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MIT student blogger Shuli J. '22

A lively Dead Week by Shuli J. '22, MEng '23

what i've been up to

I’m given to understand that at other colleges, students actually get a luxurious full week off between the end of classes and the start of final exams. Here at MIT, we’re only granted a paltry four-day weekend, but we still call it Dead Week, and I’d say we manage to cram about a full week’s worth of life into it.

This semester, I only had one final, on the first day of the week. (Yes, I am extremely lucky.) So as I sit here in the airport on Tuesday morning, it’s actually dead week that feels more salient to me, rather than finals “week.” Here’s an overview of all the things I’ve been up to — and there is some studying, I promise, squished right into the end.


Seeing friends: After many freshman year struggles, I feel like I’m starting to get the hang of this whole “having friends” thing. This semester, I got to see more of my old friends from last year and made a couple of really awesome new ones.01 You know who you are <3 Another thing I’ve been working on is embracing spontaneity a little more, which has… uh… never come naturally (cue laughter from all the people who know me). So it was nice on multiple levels to spend some of dead week just hanging out with friends I happened to run into! (When skipping an exam review session to hang out makes you feel like a successful adult, you know you realllllly need to chill out more.)

A cappella meetings: All the campus a cappella groups get together at the end of the semester to schedule next semester’s concerts. This is very handy to make sure we avoid conflicts, and also very annoying because I have to get out of bed for a morning meeting >< The scheduling was pretty tricky this year, but we got through it. My a cappella group, the Asymptones, also had our own separate transition meeting (because I’m not president anymore woooo 🎉). It was a useful chance to discuss how we felt about this semester and plan for next semester to be even better! (It was also in McCormick, which is apparently hot as balls all winter because of their central heating. But we sweated through it 😂)

Associate advisor meetings: A big part of my job as an AA is to help my kiddos (aka freshmen who are probably on average like six months younger than me) plan their class schedules. My faculty advisor and I scheduled individual dead week meetings with each of them to discuss their plans for IAP and the spring semester, and talk about how their fall semesters went. This was fun because all of my advisees are really great! (<3 if you’re reading this) It is also very fulfilling to be able to give people useful advice ^-^

Cruftmas: The last week of classes and dead week are Secret Santa/gift exchange time all around campus. My floor, Putz, does a very putzy twist on the typical gift exchange: no one is allowed to spend any money. This means that most of our gifts have to be built, made, or in some way constructed out of materials we already own (or “cruft”, which means old stuff / stuff that’s just lying around being clutter / stuff you got for free from a loading dock or reuse pile).

In the leadup to cruftmas, the hall is always frenzied with a dozen people finishing up their gifts. Our frosh put up a cruftmas cruft tree and sing original carols we force encourage them to write. Then we get down to the gifting! It’s super, super fun to see what hilarious or cool stuff people get: I got a set of really beautiful welded and engraved bookends.

And I got a very nice photo of myself with them too! Thanks go as ever to Maxwell Y. ’21, Putz’s (and my blog’s) resident awesome photographer. I really like this photo :DMe holding my bookends and grinning. I have short curly black hair and light brown skin, and am wearing a royal blue t-shirt; only one bookend is visible. It is pale, buffed aluminum and has a flower engraved on it.

Blogger dinner: Petey, praise be he, hosted all the bloggers who could make it to dinner at his apartment. It was really delicious (BTW, Petey, you still owe us the recipes from that! You should blog them!) and also very fun. Topics ranged from predictable (college admissions, life at MIT, upcoming finals) to the… not as predictable (“What is Homestuck?”, Harry Potter fanfiction, Cassandra Clare). Honestly, I really like all the other bloggers, but we don’t get together that often. It was nice to be able to spend a few hours chatting and having interesting conversations.

And finally… studying: Yeah, so I spent the first three days of dead week doing practically everything else I possibly could. And then finally, it was Sunday morning, and I really fricking needed to study. So I put in a load of laundry (a more boring dead week staple than Secret Santa, lol) and got down to it for the rest of the day. Did the exam go well? Meh. Will everything be fine? Yes. Do I have any regrets about all the awesome stuff I did instead of studying? Absolutely not. It was a wonderful weekend!

And now I am heading into a wonderful break, which means there will be many posts coming from me! Or many more than usual, anyway. See you soon <3

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