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MIT blogger Ankita D. '23

end of semester reflections by Ankita D. '23

in conclusion, online school Ain't It

My first year at MIT has officially ended!! That’s crazy!! Spring semester, the past few months in particular, have all been a blur, but we DONE (sans my physics final next week rip lol)

The last couple of weeks were busier than usual, but I didn’t notice since I was doing, uh, the same amount of work I’d do on a regular basis at school in person. I honestly welcomed the onslaught of final projects and exams since it made me feel like I was nearing the end of my coursework and deserving of feeling accomplished after a year of Pass/No Record. It also was refreshing because I hated the aimlessness and procrastination that comprised the majority of my online school experience.

I spent a lot of time working on my final paper for my CI-H class,01 21G.038(China in the News) which had a strangely specific word requirement of 2,370. High school me would’ve churned this out in no time, but writing The Words turned out to be pretty damn hard. While writing, I realized that I hadn’t written a paper in over a year, so it was nice to revisit the HASS part of me that craves to synthesize literature. Creating the paper and presentation was actually a lot of fun since, for one, I was interested in my thesis, and also because my productivity was made tangible by my word count. I put more effort into the paper than into…all my psets in the past few months, probably. hahahaha oops

The final presentations for the same class were on a Saturday, which is usually the day I dedicate to doing pretty much 0 work, but I really enjoyed the ~3 hour period in which my peers presented their final paper theses (the group chat being active the entire time definitely helped). In the end, my professor said the Chinese idiom that loosely translates to “all good things must come to an end” and expressed her hope that we would take what we learned in the class and proceed as more nuanced, cognizant readers, which was bittersweet; I didn’t realize how much I’d miss the class until that moment. The class provided so many opportunities to think critically about so many unique topics, so I wish I’d taken them more seriously. Oh, well.

As for my other HASS class, Chinese II, my work ethic was lacking, to say the least. In the second-to-last week of the semester, I set my alarm for 11 a.m. instead of 9:30, committing to the idea of skipping my 10 a.m. Chinese lecture entirely. I had been missing at least a few classes a week and showing up late to the ones I did attend, and while I was completing the majority of the daily assignments, I could no longer motivate myself to do them once we started nearing the end of the semester. When my professor emailed me about my final oral interview, he asked me how I’m doing, saying “he wouldn’t know since he hasn’t seen me in class in a while.” Ouch. I felt like I’d let him down, so I went really hard for my oral interview, also because I knew it would be beneficial as a general review of the class. I did decently on it and was happy to hear my professor tell me that even though I stopped showing up to class, my performance this semester has been stellar. Yay!

Now, the only thing I have left to do is the 8.0202 Physics II: Electricity and Magnetism final. I’m not that worried about it and have been studying hard to make up for slacking on it throughout the semester, so it’ll be fine….? I think???

So, yeah, PENE hit really hard. Knowing how difficult it was to get my daily routine in check once returning home from MIT makes me concerned about how fall semester will proceed; and as many of my peers have agreed, spring semester ended, at least in spirit, as soon as we were kicked out of our dorms. But I hope that this summer will give me a chance to recover from the exhaustion of being in multiple Zoom meetings a day and that I’ll be able to head into my first graded semester in full swing.

Hopefully, everyone’s able to rest for a bit now that classes are over. Good luck with your endeavors this summer, whatever they may be!

  1. 21G.038(China in the News) back to text
  2. Physics II: Electricity and Magnetism back to text