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MIT blogger Cami M. '23

A Fall Semester Recap by Cami M. '23

my classes so far

I’ve really really loved my schedule this year so I thought I’d do a quick recap of how the semester’s gone for me so far since I’ve wanted to talk about my classes for a while but lacked the motivation for it!


As many of you know, I failed/dropped out of 8.02, Physics E&M, last spring so I was eligible to take 8.021, a lecture-based format of Physics E&M rather than TEAL.01 Technology Enabled Active Learning

At first, I was really nervous to take this class. I had done horribly in physics all my life and I knew it was something I greatly despised. 8.021 is only about 9 people large, including myself. The class meets three times a week, twice a week for lecture on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:05 to 2:2502 MIT Time. Classes start five minutes later than listed and end five minutes earlier than listed. and Wednesdays for recitation03 Recitations are non-lecture sessions where an undergraduate or graduate TA go over the content learned in lectures and provide recitation sheets where you apply that knowledge you learned. from 1:00 to 2:00. Every Thursday, there is a pset due, except for review weeks. Every Friday, there is a quiz, except for review weeks.

This class has been great. I look forward to every class with excitement, mainly because I love the tiny class size and the professor, Joseph Checkelsky. He’s an incredibly kind and considerate man, the kind of professor that adjusts the psets if you tell him they’re too lengthy or delays psets during particularly stressful weeks. He often checks in on all of us and reminds us to stay healthy and fills the time in between lectures as he’s wiping down whiteboards with casual chit chatter about his day to day life and life in coronavirus times. I found the contrast between my time in 8.02 in the spring and my time with 8.021 in the fall extremely jarring. I went from despising the class, purposely skipping classes and dropping it with ease, to eagerly awaiting Tuesdays and Thursdays to learn the content.

If anything, 8.021 really demonstrates that with the right professor, any class can be enjoyable and fun. What once was my most hated subject quickly became one of my favorites. I started to do really well in the class, passing the psets and going to office hours excitedly, asking questions during lecture to better understand the content, and scoring decently well on the weekly quizzes.

Some people have suggested I take 6.00204 Circuits and Electronics as a follow up to 8.021, but I’m still deciding.

I’m really grateful to 8.021. I really feel as if it rekindled my love for learning and curiosity, the very thing that made me want to MIT in the first place. This past year, I’ve definitely felt a bit bogged down about my inability to learn and pick up information. I started to think I was stupid or inadequate or unfit to be here at MIT, but taking 8.021 has showed me that I can and do have the ability to learn, no matter how difficult the content may seem, and it’s really revitalized my excitement about the world.


I’ll admit I haven’t exactly been trying my hardest in this class. Which is pretty bad on my part. I tried really hard in the beginning of the class, but didn’t quite get it. Also, the grade cut-offs are ridiculous in this class, where an A is anything about a 93, which is…questionable. But aside from that, I don’t really have many thoughts on 18.02

The class has recitation twice a week; my TA is Nika, who leads recitations every Monday and Wednesday from 4-5. Much like 8.021, this class has weekly quizzes given on MITx every Friday. They’re short 4-5 question quizzes that we get immediate feedback on (aka telling us whether we answered right or wrong, since we enter it into a checker and have a limited number of attempts).

I’ve been slacking a bit in this class because I really dislike the format. Lectures, on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, are asynchronous. During what would be the lecture time (1-2pm), Semyon (the professor) hosts a live Q&A on Zoom where he answers questions kids may have and gives us practice problems. If you’ll notice, these lectures are at the same time as 8.021, so I unfortunately cannot attend them. This is a really big reason why I don’t think I’m doing super well in 18.02. I lose the motivation to actually actively review and revise the lectures since I don’t go to them live and it’s taken a pretty big toll on my grades, but that’s okay. I kept the class on Pass/No Record grading so I just need to get above a 75 (the C- cut off) to pass.


I will…also admit I’m not trying my hardest in this class. This class has an asynchronous lecture once a week (every Monday) and a synchronous recitation section, where mine is 11am to 12pm every Wednesday. Every Friday, a new lab is released. Labs are essentially psets that take the average coder about 10 hours to do. Labs are one long instruction sheet, essentially. It gives you some base code, if any, and you follow the instructions and code what they tell you to. Labs in the past have been things like coding nth dimensional minesweeper or making your own symbolic calculator. I realized it wasn’t possible for me to get an A in this class, so I left it on PNR to take some stress off. As a result, I’ve skipped a couple of labs. I feel guilty for it, since I know they could definitely help me become a better coder, but for now, I just kind of want to sit. And not have to worry to strongly about the labs since they are really tough.


¡Español 3 ha sido mi clase favorita este semestre! Nos reunimos  cuatro veces por semana (Lunes a Jueves), y cada semana hablamos sobre un nuevo país hispanohablante. Tenemos que ver películas en español y estas películas son muy interesantes. Algunas películas que hemos visto son “Chico y Rita,” “También La Lluvia” y “La Lengua de Las Mariposas.” Cada película me hizo llorar. Me gusta esta clase porque todos los estudiantes en la clase siempre tratan de practicar y usar español. Cuando estaba en la escuela secundaria, mis compañeros en mi clase de español tomaban español para satisfacer el requisito. Pero ahora, en MIT, las personas están tomando español porque les gusta la lengua.

He aprendido mucho. Esta clase me ayuda a practicar las reglas de gramática y aumentar mi vocabulario. Antes de Español 3, no recordaba las reglas para el imperfecto y subjuntivo, pero estas reglas se repasaron en la clase.

En una clase típica de Español 3, revisamos la tarea de la clase previa, y practicamos la gramática nueva contestando preguntas usando lo que aprendimos. A veces estamos en breakout rooms donde respondemos preguntas sobre las lecturas en nuestra tarea. La profesora, Mariana, es muy amable y atenta. Ella siempre explica los conceptos claramente y responde  todas  nuestras preguntas. Me gusta que puedo ser casual en su clase. Por ejemplo, estábamos hablando sobre el grafiti en Colombia y yo mencioné que Justin Bieber pintó una imágen de una hoja de marijuana después de uno de su conciertos y mi profesora se rió.

Ojalá pueda tomar más clases de español en el futuro. Planeo tomar Español 4 el próximo semestre y “The Spanish Incubator” el próximo IAP.


Spanish 3 has been my favorite class this semester! We meet 4 times a week (Monday through Thursday) and each week, we talk about a new Spanish speaking country. We have to watch movies in Spanish and these movies are very interesting. Some movies that I’ve watched are Chico and Rita, Even the Rain, and Butterfly’s Tongue. Each movie made me cry. I like this class because all the students in the class always try to practice and use Spanish. When I was in high school, my peers only took Spanish to satisfy the language requirement. But now, in MIT, my classmates are taking Spanish because they like the language. I have learned a lot. Each class helps me practice grammar rules and expand my vocabulary. Before Spanish 3, I didn’t remember the rules for the imperfect and subjunctive, but we went over these rules in class.

In a typical Spanish 3 class, we review the homework from the previous class. After, we practice the new grammar, answering questions using what we learned. Sometimes we are put into breakout rooms where we respond to questions about the readings from our homework. The professor, Mariana, is very kind and helpful. She always explains the concepts clearly and responds to all of our questions. I like that I can be casual in her class. In one class, we were talking about the graffiti in Colombia and I mentioned that Justin Bieber painted an image of a marijuana leaf after one of his concerts and she laughed.

I hope I can take more Spanish classes in the future. I plan to take Spanish 4 next semester and Spanish Incubator next IAP.

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  2. MIT Time. Classes start five minutes later than listed and end five minutes earlier than listed. back to text
  3. Recitations are non-lecture sessions where an undergraduate or graduate TA go over the content learned in lectures and provide recitation sheets where you apply that knowledge you learned. back to text
  4. Circuits and Electronics back to text