hours hunched over a desk coding. Therefore, my study locations hold a very special place in my heart, as they’re often the place of absolute highs and lows,... read the post »

Discussion

Oct 27 2017

Classes 2.0

Posted in: Academics & Research, Life & Culture

Here’s to a basically mid-semester check-in to what I spend my time doing. I waited because I naively hoped that life would settle down into a rhythm before I profile it, but also because I was procrastinating as bloggers do. Probably primarily the latter.

6.009 Fundamentals of Programming

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I made that cat black and white and blurry (on purpose)! That was me! Mind you, this was the very first problem set. About a month and half in now, it’s safe to say that I will have learned a lot by the end of this semester. Perhaps even enough to compensate for the fact that my Sundays have been renamed “Day of 6.009 Office Hours.”

6.006 Introduction to Algorithms

This class focuses on “mathematical modeling of computational problems,” which basically means runtime and common algorithms, like merge sorts and Dijkstra’s shortest path. I fluctuate in this class from really feeling like I have a grasp on the material to feeling like the professor is speaking a foreign language. This... read the post »

Discussion

Sep 28 2017

The One Where I’m in Russia

Posted in: Academics & Research, Life & Culture

So first there was Peru, where we ate really good food (Exhibit A) and pet llamas (Exhibit B) and may have eaten llamas (shhh don’t tell them) and visited Machu Picchu (Exhibit C). After all the pictures I’ve seen of the archaeology site, I thought it was going to be underwhelming. But it was breathtaking, especially in the early morning with mystical fog shrouding the surroundings.

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Exhibit A: Maido - Japanese-Peruvian fusion. Apparently the eighth best restaurant in the world??

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Exhibit B: Happy llama, sad llama, mama llama, drama llama

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 Exhibit C: We climbed that road way down there and then all the way up the mountain we're sitting on for this view. It was an exciting day for my Fitbit.

My team and I also helped undergraduates start their own companies (Exhibit D) through Global Startup Labs, the actual purpose of the trip! It’s an entrepreneurship and technical program designed to give undergraduates around the world the skillset and mindset needed to start their... read the post »

Discussion

Aug 3 2017

The Case of the Considerate Robbers

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Life & Culture

It was the dead of winter in the smoggy capital city of Chile, encircled by the Andes mountains’ snow-capped peaks on one side and the vast Pacific Ocean on the other. Tucked into little apartments and host families and plagued nightly by the severe lack of central heating, about thirty MIT students tried to better their Spanish, interned at local companies, and wondered why they chose to go to the Southern Hemisphere during their summer.

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Look at all that smog yum!

They soon settled into the monotonous routine of a 9 to 6 (or sometimes 8 to 7) work schedule, almost missing the fast pace of studies. Students also grew accustomed to the kisses on the right cheek when greeting and leaving a room and learned to like completos italianos (hot dogs with tomato, mayonnaise, and avocado) and the traditional empanadas, stuffed with meat, egg, and a singular olive. Common Chilean idioms, like “Qué fome” and “¿Cachai?”, slang that Spanish speakers anywhere else in the world would fail to... read the post »

Discussion

May 20 2017

Things

Posted in: Academics & Research, Life & Culture

Breathe in, breathe out. Wow. I’ve barely had time to breathe let alone blog. I wanted to do an end-of-the-year reflection but thought it would be better for other people to just write a blog for me (although some are also my own). I’ve collected here some of the responses from a very small sample of the MIT population, mostly just the people I interact with regularly, so this is really only a snapshot of the diverse thoughts and feelings that exist in the MIT bubble. It's a little long but I wanted to show you it all: the silly, the poignant, the ones that I really connected with, and the ones I hope you will connect with.

Things that make me happy

  • When dining has my favorite muffins for breakfast
  • Waking up in time for breakfast
  • Naked brunch
  • Regular brunch
  • Sushi in Maseeh Dining
  • Yamatos - all you can eat sushi!!
  • Domino’s at 2AM
  • When it rains and I get to wear my rain boots
  • When it rains and I get to wear my waterproof flip flops
  • Warm... read the post »

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