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Felicitation by Mollie B. '06

Answers... and hopefully minimal snark.

Superficiality
Christina asked,

Is everyone at MIT ugly?

I know Christina wasn’t serious, because she goes to MIT and is one hot piece, but other people in the world are shallow in what I editorially find to be a shocking way, so I’ll answer anyway.

Look at yourself in the mirror — there are people at MIT who look just like that. And I’ve said before that, no matter how attractive you are, there are plenty of people at MIT who are way out of your league.

Professor attention
silly the willy asked,

How do you make the professors love you?

Well, my closest professor friend is my UROP professor, who loves me because I do lots and lots of research for him for very little in the way of salary. So slave labor works.

My other close professor friend got to know me because I took a lab class with him, and he liked me because I helped other students in the class. (I had been working in my UROP lab for a year when I took the class, so I knew a lot of the lab techniques we were learning, and I was happy to help students who didn’t understand as well.) So just being a good person works, too.

I think professors are often under-utilized — at MIT, professors are so happy to hold office hours and talk with students about classes or about careers, and the only barrier to becoming close to professors is in students themselves. So don’t be scared of them! They like to talk.

Just hanging out
Anonymous asked,

If not in their dorm or in class, where would you generally find people hanging out? Especially weekends… Is it common/uncommon to go into Boston a lot or do people generally stay on campus? I know there may not be one answer, but an idea of the atmosphere would be great.

There definitely isn’t one answer, but I’ll give you my answer. My friends and I go into Boston basically every weekend; sometimes we go for dinner and a movie, sometimes for a fraternity party, and sometimes for shopping. Some people go to Boston every day — most of the fraternities and sororities are there, and even affiliated people who don’t live at their houses frequently go to dinner at the houses.

It’s also common for people to go the other way on the Red Line and end up in Harvard Square for dinner/dessert/shopping. There are some winter weekend nights when it just feels better to put on pajamas and rent a movie and order some pizza with friends, though. :) Especially because with my group of friends, you’re likely to finish the movie and the pizza and get into a pointless argument about some completely unresolvable issue.

I don’t personally get into Boston much during the week, and on a weekday night you’re most likely to find me and my friends in the main lounge of our entry, pretending to do homework.

Marriage
Anonymous asked,

what are your thoughts on marrying so young?

Haha, we’re married already in every sense but the legal one, and it’ll be better for both of us if we do all the wedding planning before we start our respective theses. We love each other very much, and I think that when you’re as sure as we are that you’ve found the right person… age ain’t nothing but a number.

The name I’m not changing next year
JKim asked,

What’s your middle name?

It’s Ann, which sounds awful in my weird Midwestern accent. I always secretly thought it might sound better if there were an “e” on the end.

Hosting
Nichole asked,

As an enthusiastic freshman, I’d love to host prospective students during CPW, or throughout the year…how do you get to do this?

There will be a signup later this fall (I think last year it was in late September) for people who want to host during the year — you’ll see signs around campus, especially around 10-100 and 3-107, so keep a lookout.

CPW hosting is separate from during-the-year hosting, and the signup will be in mid-March. Again, there will be lots of signs and emails reminding you.

Hosting is a lot of fun, and I would really encourage everybody to think about doing it. I hosted for CPW freshman, sophomore, and senior year, and hosted during the year freshman and senior years… I have a 75% yield rate!

School spirit
Anonymous asked,

For the most part is there an over sense of community, school spirit, unitedness etc among MIT students? And…I know Boston is basically the collegetown of Earth, but do all the students from the diffrent colleges really interact/hang out?

The first part is harder than the second part. So MIT students don’t have “school spirit” in the traditional sense that the term is used — I mean, people don’t paint their bodies and bellow at the football team or anything. But we are certainly proud of our school, even if sometimes we’re a little bit underground about it.

MIT’s Wikipedia article used to have a really true quote — something like “Despite the disdain many MIT students profess for tradition, many MIT students and graduates wear an MIT class ring, which is large, heavy, distinctive, and recognizable from a distance.” We love this school, you just won’t find people admitting it in public.

The second question is easier — the students from different Boston schools definitely do hang out, and specifically, they hang out at MIT fraternity parties. We hang out most frequently, I’d say, with people from Northeastern, Wellesley, and BU, although people from other schools are always welcome!

MacGregor
Anonymous asked,

Why are MacGregor students so anti-social?

And Jon asked,

as a follow up to the MacGregor question….or an addendum I suppose, you don’t really seem the “anti-social” type…does that mean your entry was not one of these anti-social ones?

See, this is why stereotypes are dumb — they sound great, but it’s hard to say whether or not they’re actually true. I did live in two MacGregor entries that are considered to be “social”, but I know a lot of people from other entries, too, and I never found them antisocial. I certainly don’t know anybody who actually locks him/herself into a single room and never comes out.

In the interest of full disclosure, I like to be around people, but I also like to have alone time with the door shut. Maybe that makes me a stereotypical MacGregor resident.

Late nights
Joe asked,

Better question: My CPW host and his study group stayed up until about 3 in the morning on one DiffEq pset. Now, I know the workload’s supposed to be massive, but is that about normal for an average pset?

Slightly related, but about how accessable is Jolt/coffee/coke/caffeine/speed/whatever in the dorms?

Haha, I’d say that’s about average for a freshman pset, but only because freshmen tend to start psets around 11 or midnight. :) As you get older and wiser, you learn the magic trick of finishing psets early: starting them early. Incidentally, classes at MIT don’t start before 9, so even if you go to bed at 3, you can still get some solid hours of sleep.

Because I am insane, I keep statistics on this sort of thing. Freshman year, I went to bed on schooldays just past 3 AM on average and getting 6 hours of sleep… by senior year, I was getting to bed before 1 AM and getting almost 7.5 hours of sleep.

As for caffeine sources, LaVerde’s is open 24 hours a day during term, and MacGregor Convenience is open until 2 AM. We definitely less than three our caffeine around here.

Seances
Colin asked,

Is it possible to contact the spirit of Ellen Swallow Richards from Lobby 7?

Yes. You did get your list of super-secret incantations in the Next Big Mailing, right?

Other schools
Me asked,

I am applying for University this year and I have no idea where to apply, besides MIT. What are some other good schools with good physics and computer science programs?

I wish I could answer this authoritatively, but honestly, I only know what I read on College Confidential. I know that Carnegie Mellon is a popular choice for CS, and that Case Western (in my home state of Ohio!) is pretty generous with merit aid. People are also psyched about Olin.

The only subject that really matters (food)
Minh asked,

On a more serious note, how is the food in the dining halls/how accesible is it around Cambridge (outside of MIT?)

I used to eat at the (dinner/residential) dining halls a lot during my freshman and sophomore years, and I think the food is okay. There are definitely healthy options — you can get made-to-order stirfry, so you can get lots of fresh veggies in a low-fat meal any time you want. My major problem with the dining halls was that I got really sick of stir-fry, but I also didn’t want to eat hamburgers and hot dogs every day.

A lot of students cook for themselves (there’s a Star Market right behind Random Hall, a Trader Joe’s right up Memorial Drive, and a Whole Foods just a little bit further up Memorial Drive) or order food from campusfood.com. I personally recommend using campusfood.com to order from Thailand Cafe. Mmm.

The lunch dining situation is really superb, because you have good ethnic food (Lobdell, the food trucks), good veggie/organic food (Steam Cafe), good deli sandwiches and sushi (Stata and BioCafe), and lots of actual restaurants (Dunkin Donuts, Quizno’s, Au Bon Pain, Anna’s Taqueria, LaVerde’s). Actual restaurants are good because the food has to be good — they’re feeding it to real people, not just hungry college students.

Winter coats
Hamster asked,

Approximately when is the first snow of the year? I’m from Florida and am looking forward to experiencing real winter, but I’m going to have to buy a lot of new clothes upon arrival… I’m wondering how long I can get away without buying a real winter coat? Right now the warmest thing I have is a regular cotten sweatshirt.

So I have a temperature gradient coat system:

  • Cheerleading jacket, 60F-70F.
  • Hoodie or lined MIT jacket, 40F-60F.
  • Peacoat, 20F-40F.
  • Pink poofy jacket, below 20F.

I don’t have to break out the pink poofy jacket until IAP, but the peacoat definitely gets used beginning about mid-November. The first real snow each year usually isn’t until late November/early December (actually, it’s often the week before finals, and everybody wants to go play in the snow and not study); the blogs seem to indicate that the first snow of any sort was in late October last year.

Getting paid
Alberto asked,

Better question: When will you be done linking old blogs, and the new page be up? Also, are you doing this for free? I hope Ben is giving you some kind of compensation!

Oh, you better believe he’s paying me — I don’t come cheap! ;) Actually, I am planning to tape-record the ridiculous and hysterical conversations that he and Nance have every five minutes and sell them on the internet and/or use them for blackmail.

I don’t remember the exact date, but the new site will be up in early September (I seem to think the 5th?). It is super-hottttt, and tons easier to navigate.

10 responses to “Felicitation”

  1. Christina says:

    Foxes scare me, actually. *shudder* <-(I really just did shudder.)

    But um, thanks Jkim. I think. smile

  2. MIke says:

    Hello:

    I have questions about getting fundnig at MIT graduate school. I am interested in my academic advisor’s project(I indicated this interest in my SOP), but a few months ago he told me that the funding in this area is “extremely tight”.( I didn’t even start to ask). So right now, should I ask him for the RA position, or should I just give it up and go to other professors for RA offerings?

    Thank you!!

  3. I know you always answer questions at the end of each blog but I really really enjoyed this post. :D

  4. reg says:

    it’s coming in september?!?! but i like the current site ;_____;

  5. a sophomore says:

    i’m gonna be a sophomore next year and i rly wanna take 7.02 but the site says that it’s a lottery class and that sophomores are 2nd to last on the priority list. how do i max. my chances; i rly wanna take it in the fall.

  6. JKim says:

    Christina is a fox. And she knows it.

  7. Drew says:

    Maybe it’s just ’cause I’m really tired, but I am amazed by the fact that you recorded when you went to sleep and woke up.

  8. Colin says:

    I seriously can’t even talk about how much I will love you forever for that sleep statistics table.

    Maybe I’ll continue your tradition when my classes start. Haha.

  9. Alberto says:

    I think your sleep stats charts are freakishly cool. You’re my hero Mollie! Hmmm… on another money related comment, how’s the pay for UROP’s? (I swear I’m not obsessed with money)

  10. Anonymous says:

    “Despite the disdain many MIT students profess for tradition, many MIT students and graduates wear an MIT class ring, which is large, heavy, distinctive, and recognizable from a distance.”

    You said that quote is TRUE yet RIGHT after it you said “We love this school, you just won’t find people admitting it in public.” I don’t understand…