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MIT student blogger Karen F. '11

Eleven by Karen F. '11

"And the award for 'least creative entry title ever' goes to..."

I know, I know, I haven’t written in forever and a week. Um, yeah, about that. Basically, Jess Kim summed it up as well as I could, so there’s really not much else to say about that.

Incidentally, are there some people who you always think of by both first and last name all the time? Jess Kim is one of those people for me.

I was debating earlier on what the best way to talk about my life since I last wrote without publishing a novel and I decided a list would be the best way. I keep lists of pretty much anything you can imagine because I really enjoy, um, numbering things. Also, lists are really easy to comment on, because you can say “regarding 1, I actually don’t think that Boston weather will be as great as you say it is, because I am a sane person.”So yeah. A list it is.

1. I love Boston weather. Most people look at me like I’m crazy when I say this, but it’s true. I find it so surprising. One hour it’s beautiful and the next it’s storming and the next it’s hailing and I’m never bored.

2. I went home a few weeks ago for a weekend, since I won’t be going home this summer until late August. Judging by my previous experiences with air travel, you’d think I I would never step foot on a plane again. When I visited MIT my junior year, I missed my plane and was really worried the people waiting for me at the airport would just leave because they thought I wasn’t coming, and d e stranded at Logan airport until my flight home (they waited, though). When I came to MIT last August, my car caught on fire on the way there and I got in a car with a stranger just so I wouldn’t miss my flight. No, seriously. So yeah, it’s just not something that works out for me. This time, I was six minutes late for self check-in, so I had to go to regular check-in and there was a really long line. The lady working there told me I missed my flight because I still had to go through security and everything, but I convinced her I could run really fast. Then I got the people standing in line for security to let me cut them so I could make my flight, and most of them did until I reached some Japanese tourists who didn’t know English, so they just looked at me when I asked them if I could go in front of them. Luckily they weren’t far from the front, so I just stopped there. I went through security no problem, got to my gate and they were still boarding – WIN. Then they asked me for my boarding pass and I realized I left it in security, along with my ID. Luckily I had my license and they printed me another boarding pass. On the plane I decided to text my dad to let him know I made it, and that’s when I realized that, along with my boarding pass and ID, I left my phone in security. Hurray. So yeah. Airport fiasco number 324807. I should keep a file. (Miraculously, I called my dad a few days later from my friends phone to tell him I lost mine, and he told me he knew already because they mailed it back to my house (along with my ID, which is presumably how they knew whose it was). My luck – both good and bad – amazes me sometimes.

3. When my dad mailed me my phone and ID, he also mailed me an apple corer and a set of utensils. I’ve been drinking cereal from the bowl all year and he decides now, with two weeks of school left (at that point) to mail me some. Buy utensils before you come kids, I sometimes found myself drinking cereal from the bowl. Don’t let it happen to you.

4. Speaking of food, I came across a friend the other day in the hallway, eating a chunk of raw ramen. Every mother’s worst nightmare. Don’t worry though – this isn’t really the status quo. There are dining halls and grocery stores relatively close. Some dorms have communal dinner. As an advocate of eating healthily and a strong believer in the fact that Food is Really Really Important to not only healthy, but happiness, I urge to to consider carefully which is the best option for you.

5. I think geese are really weird. Long necks and so sleek and awkward-looking at the same time.

6. By the way, I’m sitting in a park by the Charles River not anywhere close to MIT right now, which might make that last comment less random. I went for a bike ride and it’s so beautiful outside that it inspired me to take a break in the sun and finally write.

7. On bikes: I really like them. You should like them too, because if you live in Next House, or you decide to major in Architecture or Management, or if you just want to leave Cambridge for awhile to go somewhere with more trees, you will want to have a bike. And you’ll love your bike and go for rides along the Esplanade on beautiful spring and fall days, and all will be well in the world until your bike gets stolen, which it inevitably will. Mine did, and I was really sad and felt trapped for a long time until I got a new one. This one is a road bike, though, and I’m not so good at riding it yet because the tires seem really skinny. ANYWAY – this is another “don’t let it happen to you”thing. You should get a damn good lock for your bike – maybe two (I have two now, because I love my bike too much. I’ll probably be one of those parents who never let their children go outside for for of their being kidnapped, as well. Good thing I’m not having kids).

8. This is the last thing on the list about bikes, I promise. Summer is coming up, so I thought I’d divulge my plans, even though I already have in an earlier post. But I really wanted to use the word “divulge,” so I’m not changing it. This summer I’m participating in Bike and Build, on the Southern U.S. route (Florida to San Francisco). Bike and Build is the epitome of a lot of things I love, so I’m really really excited. I like long-distance physical activity – I ran cross country in high school and always found it very satisfying. I also like travel, and I’ve never been to the south, so that should be really cool. I like learning about service and service organizations because I’m interested in making such things more efficient and effective, and Bike and Build is a service trip as well as a bike trip – in all the towns we stop in, we give presentations about the affordable housing crisis in the U.S., and we spend several days helping build houses with organizations like Habitat for Humanity. I think the best way to evaluate how effective something like this is to do research, and then actually try it out, so it should be a very educational experience. Also, I like promoting bike use instead of cars, and I like doing crazy things, mostly for posterity (both of them). Bike and Build also raises money for said affordable housing organizations (not just Habitat, it just happens to be one of the most recognizable) by asking each of its riders to raise $4000. So this is me exploiting my position as a blogger to ask each one of you for a donation of whatever you’re willing to give – even if it’s only $5 or $10. It makes a difference, and it makes me like you a lot. =)

9. Another “Don’t Let This Happen To You” type thing – bad hass classes. Mine is over, thank every natural and supernatural being, and I hope none of you ever have to suffer through an experience like this. It wasn’t hard, just very badly organized. At the end of every term, you’ll get to fill out an anonymous class evaluation so the powers-that-be know how much people love it or what they should improve. To be fair, it’s a fairly new class. I’m not sure that justifies how much I actually paid for it considering the tuition here, but at least it’s over. As one of the students in the class said when the professors left the room for the last time, “this moment [filling out the evaluation] is the very reason we are justified in not having dropped the class, like the other half of the class did.”For this reason, I’m not going to tell you what class it was, because optimistically, it will be significantly better next year, considering they have pages of student suggestions to use. But really, ask people you know what they know about certain classes before you sign up for them, no matter how cool they sound. It’ll save you a lot of trouble.

10. Senior House had its annual water drop last week. We drop containers filled with water from the balcony to (and I quote the email sent out about it) “shout out the evil classes what you are glad you are done with, so they can be written on the gravitational sacrifices.” I didn’t participate because I was still writing a paper for said Terrible Hass Class, but it sounds, um…wet.

11. Eleven things – because I’m course 11 and class of 2011. I still have a lot to say so I’ll probably write another post soon, but I think this is enough to digest for now. Last week I went to the Student Leader Awards. Normally these things are really boring and I don’t go, but Amnesty was getting an award, so I thought I should. It was surprisingly unboring – they had MTG sing random songs throughout the ceremony, ending with the song “No Time At All” from a previous production (Pippin) sung to Dean Benedict, our fairly popular dean for student life, to commemorate his retirement. They put a veil and shawl on him, and he even sang along. It was ridiculous and amusing, and the food was good, so I’m glad I went. Unfortunately I didn’t take pictures, but I’m sure they’ll pop up on teh internets sometime soon and when they do I’ll let you know. Amnesty won the philanthropy award, by the way. Woohoo.

I’m going to ride back now. See ya

[I took a couple pictures on my way back. Hope you enjoy them :]

This is one of my favorite parts of the bike path. I love trees

This is on the Harvard Bridge! I’d never noticed it before. Pretty cool

20 responses to “Eleven”

  1. al says:

    Can you please tell matt to put the acceppted wait listed!

  2. Isshak says:

    You blogged ! You should blog more, I like your posts. And great pictures by the way.
    Houdini performed on the Harvard Bridge ? Wow.
    lol i think you have the best “coming to MIT” story for now ! ^^

  3. Zaira '11 says:

    @ Isshak
    You can find some pictures here:

    You can see the bridge there.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hi Karen,

    How do you suggest we avoid “bad HASS classes?” Since we have to do the lottery before going to MIT, how will we find out info about them?

  5. M says:

    What are considered the “easy” HASS classes?

  6. nakoruru says:

    In regards to HASS classes, I highly recommend taking a foreign language. (That is my plan, anyways)

    MIT is great in that, in recognizing that knowing a foreign language is useful, it grants HASS-D credit to for a foreign language class of level 3 or 4. Hence, rather than finding 3 HASS-D classes to take (from the 5 categories available, where no HASS-D overlaps the same category), you can pursue a foreign language and choose 2 other HASS-D classes from those 5 categories.

    Also, MIT requires you to have a Concentration, and well… if you take Levels 1 thru 4 of a foreign language, you have just fulfilled:
    * 1 HASS-D (out of 3 required)
    * Your Concentration requirement
    * 3 unrestricted electives

    MIT offers foreign language Concentrations in Chinese, French, German, Japanese, and Spanish.

    By the way, this puts you just 2 classes short of a Minor in these subjects.

  7. Kelly says:

    Regarding number four:
    I have a friend who actually likes raw ramen. I find it disgusting, personally.

  8. Jess says:

    You too, Karen F. You too.

  9. Oasis '11 says:

    @ Nakoruru –

    That is exactly my plan (and what I’m doing right now). If you start at Level 2, 2-4 is sufficient to count as a concentration. smile

    I did Spanish 2 over IAP, just finished Spanish 3, and after I take Spanish 4 next year, I’ll be done with my HASS Concentration! (and language classes are so fun – much more fun than lugging books and churning out essays) wink

  10. Oasis '11 says:

    And mm, on an unrelated note.

    Eating raw ramen was my expertise in high school…(they don’t taste that bad…well, the ones that are fried already. the one that you need to cook tastes bad if you eat it raw – it’s like munching on flour). =p

  11. so where does one get a not-expensive bike?
    i haven’t biked for years and don’t own one that i fit, which is why i ask smile

  12. Anonymous says:

    Personally, I LIKE raw ramen.
    I just happened to be eating some right now.

  13. Daniel '12 says:

    I like raw ramen in salad. or seasoned.

  14. Karen '12 says:

    Raw ramen is incredibly tasty. We have this family recipe for a salad that includes raw ramen noodles as one of the ingredients. There’s some lettuce and other stuff thrown in too, but remind me to make it for you next year smile

  15. Piper says:

    This is for Karen F’s sake:


  16. Karen says:

    Anonymous: It’s hard for your first term, I guess, to know what classes aren’t that great. A lot of people I know sign up for a lot more classes than they actually intend on staying in, and then narrow down their classes once they decide on the one(s) they like. I think the ability to judge a class well is one you learn, though, so even for your first term, you can’t really do that. Basically, this reply was useless. Hope you get lucky? =P

    M: I don’t know if any HASS classes are “easy,” some are just more fun, thus easier to sit through for however many hours a week you have to go to them. Choose topics that interest you, and you won’t mind if the class is difficult. One of my mistakes for this class was “Oh, gee, I’ve always found this a rather boring topic. I should take it so that I can challenge myself.” Bad idea! Do stuff you will enjoy, that will make you *want* to go to class.

    MiniPocketsized: There are bike auctions held around campus in the beginning of semesters. Or you can get a standard Walmart/Target bike, which is probably more reliable than an auction bike. I brought my first bike from home, so I’m not really sure.

    The rest of you: wtf? of all things, you choose to comment on ramen?? You guys are weird =P

  17. Karen '12 says:

    What can I say, I’m kind of hungry. More salad for me smile

    Also, your luck with planes is pretty appalling. I was so struck with it that ramen was the only thing I could formulate a sentance about. And I am terrible at biking. And I also don’t know how much Boston has on Chicago in terms of wacky weather – it was 49 degrees today and it’s supposed to get up to 70ish by Friday.

    Sometimes I eat yogurt out of the plastic container because I really dislike doing dishes and there are no clean spoons.

  18. Oasis '11 says:

    Chinese Boy Choy Ramen salad –

    Bok choy
    Soy sauce
    Some oil
    Ramen from instant noodle package (not the raw, white ones that you need to cook – the pre-fried yellow kinds where you just pour hot water into)

    1. Mix sugar with soy sauce and oil so that the resulting dressing is sweetish-salty, with more emphasis on sweet.

    2. Crunch up the ramen into small pieces (like 0.5 in.^3 (sorry, I don’t know how to qualitatively describe small)).

    3. Mix dressing with ramen and bok choy. The bok choy v. ramen proportion should be something like 5 to 1.

    It’s really tasty and super easy to make wink

  19. Aditi says:

    your luck with planes is worse than my luck with autorickshaws and thats saying something!

    The pictures are awesome.

    yay Amnesty!

    Karen(’12) and Chris , I want! ( we don’t get instant Ramen here )

  20. I’ve been considering a major in Course 13…maybe I’ll be like you!