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MIT student blogger Anna H. '14

A not-so-typical day in the post-FYRE life by Anna H. '14

Reporting live from ESP's Firestorm

I wrote the majority of this post a week ago, then slept, and lost my train of thought. Finishing it now. Pretend you are reading this on Saturday August 31.

I’m sitting in 4-237 (a classroom with nice tiered seating and projectors) with ~40 freshmen and ~10 ESP admins. It’s Firestorm: ESP admins teach 5-minute-long classes on ANYTHING THEY WANT! Categories and classes tonight:

Actual MIT Courses: 5-minute edition!
-An average day in 5.112
3.091, or, How to Draw Pretty Pictures
*Yes, spelled this way.
Classes That Really Shouldn’t Be Taught in Five Minutes
-General Relativity
-Balloon Science
-Category Theory
Please Don’t Ask Me How I Know This
-Save the Whales
-Deaths of Mathematicians
-Cetacean Mechanics
Stuff You Haven’t Heard Of
-Cow Facts
-Minkowski’s Theorem
-Modular Origami
How to Finish Your HASS Requirement in 50 Minutes 
-Number Systems of the World
-Morphology: All About Affixes
-Game Theory, or How I Learned to Stop Losing and Love Math
-The Cities of America, 1950
-Firestorm Choir
-The Moons of Saturn
-Music Theory
-Mean Girls and Literary Analysis
-Banach-Tarski Paradox
MIT Survival
-Common Failures of Class Scheduling
-Make a Website!
GIRs: How They Work
Student Government at MIT
Serious Stuff with Silly Names
-Serious Chemicals with Silly Names
-Hairy Ball Theorem
You can probably guess which one I’m teaching. The class going on *right now* is “Cow Facts,” so here’s a live transcription:
“THIS one is cool, and a little gruesome. Cows are not, like, very picky about what they eat, So they eat lots of things…And sometimes they eat sharp pointy metal objects…This causes something called ‘hardware disease’…the preventative measure for this is actually feeding cows magnets. I’m not joking.”
Good stuff.
*     *     *
Today began with a series of alarms, and a lot of sneezing. At some inhumane hour: my friend Davie ’12’s alarm (he’s crashing with me for a few nights before moving into his new apartment), followed by Davie’s second alarm a few minutes later. At a much more reasonable hour (like, 10am) my alarm. I blew my nose twice. My alarm again, at 10:10. I blew my nose a few more times, then went back to sleep. Then 10:20. Then 10:30. At that point, I decided to drag my nasty cold-ridden body (I knew FYRE would get me sick eventually) out of bed and into the shower.
I spread some brie on bread, took a banana off the top of the fridge, and clicked through a GRE practice exam. By noon, I was bored with the GRE practice exam, and decided to use “I have a four-and-a-half hour standardized exam this afternoon!” as an excuse to be completely unproductive. I walked across the river, then along the Esplanade, to a jetty: a piece of wood that sticks out into the Charles, and happens to have a few resident lawnchairs. I curled up in one, and read Green Mars for about an hour and a half, pausing every twenty minutes or so to shield my book and get rained on.
Then it was time. I packed up, walked home, walked across the BU bridge to the Prometric testing center, put all of my personal belongings into a locker (water, keys, wallet, snacks, tissues, pretty much anything you could possibly want by your side during a 4.5-hour standardized exam — long story short, the GRE is a miserable, physically tortuous experience) and sat down with headphones over my ears (headphones supplied by the testing center.) For four and a half hours, I used math that I haven’t learned fresh since middle school, wrote two half-hour essays with meaninglessly vague prompts, was surprised at how much my vocabulary has improved since taking the SAT, got my scores, was happy, and went home. I spread a bunch of asparagus onto a cookie tray, added salt, pepper, and olive oil, stuck it in the oven, dumped the asparagus into a Tupperware bin, and ate that as dinner en route to Firestorm.
Which is where I am now.