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MIT student blogger Taylor V. '19

Holding pattern by Taylor V. '19

undergrad | me | graduation

I never thought I’d say this, but I’m kind of bored. A combination of not being an athlete + a lighter class schedule + spring break + being a senior = I just want to graduate already.

Let’s break that down and separate by terms, shall we?

  1. I’m officially retired from the sport of basketball, as of late March. Our season ended in the first round of the NCAA DIII Tournament, which is pretty cool because it’s the second time ever that MIT has made it that far. Physically, retirement means my body is resting after ~18 years of bruised knees and twisted ankles and such. Logistically, ~15 hours of my week suddenly opened up. Emotionally, I miss it a lot.
    1. I came into this semester needing (2) HASS classes, (1) mechanical engineering class, and (1) thesis in order to graduate. And that’s exactly what I’m doing!

      17.447: Cybersecurity

      21W.755: Writing and Reading Short Stories

      2.002: Mechanics and Materials II

      6.UAR: Seminar in Undergraduate Research

      The sad part is, as much as I try to deny it, I think I’m low-key still busy. Next week I have two essays due, a short story to write, a pset, and a research poster to work on, and my thesis work is still chugging along in the background.

      Still, I’m looking at senior spring as the reward for having to live through senior fall. I already knew that with 2.009 (MechE capstone class, ~24 hours/week of sheer panic) I would have a healthy amount of work. However, something I did not factor in was the insane amount of stress and time that goes into The Job Hunt™.

      ——————————–brief interlude for reflective purposes——————————-I did not anticipate how much time I would be spending on career activities last fall, which is something that upperclassmen should prepare for. Hours every week went into: preparing for career fairs, going to career fairs, searching for positions to apply to, actually applying to these positions (which can include writing cover letters, tracking down letters of reference, getting transcripts, completing coding challenges, and/or putting together a portfolio), setting up informational interviews, doing (hopefully many) rounds of actual interviews (which vary by location (Skype, in-person local, in-person far away, in-person fly-to-CA-on-short-notice), and type (chat over lunch, behavioral, technical-coding , technical-design-me-a-quick-robot-over-Skype-please)), and negotiating offers and deadlines.

      ^That paragraph was (intentionally?) confusing and overwhelming because I, too, was confused and overwhelmed. But I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to have gone through all of that, for many reasons. First of all, as an MIT student I benefit from having the Institute on my resume, and I’ll never take that for granted. Also, through this experience I gained a lot of confidence from walking into so many rooms where I knew no one sitting at the table, and being incredibly nervous I was going to say something incredibly stupid, but still managing to get through the questions with varying degrees of success. I could tell that by the end of the Hunt I was much more comfortable talking about my experiences and coming up with passable solutions to difficult problems on the fly. It was cool to meet real-life engineers working on some awesome projects, and despite my initial nervousness, I actually found myself enjoying some of the technical interview questions.

      Anyway. Still glad it’s over.

      ———————————————-and we’re back!—————————————-

  2. Spring break!!! Three of my friends/teammates and I drove to Nashville and back during the week off. We traversed 10 states, spending ~50 hours in a Kia Soul. Probably one of the highlights of my college experience. It was heartbreaking to come back to 40 degrees and rain.
  3. A great part of being a senior is, well…being old, I guess? For example, 2.002 is the follow-up to 2.001, the class that inspired this post. I was more than a little apprehensive about taking this class, but it turns out something crazy has happened since sophomore fall- I’ve learned some stuff! I have a better grasp on stress and strain and all that, sure. But I’ve also learned about how I personally learn best, and how I study for tests the most effectively, and how to ask better questions. So it’s actually going pretty well, which is a pleasant surprise. Plus, I volunteered to be a lab assistant in 2.00b: Toy Design, which is a really fun “intro to MechE” class that’s basically like a smaller 2.009 where you design and build a new toy. It’s great going into lab every week to help freshman make something real for the first time.However, the flip side of being a senior is being absolutely and completely done with psets and tests and essays and all that. I have one foot still on campus and one on the West Coast, where I’ve starting looking for apartments and planning for the next step in my career. Theoretically, finish lines should be motivating, but as graduation gets closer, the opposite is happening. If senioritis has already punched me in the face in March, I can’t wait for May when there’s only a final exam standing between me and f r e e d o m. That’s going to be a full-on TKO.

So maybe “bored” was presumptuous. There’s still enough going on for the next couple months to keep the Class of 2019 occupied for a little longer. I personally have some bucket list items in Boston I want to check off before I peace out of here- a museum or two to visit, and I want to go to the beach at least once. I’ve been dabbling in guitar for a while, maybe it’s time to do some more of that. CPW is around the corner, which is essentially a tornado of excitement and free food, so that’ll be fun. For the first time in what feels like forever, the weather is tolerable. I got my sailing license when I was a freshman (it’s free! anyone can do it! you can do it!), so maybe I’ll start going back out on the river.  And ideally you’ll be seeing my face a lot more on the blogs. :)