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MIT student blogger Mollie B. '06

Lazy hazy crazy by Mollie B. '06

Summer for me means lab and cooking. I'm not sure which I like better.

I am just full of sweetness and light today.

Lab-related good news
So the presentation that I was making Photoshop slides for last time? I finished it, and gave it to Morgan (do I have to say that he’s the professor in charge of my lab? I do this in person all the time — I’ll be talking to someone, and I’ll be like “my boyfriend Adam” and they’re like “shut up Mollie, you’ve been dating him for over two years, I know he’s your boyfriend”. So if you know that Morgan is the Big Boss, be nice and don’t tell me). Morgan loved it (yes yes yes yes yes), and agreed with my postdoc that I should do a handful of further experiments, then write the first draft of the whole thing and submit it to some journal.

It was kind of a given that there would be a paper, and that I’d get to write it (this is my project, anyway, and I’ve been working on it for a year and a half), but I really wasn’t expecting Morgan to react to my data so positively. I guess I got better at presenting my data at the five zillion interviews I did this winter.

Famous scientists are not particularly inclined to say, “Oh, it’s okay if your data suck, you’re only an undergrad,” — they pretty much expect everyone to be amazing. Even though I generally disdain the reporting about MIT in the Boston Globe, I did like the turn of phrase used in an article last winter — that MIT undergrads are subjected to pressure “by professors who are simply older versions of [ourselves].” That’s very true, I think — MIT professors aren’t inclined to be hard on us because they’re jerks, but because they genuinely see the potential in us to be great scientists and engineers.

Kitchen-related good news
My favorite thing to do in the summer is cook up a storm, because it’s warm and I’m happy and we finally have time to go to the grocery store on a regular basis. Over the past few days, Adam and I have made spinach manicotti, veggie pizza on homemade dough, hummus, dill veggie dip, and salsa. On Friday afternoon, I even made a pie! It’s a blueberry/raspberry pie, and it is absolutely delicious. My dad made me promise that I’d make another one next weekend when he and my mom are up for graduation.

I absolutely love the fact that I came home from lab and baked a pie. It’s so traditional-but-not.

So now you should definitely come visit me when you get to campus — in addition to cookies, I’ll probably have pie. And who can resist pie?

1. Anonymous asked,

Hi Mollie, about the swim test: We are supposed to swim 100 yards on front? We do not need to use the backstroke, do we?

No, you definitely don’t have to swim on your back. The rule used to be that you could swim the last lap on your back if you wanted to, but the current wording appears to be that you have to swim all 100 yards on your front.

2. Dan asked,

wait, so do you bring everything to campus and not unpack most of it for a week, or do you have your parents bring it out a week later?

Well, if you have the option, I think it’s a great idea to have your parents bring your stuff out after you’ve gotten your permanent room assignment. (Saves a lot of lugging things around.) Those of us from far away often don’t have that option, though, so if you have to bring all your stuff at once, I’d advise packing necessary things in a suitcase and not unpacking everything else for a week. Unpacking and repacking is just going to be more of a hassle than it’s worth. Sidenote: If you haven’t read Jessie’s entry from Friday, you should read it now.

3. Britt asked,

you mentioned that it’s helpful to do a urop and get used to lab procedures/equipments before taking an actual lab-intensive class. since i’m also thinking of going into biology, would starting my first urop the summer before sophomore year, like you did, be too late?

I don’t think it would be too late at all — the summer before sophomore year is a pretty normal time for biology people at MIT to get involved with UROPs.

4. Britt also asked,

and what do you think about resident-based advising. is it bad to be in a dorm and not have a chance to reenter the dorm lottery?

Personally, I do think it’s bad to be locked into a dorm after the initial housing lottery. I mean, a video and a short written blurb don’t do much to introduce you to the actual day-to-day character of a place, you know? I think RBA is a good choice only if you’re 100% positive that you want to be in Next or McCormick next year; if you suspect at all that you might want to move, you shouldn’t pick an RBA dorm. (I also, personally, think the idea of RBA is hokey, in the same way that I think icebreaker games are hokey and that talking about your feelings with a group of near-strangers is hokey.)

6 responses to “Lazy hazy crazy”

  1. Omar '10 says:

    Hey, congratulations Mollie! I’m very happy that Morgan loved your presentation, way to go!

  2. sara says:

    if you’re not initially selected for an rba dorm but decide you want to live there, can you pick that dorm for the second housing lottery?

  3. Christina says:

    Haha, I keep scrolling up to look at the pie. :-X

  4. Charlotte says:

    Is Morgan’s lab a “multinational” one as well? Sometimes I think this is really wonderful. My lab for one, in my eyes, is a perfect picture of racial harmony. The Chinese undergrad teaches her Indian graduate mentor greetings during the Chinese New Year festive period. People banter among themselves in their native languages and no one feels uncomfortable about that. Nicest of all, united by a common love for science, we discuss fervently about stuff like pharmaceutical chemistry after lab meetings, forgeting about lunch–and forgeting about our identity differences. Isn’t that lovely?

  5. Charlotte says:

    By the way, according to Cox News, Dr Jackie Ying, who became a full professor at MIT in 2001 while still in her 30s, shifted her work to Singapore three years ago, saying that “the equipment, including US$500,000 DNA sequence analyzers, is new and better than what is available at MIT”. Do you forsee yourself following her footsteps one day in the distal future? But don’t worry though, having read through your accounts and that of other MIT bloggers, I’m still full of admiration for MIT. I like the way you people challenge yourselves and the way, in spite of the fierce competition and the academic difficulties, you people do not neglect to help out those around you -be they acquaintances or strangers. Cheers always!

  6. Christine says:

    I am so totally coming by if there is pie involved.