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MIT student blogger Yan Z. '12

It’s Monday by Yan Z. '12

Actually, I think I just made it to Tuesday.

7:39 PM: It’s Sunday night. I have four exams in the next week. Hey, I should blog!
7:40 PM: Erons ’12 walks into my room. Erons is not wearing shoes.
7:41 PM: Erons is asking me something about electric potentials inside charged cubes. Erons is the type of person who carries all his homework in a leather briefcase and can run from Random Hall to campus in less than two minutes and once lived in Africa and is actually named Sylvester and pretends to be Stephen Hawking on weekends. Incidentally, the set of such people that I know contains one member: namely, Erons. Erons has to carry a wheelchair up the stairs when he pretends to be Stephen Hawking in Random Hall, which is probably why he doesn’t do this more often.
7:42 PM: Erons leaves. I should blog.
7:46 PM: Look ma, I’m blogging!

Which brings us back to the immutably desolate fact that I have four exams in the next week. Like the Goldberg Variations or the Cold War or the ending of The Matrix trilogy, academic life at MIT lends itself to multiple interpretations, some of which are more disheartening than others. A friend of mine offers this: once the cycle of tests commences during the third-plus-or-minus-epsilonth week of term, you don’t escape until after finals. Tests pile up in the narrow, cramped margins of time between problem set deadlines and project due dates, wrinkling your weeks into tight-crunched balls of endless studying. Inevitably, the mercury in the Stress-o-Meter hanging somewhere inside the back of your head begins to creep up, and you consider adopting the simple, rustic life of a potato farmer in Idaho.

I digress. Here’s my schedule for the week, which is more eyewateringly jam-packed than usual:

Click here to see it in its full, boxlike glory.


-All classes are listed by course number, followed by room number.
18.03 = Differential Equations
8.022 = Electricity and Magnetism with Theory and Demonstrations that Often Fail
18.06 = Linear Algebra
21M.302 = What Would Bach Do? (aka, Harmony and Counterpoint II)

-Lab = My UROP project, which involves making batteries that don’t randomly explode.

-Pastry Sale/ Xifan Sunday = imported from the events calendar of MIT’s Association of Taiwanese Students, of which I am half-heartedly a member. Their sporadic peddling of scallion buns in the Infinite Corridor, however, has brightened my disposition more than once in the middle of a long day of classes.

-OH = Office hours, not Ohio.

-pset = Problem sets, AKA homework.

-Lulu’s office = Lulu‘s office hours, ungracefully truncated by the finite spacial limits of Google Calendar. Lulu is a TA for 8.022, a class of which I am partaking.

-Physics dinner = I recently joined the Undergraduate Women in Physics group at MIT, by which I mean that the Physics major who lives next door put me on their mailing list once she noticed that I was an undergrad, a woman, and sort of a Physics major. By which I mean, free dinner!

-Frosh lunch = I’m not sure I remember what this is, besides the fact that it’s presumably a lunch presumably for freshmen. At MIT, presumably. Maybe I presume too much. Maybe I’m making a pres out of U and ME. Anyway, now that you’ve all witnessed my clever manipulations of the English language, let’s move on.

-GRT interviews = Random Hall is currently reviewing applications for a new Graduate Resident Tutor. The interview is an integral part of ensuring that our next GRT is willing to cook food for us on a regular basis, besides doing other stuff that GRT’s are supposed to do.

In summary, I have no time to finish this sent-

80 responses to “It’s Monday”

  1. sepideh says:

    i don’t know the educational system in india but i have to agree with this:”Yes, we’ve done all that but in what depth?” it is the same in iran. i had all the courses i see in the schedule when i was in 11th and 12th grade and by us it is required for high school graduation from a twenty point grade scale. i graduated with an 18.64 GPA and got 18 for differential and 19 for linear algebra but the point is here; do i know it now one year has past? NO because some where something is wrong. fill my mind with 3 math, one geometry and 2 science classes in every semester and empty it on paper in 4 days(plus 3 humanities) and live happily ever after with the thouhgt that i’m the most well prepared in the world to know all these things at this young age, two days later i forget it…it is like this in here.
    popular Middle Eastern food made from a mixture of ground chick peas tahini and spices

  2. Varun says:

    Ok, I don’t know much about ISC board. But HEY! Correct me if I’m wrong but doesn’t ISC mean that its a US based Education system? It’s the same all over the world! And dude, the part on extra – curriculars, not all schools are the same. Mine doesn’t encourage it but quite a few really good schools do.

  3. Varun says:

    By the way Yan, does that “Run!” in the morning signifies your everyday exercise or rush to get to class?

    I might just manage that schedule but it looks tough. But with such a packed schedule, don’t you get bored over the holidays? Or does it get even better?

  4. Yan says:

    @ Sudhanshu:


    @ Lulu:


    @ Varun:

    Generally, it doesn’t take me about 45 minutes to run to class (Random isn’t that far off campus). I’m usually dead tired unless I run in the mornings, which is why I need to do this before going to class. Lately, I’ve been thinking of buying a smaller backpack so that I buy groceries in Boston while running on weekends.

    Every holiday that I’ve spent at MIT has been amazing. Going home tends to bore me though.

    @ Indian applicants:

    There’s a lot more to be said about the priorities of the MIT curriculum and why it’s sort of extraordinary, but I have to go to class now . . .

  5. Suman Barua says:

    you are my most favorite Blogger EVER!!!
    I go into laughter fits every time I read you!I wish I had writing talent like You raspberry

    Man, ISC stands for INDIAN SCHOOL CERTIFICATE… it is ONLY given in INDIA.and well, the syllabus is

    For ALL who’ve been talking how much we have done in India, I must give you an example. We learnt English in Grade 6th and even in Grade 12 rite? Are their levels the same? Ok, But well, If you talk about the college education, then well, what in India they teach in first year engineering, is well, kind of at least near the level at MIT. I can say that ‘cus I AM doing first year engineering at Mumbai Univ and honestly, the COmplex numbr,diff eqns, calculus etc etc are MUCH MORE deep than what even the IIT JEE classes taught! Hence, what i’d say is, the Best way to tackle MIT is to have done first year here (which is exactly what i am trying).
    And, being in the college system, I’ve learnt that here it is all about how well u beautify your journal, or how much you can write perfect answers and mug up! well, there IS no TIME even if you want to innovate and learn something new! Thats frustrates me to the core :|

    And oh, yes IITians are amazing oriented to get amazing jobs without SLIGHEST idea that they ARE learning SCIENCE which they are SUPPOSED to use for INNOVATION raspberry (with rare exceptions ofcourse)
    i am against the system of PLACEMENTS!

    dude, haven’t u gone to a FALAFEL restaurant yet? its there in lots of places in Bombay! oh, I love hummus with falafel !

    Thank You SUPER-YAN!(I took the liberty of nicknaming you, hope u dont mind smile )

    PS-24 days for the decisions! EEeeeep!! raspberry

  6. 26..finally! says:

    26th!!!!!!!!! FINALLY!!!

    I AM NUMBER 26!!!!!!

    26 26 26 26 26 26 26 26 26 26 26
    26 26 26 26 26 26 26 26 26 26 26 26 26
    26 26


    what a life I have!!!!

  7. Ahana says:

    If there’s one class I’m dying to take in that schedule, it’s 21 M.302.
    On a completely unrelated note, why is Erons called so? Flipping the word spells Snore… Which kind of makes sense.

  8. Varun says:

    Ok. ISC and ICSE are different. Thanks for the information!

    And the vastness of the topics is exactly my point. There’s so much to learn but only one life..:'(

    Nice, that’s just a stone throw away! And coupling shopping with exercise – you must be working with IBM! smile

  9. Tree says:

    @ Shivank

    I’m in ISC too. It’s ALL about rote-learning. Except the practicals, where you’re given pretty much everything you need to get full marks. The thing is, we have a good syllabus but it’s taught wrong. We may have a lot of topics, we may learn an incredible number of formulae and everything, but we don’t end up learning how to really apply them. If I gave you a random problem that could be solved using physics, chances are that it would take you really really long unless you’re generally used to doing stuff like that on your own. The problem with the syllabus and the boards here, in general, is that they’re completely result oriented. Whether you remember a rat’s arse of what you studied in the 12th doesn’t really matter, as long as you get that 94.73% right?

    The issue isn’t even about depth, because looking at the number of pages, surely the topics are ‘in depth’. I’m not saying the Syllabus sucks or that it is heavenly. It is not ‘pathetic’. No syllabus is. Each one, across the world, including the US High School one, which so many seem to idolize, is terribly flawed. Even the AP system isn’t perfect.

    My issue is with the way everything is taught. It was one of the reasons I loved AP classes so much. It wasn’t so much about rote-learning stuff, in fact there was little of that involved, as much as…solving problems. Most curricula do not produce scientists. They produce clones, kids who learn and learn and never question. No one questions laws/assumptions or what the teacher says. Because for most , what matters is the final grade they get, not the awesomeness of what they could have learnt.

    I’m in ISC. I believe it’s about rote-learning. I know that I won’t remember 70% of what I learnt for the exams, after a month. But I still remember the mistake I made while calculating the torque on a plank during an AP Physics class in the Eleventh grade.

    I’m not taking JEE or any competitive exams, so I can’t speak for that, but I believe they encourage more thinking than most teachers. But again, they’re like cloning classes in my opinion. But then again, I haven’t taken them.

    However cool or difficult you think your board is, I’m sure MIT students are not retarded,okay? Pretty much anyone who likes math/calc knows stuff like Differential Equations. It’s not that big a deal.

    And guys, I don’t see the point is trying to prove whose curriculum is more difficult. Point is, what do you make out of it?

    And honestly, if you despise your board so much, then shift. Or do stuff outside school. Pr both.

    On another note, everyone who hasn’t, should try hummus.

    And 21 M.302 seems so bloody cool smile

    Aren’t you doing your UROP with Professor Sadoway?

  10. Vaibhav says:

    @ Shivank
    I’m in the CBSE syllabus (just finishing 11th)- and I know what you’re on about – but if we learn something more (like what isnt maybe taught in such depth,in other syllabus), the fact of the matter is:
    Won’t it be more helpful for us along the way??(i.e. if we ever do make it to MIT)

  11. deng says:

    “OH = Office hours, not Ohio”

  12. Yan says:

    @ Tree:

    Thanks for your insight. I’m not terribly familiar with the Indian education system, but I can agree with your sentiments.

    Yes to UROP with Sadoway. Speaking of which, I should be in lab in 7 minutes . . .

    Side note: Every math/science class I’ve seen here so far has placed much more priority on giving students a deeper insight into the subject matter than on rote memorization for the sake of problem solving. On exams, necessary formulae are usually provided. As far as introductory physics classes go, questions generally involve a neat and elegant trick rather than convoluted calculations. Thus, it’s much more useful to truly understand the derivations of physics laws than to simply memorize the contexts in which they apply- for instance, how would the basic properties of electrostatic fields differ if the distance dependence was r^-2.0001 rather than simply inverse square?

    A prime example of this was my theoretical mechanics class, in which we solved approximately two problems and basically spent the rest of the time talking about the isotropy of space. More on this later.

  13. Brandon says:

    Differential Equations is fun. smile
    I took that this last fall.

    How do you get weather forcasts in gCalendar?
    Hummus is awesome!
    Good luck on your tests!!

    Hey everyone! Go to:

  14. Soham says:

    Hi,Brandon.I agree with you that differential equations is fun.Infact,believe me I was solving sums on DIff.equations for the past 1 hour.

  15. Yan says:

    @ Brandon:

    Thanks for the tip, but I’m pretty sure I got into MIT.

  16. Shivank says:


    I got to be serious here….
    I mean Yan’s last few post about calculus,then SHM related one….and now this one which has differential calculus….


    Really……..we have already done all this in 12th grade…
    complex numbers,differential eqns.,intergral and differential calculus,matrices,determinants,and a few dozen other things….
    I feel we guys are really best prepared for MIT, that is:if anyone of us were to get admitted to MIT…

    and Yan, whats the hummus thing supposed to be?

  17. Sudhanshu says:

    Shouldn’t that be “Stephen” Hawking?

  18. Mohit says:

    @ all…..

    Indian Boards have all this in 11th and 12th grades.. We have done all this now and great depths with analytical understanding and application which includes doing it practically in the labs..
    No wonder its all done in MIT… but I’m damn sure its wanna be diffcult.. Isn’t it Yan?
    Well, I have no idea what’s dere for undergrad in MIT but I know what in undergrad in India.. Its all the same what you have done in High school in the first yr. (Freshman, US)..followed by some highly difficult semesters in Second, Third and Fourth Year..(Sophomore,Junior and Senior in US).. In india we choose our major in Freshman year and actually do in depth study in the Third and Forth Year.. Which adds on the ultimate score a great deal!….

    What’s dere in the US board in the 11th and 12th Grade? And, yes ANYONE SEEN SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE ITS BIG HYPE IN US, I HAVE HEARD!?

  19. Varun says:


    You seem to be missing the basic point. Yes, we’ve done all that but in what depth? Maybe in JEE classes we go a little in depth but definitely not in CBSE! Saw last years Analytical Geometry? And the FTRE paper last year – not a single question could be answered using the knowledge of NCERT.

    And have you already forgotten? 11th and 12th saw nothing but the same topics as in 9th and 10th! It’s the same thing everywhere in the world. You just go up a notch each time. And no, Indian system is no where near as difficult as it ought to be.

  20. Varun says:

    Complex nos!!! Hahahaha! Maybe you follow a different book, but we didn’t even learn representation of lines, circles, angle bisectors, etc. in the complex plane in school – I know these because of JEE coaching.

  21. lulu says:

    oh yeah do you guys have a pset this week

  22. Lauren says:

    Lol, it’s still Monday by Random Standard Time. tongue laugh

  23. Javal says:

    Hehe, packed schedule, but we all know life isn’t fun unless you feel like you’re drowning in work.

    And maybe you should consider adding some casual strolls in the mix, too much running gives you the runs. raspberry

  24. jimmy '13 says:

    Do we have to talk about jee stuff here too?

  25. Ashwin says:

    “rote memorization for the sake of problem solving.”

    Hey great post, as always… which frankly makes saying it everytime redundant.

    Oh and Hummus “rote memorization for the sake of problem solving.”

    Hey great post, as always… which frankly makes saying it everytime redundant.

    Oh and Hummus <3
    Have you tried Mutabbel? It’s pretty great too =)

  26. Julio ('14?) says:

    “My UROP project, which involves making batteries that don’t randomly explode.” I literally laughed at that sentence. Thanks for making me smile smile

    ~Julio (’14)

    PS: Good luck with your UROP project, and keep an eye on batteries,nobody knows when they will reveal against us and explode.

  27. Shannon says:

    ATS is having a pastry sale this week? My Thursday and Friday just got so much better.

  28. Matt A. says:

    As an American, I’m very puzzled as to why there is so much respect for our education system. From what I see here (and a couple minutes on wikipedia), the curricula and testing standards in India are very extensive, say what you will about the curriculum.

    Here’s why I say I’m puzzled:

    (Note: American curricula are not standardized on a national level, but on a state level, so what I will talk about only applies to my home state of Tennessee, but it should be somewhat indicative of the general pattern. Someone from another state, correct me if you feel it’s misleading)

    To graduate in my school system, we have to have 21 units (each unit being a full year class), with many of them essentially set. The only standardized tests we need to pass in TN are Gateway Exams in Algebra 1 (that’s right, the stuff anyone here learned in 8th grade or maybe younger), Biology (that’s very basic 9th or maybe 10th grade Biology), and 10th grade English. These things are pathetically easy and UNTIMED. To put it in perspective, the Algebra exam is 60 questions which I finished in 45 minutes and got a perfect score on with no effort whatsoever. In other words, rock-bottom standards.

    If you want any kind of enrichment in your curriculum, you have to find it in IB or AP programs. I don’t know much about IB, but AP programs tend to be more readily available in the U.S. For example, the only math required is Algebra 1 and 2, and Geometry. To put it in perspective, stuff like polar coordinates and functions and anything beyond the most basic trig is all in a precalculus course taken after Alg. 2. There is not a plain Calculus course with the system, only AP. And you can forget about differential equations, all I’ll get as far as that goes is what’s in the BC curriculum (basic separation of variables and slope fields, and my teacher covered homogeneous DE’s for good measure, but it’s not required).

    I think this makes the point, but if you want more examples, I’ve got plenty. raspberry So…

    @all enrolled in Indian schools
    What do you guys think of this? Because I see your system as very intense and with much higher standards than an American public school will ever have.

  29. David says:

    Just wanted to remind people that today is a holiday called Mardi Gras!

  30. Matt A. says:

    Oh, I may not have been clear: It’s my interpretation that ISC and CBSE tests are not any kind of enriched program but required of all students enrolled in each particular system. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

  31. Ryan says:

    You mentioned that you have 8.022… does that mean you have Professor Lewin? I’ve been taking an online course and I’ve had to watch one of his lectures every week. I’ve enjoyed it right from the beginning. [Of course, I’m not swamped with homework either.]

  32. Ryan says:

    Where I said Brandon I meant Yan. I misread part of the page… oops >.Where I said Brandon I meant Yan. I misread part of the page… oops >.<
    It’s like when you’re doing the most complex calculus problem ever and you’re almost at the end and then the solution doesn’t work because somewhere along the line, you’ve subtracted 4 minus 4 and gotten 1…

  33. Varun says:

    My apologies Jimmy. Unfortunately, I couldn’t stop myself when someone praises our pathetic 12th syllabus so. Honestly! “Einstein’s theory of relativity: The kinetic energy of an object is c^2 times that of the change in its mass. So (m-m naught)c^2 = KE. Hence E = rest mass + KE. Therefore, E = mc^2”

    I was so looking forward to that class and boy was I disappointed!

  34. SRV says:

    Hoah! that’s a packed schedule . . .

  35. Shivank says:

    1)I am in ISC board so we do have complex nos. and etc stuff and unlike CBSE board its not all about mugging up
    2)Yes our education system is pathetic….totally agreed…I wasnt praising it….I was just saying that we have already done a majority of this…though it seems more like a burden
    Ya, the real depth is actually in JEE preparation….the board syllabus just gives you surfacial knowledge….OBVIOUSLY MIT IS GONNA HAVE A WAY MORE DIFFICULT level of the same topics…coz its the best college in the world!….at the present point of time…we only know the basics…so it just keeps us in good stead….fractionally ahead of the others..
    The Indian education system is:
    1)Very Difficult
    2)Hard to cope with,burdening
    3)Preventive of participation in Extra curriculars
    But…….with hard work…its not very difficult to do well in boards…as for JEE…you need to do more than hard work..

  36. Shivank says:

    @Yan…….thats one heck of a packed schedule!!!!!!

  37. jimmy '13 says:

    well if you ask me, and no offence to anyone, any “engineer” who passes out an IIT is just looking for a job that pays well……they don’t care about giving something back to the world or anything………which is why I wanna come to MIT,,…

    and again, no offence to anyone ….I gathered what I said after reading five point someone and then asking a few IIT alumni….

  38. Sheila'13 says:

    Lol, your schedule just made me asplode for a moment. Hahahha, but I see you’re having fun.

  39. Varun says:

    Thank you Shivang.

  40. Anonymous says:

    I’ll just continue Matt A.’s argument.

    In New York to get an advanced diploma (regular just doesn’t have foreign language), we have to take four English classes and pass one English exam, finish Algebra, Trig, and Geometry(one exam each), take three sciences (pass two of the three exams) and take four years of history/social studies.

  41. Varun says:

    I logged in to say those exact words. I think we will be heeded.

  42. Yan says:

    @ Ryan:

    Nope, although I dearly hope to have Walter Lewin as a teacher sometime before I graduate from MIT. He was an assistant professor for one of the higher level physics classes last term, I believe, but he’s currently not involved with any intro classes like 8.01 or 8.02. I too was a huge fan of his video lectures back in high school.

    Also, speaking of video lectures, Bill Gates wants you to watch 3.091 chemistry lectures online!

    @ Anonymous:

    It’s usually between 19 and 35 degrees F when I go out. A long-sleeved shirt and light jacket are sufficient, as long as you’re clear of 30 MPH gusts. My ideal temperature range is probably between 32 and 50 degrees.

  43. Wow says:

    @Indian Applicants: CBSE is a lot of work, sure, but what is the end result? Narrow-minded people who cannot differentiate between knowledge and intelligence. Piling on material is not a means of bringing out the scientist in you.

    My cousin is in ninth in India, yet will soon learn more chemistry than I have. He will soon have finished the entire course of a standard physics textbook. All this he will do in school whereas I have learned through initiative. But what does this say? Only that there is opportunity in America to learn as much science (I take it that math is about on par in both countries).

    btw, did any of you read your posts. They are pointless and sound like you’re boasting.

    @Matt A: I suppose what you have not seen in the American school system is that it caters to all types of students. Not everyone vies for MIT. Why should they be forced to take, say, four years of math or science? I love the fact that I have been able to take courses in economics, English, and history because they were engaging rather than being stifled by the system as I might have been in India.

  44. jimmy '13 says:

    Well i guess it’s safe to say we are all against the Indian system of education.

    But one thing I would like to share is that I really think even though the syllabus is , the teachers are amazing. My teachers are so caring and considerate, they are more like your friends rather than teachers and it’s not just with the ” you can approach me with any problems” kinda stuff..they enjoy the classes with you, making jokes and really having fun……I really hope that’s how things are @MIT..

    Any thoughts?

  45. jimmy '13 says:

    really think even though the syllabus is c%#p

  46. Yan says:

    On the bright side (aka, somewhere that this thread hasn’t been), it’s nice to see that great teachers once again have come to rescue humanity from all sorts of crap. In resonance with Jimmy ’13’s comment, I will honestly say that I’ve had amazing teachers here at MIT. My 8.022 prof. practically risks his life during every lecture for the sake of education (like climbing inside a dubitable Faraday cage in the presence of an electric field). I call that dedication.

  47. Varun says:

    We had a lesson called Einstein at School. Set back in the late 19th century, the education system was pathetic. Einstein was expelled because he didn’t “learn like a parrot”. Unfortunately that still prevails in India. Looking on the bright side, it is changing – slowly, but it is.

  48. Tree says:


    21 M.302 is on OCW smile

    I’m not in IB. I’m in an ISC school. Fortunately, we just happen to have APs. Again, APs are awesome because of what and how they’re taught.

    Also, how the ISC board was founded by the University of Cambridge doesn’t matter at all. And perhaps the English is different from CBSE but there’s no reason to say that CBSE is crap. People say that about ISC as well, you know.

    Someone liven up this thread. It’s getting too serious.

  49. Matt A. says:

    Hooray for good teachers! I’ve had several.

    I catch your drift, and a bit of further research has rendered a major assumption of mine bunk. It looks like each province has its own examination board for its schools, and the ISC and CBSE we keep hearing about are a sort of integrated honors program (kind of like IB in structure) that’s standardized across the country. In any case, my point is that India as a nation has taken a major interest in giving its capable students a quality education with well thought out methods and policies.

    Is your economics class a full year? My district actually requires it, but it’s only a semester course. (Why my school, supposedly the major magnet school in Memphis, doesn’t have AP Economics I’ll never know…)

  50. Erasmo says:

    “It’s usually between 19 and 35 degrees F when I go out..”

    Wow Yan, that’s beast-like running in such conditions. Here (in south texas) 60 degrees is a cold day.

  51. comboy says:

    sometime i stay up for 20 hours just coding and then return to sleep on my chair, mosquitoes are pleased to suck varies of concat(blood,copy(pixels,3,4)) with their # beaks, they choose a scope which is local to my . then someone come next morning and pass this.text = wow, that was very hard thing you did.
    but i call it lovely, there’s love in violet

  52. Ashwin says:

    I would just say that Indians DO have a tougher curriculum, but tougher for the wrong reasons, a curriculum that trains us for rote memorization – like Yan said.

    I wish we focused more on the understanding of the subject rather than trying to stuff our head with more and more and more facts.

    For us Indians to say we have a curriculum comparable to MIT (laughable) would probably just be seen by others as us venting our frustrations on the wrong people.

    And we especially lack on the research front.

  53. Matt A. says:

    @Indian Students
    Thanks for the details, I keep reading all of this stuff and I kind of needed that to get the big picture. I find it interesting what you guys keep saying about your system and its curricula and priorities, and it does make me appreciate the relative lack of intensity on the American end a little. I guess it gives time for better processing of concepts if the individual student is willing to put forth the effort.

    And I apologize for bringing back the heavy stuff, but I’m a bit fascinated by these cultural contrasts, and I have to seize the opportunity to talk to people in the system.

  54. Shivang says:

    The basic point is that the Indian system forces you to learn while the american system leaves it on you to find opportunities.(Latter is better)

    The science textbooks say,”Departure from the era of bookish learning blah blah blah…”. It ain’t so. They don’t recognize that eveyone doesn’t wanna become a scientist. Just get on the bandwagon and prepare for JEE. On the first day when your classes begin, the teachers ask you your name and percentage.(I’m serious. I mean we are numbers not humans).

    And then if you qualify the The basic point is that the Indian system forces you to learn while the american system leaves it on you to find opportunities.(Latter is better)

    The science textbooks say,”Departure from the era of bookish learning blah blah blah…”. It ain’t so. They don’t recognize that eveyone doesn’t wanna become a scientist. Just get on the bandwagon and prepare for JEE. On the first day when your classes begin, the teachers ask you your name and percentage.(I’m serious. I mean we are numbers not humans).

    And then if you qualify the <90% critaeria: Where do you go for JEE training?? You can’t say: I am not interested. Just become clones to earn more.
    I’ve heard parents say “Just get into IIT and your life will be all set.” Why? Life is much more than that. The IIT clones(about 99.99% IItians) end up having a good job but don’t what life is about. They don’t know their passions. Their calling. And they are worshiped here in India.

    RE:CBSE. This crap educational system has turned simple examinations into “OMG OMG Boards!!”. The 10th grade maths and science stuff is so simple yet 99% of my class(excluding some people like
    me) go to tuitions and coaching centeres. Not because they don’t understand the material or the teachers are not good but simply because these centers hand them “cram notes”.”Just learn them by heart and you’ll get 100/100 in your boards”.
    I mean we(India and probably some other parts of the world) are losing the spirit of learning science. Science is meant to experiment and research. Don’t just learn basic concepts-play with them. Apply them. Discover advanced texts if there is a question you really wanna investigate.(This worked with Albert Einstein. As this is MIT blogs I know I don’t need to post the details).

    This is the sad state today. And they claim something else. 11th and 12th graders are made to study very much advanced sciences. I feel sorry for the majority of folks who are pushed into learning science but are not genuinely interested in it(not interested in the rote part…Science would turn out to be interesting if it was presented in a different light). And what comes out of this crap system- They end up hating, yes hating science.:-(

    Sorry for hijacking your blog Yan. You’ve been my favourite blogger since eternity.grin)

  55. jimmy '13 says:

    Hey, no offence but don’t insult science by using it in the same sentence as “IIT”.They are worlds apart maybe even dimenisions…

  56. Shivang says:

    Looks like I made a lot of grammatical errors!
    I agree with Jimmy’13 on the teachers part as well. I’ve had one really good science teacher who actually knew what science was. She had been a research scientist in the past. She sent us on a mission outside books. And brought science into a different light-the light of reasoning. Unfortunately, she’s moved out of town. But we still remain in touch. grin
    As for the rest of the department, I have only one word-“crap”.

  57. Shivang says:

    @ Jimmy’13-
    Yeah, sorry. You are absolutely right-” IIT and Science are worlds apart……different dimensions of the string theory..”

  58. Shivank says:

    now whos this ….shivang???
    really…you nearly blew the trumpet from my mouth…
    @wow……..completely agree with you
    @tree…….agree with you to some extent…..havent been in IB board school…so dont know anything about AP…
    @Matt A………….In India we have two boards which are available throughout the country…ISC and CBSE….and there are 28 states each with a board of its own….The ISC and CBSE boards are more or less the same in difficulty….The difference is:
    1)ISC was established thanks to University of Cambridge
    while CBSE was established by the Indian government
    2)The english in ISC schools is way tougher….as we have Shakespeare,Short stories and poem…..all by 17th-18th-19th century writers….
    3)There are 0.05million ISC students…0.2million CBSE(10+2) students
    The point is…….whats the use of all this education…when..what most students in India do is mug up everything…without even understanding anything….and then just somehow write it on the paper….thats it…… dont need brains….only the ability of rote writing…and this is the worst part of the Indian Education System

  59. Shivang says:

    I am a student. What did you expect me to be?? an alien??

    @All Indians-
    I think we should ceasefire our war on the system here. The comments section is not for this stuff. MIT has already extented the tangible threads of courtesy by not deleting our posts. We are now pushing the envelope..

  60. Anonymous says:

    @Yan: How many layers do you wear when you go out to run in the morning, usually? Just wondering. 8:30 sounds like it would be pretty cold, at least when you started out. :x

    @Indian students: Honestly, for kids who actually want to learn it, all of these topics can be found in America as well. I agree with Tree– what’s the point in trying to make your curriculum appear more difficult than MIT’s? It really depends more on the student than on the curriculum; if a student really wants to, he or she will -make- his or her own curriculum more difficult. Plenty of my friends have already made forays into the worlds of advanced mathematics just out of curiosity. The idea is to learn because you actually want to learn, not just because your curriculum makes you– in this case, the difficulty of your curriculum shouldn’t matter.

  61. comboy says:

    there’s love in violet.

  62. Narce says:

    I certainly hope/think it will be difficult at MIT ^.^

    (the great part is that the pun works perfectly whether it is or isn’t difficult >.>)

  63. rankeya says:

    Does Greenland have an education system?.. if it doesnt id want to be there…

    @Yan: i am too lazy to find out but do they have UROP in mathematics as well or is it only in the Sciences?

    U all have applied to MIT.

    U all will go there if you get in (unless its a second choice school).

    U all know its got the best education to offer and that’s why you want to be there.

    So all this talk about Indian vs Rest of the World education systems is just because there is no other thing to mourn about.


  64. Yan says:

    Personally, I’m fascinated by the discussions on this thread. A country’s philosophy of education can say a lot about where it’s headed in the future.

    @ Rankeya:

    Yep, math UROPs do exist. My friend Phil had one last summer where he just sat around and solved really hard problems. Or something like that.

  65. Varun says:

    So Yan, did you get to run in snow? Or did the meteorological department not take the butterfly flying in my house into consideration?

    Talking of UROPs, are there many space oriented UROPs? I saw one on the list but that was understandably only open to US citizens.

  66. Narce says:

    Yan, sorry if you’ve had or seen someone ask this before, but at CPW, we won’t be required to have a host with us when we travel off-campus, will we? Because some people seem to be under that impression and I’ve already made plans that would be impossible if that’s the case ^.^”

  67. Yan says:

    @ Narce:

    Not that I’ve ever heard. At least I hope not.

  68. Narce says:

    Ah, thank goodness!

    And epic response speed, there.

  69. T says:

    Diff EQ. Is not Diff-E-Qult
    Bad-puns-for-everyone week.

  70. jimmy '13 says:

    @ rankeya


    your point is?

  71. Matt A. says:

    I’ve heard worse >_>

  72. jimmy '13 says:

    And besides, I have plenty of things to mourn about, chief of them being the lack of good science institutions over here.

  73. Yan says:

    @ Varun:

    If by “snow” you mean “60 degrees and sunny with a slight breeze”, then yes.

    Should this weather keep up, I’m going to run into Chinatown this weekend and take pictures and probably go to every bakery in a 2-mile radius.

    Regarding UROPs: Most labs don’t post their openings on the UROP page, so it’s best just to contact the research group directly if you’re interested. If you really want a space-oriented UROP, it’s likely that you’ll get one. I have a freshman friend who did research on soil from Mars last semester.

  74. rankeya says:

    @jimmy: good keep mourning because that’s really gonna make you do your best work and change everything here that you dont like… change is required agreed…… but will any of us work to change……. no……. so unless we are partaking in it whats the use of telling education system is this and that…….. i can understand we are applying to mit cos there are no institutions comparable to it in india….. but somewhere things have to start doesn’t it…… if americans would have kept on complaining about the advanced system of European university education then MIT would never have been formed…
    all i c is actually fear of getting rejected (high chances 15600 applicants) and then showing to the people how desperately you wanna get into mit.. but that shouldve been done in your application……. not here publicly……. even if you end up being a big shot your still gonna be an indian there dude…. this country…. this shitty education system etc etc….. but still a product of this country..

    @tree: i agree. no system is perfect…. if there is so much complaining then homeschooling is the way to go………..
    every teacher cannot be a richard feynmann… thats why we even pay attention to him…cause he was one of a kind…..

    goodluck to you jimmy!! no hard feelings……. its hard… its painful.. the exams suck……. but it has to be done…….. u wanna make a mark……. everything will go against you…. dunno why that happens… but yeah shit happens…

    (yeah even though it may appear so but im not a patriot…. )

  75. rankeya says:

    sorry feynman has a single n… i do grave injustice by spelling him incorrectly…….

  76. Varun says:

    Oh ok. Thanks Yan!

  77. Californian says:

    Go to Google Calendar and click “add” on the bottom left box, then click “Public Calendar”. Go to the Google section, then add weather, et voila!