Oct 7, 2009
Work and Energy
Posted in: Academics & Research
Having spent the majority of orientation meeting new people, staying up late, and climbing on roofs, I met the start of school with a dangerous sense of nonchalance. Consequently, I spent the first month of classes burning the midnight oil and wishing I'd worked harder over weekends. Last week was the worst: physics pre-lab assignment, chem p-set, dance (Natya - the Indian classical dance team) practices, calculus midterm, physics quiz, seminar readings and other things I've probably unconsciously blocked from memory. Any sleep I lost was never found; TGIF took on a whole new meaning.
So this week, I decided to shape up a little. By this, I mean: get more sleep, be more productive, win at life. Huzzah!
With this noble intention in mind, I woke up bright and early on Sunday morning, gathered my books, went to a study room, and didn't move for about four hours, during which time I read avidly for 18.02 (Multivariable Calculus) and STS.005 (Disease and Society in America a.k.a. my humanities class for this semester).
Now I'm basically best friends with partial derivatives. I probably know more about smallpox and swine flu than I do about myself. The Lagrange multiplier no longer bamboozles my intellect. If I ever met Charles Rosenberg (author of several STS.005 readings), I could impress him with my summaries of his work.
Best of all, I've gotten seven hours of sleep every single day this week, my eating schedule again possesses (whoa, there are a lot of s's in that word) a semblance of normalcy, and MIT appears much less intimidating.
That's not to say it's easy.
This semester, in accordance with the freshman credit limit, I'm taking four classes (STS.005, 18.02, 5.112 - Principles of Chemistry, 8.01 - Physics) and a seminar (The Art and Science of Medicine). They're all great courses, but the homework is so, so time-consuming. Chem and Calc have problem sets due each week. Physics too has p-sets, but (thankfully!) they're never due/graded. My seminar has weekly readings, but it's so awesome that I don't even mind staring at multiple pages of scientific jargon. My HASS is fascinating, not the least because I get to see Winnie-the-Pooh cartoons (in which Pooh makes fun of Piglet for having swine flu) and hear various Jay Leno quotes.
Because I'm taking three GIRs this semester, I have a lot of classes with friends and dorm-mates. When it comes time to do homework, we often work together, wake each other up from sporadic naps, make coffee runs, and watch "Whose line is it anyway?" during study breaks.
Just a few hours ago, I put all our study sessions to the test as I took my first 5.112 exam of the year. As I scrawled energy equations all over my test booklet and frantically tried to finish problem 5 in the allotted time, I realized just how legit the work-energy relation is in real life. I've seriously never accomplished anything worthwhile while worn-out or exhausted. Which is why I'm liking this whole seven hours of sleep + regular meals dealio.
Now, who thinks I can keep it up?