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MIT student blogger Mollie B. '06

An actual day in the life by Mollie B. '06

It's not the most exciting day... but it's a day!

(This seemed like a really good idea for an entry when I was on my bike coming home from cheerleading. If you disagree… don’t tell me. I’ll be sad.)

Since the stated purpose of the blogs is to introduce prospectives to a day in the life of an MIT student, I have rather uncreatively decided to present An Actual Day in My Life, Fall 2005 Version.

8:15 — The alarm goes off after about seven hours of sleep. I hit snooze, because who gets up with the first alarm anyway?
8:24 — The alarm goes off again. I smack Adam and ask when he wants me to get him up (he can’t get up by himself), then sit down at the computer and turn on my (illegal but oh-so-warm) space heater. (Um, hopefully no one from Housing reads the blogs.)
8:30-9:10 — Check CC, everybody’s blogs, Google News, and a bunch of LiveJournal communities. I get dressed in my MIT Cheer shirt with a really cheerleadery ponytail and red ribbon. It’s just that kind of day.
9:15 — I hit up Macgregor Convenience for my morning Froot Loops and 20 oz. Mountain Dew. The best part of waking up is 92 mg. of caffeine in your bloodstream! (I actually did research freshman year to determine what drink I was willing to consume contained the highest concentration of caffeine. Mountain Dew won, and I drink it religiously.)
9:20-9:30 — Bike across campus from W61 to 56. It’s cold outside.
9:35-10:55 — Attend 9.15 (biochemistry/pharmacology of synaptic transmission) lecture. Professor Wurtman is happy with the class performance on last Thursday’s midterm. The lecture is about the biosynthesis, effects, and metabolism of melatonin.
10:56-11:03 — Run to the building 56 Athena cluster to check email and print readings for classes later today.
11:05-11:5521A.100 (intro to anthropology) lecture. Professor Paxson is discussing the influence of culture on the individual. I am trying to get Adam to stop studying for his 16.06 test and start listening to Professor Paxson. I am unsuccessful.
11:56-12:08 — I wait in line for, order, and purchase a cheese sandwich at the Stata Center’s Forbes Cafe. I like cheese sandwiches.
12:10-12:55 — I attend recitation for 5.60 (thermo). There are about ten students in my section, and our TA makes sure all of us speak up and have our questions heard. Who says you don’t get personal attention at research universities? I leave with some juicy pset hints.
12:56-1:00 — I meet with anthropology professor Christine Walley to get my HASS concentration form filled out. You’re supposed to do this by the end of sophomore year. I’m running a little behind.
1:01 — While walking out of Professor Walley’s office, I very nearly run into 21A.260 Professor James head-on because I’m busy scrutinizing the 5.60 pset my TA has just returned to me. She gives me an odd look and tells me she’ll be right down to class. (I think perhaps she thinks I’m a little spacy. Perhaps she’s right.)
1:05-2:25 — 21A.260, Culture, Embodiment, and the Senses. Professor James has assigned us one of her own papers to read. We are all wisely complimentary to her paper. (I think she actually was looking for criticisms, as the paper is due to be published soon. But we’re nice kids.) We discuss family dynamics in rural France and the effect of bewitching on these dynamics. It’s a small class (seven students), so there’s always plenty of time to have your points heard.
2:26 — I run into Akhil, the only other person to have ever been admitted to MIT from my high school. He graduated in my high school class, but he zipped through his bachelors in three years and is now working on his masters in EECS. We discuss happenings in our lives. He comments on my recently dyed hair. It’s nice to have people you’ve known since sixth grade who also understand your MIT life.
2:30-6:00 — Lab time! Today I am miniprepping plasmid DNA from E. coli, digesting the minipreps with restriction enzymes, running the digested DNA on a gel, and choosing nice-looking plasmids for transfection into COS7 cells. (The plasmid contains DNA which codes for my favorite protein as well as GFP; cells which express my protein will glow green under fluorescent light.) If this is all Greek to you, I suggest this site — also check out the extremely sexy Flash movies of DNA replication and protein synthesis! My postdoc and I discuss the state of our project and what I need to do over the next week or so.
6:35 — I arrive home to find dinner on the table. Hooray for boyfriends who can cook! (It was only pasta and garlic bread. But it was still homemade!)
7:00-7:45 — Check all my websites again. Sit in the lounge and chat with various D-Entry residents. Change into cheerleading clothes.
8:00-10:00 — Cheerleading practice. At this practice, two girls get bashed in the face while stunting, I manage to discombobulate the tiny bones in my wrist, and we all get general bangs, bruises, and muscle pain. On the upside, several of the flyers are getting really nice twist crades.
10:05-11:54 — Check websites. Update blog.
11:55-12:10 — VERY hot shower, hopefully. Due to a water main break in Cambridge, the dorm’s hot water has been finicky for the past few days. I am crossing my fingers that the water is at least 50 degrees C… I am tired and my muscles are sore.
12:15-1:00 — Finish up 5.60 pset. (Edit, for Augustus’ sake below: I had already worked on the pset Monday and Wednesday nights for about three hours each!) Get sick of working on pset and check websites again.
1:00 — Sleep?

Edit, 12:24 AM (because the shower actually took until 12:20 since the water was, in fact, oh so hot): I forgot to say that I am jealous of leftcoast mom’s intellectual energy in comparison to the apathy of my mother. Still, in my mom’s defense, she’s a sixth-grade teacher, so the closest she comes to teaching about phase changes and entropy is when she talks about the fact that water can be a solid, a liquid, and a gas!

10 responses to “An actual day in the life”

  1. Wow, is this a regular day in the life at MIT, because it seems very hectic? And as Augustus said, how do u manage to finish your assignments/homework in 45 minutes, or is that just a one off?

    Do you guys get some time to go out into Boston, catch up with mates, go out on friday/saturday nights, or is the lifestyle mainly academia orientated?

    anyways, thanks for the interesting entry, certainly gave me a different perspective on things at MIT smile

  2. Ankit G says:


    This is actually addresed to Robb Carr, or anyone else who can help me on this. I am a prospective student. Do you know where we can find the answers to the problem sets, available on OCW? I could manage one calculus set on my own.


  3. Timur Sahin says:

    This actually brings me to a very important queston regarding student life at MIT:

    How’s the water pressure in the dorms? I have really thick, really long, hair. Frankly, I hate it when the water pressure is so low I can’t even feel it on my scalp.

  4. Whoa…That, in fact, is a highly useful post (for me, anyways). Yes, it’s uncreative, but so are things like attending class and the entire admissions process; the whole point is to fill it with interesting stuff, and I find things like the fact that you have time to make it to all of your classes on time, check log onto the internets *multiple* times a day for decent sessions, *and* sleep. I really hope that I’ll have opportunities to do that when I make it into wherever it is that I’ll go in a year.

    But then, since it is MIT, you’re probably just really crazy-smart or something, what with finishing assignments in 45 short minutes.

    Whatever, cool.

  5. Robb Carr says:

    Hi Ankit! I wish I could give you a more concrete answer on the problem sets…but there is not really one as far as I am aware. First I would look at (For mathematics at least) and check the individual course page. Some courses have archived problem set solutions, some do not. For example 18.02 ( does, 18.014 ( infact has solutions on the OCW site itself, and I do not see answers anywhere for 18.01 ( so really it varies…I would say your best bet is to explore. Or you could try a google query like:

    ” 18.01 problem set” with no quotes, and infact the first result is”“ . So much for no 18.01 problem set solutions. Goodluck smile

  6. Laura says:

    Hey! I understood al…most of that bio stuff! Yay for understanding 7.012! Yipee. =)

    And your day seems more productive than mine, but maybe that’s only because my alarm goes off around 8:30 and I hit the snooze button until about 9:15, roll out of bed, eat some cereal, waste a lot of time searching for clean clothes in my mess, and get to class…um…almost on time…

  7. Ankit G says:

    Thanks Robb.

    So which Psets have you done??

    I did 2 more, this time in physics(Physics I, Fall 2003.-PS1 and PS6).


    PS: Where are you from? Are you a 2006 applicant too?

  8. Hey Mollie,

    Thanks for answering my question on CC. I didn’t know who to ask… none of my classmates and teachers knew, and my interview isn’t until Thanksgiving. I forgot to ask Mr. McGann when he was here a month ago.


  9. nehalita says:

    i liked this entry, thank you very much.

    question: so is this considered a hectic day or a lax day or what?

  10. JackRain says:


    I am really impressed when I read your post.

    not too more comment,but expecting more info from your life story.they’re very interesting.

    I am JackRain .Glad to know you:)