One day, fun things happened. I started blogging about them immediately… only to be interrupted by more excitement (which, naturally, I had to blog about). Post intros began piling up, losing their relevance and interest. As a result, I have not blogged for eternity.
One day, I may complete all those hopeful post beginnings, reenact the thrill of days long past. But for now, in dreadfully uncreative bullet form, I’ll highlight the essentials of IAP and Spring semester.
- During IAP, I took two classes, 18.S097 Introduction to Mathematical Proofs and 20.219 Becoming the Next Bill Nye: Writing and Hosting the Educational Show, and spent most evenings toiling over script, storyboard, research, and editing of an educational video on fractals. I see fractals everywhere now. It’s pretty great.
- During the last week of IAP, the 20.219 instructor, Elizabeth C. ‘13 (who also happens to be an alum blogger, and has written about her awesome film-making job) and a visiting film crew from Washington, D.C. professionally produced my video. Through them, I learned that filming takes a ton of work (more on that in a separate post). Our video was only five minutes long, and took at least 12 hours just to film! I still haven’t seen the edited version, but am already beyond excited to appear in an actual YouTube educational video, as a host. Here a preview of the final project (the non-professional version I made for the class final, actual video coming soon):
- IAP was also a time for exploration. Many on hall felt free and ready to mingle, and went out every week to fun locations, like Chinatown or the North End (“Boston’s Little Italy”). Out of these outings, Escape MIT, a new student group was conceived. Its purpose is “to promote mental health and community engagement among the students of MIT through off-campus cultural, culinary, and arts events.” That is the fancy constitutional definition. Simply put, Escape MIT is for the hosed students who want to “burst the MIT bubble,” that is, explore Boston and other parts of Massachusetts with friends. We’ve recently submitted a formal application and a constitution to be recognized as an MIT student group. So, those who plan to visit during CPW (and you definitely should if you have the chance), may see our table at the Activities’ Midway.
- I have started feeding myself, which is a daunting task. Mostly, I default to icky canned food and sometimes vegetables. I have become a connoisseur of Campbell’s canned soups. On a good day, I can find a nice stack of canned tuna and powdered mashed potatoes in my room. On bad days, I have to go out to buy a salad (or eat human food that looks suspiciously like dog chow). Still, all that is better than the dining hall experience. I pay less, even if I eat out multiple times a week. I set my own schedule. I don’t have to travel to eat (actually, I don’t even have to travel to shop – Amazon Prime Pantry and Instacart are wonderful). I will soon make time to cook collaboratively with friends. Even though delicious home-cooked meals have become a burning desire, overall, self-feeding has been great. 10/10 would recommend.
- We have a lot of snow around here (which you’ve probably heard; if not, marvel here). We even have a new mountain on campus that people climb with a fervor of the first mountaineers (check it out here).
- We also have snow days. MIT doesn’t have those often, and I can see why. Students hate the snow days. Snow days here don’t imply a “get out of school free” permit. They mean that we have to study the material on our own, or attend make up lectures, or tune in for Google Hangout sessions, or just struggle through the homework with no understanding of the topic. Despite the snow days, professors’ syllabi don’t change and students’ productivity doesn’t increase. We do not like snow days. They mean more work for less knowledge.
- During snow days, hall residents gathered in the lounge often. We were all shut off from the world, and that was kind of great, because for a couple hours, we really didn’t have anything better to do. Together, we went out to test the snow. This was before the disgusting salty sludge replaced the white carpet, so we got to sink into the clean softness, get thoroughly soaked and cold and happy. The river was concealed by a cover of snow, so for once Boston and MIT were one entity, united under the royal purple sky.
- On Valentine’s Day, Boston was completely snowed in, so First East celebrated by watching a compilation of propaganda. But actually, it was a documentary called Atomic Cafe, which “cover[ed] the beginnings of the era of nuclear warfare, created from a broad range of archival film from the 1940s, 1950s and early 1960s – including newsreel clips, television news footage, U.S. government-produced films (including military training films), advertisements, television and radio programs” (says Wikipedia). We all loved the film. An indoor Valentine’s Day Saturday wasn’t bad at all with friends.
- This spring semester, I am taking five classes (because the credit limit is higher for second-semester frosh and no one wants to waste the precious A/B/C/No Record grading). They are, in numerical order: 7.013 Introductory Biology, 8.02 Physics II (Electricity & Magnetism), 11.125 Introduction to Education: Understanding and Evaluating Education, 18.03 Differential Equations, and 21M.600 Intro to Acting. Three of those (7.013, 8.02, 18.03) are pretty standard frosh classes. My best friend and I share them and can pset together. 21M.600 is also quite a popular HASS-A (humanities arts class) among MIT students, and for good reasons, which I’ll reveal in another post.
- 11.125 will get a bullet point of its own because it has been life-changing. I am no longer a potential Course 18 (Theoretical Mathematics) major! Now I present myself as Course 11, which is technically Urban Studies and Planning, but Education is a possible concentration within the department (maybe Environmental Policy also). Theoretical math will be my minor. After much thought, I realized that mathematics had little application to my life plan. I love it still, but education is what thrills me the most, and I don’t want to miss out on the incredible education courses that MIT (and Harvard) offers. The choice was finalized during the first session of 11.125, where I drooled (metaphorically) at the prospect of discussing Common Core Mathematics, standardized testing, and curriculum/assessment tools. I’ve seen that reaction before, from my friends excited about their fields of study, so I guess education is a good fit for me. It brings out a wonderful feeling I had almost deemed impossible.
My final point has come to an end, and with this, I’ll complete the two-month overview. Soon, I’ll get to more thorough blogging, but for now, I must rush to write an essay on education. It is my first MIT composition.
Until later, which is hopefully soon…