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MIT blogger Cami M. '23

A Week in the Life of My MIT Sophomore Spring by Cami M. '23

this time, with on-campus features!

 

my google calendar from feb14-feb20

my schedule for feb 21

Classes

  • 7.014 – Introductory Biology; Yet another GIR I am taking. In fact, this is actually the last GIR I need in order to fulfill all my Science GIR requirements! I’m honestly somewhat lukewarm to this class since it’s a class I’m obligated to take rather than one I’d like to take. That being said, I did originally apply to MIT as a bioengineering major so it might be interesting to revisit biology and see how much of it I remember.
  • 6.006 – Introduction to Algorithms; One of my major requirements for 6-3 and honestly a class I’ve been dreading for quite a while. This class is notoriously difficult and I’m pretty stressed about doing well in this class. MIT doesn’t have a separate Data Structures course like most other schools — instead, DS and Algos are shoved into this lovely class we affectionately call 006 (pronounced “double oh six”.
  • 9.00 – Introduction to the Psychological Sciences; I needed a class to fulfill my HASS-S requirement and luckily for me 9.00 is offered in the spring time! I’m really excited about this class because I’ve heard it’s super fun. You spend the majority of the time exploring different psychological experiments and tests and looking at wacky illusions and hearing all these stories regarding psychology. AP Psychology was one of my favorite classes in high school so I’m sure 9.00 will be just as, if not more, fun.
  • CMS.621 – Fans & Fan Culture; I am extremely excited for this class. It’s taught by Ed Schiappa, a professor I’ve heard a lot of great things about at MIT! I almost didn’t take this class because it is a 9am and I used to have a strict rule of “No classes before 10/11am” but I made an exception because this class sounds so interesting. It essentially looks at different fandoms and what it means to be a fan of something and how fan cultures change and evolve within different fandoms. As someone who literally lived on Tumblr from 7th grade to junior year of high school scouring different fandoms and finding respite in various ones, I think this class is pretty relevant.

Tuesday

Before Class

I wake up at a lovely 8:30am, only getting out of bed at 9:30 to get washed up.

  • Morning stretching; Recently I’ve made it a habit to wake up, wash up, and put on a YouTube stretching tutorial.
  • Bullet journaling; I’ve also fallen back into bullet journaling, or really, just dedicating some 5-10 minutes to writing down my goals for the day so I know what my priorities are

Classes

6.006 lecture

I’ll admit I wasn’t a fan of this lecture at all. The professor opened us telling us to go to office hours “as little as possible” because too often students use office hours and TAs as a crutch, which does have some merit, I suppose. And then he told us to think constantly about algorithms and memorize the pset problems so that we’re constantly stewing and thinking about these algorithm problems since it’ll take days to understand them. Which I’ve also heard is true. So that’s unpleasant.

Simultaneously, I know that this class is supposed to prepare me well for technical interviews, which I really need to work on.

I guess I should be expanding upon this in a later blogpost, but I’ve been having a lot of thoughts about my internship this summer. I’ve been seeing so many of my friends getting higher-paying and bigger internship offers and I feel like I’ve sold myself short in the internship process by accepting the first offer I got. It’s a strange place to be in, and I can’t help but feel greedy and selfish for it, but there’s a part of me that wishes I threw my app into more places. Another part of me is grateful for the stability.

6.08 lab assistant

So! You may recall that I wrote a pretty long blogpost about 6.08 in the past and I’m happy to say that this spring I am a lab assistant for the class! This means for about two and a half hours, twice a week, I help students taking the class with their labs and give them check-offs to see if they understood the content. This was my first time LAing. On Monday, we had a 4 hour LA meeting, where we go over the labs ourselves and write down any bugs or note any thing in the lab that might be confusing and unclear so that it’s ready for students when they do them on that Tuesday/Thursday period.

It was really cool to be on the other side of things during these labs and it’s a great refresher for my C++ and Python knowledge, which I’m really appreciative of.

I still get super nervous when a student runs into a bug I don’t quite know how to fix, but I usually just run to Joe or one of the other LAs or TAs and hope for the best.

9.00 lecture

Honestly this lecture was such a breath of fresh air after the stress shitshow that was 6.006. The professor, Professor Gabrieli, opened up with a talk on the importance of self-care and mental health. We then spent the rest of lecture looking at different optical illusions and different neat psychological tricks and bits. It was super fun. The chat was really active. Everyone was having a good time. I’m really excited to attend more lectures in the future!

After Classes

I’ll admit by this point I was pretty exhausted. 6.006 took a lot out of me. I started working on pset0 for 6.006 (a pset to check if you have the prior knowledge to actually take the class so it tests your discrete math and coding abilities) and got dinner with some friends.

  • Dinner; MIT dining has honestly been fine so far. The portions are a little large but everything’s pretty tasty. Yesterday was ropas viejas with roasted vegetables, yellow rice, and a side of cauliflower and broccoli.
  • HIIT workout; I’ve been utilizing the free workout classes hosted by MIT Recreational! Just last week I went to their Thursday pilates class. Today they were hosting a HIIT workout and hoo boy was I sweating. We aren’t allowed to use the Z yet since we’re all quarantining for a week before facilities open up, but once the Z does I’m running straight there! I’ve struggled a lot with finding cardio I enjoy. I liked the Peloton at my apartment, but unfortunately I don’t think MIT has Pelotons. I like swimming, but I also hate how chlorine damages my hair and my face.
  • Crosswords; I do the New York Times Daily Mini challenge every day when it comes out. I have the app on my phone for it. I have a crossword addiction.

Wednesday

Before Classes

The usual — a nice morning stretching video and this time I even ran downstairs to catch breakfast: scrambled eggs, potatoes, bacon, and oatmeal!

Classes

CMS.621

I am so, so glad I took this class and decided to wake up in time for it. We spent the majority of class introducing ourselves and talking about why we wanted to take the class, what fandoms we were a part of, and what the class will look like throughout the semester. It was really relieving to just be able to talk about our interests openly and without any judgment. It’s been super cool and I look forward to more classes.

7.014 lecture

Honestly nothing too riveting since it was all logistics, but the course staff seems really nice.

6.006 recitation

My recitation leader is someone who is known to be one of the best TAs if not the best TA for 6.006. He made the recitation really engaging, as we reviewed asymptotic notation and evaluated different algorithms and formulas! I’m still not looking forward to this class, not by any means, but knowing I have Shreyas as my TA makes me feel a little better.

After Classes

Honestly I have nothing too intense planned for after classes. Most of my commitments don’t start until 5, so I use this time to essentially work on side projects, read, mess around on the Internet, and more.

  • Infinite Careers; I currently work as a program assistant for Infinite Careers. I’ve actually been in touch with Hamsika C. ’13, a former blogger, and she’s coming in on the 1st to do an event with us! It’s really exciting.
  • Zumba; Zumba was SO fun, even if I had blisters on my feet so it hurt a lot. I love love love finding sneaky ways to put in cardio and fun classes like these are such a great way to get your body moving and back into it. I love love loved this Zumba class and I hope to take more in the future, althought I will admit that I gave up when I had ten minutes left of class because my body simply could not jive and shimmy any longer.
  • Dinner; Dinner was actually fucking DELICIOUS. It was this tasty barbecue steak with this GODLY mac and cheese and I don’t know what dining put in there but it’s actually so delicious. Props to dining.
  • Notes for 9.00

Thursday

Before Classes

I woke up at 8:15 and did my usual stretching, crossword puzzle, and breakfast getting before classes!

7.014 recitation

7.014 recitation really once again was nothing special since not a lot of content was covered? We filled out a timeline of all the major evolutionary events like the Big Bang, Cambrian explosion, etc. but nothing too new or riveting.

6.006 lecture

So this lecture legitimately made me want to cry because the lecturer moved way too fast and explained everything far too quickly and I asked for him to slow down and he did not and honestly I now realize I’m going to have to rewatch lectures 2 or 3 times even if I attend them live just because the content is delivered so quickly and so densely. I am terrified. This class makes me so sad.

We learned about the Polish flag problem, Dutch flag problem, and the Celebrity problem, which were really neat.

This once again gives me woes about underselling myself and my capabilities as a CS person. But I think I’m just being too greedy, once again.

6.08 lab

Another great day of lab! I had a fun time checking everyone’s state machines, asking them about the code behind HTTP GET requests, and helping everyone get more accustomed with C++. It was a fun time!

9.00 lecture

9.00 lecture we evaluated hard hitting questions such as if someone were drugged and killed someone under the influence of this mind altering drug, what would they be charged with and what should they be charged with? How about a tumor that incites violence and murderous behaviors? It was really interesting discussing what parts of us are human and what is within our will. We also covered common misconceptions, such as that subliminal advertising works (it doesn’t) or that women talk more than men (this is false — it’s about the same).

9.00 recitation

I’m going to switch sections because 9.00 recitation is at 7pm for me and I’d prefer it to be at 10am instead, but it was pretty straightforward. We covered different kinds of observations and what makes a study reliable and all that jazz.

After Classes

After classes ended I worked on my website a bit more. I also attended a project introduction for Goldman Sachs. I’m currently a part of the Engineering Possibilities Summit and we were assigned a project that we have to complete in the next two weeks! I’m kind of nervous since it’s not really anything I’m used to or I’ve seen before, but I’m just excited to get a project down and ready.

Friday

Classes

7.014 lecture

7.014 lecture was really good! We covered the different classes of molecules and their makeup and all of that and it’s really exciting to be taking bio again. There’s a small part of me that’s really scared that I’m falling in love with bio again, but we will not worry about that for now!

6.006 recitation

Once again our lord and savior Shreyas was able to turn the garbley jumbly mess that was 006 lecture into sensical things. We did a lot of work with Master Theorem and finding theta time for recurrences and all that jazz. The pset was released today also and I am quaking in my boots because I don’t know how to do anything, although the questions are kind of fun so it eases some of the pain of 6.006:

“Stepbrothers Fineas and Pherb recently fixed up an old time machine they found in the Vandille museum, but before they get a chance to use it, it’s stolen by their pet beaver Berry (aka Agent B). Fortunately, he takes it for a good purpose though – stopping the evil Dr. Deinz Hoofenshmirtz.

Agent B knows that, at some point during his life, Dr. Hoofenshmirtz will create a fancy new machine, the Rule-inator, that will allow him to rule the entire tri-state area! He wants to stop Dr. Hoofenshmirtz from using the machine, so he plans to travel through time to destroy it once it is built but before he uses it. Unfortunately he doesn’t know when Dr. Hoofenshmirtz will event the machine so he’s not sure what day he should travel to. However he does know that the machine takes at least one day to charge, so his goal is to find the machine the day before it is used. This is his “target date.”

You can assume that whenever Agent B arrives at a new day, he can tell if the machine has been used yet or not. Also assume that the machine will not be used today and that Agent B only needs to destroy the machine once.”

Have fun solving this (please keep the solution to yourself) but I just think it’s pretty entertaining.

After Classes

PearlHacks Call

This weekend I’m participating in PearlHacks, a hackathon for women and nonbinary students with little to no CS experience and it is hosted by UNC Chapel Hill! This is my first ever hackathon that I have ever participated in and I’m so excited for it. I’m working with Crista F. ’23 and Caroline B. ’23, two excellent gals in Course 6-9 and 6-7, respectively.

A lot of the prizes have to do with women, healthcare, and inclusivity so we hope to do something surrounding that.

Acapella Auditions

I auditioned for three different acapella groups on campus: The Asymptones, Syncopasian, and the Logarhythms.

Each audition was a little bit different. For The Asymptones, I sent in a video of me singing Cough Syrup by Young the Giant beforehand and, in the audition, did some rhythm and pitch matching exercises.

For Syncopasian, I had to sing the verse and chorus of Cough Syrup in auditions, do some scales, pitch match, and sight sing. Which I did horribly on because I cannot sight sing…

For the Logs, I sang Cough Syrup in auditions and also did some scales, as well as do some pitch matching.

Later that night, I got callbacks for The Asymptones & Syncopasian!

Saturday

PearlHacks

I spent Saturday coding, coding, coding away but I won’t get into that too much since I do want to make a post dedicated to PearlHacks eventually.

Syncopasian Callbacks

So…let’s just say I did god awful in these HAHA. I got super nervous, I was hungry, callbacks were three and a half hours long, and I essentially choked last minute and did really poorly. We were given a song to learn a part to the day before and we had to sing that song with the rest of the vocals (and our part removed, so I was assigned mezzo soprano for this one). Then in callbacks, we actually had to learn a piece in an hour and perform it in front of them, receive feedback, and then perform it again. I did so so awful and I’m honestly disappointed in how I did but that just meant it wasn’t meant to be!

(I actually am writing about it much calmer than I felt on Saturday. Right after callbacks ended, I cried and was so embarrased I did so poorly and Raymond bought me sushi to make me feel better.)

Post Callbacks

During callbacks, I actually received a phone call from the Logs saying I made callbacks. But!  I needed to block out my whole Sunday for it and move any events I could to make them.

And if you couldn’t tell from my schedule…my Sunday was very swamped. So I had to make a lot of hard decisions about what I prioritized! I called my mom about it for a while and I ultimately decided to focus on the hackathon since it was a project I was really excited for and I was really enjoying the process of building the app. I emailed Logs and Asymptones declining their callbacks and went along my merry way coding until 4:30 am.

Sunday

Blueprint Panel

I had the great pleasure of sitting as a panelist on an MIT Panel event for MIT Blueprint, a hackathon hosted by HackMIT aimed at high school students. I love talking about my experience with computer science and how I grew from hating and despising its very existence to now staying up til 4:30am just coding, so I was really excited to do this panel!

Demos

I won’t talk about this in great length but I ended up missing the beginning of sorority recruitment to do demos for the judges at PearlHacks! It was a lovely time and I’ll go more into detail in the future hackathon post.

Now

I’ve had a pretty exhausting week. I’m pretty tired from only getting about 4 hours of sleep, I have plenty of readings to do for my CMS class, and I still haven’t finished my 006 pset which is scaring me. But, I think it was a great first week.