Sunday, October 6th
12:00 PM: I wake up. When I pick up my phone to look at the time, my heart skips a beat. Noon? Already?!? I planned on waking up at ten at the latest, but both me and my roommate slept right through the alarm.
1:00 PM: After debating if I really needed to wash my hair, I decide to take a shower. Between that, getting dressed, and collecting my books, an hour has passed. How did that take an hour? A friend asks me if I’m going to 8.01 is Classical Mechanics. This is the first MIT physics class that most first-years take tutoring, but I haven’t even looked at the Pset. I tell him I’ll go after I work on it alone for awhile. I’m exhausted; I was up until about 3 AM the night before. I decide to treat myself and get lunch at a coffee shop. I’d be able to study there too!
1:05 PM: My girlfriend calls. I know I have things to do, but she lives halfway across the country. Every moment we get to talk is a treat. I can talk to her on my way to the coffee shop without losing work time, right?
1:15 PM: My sister calls, so I say goodbye to Emma and pick up. My sister and I are really close, but now that both of us are in college time seems to slip away. It’s been weeks since we’ve had an actual conversation. As I order a latte and a salad, I decide to stay on the phone with her.
1:30 PM: I make my way to the Stratton Student Center. There's study spaces, meeting rooms, and a few places to buy food. because it’s too busy to study in the coffee shop. Because I’m walking again I decide to take ANOTHER call, this time from my best friend back home. I know I don’t have time, but I do it anyways.
2:00 PM: Finally, I get to work on the 8.01 Pset, almost feeling a little nauseous. I never know what to expect as far as difficulty level goes on these problems. There’s a chance I could be here for hours and make almost no progress.
2:03 PM: Oh. My. God. I have a writer’s meeting for my Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences class at 5:30 PM. We’re supposed to show up to the group meeting with final drafts, but my paper is in shambles. Gaping sections are missing, and it’s due tomorrow. Time to switch gears; I close 8.01, pull out my laptop, and start writing like the wind.
5:25 PM: I look up from my computer for the first time in hours. I finally finished my paper, and it’s pretty good! Luckily my meeting is in the Stud, so five minutes is enough time to print and find my way to the second floor.
5:50 PM: I only stay for twenty minutes, and I feel bad. Everyone gave me feedback on my piece, but I had to leave before I could return the favor. No time to dwell on it, though. I speed-walk back to East Campus, change my clothes, and make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for the road.
6:10 PM: I sprint up the stairs of Walker Memorial and into Caving Club office. Could I have skipped this? Yes, it’s an optional practice. But Caving Club makes me really happy, and I want to pass my During a vertical test you have to put on your gear, get on rope, ascend, change over to using your repelling gear, repel, change over to your ascending gear again, and get off rope without any help. It's a lot to remember. soon! I put on my gear and get on rope to practice my change-overs. Not going to lie: I’m failing pretty badly. Still, I can’t stop smiling. The upperclassmen in charge of the club, people I’ve come to call my friends, laugh with me as I helplessly dangle seven feet off the ground.
6:45 PM: Before I know it, the alarm on my phone goes off, and I have to go to a three-hour dance rehearsal for It's the musical that MIT's Musical Theater Guild is doing this season. . Someone offers to bring me the ladder so I can get off rope, but I refuse to give up. After some struggling I manage to repel to the ground, but doing so costs me: I arrive for my 7 PM practice at 7:15. If I’m being honest, I really don’t regret being late. Caving Club was the most fun I’d had all day.
10:00 PM: You can’t even imagine how tired I am after three hours of memorizing and executing every kick, every jump, every closed or open hand. The sandwich I made earlier was far from enough food for the amount of activity I’ve done in the last four hours. By the time rehearsal ends I’m absolutely starving. I trek through the Infinite and listen to the soundtrack I have to memorize, singing my part in my head.
10:10 PM: DINNER TIME! I feel a sense of relief when I walk into my hall’s kitchen. Music plays over the speakers, hall-mates zoom around each other as they sauté vegetables and boil pasta, and all kinds of delicious smells waft through the air. Thank God I meal-prepped; I throw together a bowl a quinoa, wilted spinach, and fish in less than five minutes. I sit down for the first time in what feels like an eternity and turn to my friends: “I think I might be a little over-scheduled”. They all laugh. “You just figured that out?”
10:30 PM: After I wash my dishes I go to my room, re-open my 8.01 Pset…
11:00 PM: …and close it again. I can’t do it. My mind is completely fried. This might be one of those weeks where I turn in the Pset half-completed. I hate doing that; I know I’m on Pass/No Record. For first-semester freshmen at MIT, any grade above a D shows up as a 'P' on your transcript, and a D pr lower (which would be a failing grade) doesn't show up on any external records. It takes a lot of pressure off of MIT freshmen as we adjust to the difficulty of the classes here. , but I might need those points later on. Right now, it’s a risk I’m willing to take. I change into some comfy clothes and venture out of my room in search of distraction.
1:30 AM: Turns out that finding distraction is a VERY easy thing to do. I play my guitar, scooter up and down the hallways, have another laugh about my change-overs with Caving Club people, and join a group trip to 7/11 to buy some Hi-Chews. For the first time all day I have time to think, and I realize there’s a lot on my mind. Things change when you go to college. I’ve changed a ton since I left for MIT. I should give myself more time to really reflect on that.
By 1:30 I’m ready to go to bed. I’ll get about seven hours of sleep before my 9:30 HASS lecture. Part of me feels guilty for not doing more work during the day. That barely-started 8.01 Pset is looming over my head, especially since not doing it on Sunday will throw off my work flow for the rest of the week. That’s okay. I can’t always be on top of it.
I wanted to share this play-by-play to make a point: This was a good day for me. Sure, it wasn’t perfect. I was hosed, I was stressed, I didn’t get all of my work done. But imperfections, work pile-ups, detours and distractions are simply part of existence here at MIT. You have to be able to find joy in spite of that. I got to do so many things that fascinate me and be with so many people that I love. I had fun! I learned new things. I challenged myself. At least to me, that’s what MIT is all about.
- 8.01 is Classical Mechanics. This is the first MIT physics class that most first-years take back to text ↑
- Stratton Student Center. There's study spaces, meeting rooms, and a few places to buy food. back to text ↑
- Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences back to text ↑
- During a vertical test you have to put on your gear, get on rope, ascend, change over to using your repelling gear, repel, change over to your ascending gear again, and get off rope without any help. It's a lot to remember. back to text ↑
- It's the musical that MIT's Musical Theater Guild is doing this season. back to text ↑
- Pass/No Record. For first-semester freshmen at MIT, any grade above a D shows up as a 'P' on your transcript, and a D pr lower (which would be a failing grade) doesn't show up on any external records. It takes a lot of pressure off of MIT freshmen as we adjust to the difficulty of the classes here. back to text ↑