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MIT student blogger Abby H. '20

FourFiveUnits by Abby H. '20

all you could ever want to know about my semester schedule

tl;dr: Look how empty my Firehose is compared to the other bloggers:

my class schedule


Hello dear readers. In keeping with the trend of bloggers posting their classes this semester, I thought I would show off how naked and empty my schedule is. The truth is, however, like any MIT student with blocks of free time, none of those “empty” hours will ever be spent doing nothing. In fact, I think this will be one of my busiest semesters so far. I have been Doing nonstop. I think it might be a personality thing. I tend to pick up new activities to fill any available time, like a gas expanding to fill its container.

a screenshot showing that I am enrolled in 45 units of classes

I am enrolled in 45 units, which is 3 units less than a /typical courseload/ but 9 units more than the minimum number of units required to maintain full-time status. It’s still four classes. According to course evaluations from previous years, these classes will amount to about 28 hours of classwork per week, including the time spent in lecture. I will admit that this is a relatively low number (considering MIT translates 1 unit as roughly equivalent to 1 hour of classwork, so a typical 48-unit semester should take about 48 hours out of your week), but then again that estimate is based on an average of student responses to the question “How many hours did you spend per week?” I tend to spend more time than the average MIT student working on things, so it’s healthy for my brain and GPA to have a little bit more “free” time in the week. I am realizing now that this doesn’t exactly mesh with the thing I said earlier about filling up the empty parts of my schedule with activities. Call me out if you must, but if I’m playing one-gotta-go with my various commitments, I tend to punt a pset before I punt anything else.


Here are what those numbers on the colored rectangles mean and why I am taking them:

7.29: Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology. I’m taking this class as a follow-up to last semester’s 9.01 Intro to Neuroscience, since I didn’t get much bio out of that one. It also fulfills one of my required biology restricted electives. Since I’m 7A (a sort of biology-flex degree that allows me to explore other subject areas), I decided to work on an informal focus in neurobiology01 In a world where I passed 6.00, I am a course 9. That is not, however, this world, so I will accept my course 7 identity. since brains are really interesting, or at least that’s what mine thinks.

7.06: Cell Biology. This is the last of my non-elective course 7 requirements (a single tear rolling down my cheek). Go figure, it’s also allegedly the hardest one, with 5.12 coming the closest to dethroning it. In this class, I will learn about cell organization, information processing in the cell, signal transduction, cytoskeleton organization (organelles n things), and cell specialization. So far the worst thing about this class has been that it starts at 9:30 am.

7.49: Developmental Neurobiology. Another bio restricted elective. How are brane formed? Blastula, gastrula, wow frog eggs are way bigger02 still only ~1 mm than human eggs, Spemann organizer, BMP, is this factor directly causing this process or is it inhibiting an inhibitor of the process, neural plate, neural tube, neural crest cells, vegetal pole, cutting things off and attaching them elsewhere, how is this process not constantly going wrong, we can cut things with baby hairs.

9.28: Current Topics in Developmental Neurobiology. This is a 9-unit CI-M that is essentially just giving two 20-minute presentations on recent papers from the field at the end of the 7.49 lecture. That sounds incredibly easy, thought the reader, not realizing that the author is terrible at presenting.


In addition to all of the above, I will be…

  • Cooking food for myself instead of ordering food or just not eating sometimes (~7 hrs/week)
  • Working desk at my dorm for that $11 Massachusetts minimum wage (10 hrs/week)
  • Being a DJ/producer/OTA engineer for the third year and programming co-director for the first year at WMBR (~4 hrs/week)
  • Copy-editing and regular editing News and Career features for JYI (~2 hrs/week)
  • Going to dinner seminars with my HASS-minded peers (including Elissa) as a Burchard Scholar (~2 hrs/week)
  • Experimenting so hard at the Walker lab (~10 hrs/week)
  • Seeking housing for my first Bay Area internship (~1-5 hr/week, depending on how manic I am)
  • Writing more blogs (??? hrs/week)

…which seems like it will take more hours than the classes I’m enrolled in. This is going to be really fun next semester when I begin the laborious task of applying to grad school.



  1. In a world where I passed 6.00, I am a course 9. That is not, however, this world, so I will accept my course 7 identity. back to text
  2. still only ~1 mm back to text