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MIT student blogger Sam M. '07

I am a sad sad toaster made of glass. by Sam M. '07

Do you like your toast with tears? Because I'm sad.

DID YOU KNOW? The state of Arizona does not celebrate daylight savings time.

Okay, so it’s been like a month. I don’t know what happened, dawg. I don’t even have some great, 1,000-googol-page-long entry saved up for you. Actually this entry did end up being kind of long, but it’s not quite 1,000 googol pages.

All I can offer you by way of reconciliation is this song.

But apart from listening to that song, I am a sad sad toaster made of glass this term. I’m leaving MIT! It’s totally sad. I just walk around and I’m like, “Oh no! It’s the last time ever I’m going to forget to go to the Concert in Bad Taste. Or go on the Burton-Conner boat cruise. Or see a movie for $3 at LSC. Or bring up singularities in everyday conversation. Or something like that.” And then I get real sad, so I go back to my room, lock the door, and play NES on my laptop.

But last week I was truly, truly inconsolable about something completely unexpected: last Friday I turned in my last problem set ever at MIT.

So the other day I was bored because I woke up and had like three hours before class when I didn’t plan anything to do, so after playing Crystalis for two hours, I decided to make a graph of the number of credit-hours of class I’ve taken per term since coming to MIT. The results were intriguing:

Don’t you love all those excellent chart-formatting skills I learned in 10.26: Chemical Engineering Project Laboratory? Really, I didn’t use them as much as Steph ’07, who made the ten thousand different meticulously labeled graphs demanded by Professor Preetinder S. Virk. But I digress. As any good engineer would, I decided to use these results to predict the number of units I would be taking next term at MIT. So, I added a trendline in the form of a fifth-degree polynomial, because it’s well-known that work varies as the fifth power of time. And whatnot.

Perfect! Empirical data agrees with my model. I will indeed be taking zero units at MIT next term, since I’m headed to UC Berkeley for grad school. Of course, the data also predicts that I’ll be taking negative 80 units the term after that, which should be AWESOME. What I expect to happen is that MIT will invent time travel, and then JKim will steal it using her ninja skills. So then she’ll come get me at Berkeley, and after going back in time and preventing the Spanish Civil War, we’ll come back to MIT and relive my entire MIT experienceexcept at night I’ll go back to Berkeley and do my problem sets. So the time that I spend at MIT, which will add up to 80 hours per week of real world time, will actually count as NEGATIVE TIME. SEE WHAT STATISTICS CAN DO FOR YOU?

But this entry was about problem sets at one point. Problem sets. And zombies. Zombies and toasters. And water. And friendship. And the whole world.

I think the point was that I’m taking so few units this term, and so I really don’t have any problem sets! Ever. Like, ever. Well, I had a total of ten problem sets this term. I know people who have ten problem sets a week! But they have serious problems, no fun, and NO-DOZ addictions that they proudly chronicle on their blogs, and they also confuse the concepts of work, education, and happiness.

But in my busiest term, I had four problem sets per week, three of which were due on Friday. That was the term that I basically pulled an all-nighter every Thursday and watched more old episodes of Captain Planet (5 AM weekdays on UPN!) than I probably watched when Captain Planet was in its first run. Two terms ago, even though I only had three problem set classes, one of those had problem sets that were routinely 20 or more pages long. One time Megan ’08 woke me up on the floor of her suite. She was all, “Sam, you passed out on the floor [and you’re sprawled out amidst three notebooks and hugging your laptop, which is still on, so it doesn’t get stolen; also, you don’t even live here].” And I was all, “So?” And then I went back to sleep. On the floor. Because I had to go to German in 40 minutes, and there was no way I’d ever get up again if I went to bed.

And yet I was still writing all these blog entries back then! Like, three or four every week! And training for a marathon! What was I, Superdude?

Seriously, the most productive thing I did today was beat Crystalis.

So I just went on about problem sets for like three paragraphs, and how stressed out I was. And the point is that I’m going to miss this, because problem set sessions are like the single quintessential MIT social experience that every single undergrad has. You’re up late at night and working on some heat and mass transfer in the floor lounge, canceling terms out of the Navier-Stokes equation, while the girl next to you does quantum physics and somebody else is writing his final philosophy paper, and every so often this freshman, who’s using MATLAB to model differential equations, opens up some random YouTube video or something, so you watch an exploding whale on a Welsh beach, or he plays “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen and everyone knows all the words and sings along. And one by one everybody finishes or gives up and heads off to bed, giving you a sympathetic “good night”, until it’s 3:30 AM and it’s just you and the Navier-Stokes equation, and you wish that you had started earlier, and contemplate whether it’s even feasible e-mail the TA, or if you should start on your circuits problem set, or whether you should just worry about that later, and then you don’t remember what happened next but somehow the sun is rising and you’re looking at the entry for “Since U Been Gone” on Wikipedia.

So that happens like once a week, every single week, for your first three and a half years at MIT.

And so Thursday night I actually had two problem sets to do, but they only grade 5 out of 6 problem sets in 10.494: ICE-T3 and the professor was basically like, “Hey, seniors, why don’t you just skip one of the last two problem sets!” I was going to do both, but it was like 10 PM. So I did what was probably the shortest problem set I’ve ever done at MIT, trudging my way through some possibly-working MATLAB code and four pages of differential equations in about two hours.

And I was just sitting there in my suite lounge, looking at the last problem set that I ever turned in at MIT. Ever! The last one! Who would have thought, four years ago when I first Mastered Physics, that I would get to the last problem set that I would ever turn in at MIT. And I looked at what a shoddy job I did with it. But seriously, it was like 12 AM, and I was going to get a B in the class no matter how well I did on it. I really couldn’t motivate myself to look at the theoretical implications of three-phase mass transfer in a continuously stirred tank reactor any longer. Somehow this term I really lost something.

So I did the next best thing: I wandered across the floor to the 213 suite, where Laura ’09, Dizzle ’09, and Richard ’09 were working on their problem sets, which they actually cared about because they’re sophomores. So I parked myself on their couch and fell asleep to the sweet sounds of their melodious voices discussing transfer functions and rigidity and Hamiltonians, dreaming about a time when I could have joined them for one of the greatest all-night tools of all time.

This entry probably scares you, doesn’t it? TOO BAD, YOU ALREADY MATRICULATED AT MIT, SUCKA!

43 responses to “I am a sad sad toaster made of glass.”

  1. anonymous says:

    My all-time favorite entry of yours is still the one about the Barefoot Contessa, but this one’s pretty great, too. Congratulations on getting to the end of the yellow brick road, Sam. Please blog from time to time from Berkeley about what life is like after MIT.

  2. oasis '11 says:

    Pfft. Dangit. =p

  3. Anonymous says:

    Yes, you must keep blogging, even if you’re not at MIT any more. Stopping isn’t even an option. You have no choice. Just do it. Please.

  4. Ruth '07 says:

    You perfectly encapsulated all of my thoughts during my last ever Senate meeting last night. Minus the parts where I was screaming at people and cursing them for putting through a second-choice candidate. Otherwise, beautiful.

  5. Anonymous says:

    whoa! first post!

  6. Anonymous says:

    whoa! first post!

  7. First Poster says:

    damn! you beat me by less than a minute

  8. 2011 parent says:

    Thanks for the great blogs, Sam. I spent a number of years getting a doctorate at U.C. Berkeley, and I know the campus well. Leaving MIT may be hard, but I think you’ll enjoy Bezerkeley. You can run marathons in San Francisco and crest the hills with a view of the Pacific Ocean before you. You can traverse the Berkeley campus on foot (unlike that private, rival institution across the Bay), crossing meandering creeks, wandering through redwood groves, and encountering the odd political rally on your way to the lab. Congratulations on your acceptance to the greatest public university in the world.

  9. Manisha says:

    Oh! I am going to miss ur blogs Sam. Do continue to write as a guest after u have left MIT.. please….

  10. bon says:

    thanks for the post and even that can’t knock the stars out of this SUCKA’s eyes. (but i’m sure the first all-nighter I have will) Have fun at UC Berkeley!

  11. Laura says:


    This is the best blog entry of ALL TIME.

    (Sam emailed that zombie song to the floor a few hours ago and we’ve all been singing it since then. OMG zombies!)

  12. Sam, you’re going to make me cry. Like a sad sad toaster.

    No, really.

    Just remember the zombies can’t eat you if you make them dead. And also remember to call me if you start going too far south.

  13. Snively says:

    Great entry! I’m scared of PSets a bit, yes, but I’m looking forward to MIT so much now!

    The graph, by the way, is absolutely amazing! It’s too bad you won’t be at MIT next year, I’ll never see you again! Enjoy the rest of your year Sam.

  14. Christina says:

    Yeah. Basically.

  15. Mason '10 says:

    And I walk through the contry!

  16. Wesley says:

    What is with you guys in the rest of the country and this “Day Light Savings” thing? You’re screwing our TV schedule up in Arizona.

  17. Alekhine says:

    You and Molly had some of the most interesting and inspiring entries. I wish you good luck at grad school.

  18. JKim says:

    I’ll steal it with MY ninja skills?… or HELEN KELLER?!

  19. Whoa! Psets of 20 or more pages long!

  20. Colin says:

    Jess, I’m sure I don’t know what you’re talking about, or what sort of heinous exploitation of the disabled you are proposing, but I want no part of it. (<3)

    Sam, this is a great entry as always. Being the blogger dork that I am, I will miss your blog a lot, and I know I am not alone in this. (P.S. wat)

    The First Two People Who Collectively Left the First Four Comments on This Page, do you READ any of these blog entries? Why not try being relevant, just to throw us all for a loop?

  21. Colin says:

    Also, I should not be staying up so late. I just called Kamber “Jess.” Dear Lord.

  22. Kristin '11 says:

    woo nth post! (I am too lazy to count)

    This is an amazing entry. I am scared pantsless. But I am a masochist, so it is okay. I decided that MIT actually stands for Masochists In Training, or perhaps Moscow Institute of Torture. But I am totally pumped nonetheless (which is an awesome word). Or, at least, I will be until I meet my first pset face to face.

    And does MIT use Mastering Physics, as was possibly hinted at in the entry? Because that would be both hellish and amazing at the same time.

    Sorry for the erratic writing style/grammar/everything; it is 2:30am and I have to take the Chem AP test tomorrow.

  23. Shamarah says:

    lol this blog was hilarious!
    i hope when i get to college, there are funny nerds like you to cheer me up when i have lots of hw to do.
    have a nice time at UC Berkeley smile

  24. Maia '11 says:

    Dang, I did already the email and everything………JKim, when you get that time machine, let me know, eh?

    Thanks for blogging, Sam. It was one hell of a ride.

  25. Maia '11 says:

    Just an afterthought–that “eh” made me look Canadian. I am NOT Canadian, though I have three friends that are.

  26. i <3 sam says:

    dear sam,
    marry me.
    glass toaster

  27. Paul '11 says:


    Just wanted to let you know, this entry pretty much made my day. It did also have its intended effect of scaring the crap out of me for next year, but that last line made up for it.

    Too bad I only met you once, but I least I have pictures to prove it. smile

    Good luck with grad school!

  28. AnotherMom says:

    To Sam, Mitra, and Bryan:

    Thank you for taking the time to share your ups and downs of MIT life over the years. I know that your parents are extremely proud of your accomplishments. I wish you well as you complete one chapter of your life and begin another. I know that we will be reading many good things about all of you in the future.

    Sam – congratulations on choosing Berkeley for graduate school. It’s UCBerkeley’s gain.

    Bryan – congrats on MIT for graduate school.

    Mitra – wishing you all the best.

    Again, thank you for sharing your time with us.

    And congratulations on your upcoming graduation!

    ~ Another Mom

  29. Sam,

    It’s so strange to think that, in a way, you’re feeling what a lot of us are feeling. For me, it’s almost as though the world is coming to an end, and that terrifies me/makes me sad. I guess it has to happen. Time keeps going. I’ve had a hard time accepting that lately =)

    Good luck at UCB!

  30. Basant says:

    LOL! Wonderful!

  31. milena '11 says:

    So I’ll never get to meet my fellow Food Network junkie!!! :(

    I got that same nostalgic feeling when I turned in my last (high school) lab report… ok, sure, I didn’t want to write it, but when it was all done, I felt sad. And during my last (high school) calculus class too. I’ll miss having average math skills but being one of the best because everybody else sucks. Now at MIT I’ll just suck at math.

    But aren’t you excited for grad school?! You can wear shorts all year round!

    Hope everything goes well! smile

  32. Hunter R. says:

    Ahh Sam, the times we’ve spent together have been few and impersonal. but your blogs have always brought a smile to my face…*Tear*. You will be missed mi amigo.

  33. LL says:

    Oh no… as a member of the class of ’12, I’ll never be able to meet you! A cloud of depression has just permanently invaded my world. ='( Have fun in San Fran (it felt kind of jerk-esque not to bid you a farewell after everyone else was all “Congrats on Berkeley”). =)

  34. emma says:



    should’ve gone to junior college.

  35. Anne says:


    that’s hilarious.
    i love scaring middle school kids about IB.
    this is just as great (greater, actually).
    love it.

  36. Hank R. says:

    Whoo, better reconsider my plan to take 60-credit hours a term. 20 page problem sets? Christ in Heaven.

  37. Hank R. says:

    Whoo, better reconsider my plan to take 60-credit hours a term. 20 page problem sets? Christ in Heaven.

  38. AnotherMom says:

    Need to amend my previous posting to include Jessie L as well. Sorry about that Jessie. It occurred to my “senior” brain that I had omitted a senior in my listing. Wasn’t meant as a slight.

    So I send congratulatory wishes to ALL of the senior bloggers – Bryan, Jessie , Mitra, and Sam. Look forward to hearing great things about all of you in the future.

    Good luck.

  39. Nina says:

    Damn you. I was all, “One day, in the Great Book of My Life, I will have a marvelous explanation of why p-setting all-nighters at MIT are so special.” Thanks for totally beating me to the punch, Sam. I appreciate it.


  40. Anonymous says:

    man…that song is going to be stuck in my head – forever.

  41. aditi says:

    best of luck at berkeley!!!

    i visited berkeley last week…and MIT this week!!!

    will the archives of your blog be there after you graduate?please say yes…

  42. Shuya says:

    …you…amaze me…

    ~I remember why I always wanted to come here now…@_@;;