Skip to content ↓

April 2021: Although our campus is closed to visitors, you don’t have to travel to 🌈 Cambridge to get a feel for MIT. Sign up today for an 🔮 online session or student-led tour.

MIT student blogger Alina G. '11

I saw a turkey the other day… by Alina G. '11

hello, world!

…which may not be a big deal to most of you, but since I was on a run through Boston at the time, and he was chilling in someone’s driveway, I thought it warranted a mention. It’s not like there isn’t wildlife in Boston; I’ve seen my fair share of creatures, including the omnipresent canadian and white geese. (I’ve even seen these guys picketing on their behalf). One of my favorite places to run in Boston with the cross country and track team is to Jamaica Pond (part of the Boston’s Emerald Necklace, a series of connected parks/green spaces designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the Central Park guy), and the route is full of fearless packs of birds. That’s kind of a problem for my teammate Katy ‘11, who is deathly afraid of geese; prone to screaming and jumping, she adds excitement when we run to Jamaica Pond, which, as the route is also a team favorite, is often.

I also see a lot of dogs, and one time I even saw a doggie school bus driving through Boston. I’m not kidding- it was early in the morning and I had just woken up to go for a run, so at the time I pegged it as a symptom of my not-inconsiderable grogginess, but on further examination (I ran up and saw canines), it was definitely a school bus for dogs. I have a whole theory about the different types of dog walkers down Commonwealth Avenue in Boston, but maybe I’ll save it for later, since I realize I’ve neglected to introduce myself.

The point of this post was not actually to ramble about animals; I started writing it but got stuck on the introduction (I’m one of those people who, when writing a paper, types AWESOME INTRO HERE and then moves on to supporting paragraphs). I left the computer, went for a run, saw a turkey, and now here we are.

Anyway, Hi everyone! My name is Alina. According to MIT, I’m a senior in Course 20 (Bioengineering), but I still don’t quite believe them yet (seriously, a senior? how did that happen?). As a co-captain (with Maggie!) of the varsity cross-country and member of the track team I’ve explored my fair share of the city, and I’m excited to share with you what I love about Boston, MIT, and my team. As the winner of the dubious “most likely to spam out” paper plate award for our cross-country team last year, I’ve also learned that it can be good to let others share their thoughts. To that end I plan on highlighting some of the other cool things other MIT kids are up to, including travel and study abroad.

As a senior it’s been a while since I’ve had to think about things like the housing lottery and whether to take 8.01 or 8.012, etc., but somewhere between me and Kevin Bacon I can find somebody that can help you out. Although it may take me a while to track down an answer, I will try to answer your questions as best as possible, so ask away!

11 responses to “I saw a turkey the other day…”

  1. Justin says:

    Hi Alina! It’s so cool to see a fellow intro-skipper. =) I really like your style of writing!

  2. mag says:

    HI ALINA! welcome to the blogopolis smile can’t wait to read more from you!

  3. Steph says:

    Welcome to the MIT blogs. smile

  4. Douglas says:

    Hi Alina,

    I’m glad to see a blog post by a course 20 student. I’m a rising senior interested in pursuing the development of novel biological engineering technologies, and MIT’s program is certainly a unique offering. I am sincerely interested in learning more about BE at MIT-

    What are the UROP opportunities like for course 20 students? In particular, how feasible is it for undergraduate course 20 students to conduct independent laboratory research with the guidance of a faculty mentor? Is it possible to do research in advanced topics such as Cell and Tissue Engineering?

    And finally- what is the student culture like for course 20 undergraduates? I aspire to be a creative leader in bringing new biological engineering technologies into the world, and I hope to go to college with kindred spirits.

  5. Nadia ('15?) says:

    YEY!!!COURSE 20!!
    It’s great to see another blogger here and especially one that will major in BE. Could you give us a little taste of classes of the course 20 requirement and maybe labs that you are working?
    Thank you and welcome!!

  6. @rohan, if you go up to the top of the page and click on tab 6, the orange one, that says “apply,” it will take you to the main application page that will tell you what you need to know about applying.

  7. Alina says:

    @Douglas, @ Nadia, to answer your questions about Course 20:

    What are the UROP opportunities like for course 20 students? If you are interested in learning about what kind of research is being done here, I’d suggest checking out the [url=”” rel=”nofollow”]
    UROP website[/url], and the BE research site . You can poke around both and get a sense of the different projects our faculty are working on. If you click on the “project openings link” on the UROP website you can see some of the things faculty want student help for. These represent only a small fraction of the projects students work on; many students find UROPs through faculty they’ve taken classes with or by contacting them directly. What’s awesome about UROP is that because the program has become such a part of the culture here, it is ridiculously easy to find a project to work on; I know I was intimidated at first at the idea of emailing professors to ask to work in their labs, but its been my experience that the faculty are approachable, helpful, and not scary at all!

    As for the feasibility of an independent-study type thing:
    -usually when you start a UROP you are working with a grad student or postdoc on their particular project. Your involvement and independence depends on the lab, the researcher, and you. In the beginning you will probably be working closely with the researcher as you learn the skills/techniques you need, gaining more responsibilities as you master those skills and gain experience in the lab.

    Course 20 undergrad culture:
    One thing I love about course 20 is the student support. The upperclassmen were always super helpful; they gave me advice on choosing classes, helped me on psets and projects, and as TA’s were extremely extremely patient when I was trying to learn MATLAB and was having…difficulties. I’ve got an awesome pset group I work with, and my classmates are always helpful in class, office hours, and outside the classroom. We have a BE undergrad board that organizes study breaks and events, and also designed cool [url=”” rel=”nofollow”]
    t-shirts[/url]. Because it’s the little things, right?

    For the other course-20 questions, I’d suggest exploring the BE website . I just realized this comment is getting kind of ridiculously long…I will try to answer any more course 20 related stuff with its own post in the near future!

  8. rohan says:

    can u help me how to apply for MIT?
    i wish to pursue my studies at MIT for Undergraduate!
    if yes kindly email me at [email protected]

  9. jen '14 says:

    Hey Alina! I’m a prefrosh leaning towards doing track at MIT (did it all 4 years of high school, been trying to keep up with the summer lifting program) but I know it’s a huge time commitment and I want to keep my options open to the zillion other opportunities at MIT. I feel like MIT students have a way of fitting many things into their schedule, but I was wondering if you/anyone who plays sports in general finds that practice conflicts with a lot of other activities on campus? I love track but I’m not sure if I want it to keep taking over my life…if you know what I’m sayin. Thanks for your time and keep up the great posts smile

  10. Alina says:

    @jen: I think your question is a great one, but it’s also a really personal thing. It depends on what other kind of activities you are interested in, and how you like to operate. Some activities are more flexible than others, and some fit well with each other, while others may clash. For example, varsity sports practice from 5-7PM, and MIT has blacked out this time for all academic stuff-this means no classes, recitations, tests, etc. Lots of clubs meet later at night because their members are all involved in multiple other activities. Most(all?) of the sororities have their meetings on Sunday nights, when there is nothing else going on, to avoid conflicts with other commitments. What this all means for me, is that my schedule, though tight at times, usually works itself out without too much trouble(famous last words…). I also like being busy, though, and in general work best that way, so what works for me might not necessarily work for you.

    If you’d like, why don’t you email me with more specifics? I can see if anyone on the team is juggling activities similar to what you are interested in, and give you a more concrete answer. I completely understand what you mean about activities taking over your life-in high school I was a little overeager on the activity front and my parents were worried something similar would happen here at MIT. I’ve actually found, however, that track really helps keep me organized, because it sets up a schedule for my days, and going to practice helps me clear my head and get ready to tackle psets. Hope this helps, and feel free to email if you’ve got any more questions!