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[ hard mode ] by Jenny B. '25

i'm on hard mode and i'm just a noob

I had a post planned last Thursday, but then it was like everything got switched to hard mode for me after November started (and no, this has nothing to do with the November Rule). I finally have time to actually work on a blog post now, so I’ve decided to recap my past three weeks, which have been


>> First week of November

gif for week 1 – start

  • Saturday (not really November but whatever): I visited the Boston Public Library, which was nice! I got to see the John Singer Sargent mural on the third floor before I sat in Bates Hall for about two hours and made progress on my 8.0101 Physics I: Classical Mechanics pset.
boston public library mural

john singer sargent’s “triumph of religion,” which he spent 29 years on before his death

  • Monday: I woke up with cramps. On top of my 3-week old ankle sprain, the heel of my foot started hurting, like there was a small lump in my heel. It didn’t hurt until I poked it or stood on it. But I got my rough draft done for CMS.100.02 Intro to Media Studies

gif of week 1 – monday

  • Tuesday: I broke down while doing the 6.000203 Intro to Computational Thinking and Data Science. Runs for one quarter pset and turned it in without passing all of the tests. The thing is, I really liked the content of the class, but 6.000104 Intro to Computer Science and Programming in Python. Runs for one quarter was my first ever formal coding class I’ve taken, so I was still recovering from the rapid pace of that class. The prior progress I made on the 8.01 pset luckily saved me some sleep that night. My ankle and heel felt better, at least.
  • Wednesday: Anxiety fest.
    • My ankle and heel felt worse. On top of the looming stress from not starting the 18.02a05 Calculus II pset due tomorrow, a frantic Google search showed that I might have plantar fibroma, a nodule that grows in a tissue and is a rare occurrence that sometimes has to be surgically removed or treated with radiation. (Spoiler alert: it wasn’t plantar fibroma)
    • Breakdown ensues.
    • I desperately needed an extension on my 18.02a pset, which I got through S^3.06 Student Support Services, also known as 'S-Cubed' After a lot of anxious consideration, I went to MIT Medical, and the doctor said that the thing on my heel was probably a bruise because I could rotate my foot with little to no pain, which ruled out the possibility of tissue damage.
    • It was also National Stress Awareness Day.

gif of week 1 – wednesday

  • Thursday+Friday: I worked on my 18.02a pset, and I found out that many of my friends also got extensions on it. Note to self: Extensions are good. I saw a hawk on the way to the library.
picture of hawk
picture of hawk

Score: 2/10 (except for saturday which was 10/10 because i visited a family friend and i played with their dog)

gif of week 1 – saturday

>> Second week of November

  • Monday: My ankle sprain got a lot better. The bruise on my heel completely disappeared after elevating my foot while sleeping like the doctor told me to.  I started my 18.02a pset early to avoid a last-minute panic session like I had from last week.
  • Tuesday:
    • Dropped 6.0002. It wasn’t a requirement for many of the classes I wanted to take, and as much as the content was interesting, the pace was so fast for me that I couldn’t handle my other classes with it.
    • Requested an extension for my final paper because I was having trouble with figuring out what I wanted my thesis out to be. I first settled on writing about political echo chambers created by the YouTube algorithm until I re-read some parts of the book that we’re writing an essay about (Age of Surveillance Capitalism by Shoshana Zuboff. It’s an interesting and relevant read), and I got really worked up over her take on Pokemon Go. So I changed my essay topic to be about that.

gif of week 2 – tuesday

  • Wednesday: Second 8.01 midterm. Most of the points that got counted off were for sign errors, which was disappointing on one hand but relieving on the other because maybe that means that I understand the general concepts.
  • Thursday-Friday: I forgot what happened
  • Saturday: I took the T train to Harvard station and worked on my essay at the Cambridge Public Library. While I was walking through the Harvard campus to get there, I saw this drawing of a frog that had incredibly good vibes. Or is it a toad? I dunno.
picture of a frog

harv-frog says “AAAAAAA”

Score: 8/10

>> Third week of November

  • Sunday: I camped in the Hayden Library to crank out my essay. I could’ve just turned it in without being as hard on it as I was, but I wanted to get this done as best as I could because:
    • 1. I wanted to take the feedback I got on my last essay and improve my writing skills as much as I can to make it easier for myself in future HASS07 Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences classes. I really like my professor and writing advisor for CMS.100, and I want to use their advice to the best of my ability.
    • 2. I really wanted to prove the author wrong. Spite can be an amazing motivator for getting essays done.
    • I had to leave earlier than the time I intended to leave because I got an acid reflux attack. Turns out that my stomach doesn’t like being ignored for four hours when it’s hungry. I went back to my room, took a break and watched YouTube videos, and then finished the essay.

gif of week 3 – sunday

  • Monday: I found out that my 18.02a pset was actually due on Tuesday instead of Thursday like it was last time. It’s one of the few times that I felt good about my past decisions because I actually started it early this time. I had to ask for an extension on the 8.01 pset though, which was also due Tuesday. Note to self: Extensions are very good.
  • Tuesday: Did laundry, which I usually do on Sundays. I remembered that I only watched halfway through Neon Genesis Evangelion, so I watched three episodes starting from where I last left off. I think I’m starting to get obsessed with NGE.
  • Wednesday: 18.02a studying sesh.
  • Thursday: Got through the 18.02a exam, and I passed! Somehow! I went through six episodes of Evangelion that night (and forgot to go to the blogger meeting…oops). I also watched the first two episodes of Futurama, which is actually a show I’ve been meaning to watch for a long time. A really, really long time. I remember seeing it on TV when I was three years old, but I wasn’t allowed to watch it. I really like it so far.
  • Friday: I visited my friends in New House and hung out in the iHouse kitchen. It was a great way to end a stressful three weeks by having dinner with friends.

picture of food

Score 7/10


The main intention of writing this post was to look back on what I achieved in the past three weeks, but I have to admit that I’m still unsatisfied. Where are the clubs? What about research? At least it looks like I figured out at least some parts of college life that made it easier for me to complete my assignments and have a somewhat adequate sleep schedule.

I mean, did I do enough? Maybe it’s just easier to be hard on myself now that it’s over. But I made it through, and that’s enough to be happy about.

gif animation of shrugging


  1. Physics I: Classical Mechanics back to text
  2. Intro to Media Studies back to text
  3. Intro to Computational Thinking and Data Science. Runs for one quarter back to text
  4. Intro to Computer Science and Programming in Python. Runs for one quarter back to text
  5. Calculus II back to text
  6. Student Support Services, also known as 'S-Cubed back to text
  7. Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences back to text