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MIT student blogger Hamsika C. '13

Let’s Get Down to Business by Hamsika C. '13

'Tis the eve of a new semester.

Tomorrow marks the return of classes, p-sets, papers, reading assignments, and a tangible lack of both time and sleep. Yup, second semester is about to begin.

I’m taking the following classes:

7.013 – Introductory Biology
8.02 – Physics II
5.12 – Organic Chemistry I
9.00 – Introduction to Psychology
21W.755 – Writing and Reading Short Stories
9.URG – Graded Undergraduate Research in Course 9
Total: 72 units

I’m way more enthusiastic about my classes this semester than I was about my classes last semester. I loved biology in high school – mainly because I had a great teacher who complemented lectures in class with several hilarious stories concerning jellyfish, nodules, and hermaphroditic cats, but also because I found biology slightly more relevant to my existence than, say, gyroscopes (*cough* 8.01 *cough*) – not that I have anything against gyroscopes. They were entirely entertaining to play with last semester.

I also had an awesome time taking psychology in high school. That was the one class where I actually liked reading the textbook. We’d watch a whole bunch of videos by Stanford’s Philip Zimbardo, whose prison experiment some of you may have heard of. Towards the end of the year, we also got a chance to tour an MRI lab and take a look at the psychology in movies like “I am Sam” (I LOVE that movie!). I’ve heard a lot of great things about 9.00 here at MIT, so maybe it’ll eclipse my high school psych experience.

I’m taking the writing class for a couple reasons – first, I have a lot of fun writing and think it’d be great to improve my creative writing ability, or current lack thereof. Second, every MIT student has to pick a HASS concentration, and I want mine to be writing! It’ll give me a little break from the demands of science and math classes :)

9.URG is just a continuation of the Course 9 research I started doing during IAP. I love my lab! Everyone is nice, calm, helpful, and quick to guide me when I have questions regarding any independent work I’m doing in the lab. One of my floormates now has a UROP in the lab a few doors down from mine – I see this as a fantastic benefit to working in my lab because when I’m done with my work, I can pop into her lab and annoy her =P Or give her chocolate, since she REALLY likes chocolate :)

All in all, the only two classes I’m slightly wary about are physics and orgo, since physics always takes me longer to master than other subjects do and because I’ve never been exposed to orgo before. As a ‘sophomore,’ I’m allowed to designate one subject as an Exploratory subject, which means that I can take the class, see my grade, and decide whether I want to keep that grade or change the class to non-credit. Guess what I picked as my Exploratory subject? Yup, orgo. Ahh, that class is notoriously difficult…*cringe*

Other things I’m up to this semester: EMT shifts! I’ll be taking the state EMT exam in mid-March, but until then, I’ll be trying to get as much experience as I can continuing to work as a third rider on the MIT ambulance. Basically, anyone who’s CPR-certified can be a third rider on the MIT ambulance – so any of you admits who decide to come here next year should bring along your CPR certs and work with MIT-EMS! I’m also doing the same getfit program that Jenny blogged about earlier. Week 1 just ended, and I logged 660 minutes of exercise :) But now that classes are about to start, I’m not sure if I can keep it up. It might not be too hard, though – there are a few Indian dance shows coming up this semester that I’m going to be participating in. I’m sure we’re going to be practicing a lot. Time management is going to be crucial…

I hope you guys are having a blast as second semester seniors!! I had a lot of fun last year just spending time with people and cruising through school. Make sure you collect lots of little memories :)

23 responses to “Let’s Get Down to Business”

  1. L '14? says:

    Yup, your schedule looks tough. I love Physics, but orgo would kind of strain me too. I wish you could blog more about course 9 later, cuz after watching House MD I got interested in cognitive science. raspberry I guess for Forman is a neurologist.
    Anyways, thank for the blog and good luck!

  2. Hana '13 says:

    you’re taking72 UNITS??!!! whoa, good luck!

  3. Armin says:

    How come Graded Undergraduate Research is shortened to URG?!

  4. Brad says:

    Well physics is awesome ^_^ lol. Props for picking that. And about the orgo, if you don’t like remembering a whole bunch of things, it’s gonna suck. Bad. I have personally declared that after senior year, no more chemistry for the rest of my life.

    @Armin
    Undergraduate Reasearch; Graded…..

  5. Morteza says:

    Physics is very good and I love it. I think you should reconsider about gyroscope. Physics is about all of Nature but Biology is about only living parts.
    Thank for your blog.

  6. tree says:

    Biology controls life,
    chemistry controls biology
    physics controls chemistry,
    nothing controls physics, except, maybe me.
    haha, jk

  7. Keri says:

    So you took sophomore standing so you could take 72 units? Not a smart move, honey. It’s really not.

  8. Hamsika '13 says:

    Haha, no, Keri, I think it’ll be okay. I sort of don’t count 9.URG and think of it just as 3 units above the 2nd semester freshman credit limit. My lab is pretty easy-going, and it’s a lot of fun smile If it does become a problem though, I’ll drop something, don’t worry smile

  9. Gina says:

    Being a second semester senior is nowhere near as fun as people make it out to be. All this worrying and waiting and paperwork…

  10. K says:

    Good luck with managing the tough schedule, Hamsika. If inshAllah I am accepted I definitely plan to follow in your footsteps. I do have one concern though. Why is it that I hardly hear anyone blogging about any sort of extracurricular activities? Is the schedule too tough for students to participate in extracurricular clubs and activities? Are you a member of any of them?

  11. LucidLunatic says:

    “To defeat… the Huns.”

    I heartily approve of your HASS concentration. Wherever I end up going to school, be it MIT or elsewhere, I’m seriously considering a double major in Physics and Creative Writing. In fact my senior projects this year will be editing a novel manuscript (which I have yet to finish) and building a contraption to digitize dead-tree books.

  12. Oasis '11 says:

    5.12 is more like 18 credits than 12. no matter what you do, don’t underestimate that class.

    that is all.

    -jaded junior raspberry

    ps. especially if you are premed wink

  13. Vaibhav says:

    @ Hamsika
    Organic Chem is tough = understatement if I ever saw one! Why dont you try Solid State chem instead??
    PS. Whereabouts in India are you from?

  14. Harika says:

    What kind of Indian dance do you mean? I learn Bharatanatyam, so I’m just curious.

  15. Hamsika '13 says:

    Bharathnatyam and Kuchipudi smile

  16. CM says:

    I was gonna agree with Keri until I realized that you’re doing your UROP for credit. You should be fine.

  17. Harika says:

    That’s awesome! I am excited to hear that. So does MIT have quite a few chances for Bharatanatyam?

  18. Shivam says:

    72 units? Hahah you’re like a superhero, Hamsikaaa :D

  19. I didn’t heed my advisor’s warning about too many units, and by drop date everything spewed out over me… then again, I was Course 6 + BME minor, so I went through scary Course 6 classes + orgo + bio simultaneously… Things turned out okay, just lost some sanity in the process tongue laugh

  20. aldi says:

    im just curious is it the charles river in the background?(on your photo).Im an international student.

  21. 72 credits sounds tough. Incredibly tough.
    Glad to see that you’re taking a Physics course (: and I’m also really excited to see what you think of Orgo (I love Organic Chemistry, but I’m still a senior in high school so maybe I just like the easy stuff)

    Good luck & have fun!