checkboxes by Fatima A. '25

this semester in a list

things I did:

quogs in a ‘metastable state’

• spent more time with my wing

at next house, each floor is divided into two wings, and each wing has multiple lounges, where people come to hang out and study.

compared to last year, I now live closer to our main wing lounge so I spent a lot more time there, working, or not, and made a lot of fond memories. we eliminated a consonant,01 Alan Z. ’23, Jonathan H. ’25 and I decided to replace all k sounds with t sounds but that didn’t last long for obvious reasons proved P = NP,02 P and NP are classes of languages for which you can check if something is in the language in polynomial time. the difference is that NP allows ‘lucky guessing.’ an open problem in theoretical computer science is to prove whether P and NP are equal. in multiple problem sets for 18.404, we messed up in just the right way to show that P = NP and ranked the letters of the alphabet.03 in case you are wondering, the best letter is L

obsessed with our pink frog plushie, we used some of our wing budget to buy three more of them. they are very soft, so naturally, you’ll see them being thrown around the lounge a lot.

• helped Jonathan H. ’25 learn Urdu

last year, I told Jonathan the Urdu word for sarcasm and somehow, he still remembered it this year. I offered to teach more words and thereby began our language lessons. because I am a native speaker, I don’t explicitly know a lot of the rules so it is really fun to revisit them with him. we have learned how to say ‘where did you come from, where did you go’ in Urdu.

• actually listened in on 6.006

I dropped 6.006 to Listener mid semester but continued going to recitations until the end. I loved our recitation leader and I learned a lot solving problems in class. I hope to actually take the class next semester, so having this background will hopefully help.

• participated in a quiz bowl tournament

some people on our floor were going to Yale for the ACF Winter Quizbowl tournament and asked if other folks were interested. Katie K. ’24, Andrew L. ’24 and I decided to go last minute, so we had an entire car of just 4W04 four west, my wing in Next House people. I got like two tossups in the entire tournament but it was still really fun and my first quizbowl tournament! it was also my first time on Yale’s campus which was very exciting. the campus looks really beautiful in the fall!

SIX!

• watched a live production of a musical

I went with Silu S. ’24 to watch Six at the Emerson Theater in Boston. the theater is beautiful! we had great seats and the musical itself was great. it had a more concert-y vibe than the average musical and was very lively and energetic!

• went to a chamber music concert

I went to a chamber music concert with Holden M. ’25. I do not have any actual musical expertise and have always been scared that I will not enjoy going to something like this but it was actually very fun. we basically had front row seats and the pieces were great. I especially loved ‘Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp’ and ‘Two Pieces for Flute, Cello and Harp, Op. 80.’

• went to non-zero student group performances

I went to watch MIT Shakespeare Ensemble’s fall show ‘As You Like It’ with Prajna N. ’25. she was the assistant producer and one of the assistant stage managers for the show which meant she also had to be at the lighting booth for a couple of the showings but we got to watch it together on opening night!

I also got to see Alan Z. ’23 and Silu perform at the Asymptones concert and Katie at the wind ensemble concert!

• 18.701.

at the beginning of the semester, this class felt impossible. a couple weeks in, I found a great pset group to work with, started going to office hours religiously and ended up learning so much from the class.

black holes are cool

• went to two 8.033 lectures?

on the Monday of the last week of classes, my poetry class started relatively later than usual, so I went to the 8.033 lecture instead with Leo Y. ’25, Matthew H. ’25 and Alan(who was also there for no reason).

I learned that the singularity is at the center of the blackhole. this is actually false. I really learned that the singularity is a moment in time, not a place in space so it doesn’t even make sense to say that I ended up enjoying it enough to also attend the very last lecture. I want to take this class next fall so this is a good sign!

• did not kill my plant

garfield in october!

last year, I got a succulent at a study break that I named sandwich. I somehow managed to kill it very quickly by either overwatering or underwatering or a mix of both.

at the beginning of this year, with some encouragement from Katie, I decided to pot the marigold seeds I had from last year. this plant, Garfield, did pretty well for almost the entire semester. I generally measure my mental health by how often I remember to take care of my plant so this is a very good thing.

close to the end though, two out of the three sprigs died but one of them still has leaves, so I am hoping it won’t completely die. after all, there’s a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. I also watched The Princess Bride this semester. twice.

• miscellanous.

I also finally went to Chinatown, bought a 32\$ phone, wrote a 1500 word poem, started a sestina07 a poetry form consisting of six sestets, having the same six end words in each of the stanzas, but in a different order. the poem ends with a tercet which has two of the end words per line.  cult with Alan, got more than 4000 coins on Subway Surfers, held office hours for a class, got a Harvard library card and actually put it to use, and ran the most unsuccessful write-in campaign of all time for President of Next House in the last 30 minutes of voting.

things I didn’t do:

• spent less time with my friends not in Next House
• didn’t learn a lot of Chinese even though I intended to
• didn’t do as many art tours as I wanted to
• didn’t read at all
• barely went off campus
• didn’t bike at all
• didn’t go to a single art museum all semester
• didn’t re-run for Next exec
• didn’t take a PE class08 every student at MIT is required to take 4 PE classes and pass the swim test to graduate
• didn’t explore the tunnels
• didn’t go to some of the student group performances I wanted to see

On my to-do list, I have three columns:09 this is probably not the best way to organize a to-do list. it works for me but I wouldn't necessarily advise it Today, Soon and Later and there are always some things that inevitably spill over to the Later section and stay there the whole semester. The second section in this post seems deceptively small but I don’t have much to say about the things I didn’t do except that the to-do list is never fully checked off, which is, frankly, a good thing. I know I need to calibrate my priorities and commitments for the next semester differently to better account for the things which are very important to me that I couldn’t do this semester. I also know that there were still a lot of things that I did and not being able to do everything doesn’t undermine that.

1. Alan Z. ’23, Jonathan H. ’25 and I decided to replace all k sounds with t sounds but that didn’t last long for obvious reasons
2. P and NP are classes of languages for which you can check if something is in the language in polynomial time. the difference is that NP allows ‘lucky guessing.’ an open problem in theoretical computer science is to prove whether P and NP are equal. in multiple problem sets for 18.404, we messed up in just the right way to show that P = NP
3. in case you are wondering, the best letter is L
4. four west, my wing in Next House
5. this is actually false. I really learned that the singularity is a moment in time, not a place in space so it doesn’t even make sense to say that
6. I also watched The Princess Bride this semester. twice.
7. a poetry form consisting of six sestets, having the same six end words in each of the stanzas, but in a different order. the poem ends with a tercet which has two of the end words per line.
8. every student at MIT is required to take 4 PE classes and pass the swim test to graduate
9. this is probably not the best way to organize a to-do list. it works for me but I wouldn't necessarily advise it