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MIT blogger Elizabeth C. '13

Freebieasy by Elizabeth Choe '13

Because "Freebie" is already an entry title.

Howdy folks. It’s freebie time – for the 99.9% of you readers who don’t know what I’m talking about, I direct you to Snively’s post, which noted, “Twice a year all of the bloggers essentially get a freebie post. We each get our schedules and get to talk about our classes, yay!

I will tell you a secret because I have that much love for you all – I was really not looking forward to this semester because I was really bummed about my classes. You can ask my mother – I was super mopey the day before I left home. But here’s the thing – I luuurve the schedule I’ve settled on this semester; it’s probably my favorite course load I’ve had so far. I’m starting to feel like a real engineer and it’s super. So yeah – putting on the big-girl pants and leaving Debbie Downer Elizabeth back home was probably a good decision. And with that introduction, boom – away we gooooOOOoo!

20.320 Analysis of Biomolecular and Cellular Systems

The boring description: We learn how to code predictive models of biological processes using Python and MATLAB.

The awesome description: We get to build virtual organisms. And I have this guy as my professor, which is handy because he somehow manages to be adorable and make a 1.5 hour 9:30 am class interesting for the entire lecture and he has cookies at office hours. If that doesn’t epitomize skillz, I do not know what does.

We also learn about biological processes so, you know, we know what we’re coding. I also take very professional notes. It’s very important stuff, people!

20.441 Biomaterials: Tissue Interactions

Professor Spector is the Chris Kaiser of this year – just a hilarious goober-teacher. He also makes the impossible feat of making a 1.5 hour class (during the after-lunch-drowsiness block of time, mind you) interesting seem like a cake walk. He also looks like Henry Winkler (what Henry Winkler looks like now, and not what he looked like when he played The Fonz in Happy Days). 20.441 is probably my favorite class this semester – we talk about prosthetics and implants, how to make ’em, why so many of them right now are crappy, and how to make better ones. On this particular day, Prof. Spector decided to start the class with a hypothetical situation – say you wanted to pitch a business idea of making synthetic blood vessels and he was the main investor. How were you going to convince him that you had a good idea (and convince him to give you his cash moneyz?)? What’s that you say – you say you have no idea where to start making blood vessels? TOO BAD! He’s got a roster complete with pictures of everyone in the class and he’s gonna cold-call you and make you think on your feet about how to apply the last two week’s lessons into something for the real world in front of the whole class even though you were totally planning on doodling through the next 1.5 hours! (Thank goodness he didn’t call on me. Maybe that’s why I still like him.)

5.13 Organic Chemistry II

There is not much to be said about this class except that sometimes in life, we have to do things that we may not want to do, but they will help us grow in perseverance and character. And they will give us the utmost motivation to colossally kick its ass.

STS.064J DV Lab: Documenting Science Through New Media

I’m learning how to do legitimate filmmaking! No doodles for this class because I never take notes. For 3 hours on Wednesdays, my class of 6 students, 2 professors and 1 TA watch science documentaries and talk about techniques and film theory. For 3 hours on Fridays, my class of 6 students, 2 professors and 1 TA take really, really nice cameras and really, really nice sound equipment and practice implementing those techniques (well my instructors don’t, they follow us around to make sure we don’t drop our cameras into the Charles River and things like that). So basically, this is a class on learning… HOW TO MAKE SCIENCE DOCUMENTARIES. Is my life complete? UM YES I THINK IT IS! I cannot wait to film a blog video with these suckers…

So that’s all for now. And also, in case you missed it last time – I’m doing a Q&A video with Stu Schmill, our dean of admissions (yes it is going to be as awesome as it sounds… I’m still debating whether or not I should whip out my guitar again and improv-sing my answers like I did in my first Q&A video…). Send me your questions (either by posting the comments or e-mailing elizabizzle at mit dot edu). It’s your once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to ask a dean of admissions your questions! So do it! Gimme yer questions!

9 responses to “Freebieasy”

  1. Emad T. '14 says:

    Is it bad that I’m not recognizing a bunch of those reactions you just showed for 5.13?

  2. Mayank Kale says:

    Hi , I am a 16 year old Indian student and will apply at MIT in 2013. I wanted to ask you about the extracurriculars i need. I am strong in academics and a 2350 in my SAT 1, 800 in both SAT 2’s physics and maths 2. I will apply for Computer Science Engineering .

  3. Amber Walden says:

    Hi! I am applying for admission this year and I am really excited!!! However, I am using the Questbridge application and I was wondering if I should send in the regular MIT application in case I am not a finalist. Thank you for your wonderful blog!

  4. Alina says:

    320 and 441 are the best! If you think prof frankel is awsome, you are going to LOVE prof white. he is THE BEST.

    also my fav part of 441 were the times prof spector had to say something like “and because of harvard’s disclosure rules, i must tell you all I am collecting royalties on this technology because…i invented it” when he talked about some cool med device. also thanks to that class i know the answer is is always to use a porous scaffold. always.

  5. Phoebe '15 says:

    Amber–you should find out if you are a finalist before the deadline for MIT. I think last year finalist decisions were released on October 15 and the MIT early action deadline was November 1. That being said, if you really want to apply early regardless of whether you have finalist standing you should start the MIT app and keep it in your back pocket in case Questbridge doesn’t work out.

  6. I love your draws (and the post).

  7. Elizabeth C. '13 says:

    @Emad: Just as long as you know ’em before Oct. 5…
    @Mayank: You don’t “need” certain extracurriculars. If you like physics, math and CS, why not get involved in robotics clubs? Do what ya like.
    @Amber: Sounds like Phoebe knows what she’s talking about. You can also try contacting Mikey Yang ( – I think he does the QuestBridge stuff for MIT.
    @Alina: Awwww yeah! Spector says that like every lecture, haha.
    @Phoebe: Thanks!
    @Rfong: Chyeahyeahyeah. They’re thinking about offering it next semester, too.
    @Jose: Thank ya, sir!

  8. rfong'12 says:

    ohmygod we have a class on making science documentaries?? i am joining ASAP

  9. Andrew says:

    This is a great post. I love these “day in the life” style posts. But my question is:
    I’m a strong academic student with several really strong extracurriculars, but I got a C+ for freshman English (I suck at english). Basically all my other grades are As and A+ (Math, Science, History… and my english grade was better sophomore and junior year so far). Does my freshman english grade significantly hurt my application?