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MIT student blogger Nisha D. '21

Coming Into My Own by Nisha D. '21

ft. an exciting semester and an exciting job lined up + making positive changes to my lifestyle

Let me preface this post by saying: I don’t think I’ve figured out MIT quite yet. I think I’ve definitely gotten better at being an MIT student as time has gone on, but I definitely haven’t gamed the system yet.

That being said, this is definitely the semester in which I think I’m going to do the best that I’ve ever done at this school, and I’m super excited for everything that I have lined up!

This sort of breaks down into three parts.

Classes

I’m super excited for my classes this semester (and for the rest of my MIT career, honestly) because I’m finally done with the Course 6 foundation and header classes! This basically means that I never have to take a specific Course 6 class ever again, which I’m ecstatic about, because I didn’t particularly enjoy many of the required classes.

Here’s what my schedule looks like for this semester:

nisha's spring schedule

look at all that empty space

6.809 (Interactive Music Systems) – This class is taught by one of the founding members of Harmonix01 the guitar hero company , Eran Egozy, and it’s all about music and audio technology. The final project is to make a music *experience*02 i'm probably going to join a team making a game, typical of some sort, and it’s a really fun and different class from any Course 6 class I’ve taken before. Joon’s in it with me too!

6.902 + 6.911 + 6.912 (GEL) – GEL is the year long engineering leadership program for juniors, and it teaches you how to be a good leader as well as a good team player. I don’t know if my leadership skills have improved significantly, but I have been thoroughly convinced that I can improve them with practice. The lab class, 6.911, is pretty fun and the engineering design class, 6.902, is the intro to design class that I need to understand the basics of being a product designer.

6.835 (Intelligent Multimodal User Interfaces) – 6.835 teaches you about all different types of user interfaces and different ways that you can interact with them. We’re currently learning about how computer systems interact with pen strokes, and our first assignment is to write code to analyze properties of pen strokes (like where the ‘peaks’ are, where the pen is going the fastest/slowest, etc…). It’s pretty cool, and I’m excited for the final project, which requires combining many of the different UI modalities we’ll be learning about in the class.

CMS.362 (Civic Media Collaborative Design Studio) – This class is super cool and totally unlike any other class I’ve taken at MIT. It’s a collaboration with an architecture class to design and create stories around collectives03 think co-ops , and it requires thinking about the humanities in a way that I’ve never really considered before. I’m in a group called CarePod, which is an initiative by an organization my professor started to provide “a cooperative, urban-scale housing solution promoting collectivized home-ownership for caregivers and quality care for elders”. Plus, apparently our work will be presented at the Venice Biennale04 one of the biggest art shows in the world and our names will be in the credits?!?!? which is WACK and I didn’t even know that opportunities like this were available at MIT. I’m super excited to see how our project develops!

6.S898 (Democratizing AI through K-12 AI Education for All) – I’m sort of double dipping by taking this class. It’s my PI’s05 the professor who heads the lab I UROP at class and involves a project that I’ve done a lot of work for as part of my UROP. But it’s good to get a formal look into the work I’m doing, because as a UROP, I sometimes just get thrown into things and have to learn how to swim. I’m hoping to create a cool project around deepfakes and internet safety in the modern day.

These are all pretty different classes with different fields of material and different projects. But the one thing that ties all these classes together is that I really, really want to be in all of them. I feel like this semester is what I came to MIT for – to learn a bunch of really awesome things and create so many awesome projects. I’ll be working on exciting projects in literally every single class06 which was my goal, since I'm probably applying to the Media Lab next year and I want them to think I'm cool... , and while that will totally make the end of my semester awful, I’m psyched to see the final products and be proud of all the things I had to learn to create these cool things.

Jobs

Some of you might remember my post from last semester about jobs. If you couldn’t tell, I was very stressed last semester about not having a job in hand. Junior year is *the year*07 because it's likely that you can turn the internship into a full time return offer to get an internship and I was indescribably depressed08 i may or may not have staked my entire self esteem on the concept of having a job, but that's a blog post for another time about not having a job offer lined up while all my other friends did.

IAP rolled around and I was still interviewing at a few places, which we will called Companies A, B, and C09 companies A and C are both gaming companies, and company B is a not at all gaming related company . I got rejected from Company A during the first week of IAP, and spent the entirety of a Tuesday-Thursday interval crying about it. That same Thursday, I had a final round interview for Company B, which I REALLY wanted to work for10 the position was perfectly suited to my interests and i really loved the culture of the place , and I was thrilled because I nailed the interview harder than any interview I’ve had this season. I didn’t hear back from them for a while, which sucked, but I had another interview in that interim with Company C that I didn’t really think would go anywhere11 spoiler alert, it did, and i got a final round interview while i was waiting for company B to get back to me . As I mentioned in my jobs post: I am TERRIBLE at coding interviews. I’ve definitely gotten better12 there is definitely some element of practice makes perfect in coding interviews since the beginning of the year, but I still have a long way to go before I can confidently sit through a coding interview. I definitely regret not applying to more places sophomore year and going through more coding interviews just for practice, but definitely not complaining because getting an offer from PlayStation was pretty dope.

On Monday, the first day of school, smack in the middle of my 7-10 class, I got rejected from that job I had really wanted. I was totally devastated and went to bed right after class really upset. I think they just wanted people will more UX design experience than I had, which is totally reasonable, but since I had done really well in the interview, I thought I had a good shot.

The next day, still recovering from being depressed and upset, I had a final round interview with Company C. It was the last interview I had going for me, and was also the last interview I would probably do for the entire jobs season. That was the only consolation I had, to be honest, because I wasn’t expecting to do super well on this interview. But after a lot of very kind words from the recruiter13 literally the best recruiter i've ever had or probably ever will have, she was an actual lifesaver. recruiters are so important who worked with me to get all of these interviews for Company C, I did pretty well on the coding interview despite the question being a weak point of mine, and had an amazing behavioral interview with my second interviewer. It overall went pretty well, but I didn’t want to get my hopes up since I had still gotten rejected from Company B after nailing their interview. So I went about my day, reflecting on how that was my last interview for the whole year and that, at the very least, was something to be happy about.

But the next day, on Wednesday night, right after fencing practice, the recruiter called me and told me that I got the job!

a screenshot of a post i made about getting a job on linkedin

at long last, i got to make my “i got a job” post on linkedin

If you couldn’t tell from that picture – Company C was Twitch! I’ll be working at their headquarters in San Francisco this summer on the Video Distribution team :) I’m super excited to be back in the industry, and honestly, I think some higher power was watching out for me here in getting me this job. Although I really wanted to work for Company B, they weren’t a gaming company, and I’m glad that I get to stick with the industry because at the end of everything, I love games and I want to contribute to their future in some way. Sidenote: I’m also going to GDC14 the Game Developers Conference, the biggest game industry conference in the world! it's a whole week in san francisco and i'll be going to all sorts of talks and networking events and absorbing all of the amazing energy this year, which is definitely the cherry on top of all of this good news :)

I’m still SHOOK that I got this job – everything happened really fast. I accepted the offer the day after the recruiter called me, found friends to live with within the week, and we secured our Airbnb for the summer yesterday. Less than two weeks ago, I had literally no idea that my literal last interview for the season would turn into a job. I wish I could somehow reassure myself two weeks in the past that everything would be okay. I’m glad it all turned out okay.

Being More Productive (or attempting to)

Due to a series of coincidences15 my boyfriend got back from GTL Israel very jetlagged, but decided to utilize the jetlag to get up early every day, which therefore means that I also am forced to get up early every day when his alarm goes off , I’ve been waking up at around 9 am every day this semester! Which is REALLY something for me, the quintessential night owl. But I’ve been a lot more productive, and the extra two hours in the morning to cram work in is honestly pretty nice.

I’ve also been trying to schedule my friends into my calendar more instead of just sort of aimlessly hang out in lounges messing around. Last semester, I didn’t really see a lot of my friends, which I don’t think is good, but I also don’t want to waste time not really productively spending time with them. So instead, I’ve been going out to dinner or drinks with friends in small groups or one on one, and I feel like it’s been a great way to catch up, but also to explore new food places and get to know the city better.

 

The title of this post is how I feel about this semester, and I guess about my life at this point. I’m glad that I have some sort of direction that I’m going in, as compared to the first few years as a student here. I literally had no idea what I was doing for the entirety of freshman and sophomore year. I’m glad I’ve started to figure things out and that I can contribute meaningfully to all the projects that I work on.

In short, I’m really excited for where this semester will take me. Stay tuned!

 

  1. the guitar hero company back to text
  2. i'm probably going to join a team making a game, typical back to text
  3. think co-ops back to text
  4. one of the biggest art shows in the world back to text
  5. the professor who heads the lab I UROP at back to text
  6. which was my goal, since I'm probably applying to the Media Lab next year and I want them to think I'm cool... back to text
  7. because it's likely that you can turn the internship into a full time return offer back to text
  8. i may or may not have staked my entire self esteem on the concept of having a job, but that's a blog post for another time back to text
  9. companies A and C are both gaming companies, and company B is a not at all gaming related company back to text
  10. the position was perfectly suited to my interests and i really loved the culture of the place back to text
  11. spoiler alert, it did, and i got a final round interview while i was waiting for company B to get back to me back to text
  12. there is definitely some element of practice makes perfect in coding interviews back to text
  13. literally the best recruiter i've ever had or probably ever will have, she was an actual lifesaver. recruiters are so important back to text
  14. the Game Developers Conference, the biggest game industry conference in the world! it's a whole week in san francisco and i'll be going to all sorts of talks and networking events and absorbing all of the amazing energy back to text
  15. my boyfriend got back from GTL Israel very jetlagged, but decided to utilize the jetlag to get up early every day, which therefore means that I also am forced to get up early every day when his alarm goes off back to text