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MIT blogger CJ Q. '23

[Guest Post] Good Morning or Good Night? by CJ Q. '23

seven am adventures where people say good morning and good night

Hello! I’m Theo, one of CJ’s unfortunate friends from our dorm (I’m kidding, mostly). Let’s answer the top five questions people ask me when I introduce myself:

  1. Name? Theo.
  2. Year? First-Year/Frosh/The Young One/Probably Younger Than You. 01 An interesting thing pointed out to me earlier this week is how obsessed the US is with capitalizing things. In official signage, everything is capitalized: Red Line, Transportation Security Administration, Stata Center, et cetera. This is not true of most countries – in Canada, or the UK, or France, the signs you see would read: Red line, Transportation security administration, Stata center, et cetera. Maybe this is why internet culture in the US cares so much about random Emphasis with capitalization. 02 cj: i asked theo if he was younger than most of the admissions blog readers. to which he replied that he was younger than most people who asked him this question, who were other mit students. he didn’t actually answer whether he thought he was younger than most mit applicants. 03 cj: i will also not allow theo to have a stronger annotation game than me >:(
  3. Course? 14 and 18. (In which I usually proceed to say that 14 is Economics for all the Course 6s.04 cj: course 6 is electrical engineering and computer science, course 18 is mathematics. almost all mit students would know what these course numbers are since they’re like, two out of the top three declared courses )
  4. Dorm? EC.05 cj: east campus
  5. ???? Wow, this one actually depends on time/situation, but it’s usually along the lines of what classes are you in? Mine are 21M.734, 21G.501, 14.73, and 18.022.06 21M.734 = Lighting Design; 21G.501 = Japanese 1; 14.73 = The Economics of World Poverty; 18.022 = Multivariable Calculus, a GIR. (One of the professors for 14.73 is Esther Duflo, the Economics Nobel Prize winner this year. It’s my least favorite class but it has my favorite content.) People usually can only tell what 18.022 is, and is 14.73… Economics? Still? I hope so. I also have an advising seminar, 21M.A16.07 cj: a first-year advising seminar is a class that some first-years take. if you take an advising seminar, whoever teaches your seminar is also your adviser for the first year. 21m.a16 is beyond independent filmmaking.

Honestly, I’d rather talk about something other than the standard Five Questions though. Can I interest you in games such as AI: The Somnium Files,08 cj: i learned the correct pronunciation of ai in this title isn’t spelled out like ay eye, but like the word eye which are simultaneously cheap jokes and incredibly well-thought storylines? My floor played it until 4:30 in the morning on Saturday, before I started one of my many assignments due this week.

Would you like to play Tractor? I learned it recently, but it is probably the game I have spent the most time playing09 cj: can confirm, people play too much tractor on our floor since coming to MIT. A game is incredibly long – I have only played the game to completion once, when I stayed up until the sun rose and went to dinner at 10 am with two of my close friends, before sleeping for five hours. 

Would you like to play Mahjong? The games don’t take quite as long, but we still play for seven hours at once a lot of the time. The Mahjong club meets 7 pm on Saturdays, and I often wake up, grab breakfast and head over to play. It is lots of fun.

Or maybe I can talk about how serene East Campus is at seven in the morning, watching the sun rise, when I have class in four hours, while counting the minutes of sleep I could have gotten over and over again. The early risers are still indoors, and most nocturnal people are hiding in their rooms as the sun begins its brief appearance for the day.

Or I can talk to you about Good Morning vs. Good Night, in the awkward time between midnight and sunrise where no one can really make up their mind. People on my floor, and at MIT in general, never know whether to say good morning or good night, even though they often stay up until 4 am.10 cj: well, not really, it’s actually quite rare To me, you should say good night – you are going to sleep after all. “Good night” is to “goodbye” as “good morning” is to “hello”. But also, I go to sleep at 8 am just as often as 1 am, or 7 pm. So maybe I’m not the expert. 11 We also just argue about whether you can always say good morning, or always say good night, whatever the time is. We debate a lot of topics on my floor. It’s one of my favorite traits about my floor. We currently have a softness scale, ranking floor and floor-related people from Soft to Not Soft, that people debated a lot on. CJ thinks I am Not Soft (9/10), and some other friends think I am Soft (3/10).

I have constantly struggled with sleep – my sleep cycles aren’t a constant 24-hour cycle, but fluctuate from 16 hours to 36 hours. I sleep through almost the entirety of the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, except when I made lumpia with CJ. But often, I get an average of four non-consecutive hours of sleep a night for a couple of weeks before I have a day like last Wednesday. 

I spend a lot of time with friends. It means I get to spend time with friends who tend to stay up late, and friends who wake up early, without feeling like I am sacrificing myself. I already won’t be sleeping, so I spend time with them. Lots of people say choose two: school, friends, sleep. But I didn’t get to choose; my body chose for me.

I’ve run through the different solutions for sleep: magnesium and melatonin, reducing stress, no screens an hour before bed, listening to calming music or stories. Dark rooms without any light. Changing where I sleep.

None of these really help me get to sleep. My body doesn’t like being told what to do (it probably inherited the stubbornness of my badass grandmother, but that’s a different story, a different time). The most I can do is get better quality sleep, and it requires a lot of effort.

I don’t get the sleep everyone talks about. But I am not constantly tired either – it’s not a perpetual state of sleep deprivation. I can talk your ear off about the trade-offs between ethics and information in the poverty studies Esther Duflo conducted to get the Nobel Prize. I sometime spend a half an hour at 4:30 am working out because I have the motivation to move, and keep moving, as if I’m physically incapable of stopping. I walk across campus to Next House, sometimes just to grab dinner and work for a couple hours in the dining hall because I want a new space to work.

And I do get to see MIT, at 7 am, in its glory of quiet energy, just waiting to burst out in some new discovery. The MIT that often hides behind the anxiety of pset deadlines, infinite midterms, and keeping friends on top of that.

And MIT at 7 am, before I say good night, is beautiful.

  1. An interesting thing pointed out to me earlier this week is how obsessed the US is with capitalizing things. In official signage, everything is capitalized: Red Line, Transportation Security Administration, Stata Center, et cetera. This is not true of most countries – in Canada, or the UK, or France, the signs you see would read: Red line, Transportation security administration, Stata center, et cetera. Maybe this is why internet culture in the US cares so much about random Emphasis with capitalization. back to text
  2. cj: i asked theo if he was younger than most of the admissions blog readers. to which he replied that he was younger than most people who asked him this question, who were other mit students. he didn’t actually answer whether he thought he was younger than most mit applicants. back to text
  3. cj: i will also not allow theo to have a stronger annotation game than me >:( back to text
  4. cj: course 6 is electrical engineering and computer science, course 18 is mathematics. almost all mit students would know what these course numbers are since they’re like, two out of the top three declared courses back to text
  5. cj: east campus back to text
  6. 21M.734 = Lighting Design; 21G.501 = Japanese 1; 14.73 = The Economics of World Poverty; 18.022 = Multivariable Calculus, a GIR. (One of the professors for 14.73 is Esther Duflo, the Economics Nobel Prize winner this year. It’s my least favorite class but it has my favorite content.) back to text
  7. cj: a first-year advising seminar is a class that some first-years take. if you take an advising seminar, whoever teaches your seminar is also your adviser for the first year. 21m.a16 is beyond independent filmmaking. back to text
  8. cj: i learned the correct pronunciation of ai in this title isn’t spelled out like ay eye, but like the word eye back to text
  9. cj: can confirm, people play too much tractor on our floor back to text
  10. cj: well, not really, it’s actually quite rare back to text
  11. We also just argue about whether you can always say good morning, or always say good night, whatever the time is. We debate a lot of topics on my floor. It’s one of my favorite traits about my floor. We currently have a softness scale, ranking floor and floor-related people from Soft to Not Soft, that people debated a lot on. CJ thinks I am Not Soft (9/10), and some other friends think I am Soft (3/10). back to text