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Lulu L. '09

Mar 2, 2007

Advice you’ve heard before and a story you haven’t

Posted in: Best of the Blogs, Life & Culture

There are going to be a lot of people eager to give you advice on how to survive college and maybe even leave with a degree and some shreds of self respect. At least that's the way it was with me. Something that I heard over and over again from mouths of all shapes and sizes was "Go to class. Go to class. Go to class."

But that's for dumb kids who couldn't figure things out on their own. By second semester freshman year I attended at most one class per subject per week. I skipped all 18.03 (Differential Equations) lectures except the first, went to no recitations other than the ones immediately preceding exams. 8.022 (E+M) had lecture notes online by a previous lecturer, and it was not long after I discovered them that I stopped going to 8.022 as well. 6.001 (computer science) lectures were optional through an online lecture experiment so that was excusable. The only class to which I dragged myself on a semi-regular basis was my mandatory-attendance HASS class. The advantages? I got to sleep in later. I got to "save time" that would otherwise have been spent in class. I got to stay warm and cozy in my (over)heated room while it whistled and roared in wintry fury outside. I got to brag about not going to class and still doing fine.

How did I go about this? Homework. Everything I learned that semester came from doing homework assignments. I would read the lecture notes from that week as I went along problem by problem, learning only the parts of the material necessary to hand in a completed assignment the next day. When the tests rolled around, I would attend the review sessions held immediately preceding to fill in the gaps between the problems. Of course, this schedule meant that I slept until noon every day and had to stay up until 6 or 7am on many occasions to not only finish a whole problem set the night before but also learn the material beforehand. But that's okay, since that extra time would have been spent in class anyways. And since I can learn faster than the lecturer talks, I'm still saving time, right? It made sense, of course, until you tried to account for the 'extra time' I should have saved. Where did that go? In a single week, I would end up sleeping 4 hours or less on at least 2 or 3 occasions. I would skip meals reasoning that I'd got up late, so I didn't need breakfast, reasoning that I'm hungry, but it's 4am already and I'm going to bed soon, anyways, as soon as I finish this last problem... This wasn't a big deal for me, then. I was still healthy.


 

It's at this point in the tale that the wise and weathered story-teller would learn his lesson. "And I failed all my classes and got put on academic probation and then I shaped up and never missed another lecture and made straight A's from then on." Well, correct me if I'm wrong but life doesn't usually work like that. Truth is, I did just fine. I got A's in 8.022 and 18.03 and B's in 6.001 and 4.301. I even passed my astronomy seminar (P/F) 12.409 (which I highly recommend by the way). Another piece of universal advice came into mind at that point, "If it works, stick with it." This one I followed.

I sleepwalked through first semester sophomore year. Unified (engineering) started at 9am which made it easy to skip on a daily basis. Not to mention all equations and little theory which made it easy to pick up the night before a test or Monday night before the problem sets were due. Out of the 10 hours of lectures and recitations every week, I was present for maybe 2 or 3. My other classes didn't fare too much better (2 physics and a HASS class). Once you start skipping one class it's hard to bring yourself to go to the others. I fell into the same pattern as the semester before. But there was one big difference. I was taking five classes, not four. It's easy to say that you'll read the lecture notes for the class you just skipped, it's even easy to believe that you will, and sometimes I would. But more often, I put it off.

I fell behind. And it's an awful feeling, being behind in a class. An awful pattern even, because, it requires you to correct for it all at once. I can't go to lecture if I haven't learned any of the material of the past 2 weeks, it would be a waste of time, I wouldn't have any idea what was being said. I guess I'll just stay home and try to start from the beginning. And now I'm missing yet another class. I'm even farther behind. To be able to keep up with problem sets in all your MIT classes, eventually, you will have to fall into a pattern. Math on monday nights, maybe physics tuesdays and wednesdays, bio on thursdays, essays on sundays... and you will feel like every minute of every day is filled. Where is the time to catch up on material that you've missed? Well, I'm not a slow worker and I'm not a fast worker. I'm not brilliant and I'm not dumb. And with 5 classes I didn't have much. Psets started taking me longer to do, and I found myself playing catchup into the wee hours of the morning. The sun came up over my unfinished work, and I hadn't slept. And it was the 3rd time this week. So my schedule was a little hectic, so what? I was still pulling A's.


 

Red flag #1. I overslept the second Fluid dynamics test in Unified. By 45 minutes. With only 15 minutes left in the test, I staggered into 33-225, my heart still racing from the shock. Professor Drela gave me the full hour to take it.

This was less than halfway through the semester. A little after this, I started getting sick. I lost weight. Which, for me, a 105 pound girl, was a pretty big deal. One day, while we were getting chinese food at Kendall food court, my friend Jesse noticed that I wasn't eating much.

"I'm full," I said. 3/4 of the little styrofoam lunch box was still filled with orange chicken and tofu. What he didn't know was at this point, a lunch box could fill me up three times over. But more than that, I was unhappy. I was cranky and skinny and disliked my classes and despised my work. My stomach hurt when it was full, hurt when it was empty, I got headaches that didn't go away like headaches should.


 

You hear it a lot. College is about learning to take care of yourself. Well, as much as I hate to prove cliches correct, that's where I failed. Mommy and Daddy weren't there to cook dinner for me when I had too much work to go out or do it myself. They weren't there to remind me to take my vitamins. They weren't around to say, "You look overworked, you've gotten skinnier, pay attention to the warning signs." Well, it finally did catch my attention.

I overslept the second exam in 8.033 (Relativity) by 45 minutes. Again, the professor gave me the full allotted time. "I was in college once, too," he said. Now I don't want to give the wrong impression. Compassion isn't a prerequisite to becoming a professor at this school. It'd be a big mistake to confuse luck with law, and assume that I deserved anything but an F on both those two tests. But all that aside it was the jolt I needed I think, and in a way it wrenched me from the nightmare in which I'd been a living character and I took a look around. This was the second time I'd overslept something very important. Something I set 2 alarms for. Also, the exam was at 2pm.

You might be wondering at the moral of this story. Is it grades? Had my gpa plummetted? No, when the dust settled on my science subjects last term, I'd come away with 2 A's and 2 B's. But I was unhappy and the success of a semester is not measured in grades alone. Some people might say that this shows that students are dumb and should listen to their elders when they say "go to class."

But I think that's bull. Everyone learns differently. If you learn best by going to every lecture, taking meticulous notes, and if that makes you feel good, then absolutely that is what you should do. But if you learn better from readings and homework assignments, there's nothing wrong with that either. If it pleases you to lock yourself in your room- except to sneak out late at night in a trenchcoat to turn in your problem sets- and not say a single word of english to anyone, you'll find good company here. Telling students they have to learn a certain way is crappy. Everyone deserves to find out for himself. Instead of saying, "go to class", I think my advice will be as follows: pick classes that you'll want to go to.

And don't fall behind.


 

I changed my major. I don't believe in the policy that you have to suffer in life before you get to have any fun. Truth is I didn't enjoy my engineering classes. While my other classmates were trudging through the work willingly, I felt like I was being dragged along in something I didn't want to do. Does this mean I'm not interested in Aero/Astro? I don't know, but I don't think so. I think I will simply have to find a different path to reach my career goals. I'm young, there are tons of open doors.

These are the classes I'm taking this semester:

Quantum Physics - 8.04
Statistical Physics - 8.044
Abstract Algebra - 18.703
Biology - 7.013
Writing (Autobiographical) - 21W.731

As of right now, I really like the selection and variety. I have more work than ever (I have an essay due more or less every week in writing class- don't take writing if you don't want to work) but I'm getting 6-8 hours of sleep a night and eating half a pizza again and the pink is coming back into my cheeks. I go to every class. I have generally great lecturers this term and I like to have a face explaining things to me and I like to have the little words in between steps that illuminate everything which, sadly, are often omitted in textbooks and lecture notes. I work on problem sets by myself: I find that I learn best that way. And then I check answers with other students and offer and receive help on difficulties. I go to office hours whenever I can, because sometimes just talking a problem out is enough to offer new insights on it. I cook dinners and lunches and sometimes even a pancake and eggs breakfast with Mike ('08) every day. I go grocery shopping every weekend. Here's another piece of advice, find a cooking buddy. Mutual encouragement and motivation will keep you fed (and cheaply!) every day. If it's a friend, you can snack in the lounges watching tv, if it's a boyfriend/girlfriend, dim the lights and light a couple of candles. Either way, it's a good time and usually a good break from problem sets. I spend maybe $40-50 a week on groceries, eat 2-3 meals every day, fancier on the weekends. It's a good deal, and cooking isn't that hard. Even you can learn.


 

Here, I will throw in a couple of pictures. Since that is my job.

These are some of the CCD images that I (yes, that's right, me) took (w/ my partner) using a 8" telescope for my freshman year astronomy seminar that I talked about. For 3 hours a week we froze our butts off on the roof of building 37 each at our little telescopes looking at stars, planets, and galaxies. Making LIFESIZE sketches and taking pictures.

Actually, the first is a page from my lab notebook with some sketches of saturn.


These are the images.

This one is saturn. It looked a lot better in the telescope.


Look, we weren't using hubble, you have to lower your expectations a bit.


A globular cluster. (First ever in the class!)


I was still pretty psyched to get these. This is the moon:


And lastly, the orion nebula.

 

 

Anyways. It's time to end my big ol' ranting entry. In conclusion, do I think I will get straight A's this year? Hardly. I'm taking much harder classes. But do I think this will be my best semester yet at MIT? You bet.


OKAY THANKS FOR YOUR TIME

-Lulu

Comments (Closed after 30 days to reduce spam)

Hey,

I thought that your post was great. Thanks for being candid about everything.

Mark

Posted by: Mark on March 2, 2007

MY MyMit says

"Application tracking is no longer available for entry year 2007"

Does that mean you have thrown me away ??

Posted by: The madman who makes people fly ---- this time twi on March 2, 2007

Thanx a lot 4 all that. gr8. 3rd post. keep telling us more. Ranjodh

Posted by: ranjodh on March 2, 2007

Madman -
Nope, I'm pretty sure it just means that they've already come to a decision for you. Therefore, there's no need to worry about any more documents getting to them. grin

15 days & counting 'till decisions are released! Good luck everyone.


Yeah, this post was surprising. I'm glad you posted it, Lulu! Thanks.

Posted by: Adam S. on March 2, 2007

A refreshing view of the college experience and some great words of wisdom -- certainly one of the best entries I've read so far. smile

Posted by: Tony P. on March 2, 2007

great entry. i liked it because your lesson was not learned in the typical way. like you said, you still did fine, despite skipping your classes. however, it was catching up with you. time management is a really important skill as well as the ability to know when you need help/when you need to change some of your habits. kudos for sharing. thanks.

Posted by: Josh V on March 2, 2007

Hi

Although college and high school is drastically different ...

In my junior year of HS, I developed a pattern of not wanting to go to my classes (and actually did many times). One reason was that I didn't like any of my classes except for calculus (I had already taken most of the classes that I would have liked, so my school seemed to offer nothing more to me - but I guess I am a bit rebellious sort b/c I mean who falls behind in high school). Another reason was that once in this pattern, it seemed impossible to get out of it.

Everyday, I felt guilty, with all the late works to do haunting me. I too became unhappy and unhealthy.

I really think your advice- pick classes that you'll want to go to. And don't fall behind.- will be valuable for me. Thank you for sharing your story.

Posted by: Chloe on March 2, 2007

Madman,

I am from India, and my 'application tracking' has disappeared just like yours. And reading Adam's post has only made me more freaked out raspberry

Gaaaawwwddd. This is testing!

Posted by: Viksit on March 2, 2007

Wow, thanks so much for this post, Lulu. This "falling behind" situation kinda applies to what's happened to me a few times in high school. I never skipped classes regularly but I would get lazy with assignments and fall behind and it's really not fun at all...and this is the first time I've heard about an experience like this from an MIT student [not that I think it doesn't happen, just haven't heard about it]. Thanks for your perspective. Also, I loved the CCD images! The moon and the globular cluster were the best :D

Posted by: Roseanne '11 on March 2, 2007

madman and viksit-

mine is gone too and i live in the us...
(yeah, whatever it means, i'm nevous now that you're nervous)

Posted by: Josh V on March 2, 2007

At the risk of stumbling even more off-topic... smile

Mine is gone as well, but my guess would be that they just aren't tracking application pieces for anyone anymore. I guess if it's not in by now, it's probably not going to make it to the committee anyway. Ben posted a week or so ago that any newly submitted materials are "very unlikely to be seen by the committee." They've probably just cut off tracking for everyone; at least that's what I gather from the way the message was worded, anyway.
Just my stab in the dark, naturally. Will just keep twiddling my thumbs until the 17th.

Posted by: Tony P. on March 2, 2007

I didn't even notice application tracking disappeared until today. I'm now even more worried, assuming that is possible. Stress has to converge eventually...

On another note, this article reminds me of last semester. I'm surprised my inverse schedule (sleep during day, stress/procrastinate at night) did not send me into a coma after a month. It is always reassuring to know others have similar times.
Astronomy is awesome. Harsh and requiring dedication, perhaps. But awesome.

Posted by: Katherine on March 2, 2007

Going off the topic yet again (the usual silly me:P),

Its Holi in India.

Wishing all the applicants a Very Happy Holi! And yea, loads and loads of luck to everybody. Rock on buddies smile

Posted by: Viksit on March 2, 2007

that is quite possibly the best college advice i think i have ever heard. thanks so much!

Posted by: sarah on March 2, 2007

Good to hear that you change your learning style and have your health and confidence back.

My son attends the same Physics classes with you
again this term. Hope you 2 will do well. I do believe that you will make straight "A" even 8.04
might be a little bit challenging.


A father..

Posted by: 0 on March 2, 2007

Good to hear that you change your learning style and have your health and confidence back.

My son attends the same Physics classes with you
again this term. Hope you 2 will do well. I do believe that you will make straight "A"s even 8.04
might be a little bit challenging.


A father..

Posted by: 0 on March 2, 2007

That was fun. And one thing I have learnt is to take cooking classes ASAP. My Mom and Grandmom are amazing cooks and I ought to learn something or I'll end up starving to death!

Posted by: Sarab on March 3, 2007

Thank you for an eloquent and heartfelt post. I'm glad that you have learned what works for you. Thank you for sharing that with others. I'm going to refer this posting to others. Glad that your health is getting back to normal. You will go far.
- A mother

Posted by: AnotherMom on March 3, 2007

That was kind of depressing, but I appreciate the honesty. It makes me feel better that other people, even people who get accepted to MIT, have procrastination and time-managament issues. I fully intend to actually go to class and do work in college, but senior year in HS has me more or less bored out of my mind, which has the unfortunate consequence of making me not want to do work.

So thanks for your candid piece of advice. It is oddly reassuring. Here's to this year being better than the last!

Posted by: 0 on March 3, 2007

reading this post and other people's comments, i noticed a pattern going on. I, too, have been slacking off from school. it's senior year and i think people get what is commonly known as "senioritis." we start to feel like classes are more boring (because we've already taken the interesting ones during the past 3 years). I've also been falling behind in classes. I dont even have an incentive to wake up in the morning anymore. I go to school but don't listen in class and procrastinate like crazy. now im really behind. i managed straight A's but im also tired and unhealthy like Lulu had mentioned. im much smaller than Lulu also...this makes it even worse. believe it or not...i weighed 95 pounds at the beginning of the year and now i am barely 88 pounds. =[

Posted by: Kathy on March 3, 2007

Hey, thanks for this post... it was quite useful for me. However, I still have a few questions after reading this and your post on 8.03. Could I contact you via email?

Posted by: Cam on March 3, 2007

Hey,

Thanks so much for posting this! Good luck in the future!

Posted by: 0 on March 3, 2007

Hey, great post -- Glad to hear that you got yourself relatively back on track. I dig the pictures, too, the moon tonight was pretty spectacular and it's cool to see that it hasn't changed in the last few years (although, why would it?)...

Posted by: Yuki on March 3, 2007

It's surprises me that you maintained such good grades while not attending classes; I guess I always view MIT classes as superhuman, and I imagine students spending hours on homework and crying over the impossible psets. So you aren't a physics major anymore? What did you change your major to? Hope your semester goes well.

Posted by: CC on March 3, 2007

lulu, u've got a wonderful personality. like what anothermother said, u'll go far.

Posted by: this post is cool on March 3, 2007

Wonderful post Lulu,

I found a few parallels between your story and mine... I'd not like to discuss all that on an online forum.. But the point remains.. Different approaches work for different people and we've got to follow some that we don't always like...

In such cases I just go after the probs... Applying some tricks, out-of-the-box ideas and cracking 'em... Of course, it sometimes proves to be counter-productive in a curriculum based on rote learning.. as is the case in my country.. Have a nice time...

Posted by: Basant on March 3, 2007

Thank you for being candid with us, sharing your experiences. I bet your post will help not only MIT freshmen (hopely that includes me too) to manage their time, but also the other students who are going to college this year.

Posted by: Sea on March 3, 2007

Wow, great post.
It's good to know i'm not alone in my procrastination. Lately I've fallen so far behind i spent the last two weekends working from morning till midnight (with a few breaks obviously). But i'm back on track and i'm not going to fall behind again.
Thanks for the inspirational post.

Posted by: Chessy on March 3, 2007

MAdman, Vikshit, Josh
Even my App. tracking has gone off!!

Anywayz best of luck to all

Posted by: Anurag on March 3, 2007

"Advice you've heard before and a story you haven't"

Definately one of the best blogs ever!!!
Great job Lulu!!

Posted by: 0 on March 3, 2007

What!!
March 17 is the MIT admssions decisions day!!
my heart has just stopped beating!
i'll get back to you when it starts beating again
that is if it ever will!
;(

Posted by: 0 on March 3, 2007

Need to find a cure, a medicine, a remedy
My life, so short, is turning into a tragedy
Feed me a pill, a smoke, or simply a warm tea
To soothe my nervous mind, my restless body
Feeling the blues, the reds, the whole damn rainbow
Cant eat, cant sleep, why do i drink so much coffee?
God Almighty, the wait is fairly killing me!
17th March will you gonna b my friend, or my ennemy?

This wait is turning me into a babbling idiot. Cant believe I actually wrote that. Didnt erase it so u guys can see what kind of crazy people apply for MIT grin Who in their write mind will go write poetry on smt like this....

Lulu, great story. It really shows how one forges one's character at college.

Posted by: Hanna on March 3, 2007

Thank you for your eloquent and thoughtful post. I think this will prove to be a very useful entry for many students. I'm going to send this link to a number of colleagues so they can reference it to their students and/or children.

So glad that your health is improving.
- a mother

Posted by: AnotherMom on March 3, 2007

Nice poem Hannah

Posted by: Basant on March 3, 2007

Well, I have a very similar story. I always go to my classes and listen to my teacher's lecture however there are times when you don't understand what they are trying to convey in their lessons. I try to go home and lock myself in a room and try to read the chapter and google the topic to obtain more background information. This eventually works out very well for me. In other words I can teach myself but I also like to attend classes smile

Jigar

Posted by: Jigar on March 3, 2007

Thank you for a candid post, Lulu. Although it's true there are many different learning styles, it's my opinion that a student who develops long-term habits of holing up alone in his/her room, doing problems in isolation, and avoiding face-to-face interactions with peers in classrooms may not be developing the kinds of habits and skills that translate well into the workplace. One of MIT's competitors, another well-known technology institute here in California, is famous for a culture in which students try to outperform each other in the number of days they can stay in their rooms without emerging at all (online courses, food brought in by friends, etc.) At my company, we have had very mixed results with graduates used to that culture. My daughter will enter MIT next fall, and it is my hope that she will embrace the social aspect of the institution fully. If you see her in classes, it will definitely not be because she's one of the "dumb students," but because her family has stressed the importance of developing social and leadership skills, skills than can only be developed in the company of others.

Posted by: parent and tech employer on March 3, 2007

Lulu -
Excellent post! I often find myself skipping through posts that are lengthy because I am easily bored, but I read through this one in no time!

Posted by: Alyssa on March 3, 2007

Great Story Lulu

Posted by: Herman on March 3, 2007

thanks for the support everyone smile

cam-
yeah! anyone w/ more questions can email me. the email I give for the blogs is [email protected], all emails sent there will be forwarded right to my main account.

CC-
I changed my major TO physics smile In other words, I dropped Aero/Astro.

parent and tech employer-
Yeah, see, that's my point though. No one way of learning is ever best, we have to try it all out and see what works and what suits us.


!

-lulu

Posted by: lulu on March 3, 2007

hi everyone
just sit tight for the d.day

Posted by: chrissie on March 3, 2007

College life is just so different from high school, isn't it? I'm excited!

Though it seems like that balance is going to be hard to get =)

Posted by: Melissa '11 on March 3, 2007

I love those images!!!! It seems that you're having a great time at MIT!
Those are the advices that will really care when I go to college. Thanks

Posted by: Karl on March 3, 2007

your pictures are fun and cool!I'm a chinese senior high student,but,i ain't want to take NCEE,it's sommat too risky at one try,so i'm trying to go US for university.As i like physics very very much,i chose MIT,but i need to get scholarships,then my parents will allow me to come.C if you could help find some important information for me,really thanks!thanks,merci,谢谢,ありがとう!
ps. you looks really much like my classmate,tt's y i clicked on your blog right away.anyway,r u a Chinese???

Posted by: maxwell on March 3, 2007

Great entry Lulu! In fact, the best post I ever saw until now. Your story shows me that MIT students have the same problems as anyone else.
I must say that the hardest part of having trouble with study time-management is recognizing that you need to change the way you study. You were able to identify the issue, admit it to yourself and then change. I will use this advice in whatever college/university I get in.
It is a lifetime piece of advice.

Posted by: Susan Virgem on March 4, 2007

lulu's so cool

Posted by: jas on March 4, 2007

That's crazy and yet I agree. Thanks for the awesome blog~

Posted by: LilKraze on March 4, 2007

Wow, I seriously needed this blog entry. Great timing! Thanks mucho!

Posted by: SlackingSenior on March 4, 2007

thanks a lot for your post - its really great that you are honest about something that I'm sure happens a lot but is never really talked about.

Posted by: Priya on March 4, 2007

At first I was wary of this entry, because after only one semester at MIT I know how hard it is to get good grades, and it seemed a bit like you were just bragging. But the point you ended up making was very valid and, I think, very well explained. Good grades are meaningless if you're not happy and if you're not healthy. I'm happy for you for being happy! wink

I had an experience like yours on a much smaller scale recently. I've been telling everyone for months that I was going to be Course 16, and then I realized -- though without actually suffering through Unified and getting any legitimate knowledge of the subject -- that though aero/astro is INTERESTING to me, I was dreading classes more than anticipating them. Saying I was going to be Course 16 was like a mantra, but instead of a calming, happy mantra, it was a steely, resolved, and miserable mantra. "My life is going to suck for the next four years," I thought. But then I realized it doesn't have to, and though there are a lot of people here who look down on science/non-engineering majors, I let myself think about what I really wanted to do. What I've decided on -- VERY tentatively, but also HAPPILY, which is vital -- is Courses 9 and 8B. I'm not a brilliant physics student -- hell, I got a D in 8.012 for a lot of the same reasons you listed above. (See, I skipped lectures and recitations and got into those bad patterns, but when it came time to learn the material well, I didn't succeed with flying colors.) So I'm stuck in 8.011 right now, and it's pretty awful -- it's really, really easy, but I still keep making dumb mistakes on the tests. I think I have an A so far, but it shouldn't be something I have to wonder about. I shouldn't be in the class at all -- I hate it -- and I'm only in it because I slacked off too much last term. So it's made me a lot more willing to be a better worker, and so far I haven't skipped any classes at all. I don't know if going to every lecture and recitation is my best way of learning, but until I gain some surer footing, it can't hurt. And even though my transcript doesn't show it, I really, really love physics. I don't care that I'm not the best at it, or maybe even good at it at all. I was looking at course descriptions for 8.03, 8.033, 8.04, and so on, and realized that I really just WANTED to take some classes in Course 8, even if I ultimately don't want to be a physicist and even if I get Cs. This is my one chance to be a student at one of the best schools in the world, and I should take advantage of every opportunity I get.

On a related note, I've heard some hit-or-miss things about professors in Course 8. Have you had good teachers / do you feel that they care about their students at all? As you can surely tell from my 8.012 experience, I'm not the best at learning material on my own, so having a bad professor would probably mean having a bad experience, not to mention a lower grade than I might have been capable of getting.

Posted by: Colin on March 4, 2007

Er, sorry for rambling. I haven't gotten around to writing about this issue on my blog yet, so I think most of that would have been in a journal entry. . . . apologies for shoving it off on you and your readers.

Posted by: Colin on March 4, 2007

"I was looking at course descriptions for 8.03, 8.033, 8.04, and so on, and realized that I really just WANTED to take some classes in Course 8, even if I ultimately don't want to be a physicist and even if I get Cs. This is my one chance to be a student at one of the best schools in the world, and I should take advantage of every opportunity I get."

YES!! YES YES YES I did a little hop in my seat when i read that, that's exactly why I became a physics major.


In terms of teachers, it's a hit-or-miss thing in EVERY department at every school I think (with the exception of writing, here, which I've just heard nothing but wonderful wonderful things about). Yeah, physics has its gems and has its dunces in terms of teaching. As a whole, I would place them way above course 18 professors and most engineering departments. My professors and recitation instructors this semester in physics are all amazing. I have nothing to complain about. I had walter lewin as a recitation instructor last term, and he's one of the teaching greats. lecturer for 8.03 (i'm sad to say) was... not so good, but that changes every year. 8.033 is tegmark's baby (he's taught it quite some years in a row) and he's really great. I had josh winn as my ta for 8.022 and i like him a lot. I had wolfgang ketterle as my ta for 8.012 and i was intimidated beyond words but he was very sensitive to students' needs and was very caring overall. I don't know, I can't say I've had NO bad experiences with physics faculty but I think the good outweigh the bad.

Posted by: lulu on March 4, 2007

Nice rant there, I have a tendency to get bored in the middle of reading just about anything, but really your story kind of reminds me of myself and a friend of mine. I went though something similar, but I expect ill probably trip up just as bad in college.

Posted by: Bharat on March 4, 2007

And that's the story of this year. Except I went to class. Meh, we all gotta learn sometime, right?
Very awesome pictures. If I get in, I'll go take that class for the fun of it. xD

Posted by: Adri on March 5, 2007

Thanks for the response! You're right about it being hit-or-miss in every department. . . . I guess I'll just have to stay up to date on which professors are teaching which classes, and try to take them to maximize the number of good ones.

Oh, and I hate 8.011 because it's stuff I know, but not because it's a terrible class -- I'm lucky enough to have a section taught by Walter Lewin. He's great, so I'm hoping that when we get to the parts of mechanics I'm not as good at, his teaching abilities will bridge some of the gaps in my knowledge.

Posted by: Colin on March 5, 2007

Hey...........that was a gr888 one...it seems uv written ur heart out....i loved these pics of the moon and ur honesty...it was really sumthn i needed....hope i''ll b there at mit one day!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Aakriti on March 5, 2007

lulu and colin lolz............... you typed all that

Posted by: bhushan on March 6, 2007

I believe in two things developing community skills and also being able to work alone. So while I would attend all my classes, I would also lock up myself in order to study alone.
Every one should try to find out what learning style suits him best. And also getting straight A's is not really the most important thing, enjoying yourself and gathering as much knowledge as you can is.

Thanks for the great entry Lulu and thanks Colin for the honest words........................

Posted by: Solomon on March 6, 2007

I'm glad to hear the fun parts of MIT haven't changed much in 3 decades. Keep up the great work !

Posted by: Jim on March 7, 2007

lol

Posted by: lulu on March 8, 2007

You are Chinese?
If you please help me!
I thank you for the mail :
[email protected]

Posted by: jieqi on March 10, 2007

I've been trying to reach that kind of zen in the last couple months of high school.
It is hard to pull through at the end, and I really don't like that you Have to go to class. I'd rather just do the homework. But I've begun doing the sleeping thing more too. So I guess quietly I must say...my mom was right?
Awesome post, and hope the semester is working out for you.

Posted by: Larisa on March 12, 2007

Hey Lulu,

I was wondering how things were going when I didn't see you sitting on the top right side of Unified anymore. I'm glad you're happy with physics, and that you enjoy it! If it makes you feel any better, Spakovsky killed us on our entropy test two weeks ago. I'm glad that you've found a better balance - I could probably take a leaf out of your book.

Posted by: Kristin U on March 13, 2007

HAPPY PI DAY LULU!!!!
We had 'moon pies' to eat in post-calc topics class smile
But our stat teacher doesn't seem to believe in pi day... :/
Eat any pies yourself?

Posted by: Kavita on March 14, 2007

HAPPY PI DAY LULU!!!!
We had 'moon pies' to eat in post-calc topics class smile
But our stat teacher doesn't seem to believe in pi day... :/
Eat any pies yourself?

Posted by: Kavita on March 14, 2007

Haha I didn't mean to post twice...I guess I just got over-excited about pi day...

Posted by: Kavita on March 14, 2007

haha pi day. awsomeness!i had some pie from my school's math department! =D

Posted by: suman on March 15, 2007

Lulu!
I got in raspberry
Lulu!
I got in raspberry
<3 Kavita

Posted by: Kavita on March 19, 2007

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