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Classes by the Calories by Kathleen E. '22

free food is everywhere

A few weeks ago, I attended a meeting for one of MIT’s many clubs. It was a lively meeting, full of introductions, discussions, and sandwiches. When the meeting ended, all but a few students left, taking the lively energy with them. The room was quiet.

Then, suddenly, the quietness was broken by a series of buzzes and dings as our phones simultaneously received a notification.

We sprinted together down the hallway to 10-250, one of MIT’s largest lecture halls. We emerged triumphant, carrying five huge tubs of Toscanini’s ice cream. Back in our original meeting room, we all sampled the different flavors, and a few people took the half-empty tubs back to their dorms to share with friends.

five buckets of ice cream, some with open lids

free ice cream ^_^

Toscanini’s is one of Boston’s best ice cream stores. We managed to get five tubs (!) of free Toscanini’s through an MIT mailing list dedicated to notifying student subscribers about free food available on campus. That night, I was lucky – if I hadn’t happened to stay late in a classroom near 10-250, other students would have gotten there before I could.

Last week, I had my first midterms. MIT has redefined the word midterm for me. In my high school, midterms happened once, in between the two semesters. Now, each of my classes has three or four midterms distributed throughout just one semester. The definition of midterm has also changed to include free food – I was surprised with free candy before two of my exams!

I’m taking four classes this semester: 3.091 (Chemistry), 8.01 (Physics), 18.02 (Calculus), and MAS.110 (Media Design). You can Google each of my classes and find the description (or even the entire course) online. So, instead of describing the content, I’ll tell you about my classes in terms of the free food I’ve received!

Graph with lines showing the calories consumed in each class at different stress levels

Calories consumed, by stress level, in each class

a. My wonderful 3.091 TA gave us chocolate chip cookies right after we had a quiz. (Thanks Sara!) In 3.091, we have weekly quizzes that involve using cool tools given to us in weekly goodie bags, such as a spectrometer or conductivity meter.

b. Right before the 3.091 midterms, the TAs handed out Hershey’s kisses. One of our questions involved chocolate production in some way, but I was so focused on solving the problem that I didn’t make a connection between the question and the Hershey’s kisses until writing this post.

c. I was given a full-size Kit Kat just before the 8.01 midterm. It did not make the test easier, sadly.

d. 18.02 has been food-less so far. It’s okay, because after class, I can walk right across the hallway to the Compton Lounge, where there is a seemingly unlimited supply of free bananas and hot beverages.

e. In MAS.110, each Friday we have a chill breakfast with fruits, donuts, muffins, and a variety of beverages. I’m taking this class as part Media Arts and Sciences (MAS), which is one of four first-year learning communities at MIT. MAS explores the intersection of technology and expression. Our classes and breakfasts are held in MIT’s (very cool) Media Lab. The line in the graph drops off quickly because this class is really relaxed – it’s just not possible for my stress level to get very high.

If you like free food, you’ll love it here. If you don’t like free food, you’ll love it here, too – there is also a lot of food you can pay for. That’s for another blog, though.