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MIT student blogger Sam M. '07

Cancel all operations by Sam M. '07

Tell your friends to cool it, my cover's blown.

DID YOU KNOW? Belle and Sebastian were voted the world’s best Scottish band, beating even Franz Ferdinand.

Now, you know I don’t like to do just plain answer entries; I prefer to supplement them with at least some stupid story about how I gave blood or ate at a foodtruck or stepped on a cicada or something and it made me think about my choice to come to MIT, the current state of my life and psyche, and the existence of God. However, I feel like I’ve been so delinquent in responding to comments on the past five entries or so that I should take just one entry to catch up. I really do appreciate all your comments; they not only illuminate all of your concerns about MIT and thus help me become a better blogger, but they also serve to inflate my vast and uncontrollable ego.

But TOMORROW there’s an entry on CANOES!

Hokay, so…

Bicycle Race

Dan: “Does anyone at MIT own a BMX bike? ANYone?”

I actually know a few people in the MIT bicycle team that apparently won an Eastern championship or something. One of them, Bryan ’06 was so crazy about biking that he took his bike with him on a 700-mile road trip southwest and rode it around my grandmother’s house for a few hours. Jose ’07, shown in this entry, took a month during the summer to bike down the entire Western coast of the US, from Seattle to San Diego. Also, my friend Mike Short ’05 went mountain biking once with some people from our floor. You can see the result here. And my entire UROP lab went on a 120-mile bike trip this summer, in which my 60-year-old professor totally decimated me.

So I don’t know if anybody has a BMX, but there are a lot of people here who like to bike.

Let It Bleed

Drew: “So I haven’t done calc in awhile, and I’m worried that I’ve forgotten everything but the very basics of integration and derivation. Can I retake single-variable and get general credit from the AP? Or should I just start out in multi-variable and try to review single-variable and hope that it comes back to me?”

If you take single-variable again, you get less general elective credit from the AP test, but as I said, it’s not that crucial. My suggestion would be to start out in multivariable (18.02) or accelerated single-variable (18.01A) and see how you do; if you find that it’s too fast for you, you can go back into single-variable (18.01) up to 5 weeks into the semester.

Carmel: Awesome post Sam. I think I’d really really love physics.. if my teacher weren’t a mismatched-shoe-wearing, stuttering, absent-minded, arithmetically-challenged, creepy, idiot with a brain addled by two or three strokes! I know I won’t do even marginally well on the Mechanics exam this Monday, and even if by some miracle I did pull a four or a five out of my ass I’d want to take physics all over again in college, just to unlearn every idiotic wrong thing I’ve learned. So my question is, do AP scores factor significantly in admissions, or are they more about class placement?

I can’t say for sure, but I’d say that they don’t factor too prominently in admissions, because a) the average MIT student hasn’t taken more than one or two AP exams by senior year anyway b) plenty of people get in from schools that don’t even offer AP/IB. My statement for the record would be that they can only help you–not taking them can’t hurt your chances in any capacity.

Nehalita: “love the reference to the beatles =D”

Haha, it’s actually a Stones song, but I also find myself singing “Shine on ’til tomorrow, let it bleed” from time to time.

Amy Perez: [paraphrase] “Hi Sam, I’m awesome and explaining the entire communications requirement to you.”

You mention that the CI-HW are actually not bad classes; I actually know people who have taken classes in scientific writing and things like that and end up doing far better in project and report-oriented classes because of it… so a lot of them are really worthwhile, even if they get the undeserved reputation of “FEE failure” classes.

victor: hi there, can one really finsih, say, a course he takes,in a short period, about 2-3 years?

I can vouch for the fact that Chemical Engineering has more requirements than any other major at MIT and I know people who have finished it in three years. These are very, very motivated people, however. It depends on what you want. Some majors that can be done “comfortably” (relatively speaking) in three years include math and chemistry. They’re not easier, they just have fewer required classes and prerequisites and more room for electives. These are also common double-majors. Engineering majors are, in general, more difficult to do in three years because they follow a more linear progression of classes. The aforementioned chemical engineering people took certain classes at the same time as their prerequisites.

MITMom: you have to do the differential equations problem sets before you can take the advanced standing exam regardless of whether you take it at Orientation or later. The problem sets basically amount to a semester worth or homework, so even if you know differential equations cold, it is a significant investment of time to do the problem sets. Another option is to take it self-paced through ESG.

there’s kind of no reason to take the linear algebra advanced standing exam, since that isn’t a required course to major in math. If you already know it, you can just go on to something else without bothering to get credit for it.

Right on with Linear Algebra; the only Course it’s really a requirement for is Management. As far as Differential Equations, I took the advanced standing exam after IAP. The problem sets and studying together took me about four to five hours a day, every day, for one month, and I had a fairly rigorous Differential Equations class in high school (thanks Mr. Godshall).

Dass ein Ende mit mir haben muss

All very great and insightful commentary on peanuts, Rhode Island, fractals, Duran Duran, and the universe in general.

reg: i always thought rhode island was an island.. guess i lack USA geography..

Don’t worry about your US geography, I met an MIT sophomore from California who thought Delaware was a midwestern state.

Anonymous: You drive on a parkway and park on a driveway.

I was surprised when I checked your IP saw that it was not from California. Beloved readers from my high school will appreciate this one. Are you sure that you never had a Mr. Douglas Royer for AP Government?

Play it again, Sam

Colin: Put up a sound clip! I love playing “Name That Tune.” You know, with myself. I’ll think, “I bet I can name that tune in three notes.” And then I think about the first three notes of Chopin’s First Ballade, and then I think, “Chopin’s First Ballade!”

I eventually identified it as Luther Vandross. But I appreciate your references to Chopin, Bowie, and Benatar, all of whom are excellent artists. Bonnie Raitt is okay.

Anonymous: “Okay, sorry if this seems random, but this is one of my many, very small, pet peeves. The quote from Casablanca is actually “Play it, Sam,” not “Play it again, Sam.” This is a common misconception. I wouldn’t have mentioned it except that we are watching it in my English class (the AP’s over, so we have to do SOMETHING). Great entry though, and that does look really hard. :)”

Haha, thanks. This is usually the kind of thing I would be crazily pedantic about too, so I appreciate your clarification. Random trivia pwns.

Mike: Damn technology stuff. You wire some electronics, and everyone goes, “Oh, how impressive!” But you wire some E. coli to do something super cool, and everyone goes, “Ick, gross bacteria!” No justice in the world.

Anyway, I just completed this stupid semester! Victory over junior year!

I definitely see both here. And, hey, gross doesn’t always mean not scientifically worthwhile or impressive–my job, after all, is to turn turkey carcasses into oil.

Colin: “Play it again, Sam,” is from the Marx Brothers’ A Night in Casablanca, and because people tend to pay more attention to parody than to its source material, said phrase has caught on much more easily than its first incarnation. I think it has to do with the more rhythmic quality of the “imposter” quote. ;)

Well, thanks for this trivia, too, and your impassioned defense of my entry title. I concur that the rhythm is important. I think this is why “Let’s play Who Wants to Be A Millionaire!” was so popular–iambic pentameter, baby.

Really Random

Anonymous: hello from france, i thought mit students were more serious. You must be having fun sometimes.Good luck sam

Sometimes? I have fun ALL THE TIME! Keep reading this blog!

Omar ’10: Hey, awesome entry. I heard that Random is very selective (hard to get into) how true is that?

It’s the very smallest dorm, so it is more difficult to get into than the other ones if demand over the summer exceeds the number of people there. However, if you put it as your first choice this summer, your chances aren’t too bad. Also, I know people who have transferred into it, either through the freshman housing lottery or after their first few semesters.

That’s all, folks!

5 responses to “Cancel all operations”

  1. Dan says:

    Hokay, so…here’s the earth, ROUND

    I don’t remember the rest but anyways thanks for answering. BMX rules!

  2. Olga says:

    Hey Kate, you’re lucky. Our new principal found out about the fact that after the AP test, AP classes don’t do squat! So now he’s requiring all AP classes to still have a curriculum in May and June …. you can imagine how upset all the seniors are.


  3. Kate says:

    I love how the formatting keeps forgetting to </close> itself so it just keeps getting bolder and more Italian as the page progresses. Totally can’t wait to hear all about the pwnage of canoes. At least, I assume they were pwned. Otherwise the next entry would be about a drenched Sam.

    Three cheers for AP Cinema! heheh.

  4. Sam says:

    Victor — That’s really, really, really hard. I know one person who has done it, but it’s taking her nine semesters, and to be honest she looks a little pale, like she hasn’t been eating or sleeping much.

  5. Mike says:

    That anonymous parkway dealie was me, guess I forgot to put my name. I didn’t go to your HS, but I do hail from Pennsylvania