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MIT student blogger Jess K. '10

Back in Time by Jess K. '10

I change my clock back three hours and read headlines on the magazine of the woman sitting next to me, i.e. "Brad and Angie: MORE BABIES"

The last time I was on an airplane, I was in an aisle seat getting my chair kicked by the screaming kid beside me (a stereotype for bad flights everywhere, but for some reason, for me, it always seems to hold true). The last time I was on an airplane, I was going the other direction – San Francisco to Boston – and the last time I was on an airplane, I’d envisioned getting my ketchup taken away and them dragging me kicking and screaming from my MIT education just because of my breakfast condiments. “She’s a terrorist,” they said in my mind the last time I was on an airplane. “She’s hiding the goods in her breakfast burrito.”

The last time I was on an airplane, it was almost exactly three months ago.

I didn’t know that 5 meant chemistry and 7 meant biology; I didn’t know where building 4 was and that you had to go through it to get to building 2 but in this case 2 didn’t mean mechanical engineering. I’d never taken a final before winter break or got out of bed simply to switch out of a class that was too early before promptly going back to sleep. I had never met Regina Spektor, been on a road trip to Cape Cod with a few of my close friends or walked home when it was so cold that I had to stop to warm up on a grate blowing out hot air. I’d never called anywhere other than the California bay area home.

I’d never built a robot. I had never hung out with Ben Jones in real life or dragged him away from reading applications to grab sushi from Cafe Four. I’d never met Mr. Neha or had any idea that I would be living with her, or that she’d take care of me when I’d get a sinus infection I’d never had before. I didn’t know Kyle even existed, even though I now depend on him to come by and cheer me up by making fun of how I dance to Fergie*. I’d never met someone who’d written a novel before puberty or created an award-winning programming language. I didn’t know what TEAL stood for, exactly.

(Wait, I think I still don’t. Technology Enhanced … Active Learning? Am I right? Oh, I’m so good.)

So many things have changed since three months ago. This time, my iPod is charged and my boarding pass is secured in my backpack. This time, I’m flying with my sister, who unfortunately has the window seat next to two sleeping men and is suffering from that giant bottle of water we had to chug before going through security. This time, I’m mentally and physically spent by my first semester at MIT; this time, part of the class of 2011 has been admitted and half of my freshman year is done.

Things change. Except for the screaming child. He’s still here, ensuring that I continue to stay awake even after my finals. Thanks, kid.

*Real name: Stacy Ann Ferguson. DID YOU KNOW? I bet Sam did.

21 responses to “Back in Time”

  1. Christina says:


  2. Snively says:

    Great post, enjoyed it! Not much else to say. . .

  3. Anonymous says:

    wait, fergie has a real name?


  4. Evan '10 says:

    Technology Enabled, I think.

    These are details, though.

  5. Anonymous says:

    hellooo it’d be nice to see you here! i’m gone to seattle until the 26th but after that i’m all yours. a date with me and christie? PLEASE.

  6. amrita says:

    ^ that was me, sorry.

  7. Nina says:

    God, you’re such a genius. I love your writing. Especially your intro paragraphs (this one OMGGGG God, you’re such a genius. I love your writing. Especially your intro paragraphs (this one OMGGGG <3 ). I always crack up and then, addict-like, pour into the rest of your post.

    And I gotta tell ya, I read that sentence where you mentioned me like five times. I can’t believe I’m in your blog and that you count me as a memorable person from your first term.

    MIT is so much better with you around, Fragger. Can’t wait to run into you again when it’s 2007. smile

  8. Nina says:

    Oh, for Heaven’s SAKE. It truncated my first paragraph because I used a bracket instead of an & l t ; — PLEASE, how lame. (And yet, intriguing that these are apparently HTML-allowable comments.)

    At any rate.

    “Especially your intro paragraphs (this one OMGGGGGG <3 ). I always crack up and then, addict-like, devour the rest of your post.”

  9. Austin says:

    Even though I know that my plane ride to Boston was just for a prefrosh/overnight stay, and even though I’m sure being admitted made it a much more exhilerating and memorable voyage, reading this entry made me think of my experience. Especially since I got in trouble in my town’s regional airport for having a bottle of water in my backpack.

    Thank you.

  10. DEAR ALL



  11. Ella says:

    Hi, I was just browsing this website and I found your blog smile (fyi I’ve probably spent too much time here already but nevermind).

    I read what you wrote in a previous entry (er..I think it was October..?) about being evaluated as a person and your personality, not your record alone, but it just seems so important to have a good portfolio and everything. I don’t live in America right now but I’d love to go to MIT and it just seems like there’s so much competition, everyone’s just trying to shove as much as they can under their belt. Does that actually…work?

  12. Monica says:

    love this post! i am korean also and you are a great inspiration to me! i especially loved the post about your admittance in to MIT, too.

  13. Keri says:

    Oh, but it’s been an amazing four months.

  14. Michael says:

    Hey Jess,

    I love your writing style, it’s very imaginative. It must be great to head back to the Bay area for Christmas. I think my two favorite cities in the world are Boston and San Francisco, so you get the best of both worlds (maybe). I was living in Boston for about a year and I absolutely loved it! I hung around central square and the Miracle of Science Bar and restaurant; they have good hamburgers if you like that kinda thing(meat it’s what’s for dinner):-) ha ha.grin :0)

    I really like MIT and your blog even though I didn’t apply, it’s just fun to read the different traumas that beset you – particularly the bike lock incident -so thanks for a little portal into the life of an MIT student. And also, congratulations to all the accepted students and good luck to the rest still waiting.

    I’m out here in Ann Arbor MI, by UMichigan hanging out in the coolest coffee shop in the world right accross from campus with FREE internet access (hard to find in Boston!!) so salutations from the Motor City and keep writing your interesting posts, even if you do get paid, it seems to be fundamentally speaking, an altruistic endeavor, and I certainly sense your selfless devotion to MIT in every post, so continue in that spirit!!!!


  15. Anonymous says:

    I like “technology enforced active learning” better, myself.

  16. Monica says:

    Hey Jess,
    I have been wanting to got to MIT since I was little, do you have any advice or tips to help me? Right now I am in the 8th grade. And what exactly is a problem set?

  17. Christina says:

    Michael – The Miracle of Science ROCKS.

    Monica – You know how in high school you’re given, say 1-21 odd? A problem set at MIT consists of 1-23049234 ALL and then a bunch of tricky questions the professor makes up him/herself. They’re wonderous.

  18. Michael says:

    Christina – we’re you there last night partying with a reckless abandon?

    Oh yea, what’s that dance club right next store I liked that place too!!(“dancin the night away”)

    well enjoy the free internet at miracle of science!!!
    (i forgot they had free wireless access unlike the coffee shop 1369 :-( which makes me sad wherever coffee is sold internet “ought”(in the sense of a moral imperative grin ) to be free)

  19. Michael says:

    Chrismas and gift cards: the easy way of getting out of actually having to think about what you buy for someone. Gone are the days of contemplative shopping when it actually meant something, now we simply purchase the solve-every-shopping-quandry gift card and somehow assuage our guilt about the lack of thought we put into the person.

    Well maybe that’s a little strong. ha ha ha:0) Anyhow i received the ubiquitous ipod gift card and am having trouble spending it so I’m hoping some of you very science oriented people would give me some musical suggestion so I can expand my severly limited musical horizons.

    peace to all and a wonderful New Year where all you’re wildest dreams are fulfilled -:-) grin lol :0)

  20. Christina says:

    Michael – No. I had breakfast there with my family and it was really good. smile

  21. Michael says:

    Christina – never had breakfast there i’ll have to try it, i really like the burgers and the periodic table menu :0) look for the algae reformers on top of the vassar building; their sucking all of the co2 out of the physical plant exhaust and hopefully using the algae for biofuels- pretty cool – (long clear cylinders mounted on angle to maximize exposure to the sun) think green grin