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MIT student blogger Jenny X. '13

An Alternative Semester by Jenny X. '13

There are things to click in here.

My courseload this semester might look like that of a confused sophomore who is still unsure what course to major in. But the reality is not quite so. I’m a senior who’s majoring in Course 4 Architecture and will graduate as so, but this semester I’m taking:

1.00 – Introduction to Computers and Engineering Problem Solving – also known as programming in Java. You know how they say “Do one thing that scares you every day”? My “thing” will be 1.00, every day of this semester. But I promised myself I must not leave MIT without being able to robustly code something and 1.00 also satisfies the REST requirement.

21W.735 –  Writing and Reading the Essay –  this is one of the two classes I’m taking “for fun”. I don’t really need it per say, but since I want to go into journalism, a writing class would make sense. It also helps that the professor is Ta-Nehisi Coates, who writes for the Atlantic – which in the past year became my new favorite magazine. Stoked, I am.

STS.043 –  Technology & the Self: Science, Technology, and Memoir – this is the other class I’m taking for fun. We’re trying to understand science, tech, design in the context of the self – aka we’re going to be writing a memoir! The professor is Sherry Turkle, who has written/spoken extensively on how human relationships are impacted by our growing dependence on technology. This human-tech connectivity is all I ever want to talk about, kind of.

15.501 – Corporate Financial Accounting – I need this class for my Course 15 (Management) minor. We learn to read financial statements, balance sheets…and all that money stuff I’m not used to. Which is probably the number one reason I should be taking this class.

15.567 – The Economics of Information: Strategy, Strategy, and Pricing – I think this one is very important. With all that technology, we get endless information. Big data. Social networks. Wisdom of the crowds. The future of I.T. So much to think about. The scary part here is that most people in the class are MBAs, mid-career Sloan Fellows…we also have to form a IT-based startup in a team…And I think a lot of the more experienced folks are trying to form a living-breathing startup, whereas I’m still thinking in a more theoretical realm…

I love that all my classes touch upon each other in some way. Twilight of the Elites, the book we’re reading for 21W.735, discussed balance-sheet frauds, which involves what I’m learning in 15.501. In STS.043, I’m reading about how computers affect the way children learn math-y things, like programming…which is something I’m DYING to do in 1.00.  In 15.567, we’re talking the economic impact of social networks, etc. which informs the whole discussion on connectivity and technology in STS.043.

Click around the ThingLink on the top to get more of an idea of the classes I’m taking. The links correspond to where the classrooms actually are! Clicky-clicky!