Dec 24, 2009
10 Things I Learned 1st Semester
Say hello to the holidays and winter break!!! Now, sitting at home in Central Jersey, I can’t help but reminisce about 1st semester and MIT. I can’t say I truly miss the Lagrange multipliers or the gyroscopes (No – never gyroscopes!). But there are certain feelings and observations, lessons and epiphanies that I keep thinking of…
Or that I keep recounting whenever someone from home asks my all-time-favorite “How’s college?!?!” Wooo - Here’s a sample.
1) People love Indian food and/or frozen-yogurt-more-endearingly-“Froyo”. I can’t count how many “Ordering Indian in 10! Come to Room # if you want in!” emails I've gotten over these past few months. My family eats rice every night and do not dine out much; I’ve never had Indian food in my life. I got my first taste of Indian cuisine this semester, however. I had a mixed chicken curry or something. It blew my mind away – more because of the spiciness than anything else. While i had to keep chugging down water, it was no doubt delicious. Now froyo: again, never had it in my life. But once I arrived at MIT, it seems almost blasphemous if you’ve never had froyo or do not like it. But my concern is: although froyo is logically healthy, the containers they're delivered in seem huge. Bottom line: campusfood.com is probably the root of Freshman-15 and much college-related weight gain; it's like "Hey, it might be freezing outside, but they deliver so you can still have froyo in a warm comfy room." Crap.
2) Sometimes you need to impulsively hit that “Send” button.. There were many times this semester I had to send awkward emails – like asking a professor about UROP opportunities, or asking my chemistry TA how to make up a quiz that I overslept :X. When facing an unpleasant topic or intimidating recipient, writing emails can become anxiety-mongering. But I remember reading a cartoon that described how the student spends 15 minutes crafting an email that the professor processes in 5 seconds… So what I tried to do is: read it over once, smash the send button, and just breathe. (Sometimes I say under my breath, ”OMG, OMG, OMG” afterwards, but same idea.)
3) Ink lasts quite a while. – This semester, I took Disease and Society in America, which is a HASS history class, and there were many papers to write. But that’s nothing compared to the countless randomosities I had to print for writing-centric high school classes like US Government and Psychology. With that said, invest in your own printer for college – might just add a few years to your lifespan. I remember dedicating quite a few Facebook statuses to the irritatingly unpredictable nature of MIT printers.
4) Do not be afraid to go forward - in solving integrals. . This one's quite specific and personal. I am slow at math and continue to lack the skill of cleverly manipulating ...integrands - a.k.a. functions to be integrated. But solving problems by applying trig. identities one after another, substituting multiple times, invoking the scary-sounding integration by parts, and sometimes a combination of these dreaded steps, have pushed the limits of my mathematical patience. On several quizzes and exams, I've gotten the feedback "Keep going..." Ahh - so close!!! Must not be afraid to take one more (annoying) step; perhaps this experience could be applied to life at large?
5) Online scheduling/sign-up applications are the bomb! How come I've never used Doodle or Google Docs before coming to college? They are so incredibly useful! My dorm uses them for potluck planning. The Taekwondo team uses them for banquet/Secret Santa planning. Chris used it in the beginning of the year to schedule the first Blogger Meet-Up. Just this week, I used it to set up a get-together in New York City. Yes! I learned something in college!
6) Spam Mailing Lists are fun. There are times during the endless p-setting night when you just neeeeed a break. Luckily (?) for me, my floormates on Burton 1 have lots of diversions to supply. Funny/cute/absurd/ridiculous/amazing Youtube videos, random questions, requests for envelops or batteries or lime-colored things, and cookies-up-for-grabs that turn into tea parties... I love checking my email! And procrastinating...
7) First impressions can be mistaken and inhibiting. During orientation and dorm rush, I noticed that this girl was really pretty, but she bore a really guarded expression for most of the event we were attending. I thought, "Why??? God - just take it easy!" So somehow my brain connected those observations and thought she was mean or obnoxious. But she ends up being on my floor and my initial ideas about her are every bit off. I've since realized to not let odd first judgments irrationally deter me from saying Hello.
8) MIT campus-wide wifi is unbeatable and oh-I-miss-it-so. Anywhere else – Starbucks, on the Megabus, even @ home – wifi is comparably unstable and/or slow. Enough said.
9) Rain boots are a way of life. This may apply to the female population @ MIT more so than the male...but in general, I've never seen a greater concentration of rain boots in greater variety of patterns than at MIT/Cambridge/Boston. When it rains (or even snows) outside, forget the umbrellas - put on some rain boots and skip away. (I think the forgetting umbrella part is just me though.)
10) The heating in my dorm is amazing. Now at home, I’m typing with a coat on. It does not feel good. If I was still in my room @ MIT, I could be wearing a t-shirt. During dorm tours at CPW, I remember hearing about how Burton-Conner has no heating. And when I got Burton-Conner as my final dorm, I was wary but skeptical that BC could legally have no heating. Well – nothing to worry about there! Heating is ample ‚ò∫. That will certainly be one thing I’m going to miss over the next two weeks.
Keep warm! or cool!- depending on where you are :)
Happy Holidays everyone!
[P.S. I just realized half of the things I wrote relate somehow to the computer or Internet...Is it a blogger instinct? An MIT psyche? or a sign I need to get more of a life? HAHA.]