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MIT student blogger Sam M. '07

It happens to Helen by Sam M. '07

Life is just a series of awkward moments sometimes.

DID YOU KNOW? Homemade mayonnaise is actually acidic enough to kill any salmonella bacteria that might grow in it. Thus, you can actually leave it out at room temperature without fear of food poisioning.

This new admissions site is really something, huh? I just look and I see categories, endless categories, and I want to fill them all with my insights on The MIT Campus and General Institute Requirements and MIT’s Influence on the World. It almost makes me want to stop writing my usual blog entries about things like particularly delicious burritos I ate, or professors who I saw naked in the Z Center.

But yesterday I saw another professor naked in the Z Center as I was getting changed for my evening run. Now, I didn’t say anything like, “Hi Professor, I really enjoyed your class in inorganic chemistry and think you have a remarkable gift for conveying the subtleties of group theory in a rigorous yet accessible manner.” But, well, I could have. Because really, MIT professors are in general pretty approachable people. But, seriously, seeing your professor naked is awkward enough, and, well, have you ever introduced yourself someone while they’re naked?

I’ve also seen this professor going to undergrad spectrometry classes and waiting in line at Anna’s Taqueria at 8 PM at night. Now, professors at MIT are generally pretty approachable by undergrads, but I think that’s taking things a little far. I’ve heard from people who have done UROPs in his lab that he’s actually just one of the most hardworking and motivated professors on campus and that sometimes he sticks around in his lab until midnight running experiments. Maybe it’s just a testament to campus food options that he chooses Anna’s Taqueria, a cheap burrito place in the student center, for dinner during his all-night vigils in lab.

And I was just thinking, UROP (pronounced “yer op”), is actually one of the most versatile words in the MIT vernacular, if not in the recorded history of language.

noun — any undergraduate research position that requires paperwork filed through the UROP office “I took my UROP for credit last term, but I really need some money after that awesome ski trip I went on during IAP.”
noun — the location of one’s UROP “I’m on my way to UROP in building 66, so I can drop off that package for you in 56.”
noun — one who is performing a UROP “Grad students in my lablove having UROPs because they can play computer games instead of handling actual lab equipment.”
adjective — pertaining to one’s UROP “My UROP professor gave me a raise this term because of my three years of hard work for campus minimum wage. Nice!”
verb — to work in a UROP “I’m UROPping until 5 today, but I can meet you in kendall square right after that.”

Verbing weirds words.

Okay, I’ll be rafting in Maine with Burton-Conner these next two days, so you have something to look forward to hearing about. Don’t eat any spinach while I’m gone! I mean it!

4 responses to “It happens to Helen”

  1. Shana says:

    As I remember it, that wasn’t exactly what happened to Helen.

  2. Sam says:

    Just curious: do you happen to be related to or know a Marnie Maurer who works at the John’s Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab?

  3. Sam says:

    Shana — Naked professsor… close enough!

    Sam — No, unfortunately, I do not know of any family member who goes by that name. What is Marnie short for, anyway? Marnation?

  4. Colin says:

    Okay, I’m totally adopting one day just so I can name my daughter Marnation.