30 questions with my roommates! by Jenny B. '25
I had writer's block so I forced my roommates to make content for me
This is my first IAP.01 Independent Activities Period, which runs throughout the month of January I also got hit with a case of writer’s block, so I went through at least five separate drafts before I decided to make my roommates Fatima and Nora do the work for me this time.
I grew up as an only child, so I thought that getting a triple would be a nightmare. But I got lucky because we all have similar lifestyles, so we grew close pretty quickly. We chill in Next House and do things like
- bring two tennis balls (which we named “Wilson” and “Wilson’s Friend”), draw faces on them, and then duct tape them to the wall
- collect a whole box-full of water bottles so we could make a water bottle tower, but we forgot so we just have this giant box of bottles in the closet
- have two small potted plants called Sandwich and Vincent Van Growgh, and then eat a sandwich in front of Sandwich to instill fear and dominance
- tape a foam sword to the wall and write “Flexcalibur” on it
Here are their intros:
- hi besties, i’m Fatima, from Pakistan! i am currently pretty undecided on my major but i’m considering course 18, 21w, 8, 6-902 18: Mathematics, 21w: Writing, 8: Physics, 6-9: Computation and Cognition and some others right now. i like to write (mainly poetry) and i am also trying to get involved with a lot of maker stuff now. on campus, i am a freshman representative for SAAS(South Asian Association of Students), a member of the MechE subteam on Motorsports and will be the DormCon CPW/REX Chair with the best co-chair!!(also helloo ’26s 👀)
- Hello! I’m Nora and I’m from Massachusetts. I’m really interested in course 603 6: Computer Science and am thinking I will probably major in either 6-2 or 6-3.04 6-2: Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, 6-3: Computer Science and Engineering I like to rock climb on the MIT climbing team and have recently been getting involved with the MIT Outing Club! In my free time I like to play lots of board games (my current favorites are Catan, Dominion, and Kingdom Builders!) and also play a bit of piano and guitar.
What media we’ve been consuming
1. Last movie you watched
Mean Girls The Kite Runner
Jenny> Don’t Look Up by Adam McKay
Nora> also Don’t Look Up, strangely
2. Last book you read
Fatima> i am currently reading “The Song of Achilles” by Madeline Miller but i haven’t read a lot yet, so i don’t have any strong opinions. i have heard a lot of good things about it though, so i’m excited to see where it goes!
Jenny> i read the first few pages of Cosmos and i felt so proud of myself that i played minecraft for four hours as a reward
Nora> re-read the book Stardust over break. Only just realized why the brothers were named “Primus”, “Secundus”, “Tertius”… 😂
3. Last show you watched
Fatima> watched some of Friends. i was looking for a show that requires absolutely zero braincells to watch and comprehend
Jenny> Inside Job the animated series on netflix, which i watched up to the fifth episode of. if you like Gravity Falls or absurd humor in general then i highly recommend! the main cast are literally my emotional support characters, and the main character graduated from MIT and kind of looks like me :)
Nora> watched some of Gilmore Girls for the same reasons as Fatima
4. Last video you watched (that isn’t a movie or show)
Fatima> i don’t watch youtube a lot, and this is most definitely not accurate but the last video i have saved on instagram is a reel: “Our Favourite Books of 2021”
Jenny> “17 Animal House Designs in Minecraft 1.14.” hermitcraft05 a minecraft server where youtubers and twitch streamers make content season 8 ended, so i’m going through the members’ past content. i also watch a LOT of stuff from GoodTimesWithScar
Nora> “Penguin chicks rescued by an Unlikely Hero.” My friend sent this, and it’s a bunch of Emperor penguin chicks about to get eaten by a petrel until a tiny Adelie penguin runs in and saves them
5. Last song you listened to
Fatima> ah, this is more of a poem than a song. it’s called “Dasht-e-Tanhai“ (I just got exposed for being an eighty year old AAAA).
Jenny> “Palace/Curse” by The Internet
Nora> “Georgia” by Vance Joy. Trying to learn it on guitar.
6. Last game you played
Jenny> this app called Soul Knight where you pick a character and then fight monsters and bosses in dungeons
Nora> Wingspan – a board game about birds! I’d recommend if you like strategy games like Dominion or Catan.
7. Last app you opened
8. Last picture on your phone
9. Last Google search you did
Fatima> … “weather boston”
Jenny> “firehose mit” – it was so I could go on the firehose site06 a website used to figure out what their schedules will look like and figure out how I want my schedule to look like for the spring semester
Nora> “define troubadour” – This was while I was watching Gilmore Girls
10. Last emoji you used
Nora> 👀 (see the next question for context)
11. Last text you sent
Fatima> “yea sounds good” to my DormCon07 The Dormitory Council – MIT's student government body that represents undergrad dorm residents CPW08 Campus Preview Weekend – an event in April where admitted students are invited to campus to meet students and staff. It was virtually run for the Class of 2025 because of COVID precautions co-chair about drafting an email
Jenny> “WHOA” – I was responding to this video my mom sent
Nora> “True 👀 👀 👀” – sent to my sister about a program someone made where you click on a bunch of shifty eyeball emojis to play a virtual piano 👀. Sorry this one’s a bit strange without the context 😂
12. Last website you went on
Nora> miro.com – a sort of collaborative whiteboard for meetings. Was using it during a meeting for my UROP
13. Last meme you saw
What we’ve been up to
14. Last food you ate
Fatima> ice cream :D
Jenny> an orange :)
Nora> potato salad
15. Last drink you had
Fatima> chai :D
Jenny> chamomile tea :))
Nora> Water. Sorry, that was a boring one :(
16. Last thing you created
17. Last animal you saw
Fatima> a lot of geese on the briggs field
Jenny> a tufted titmouse right outside the window. god i love birds
Nora> A duck!! I like ducks! They are my second favorite bird, right after penguins and before pigeons. 🦆
18. Last time you laughed
Fatima> i laugh a LOT so this is probably not accurate, but it was while i was talking to my aunt about food in the US and how different it is
Jenny> i also laugh a lot so this is probably not accurate, but the latest distinct memory is when i saw this post from the twitter account Threatening Music Notation, which i learned from alan while snooping in discord
Nora> I also laugh a lot. I think the latest one is when I just went to pick up gear for a MITOC ice climbing trip and the trip leader told me to kick the wall as hard as I could to make sure my boots fit properly
we all laugh a lot
19. Last person you talked to
Fatima> some friends in the 4E09 One of the wings in Next House. 4E represents the east wing on the fourth floor main lounge
Jenny> my mom
Nora> my siblings
20. Last thing you wrote down
Fatima> i wrote in my journal last night. the last sentence was: “no context, i think it would be funny to read later LMAO”
Jenny> whatever i wrote on my 18.02a10 I took 18.01a/18.02a for my math classes. 18.01a runs for the first six weeks of the fall semester and goes over the latter content in 18.01 (Single-variable calculus). 18.02a, which I'm completing right now, runs for the rest of the fall semester and throughout IAP, and goes over the entirety of 18.02 (Multi-variable calculus) content exam :/
Nora> Sorry I don’t remember :(. Now the last thing I wrote down was “Sorry I don’t remember :(“.
21. Last dream you remember
Fatima> to quote dumbledore, ‘It does not do to dwell on your dreams and forget to live.’ (totally not because i have absolutely no clue)
Jenny> i had this dream where there was this mad scientist with his team of villains who were going to destroy the human population with an evil device or whatever. he suddenly stood up and shouted, “I GRADUATED FROM MIT!!!!!” i don’t know why this was relevant to the situation, but he looked really stupid in his silly little mad scientist coat and it was hilarious. there were also some people from caltech and harvard for some reason
Nora> I promise I’m not trying to avoid the question but I have no idea. That’s a great dream though.
On the topic of dreams related to MIT (and Harvard), my friend Feli shared this gem with me:
“had yet another weird dream last night that for some reason MIT decided to trap the sun on Briggs field and Harvard decided to nuke us to free the sun and then we had to hide in the Harvard Tunnel System (?) to survive. very strange and nonsensical also all the Harvard dorms looked like East Campus
and for some reason this girl that went to my high school was there and she gave me her charger and then she was like ‘if you turn the corner you CAN find a plant to hide in, they’re coming to free the sun’ and then started painting the walls”
22. Last person you met for the first time
Fatima> i am a mentor for a class “Make It: Pinball” at the Edgerton Center11 The Edgerton Center offers subjects in engineering and imaging, supports student clubs and teams; manages student machine shops, upholds MIT’s expertise in high-speed and scientific imaging; and offers a year-round K-12 program – their website and met some fellow mentors and the staff there. they’re all super nice people who are so excited about what they do, and it’s so inspiring to be around them.
Jenny> i visited a family friend for thanksgiving, and although i’d already met her and her family, i also met her mother- and father-in-law and the neighbor. it’s a warm memory that still makes me happy when I think about it
Nora> One of my MITOC12 MIT Outing Club – where students, staff, and alumni participate in outdoor events trip leaders. The MITOC office was very loud and chaotic when I walked in there, but they were super friendly and helpful!
23. Last class you took
Fatima> Battlecode, which i am taking right now. it is an MIT class + competition where your team gets to program a robot which plays the game (this year, the theme is Battlecode: Mutations) against other people’s robots in various tournaments over IAP. it is somewhat challenging but also very fun!
Jenny> 18.02a, which i’m taking over IAP. the fast pace makes it fairly challenging, and i’m also just not that enthusiastic about math in general. gotta do what you gotta do
Nora> I’m not taking classes over IAP, so I guess the last one would be either 18.01 or 8.0113 18.01: Single-variable calculus, 8.01: Physics I - Classical Mechanics because those are the ones I had finals for last semester
24. Last time you tried something new
Fatima> played a little guitar when i was over at my roomie’s house for thanksgiving! i totally remember how to do it xD
Jenny> made a snowman that was over a foot tall. i also made what i call “alabama snowmen” which are just snowmen that are like seven inches tall max. the joke is that it snows in central alabama every 4-6 years
Nora> Tried playing Wordle – a short “guess the word” kind of game (in the style of the game Mastermind)
25. Last thing you learned
Fatima> how to calculate t-test values for small data sets and determine whether two data sets have statistically different means
Jenny> how to take triple integrals. kind of.
Nora> How to attach crampons to shoes for ice climbing. Probably took me much longer than it should have, but I know how to do it now!
26. Last time you felt inspired
Fatima> while talking to this person about future plans, I said “AH, I just wanna open a bookstore” and they were like, “then do it!” it was so funny how painfully obvious it was to them what to do while i just stared at them for 5 seconds. while life is very complicated, if we do ourselves a favor, some things are very very simple.
Jenny> after my 18.02a exam, i jammed out to my spotify playlists and browsed through pinterest, and i saw a bunch of art that motivated me to draw
Nora> went to a meeting for my UROP today where people were sharing all the projects they’d made and lots of new project ideas. It was very cool and made me want to start some of my own!
27. Last thing you were excited about
Fatima> i was in New York for a little bit during winter break with a relative from Pakistan. i got to go to a Pakistani wedding there and go around New York. all very exciting!
Jenny> i got to see a frozen pond. and not like a small puddle-sized pond, i mean a HUGE pond. this made me very excited as a southerner
Nora> got on a MITOC ice climbing trip for this weekend! I’ve never been ice climbing before and I hope I don’t freeze, but I’m very excited!
28. Last class you pre-registered for
Fatima> 4.021: Design Studio: How to Design
Jenny> i forgot to pre-register but it would’ve been 6.009 fundamentals of programming
Nora> 6.08: Intro to EECS via Interconnected and Embedded Systems
29. Last meaningful conversation you had
Fatima> talked to someone about the future and what i want to do in life or the confusions I have with respect to that. long story short, i want to open a bookstore now uwu! (see question 26 for context)
Jenny> how i’ve been struggling with figuring out what my own identity is when other people have different expectations from me. for example, i’ve met people who call me chaotic and people who call me “100% lawful neutral” which are contradictory traits. i’m trying to be okay with the fact that people won’t always perceive what i think is my “authentic self,” and that doesn’t mean that i should compromise my authentic attributes to fit their expectations
Nora> talked with a friend about post-MIT plans (and not having full post-MIT plans) and also about some of the things we want to do while we’re here
30. Last piece of trivia you learned
Fatima> the Ig Nobel Prizes are given to people who have discovered something funny(?) or weird(?) or questionable(?) in a specific field. for example, the 2019 Ig Nobel Prize in Biology was awarded to “Ling-Jun Kong, Herbert Crepaz, Agnieszka Górecka, Aleksandra Urbanek, Rainer Dumke, and Tomasz Paterek, for discovering that dead magnetized cockroaches behave differently than living magnetized cockroaches.” (source: Wikipedia)
Jenny> squirrel fishing is a thing where you tie a nut to a string and try to “catch” squirrels and lift them up. UC berkeley has an official squirrel fishing club. MIT should have one, too
Nora> Jenny showed me a Wikipedia article the other day titled “Extreme Ironing.” Apparently it’s a sport where people take ironing boards to remote locations like up a cliff or in a canoe and they try to iron as fast as they can. “Combines the thrills of an extreme outdoor activity with the satisfaction of a well-pressed shirt.” – Wikipedia
- Independent Activities Period, which runs throughout the month of January back to text ↑
- 18: Mathematics, 21w: Writing, 8: Physics, 6-9: Computation and Cognition back to text ↑
- 6: Computer Science back to text ↑
- 6-2: Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, 6-3: Computer Science and Engineering back to text ↑
- a minecraft server where youtubers and twitch streamers make content back to text ↑
- a website used to figure out what their schedules will look like back to text ↑
- The Dormitory Council – MIT's student government body that represents undergrad dorm residents back to text ↑
- Campus Preview Weekend – an event in April where admitted students are invited to campus to meet students and staff. It was virtually run for the Class of 2025 because of COVID precautions back to text ↑
- One of the wings in Next House. 4E represents the east wing on the fourth floor back to text ↑
- I took 18.01a/18.02a for my math classes. 18.01a runs for the first six weeks of the fall semester and goes over the latter content in 18.01 (Single-variable calculus). 18.02a, which I'm completing right now, runs for the rest of the fall semester and throughout IAP, and goes over the entirety of 18.02 (Multi-variable calculus) content back to text ↑
- The Edgerton Center offers subjects in engineering and imaging, supports student clubs and teams; manages student machine shops, upholds MIT’s expertise in high-speed and scientific imaging; and offers a year-round K-12 program – their website back to text ↑
- MIT Outing Club – where students, staff, and alumni participate in outdoor events back to text ↑
- 18.01: Single-variable calculus, 8.01: Physics I - Classical Mechanics back to text ↑