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A Study Break. Or two or three. by Krystal L. '17

Or four. I think you get the idea.

Saturday is a singular bag of nacho cheese Doritos and a fun-sized bag of M&Ms.
Sunday is waffles.
Monday is Insomnia cookies.
Tuesday is brownies.
Wednesday is moon cakes
Thursday is an oatmeal cookie I smuggled out of dinner.

Now, you may be wondering, is the above: 1) a treatise on how to gain weight and never let it go, 2) a poem of seemingly sub-par metaphors that, upon deeper analysis, actually expound on the themes of poverty, violence, and love, or 3) a catalogue of food I devoured during study breaks?

I know, tough question. MIT is all about tough questions.

One could certainly argue that the connotation of the word “singular” creates a tone of loneliness and isolation that contributes to the underlying theme of lost love. On the other hand, I would reply that it simply denotes we were too poor to have any more than one bag of chips.

Most people would agree with the fact that MIT is an academically rigorous school. I know I’ve spent my fair share of time in the basement study room psetting, scribbling out mistakes, and trying to untangle the parts of my brain intent on quarreling with one another. I’m not ashamed to say that sometimes in lecture, new concepts can perform astounding backflips right over my head. Case in point:

Here we have Schrödinger’s equation in its natural habitat, my 5.112 notebook.

But confusion is a good thing. To me, confusion means I’m learning, and isn’t that what I came here to do? So I re-read my notes, study the book, discuss it with my peers, and the cycle continues.

There comes a point, however, when all the integrals and chemical symbols start to coalesce into a massive swirl of squiggly lines and dancing phospholipid bilayers. This is my brain tapping me on the shoulder and saying, “Hey there friend. You know what would be really awesome right now? A little something I like to call a study break.”

And oh, there are study breaks.

There are campus-wide study breaks, like the waffle buffet put on by SaveTFP. There are residence based advising study breaks, like the delicious box of still-warm Insomnia cookies and two tubs of ice cream that were quickly devoured. There are dorm floor study breaks, like the freshly baked brownies and blondies supplied by the friendly floor two GRTs (graduate resident tutors). And there are personal study breaks, like the moon cakes my wonderful parents shipped me all the way from California.

Study breaks aren’t just about the food of course. They are also a time to socialize with fellow students, make new friends, and laugh about things other than whiteboards, textbooks, and calculators.

Last Saturday, my roommate and I decided to throw an unsanctioned study break in our floor lounge. Here is the email we sent out to everyone in Maseeh:


Some naysayers might call us silly. But those naysayers can take their nays and nay somewhere else. We do what makes us happy, and in our opinions, the study break was an endorphin-filled success. Don’t be afraid to be yourself. It’s part of what makes this campus so great. Our GRT even baked us a batch of deliciously warm chocolate chip cookies after he walked in on us laughing uncontrollably in the lounge.

Seriously, these guys are the best.

MIT isn’t all work and no play. Let’s just say there are some interesting ways to get from Darius I, third king of the Persian Achaemenid Empire, to potato skins via Wikipedia. And thankfully, there are just as many ways, despite the rumors and the misconceptions, to unwind and have buckets of fun at MIT.

** If you are bored and want to demystify the first sentence of our email, type “Mr. Noodle Print (22X30)” into Google. We stumbled upon this gem late one night after hours of studying. You won’t be disappointed.