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MIT student blogger Becca H. '12

Learning Time by Becca H. '12

Because that really is what we are here for

Public class Spring2011

Public static void main (String [] args) {

// So at the beginning of every semester Matt sends out an email to the bloggers reminding us about the so-called “free” blog post, where we can write about a topic that we should know a lot about: our classes. I’m finally getting around to writing mine, and as you may be able to tell, one of my classes is 1.00 (or in non-MIT speak, Intro to Computers and Engineering Problem Solving).

My classes this semester are a little different than what I’ve taken before because I don’t have any lab based classes this semester. I’m quite happy about that fact, because I enjoy the more qualitative aspects of civil engineering, rather than the hands-on aspects (though power tools are lots of fun to play with). The material we are covering in many of my classes is no longer background material, but rather something which would be used in my work as an engineer.

1.00 (Introduction to Computers and Engineering Problem Solving)- This is a required class for Course 1C (civil engineering) majors, but there are lots of people from other majors who come and take the class. I know people in courses 2, 3, 9 and 10 who are taking or have taken the class, and I’m sure there are others. It is basically an introduction to programming in Java. I’m enjoying it so far, and I have to admit that it is a good feeling when your program runs without any errors, but I do anticipate lots of frustration later in the term. There are lots of small details which never seem to be quite right. I’m not sure I will use Java in my future, but I suppose it is good to finally understand what programming is.

1.011 (Project Evaluation)- Elijah already wrote about this class, but I’ll say a bit more. This class used to be called Engineering Economics, and was considered a pushover class, but both the title and the amount of work have changed. The focus for this class is infrastructure projects, the keystone of civil engineering. So far we have covered method for financially evaluating projects, and we will continue looking at how to analyze projects from financial, social, economic and environmental perspectives. The term project for the course is to do a case study of the evaluation process of a major infrastructure project. Go. (That’s pretty much the direction we have received).

1.036 (Structural and Geotechnical Engineering Design)—Much as the title says, this class is about design. Over the years, my classes have gotten less theoretical and more practical, and this class is no exception. Our project, preparing the structural design of a building system for a 3-story building meant to house classrooms, offices and laboratory space, relies heavily on the ASCE and IBC codes. I’m not sure what the geotechnical half of the class holds in store for us, but I do feel like I could go out into the real world (of structural engineering) and have some idea of what is going on.

21L.003 (Reading Fiction)—I’m taking this class in order to fulfill my HASS requirements (it is a HASS-D, which is no longer required for the classes of 2014 and later). I haven’t taken a literature class since my senior year of high school (Hi Ms. Graglia!), so it has been kind of a rough transition, but the mix of books we will be reading is diverse, which I am looking forward to. So far we have read short stories by Chekhov and Lu Xun, as well as Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man. Coming up with have The God of All Small Things, A Good Man is Hard to Find, The Word for World is Forest and the curious incident of a dog in the night-time, among others. HASS classes are a great break from psets, but I just have to get over my literary analysis writer’s block and get the papers done.

21M.460 (MIT Senegalese Drum Ensemble) – I wouldn’t quite consider this a class, but rather a performing group (not everyone takes it for credit). I was looking for something fun and different to do this semester, and Rambax fits the bill. I did a little bit of African drumming back in the day, and while Senegalese drumming is a little different than what usually comes to mind, it is infinitely enjoyable. I was in band in high school and it has been a pleasure getting back into something musical. All we have learned so far is a simple rhythm called tuus, but I am looking forward to learning more.

5 responses to “Learning Time”

  1. Haha I love the Java class declaration that you used in the post. Don’t forget your braces and /Applications /Installer Log File /Library /Network /System /User Guides And Information /Users /Volumes /Xcode3.1.4 /bin /cores /dev /etc /home /mach_kernel /net /private /sbin /tmp /usr /var */ to make the entire thing a comment, otherwise you will get those errors ;]
    Im studying for the AP compsci exam so I see lots of those:)

    I’m loving the fact that MIT has a ton of music related course/events going on. Love love love it. Big ups on participating in Rambax smile

  2. MG '15 says:

    We just finished discussing/ being assessed on A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man today in my AP English Lit & Comp class today. smile Also I love The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time; the logic puzzles interspersed are very interesting.

    Good luck in your Java pursuits!

  3. Robert says:

    lol i couldn’t resist commenting after I saw the main class thing. i took java in 10th grade and that’s pretty much all i remember about it. well, that and System.out, and something about objects and some other fancy programming word involving multiple sheets of code to work right (i don’t think sheets is the right word, though). I guess I could take it again in college…should be a little easier since I’ve seen it before.

    what exactly do you do with civil engineering?

  4. Worgus says:

    love the java thing.
    but the code returns nothing.