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Hosed by Kevin S. '19

life the last few weeks

2/19/2016

  • It’s been 2.5 weeks since classes started, and I’m already hosed*.
  • I’ve been counting down the days until Spring Break. 29 days to be exact.
  • It’s also the first semester without Freshmen Pass/No Record. Oh, how much I miss you already PNR.
  • I just want it to be the weekend already.
  • But the weekend means having 3 psets and HASS reading due on Monday/Tuesday.
  • But the weekend means taking 7-8 hour bus/train ride over to Philadelphia for a fully-packed 3-day fraternity leadership conference.
  • That means that I’ll have to either pset on the bus/train or not sleep this weekend. And I get carsick really easily. What is sleep? What is a weekend?
  • I need coffee. I never drank coffee before this semester except for the occasional iced coffee with so much milk and sugar it wasn’t even coffee anymore. Now, I just need coffee.
  • And it’s been 2.5 weeks into the semester.
  • But I need sleep to function. So I take 5 minute naps between classes. And crash when I get back. Or on the weekends. Weekends are for recharging.
  • Where are you, PNR?

*hosed: in a constant state of business, stress, and exhaustion; swamped and overloaded with work, with no end in sight; essentially attempting to drink directly from a firehose.

Here’s a quick look at my calendar and a recap of the past few weeks.

 


WINTER BREAK

It’s been a whirlwind of events since the end of first semester. After my last final, 18.02/Multivariable Calculus*, I boarded a plane back to California–and boy was I glad to be home. I had not been back since June, and I didn’t know how much I missed home until I was back. It felt like a totally different place, for better or for worse.

I only stayed for 5 days, and then I was off to Washington, DC, with a friend and got a chance to explore the museums and monuments. I got sick with a sinus infection and decided to cancel my trip to New York short, which was a huge bummer. But I wanted time to rest, and went back to campus earlier than expected. Not a single soul was in sight, except for the security guard at the front desk, and a few passer-buyers on the street, but I spent the next few days in bed anyways, and literally just slept until my sinus infection went away.

*The passing grade was a 33%. More on that on a future post.

 

IAP WEEK 1

IAP, an optional January term, officially kicked off on January 4th, and people started returning back to campus. Yay people and friends! Over IAP, I TA’d the PE Figure Skating Class for two weeks, twice a week, for 1.5-hour session. Nationals was also coming up, just two weeks away. It was time to hunker down into training mode. I quickly transitioned from cramming for finals, to being touristy for a week, to recovering from illness, and then to full-time skating training.

Each morning I Ubered to the Skating Club of Boston, met with my coaches, and trained full-time for a change (not on calendar). It had been since summer when I had committed my time solely to skating, and it felt almost weird that I didn’t have finals to cram for or psets to scramble to finish. But skating it was–either at the Skating Club of Boston or at the MIT rink, or the Burton Conner or Z-Center gym.

Other things that happened:

  • On the 5th, I actually booked a train ticket to NYC with a friend. I had planned to go to a office tour of the Accenture NYC office, but after some scheduling changes, I ended up getting a tour of the NYPD Cyberintelligence Unit organized by MIT’s career services’ office, GECD. That was beyond cool.
  • While in NYC, I also got a tour of the Squarespace HQ in SoHo. I did an ad*** for them back in November, and I didn’t get a chance to check out their office when I was filming and shooting the ad then. I got to check out and meet the different teams that run the website platform.
  • I was on the Logistics Committee for xFair, a student-run career fair and tech expo put on by TechX and Tau Beta Pi (MIT’s engineering honor society), and spent a great deal of IAP helping out with the planning and organization.
  • I’m also part of Code for Good, a student group which organizes an IAP class around coding for social good, and as an organizer, I helped out with staffing the classroom and doing CR and Design related tasks throughout IAP.
    Friday night, the Skating Club of Boston organized a Nationals Send-Off event, in which I performed my competition free program. It was good practice for the actual event coming up later in the month.

***Shamless plug: check out the videos here and here!

 

IAP WEEK 2

I enrolled in 2 classes for IAP–6.177 (Building Programming Experience in Python), a 6-unit class, and SP.800 (Freshmen/Alumni Summer Internship Program, aka F/ASIP), a 3-unit class. There’s actually a 12-unit credit limit during IAP, but there’s also a ton of various not-for-credit activities that happen throughout IAP. This website was constantly updated throughout the month with new things to do. I’m definitely glad I stayed for IAP–some opt to take an extended 6-week winter break and chill at home, some choose to apply for externships, some UROP on campus, and others like me stay on campus and take various classes and do random things.

With Nationals in the middle of IAP, the competition limited my options in terms of what I could sign up for. But that also meant that I didn’t have to miss school for the competition and I could commit time to training full-time without exams or psets in the way. 6.177 and SP.800 happened to both take place either before or after the week I was absent. 1.5 hour lectures for 6.177 took place every day of this week in addition to two F/ASIP webinars.

Other thoughts:

  • The meal plan doesn’t cover IAP, and I decided to experiment cooking for myself, especially since Burton Conner is a suite-style dorm with kitchens in every suite. I brought a rice cooker from home, and it was time to learn to cook. I had never cooked anything before, so this was a new challenge. The first time I cooked, I actually had to call my mom for help. More on that later as well.
  • I also did another exhibition at the Skating Club of Boston, yet more practice for the big event, now less than a week away.
  • There was also an Accenture Case Interview Workshop that I attended–I’m very much interested in a career in consulting and definitely need to do a lot of practice to prep for case interviews.
  • I’m also on exec for my fraternity, Beta Theta Pi, as Risk Manager, so every Sunday in addition to our weekly Chapter meetings I attend Exec meetings right before. On the bright side, we do get dinner cooked by an in-house chef for Chapter.

 

IAP WEEK 3

Off to St. Paul, Minnesota! The first few days were reserved for practice and to get acclimated to the arena ice and competitive atmosphere. And the weather too. It dropped to -30 degrees Fahrenheit with wind chill on the first few nights. To reiterate, it was m-i-n-u-s t-h-i-r-t-y d-e-g-r-e-e-s F-a-h-r-e-n-h-e-i-t. Like how even? Thank goodness there were shuttles to and from the rink, and the city also has a network of Sky Walkways that connect from building to building. It was MIT’s tunnel system raised into the sky!

I had some good practices, and the competition went well! I was third after the short program, and moved up to second after the free skating portion. With only two spots for the Junior World Championships in Debrecen, Hungary, US Figure Skating decided to send someone from Senior Men, the level above, along with the Junior Men’s champion to Worlds, and I was named first alternate. So the season’s not over yet–after a short break, it’s now back to training again.

Awaiting my scores with my coaches in the Kiss ‘n Cry. Photos by Leah Adams.

I left the morning after my event ended in order to get back for my 6.177 group presentation, and didn’t get a chance to watch the rest of the competition. Luckily, though, the Senior World Championships is coming to Boston in March! Definitely stoked to watch!

 

IAP WEEK 4

Last week of IAP:

  • Code for Good wrapped up with a final project expo, and final preparations were made for xFair, the Monday after.
  • I was also back on the ice to help TA the Figure Skating PE class, and that wrapped up this week as well.
  • I started tour guide training for the MIT Information Office–I’m looking forward to doing that in the future.
  • There was a F/ASIP symposium as well, a crash course on developing professional skills and strategies for finding and landing internships.
  • Meetings with my advisor, meetings with Beta Theta Pi’s Risk Management Advisor, meetings for xFair.
  • I’m also helping to put together the sports section of the MIT yearbook, Technique, so a lot of photo selection and editing during IAP as well.
  • I woke up at 9am on Wednesday to change 8.02 lecturers, so that I could be in Peter Dourmashkin’s section. I didn’t have him for 8.01, but I definitely wanted to make sure I had him for 8.02!
  • MIThenge happened on Friday/Saturday when the sunset aligns perfectly with the windows that lead into the Infinite. A beautiful sight to see.
  • Freshmen Pass/No Record is officially over. May you rest in peace.

 

SPRING SEMESTER

Sunday was spent doing final preparations for xFair. The Logistics Team got up at 5am to get the entire career fair set up in Rockwell Cage. A lot of coffee got our team through the long day. The fair went from 10a-4p, and there was an invite-only banquet from 6-8p at the Cambridge Marriott Ballroom. After a long and exhausting day of setting up, running, and cleaning up the event (and talking to some companies and dropping resumes in between shifts), it was time for bed.

First day of Spring Semester was on Tuesday, but xFair wasn’t over yet. I was in charge of running Tech Talks throughout the week, and it was quite hectic to say the least, squeezing in classes, skating, and the talks in addition to MIT Consulting Group’s spring recruitment events. It was indeed one crazy week.

 

LIFE ON ABC/NO RECORD

With xFair and the Tech Talks over, it was time to get into the grind of classes and psets. This semester I’m taking 4 classes plus F/ASIP.

  • 6.S04 Fundamentals of Programming – my first Course 6 class!
  • 8.02 Physics E&M
  • 17.28 The War At Home: American Politics and Society in Wartime – I’m a huge military history buff and this class is only offered in the spring — super excited to take this!
  • 18.06 Linear Algebra
  • SP.800 F/ASIP

And I started a UROP in the Media Lab. I’m working under a grad student who’s building an open-sourced data visualization platform for government expenditure data. Really looking forward to working on that this semester.

Other tidbits:

  • I had a mock interview for F/ASIP, other F/ASIP events, conducted some informational interviews.
  • John Maeda, former MIT alum, MIT Media Lab professor, and RISD president, came to give a talk. It was more of a Q&A, and he had so much insight to share about the design, business, and technology. Definitely the highlight of my week.
  • As my week got more packed, I had to add in “skate” to my calendar to make sure I made time for that and went to bed at a relatively reasonable time.

 

HOSED

The past few weeks have been never-ending, packed with activities, classes, psets, events, skating, internship searching, among other things. Add sleep in there as well.There’s so much more that happens beyond the events listed on my calendar–meeting up with friends, psetting, studying, cooking, cleaning, working out, having fun, and just relaxing in between commitments. And a ton of other things that I forgot to add to my calendar or are on my todo list instead. And I can barely even parse out my calendar sometimes because there are so many events scheduled at the same time.

The expression, “Getting an education at MIT is like drinking from a firehose”–I’m just starting to comprehend what that means. It’s having so much on your plate and piling more and more and you’re really hungry but you don’t know what to eat first and how to get to the bottom of the plate let alone see the plate itself and you have to stuff yourself until you’re full because there’s also a time limit and you gotta finish that plate because who wants rotten or wasted food. OK, so that was a horrible analogy and I’m more mind-dumping at this rate. And I’m also really hungry right now. And I’m on a train to Philadelphia for a Beta Theta Pi Leadership Conference as VP of Risk Management this weekend, and it’s 12:31a and I just want to sleep.

That’s probably enough for now. ‘Till next time when I’m a bit less hosed.