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MIT student blogger Jenny X. '13

LIFE! by Jenny X. '13

is my favorite entry title.

Ahh!!! This blog is finally happening!

I think my bio page gives a good idea of who I am – random, likes artsy stuff, etc, etc.
But to round out the intro: I’m a freshman @ MIT, trudging through endless piles of work while juggling the crazy new power/responsibility that is FREEDOM! It’s been over a month since I arrived @ MIT and naturally, I have processed more than enough thoughts to fill five entries.

But let’s start in media res – I did pretty legit badly on my 18.01A exam yesterday.

18.01A, in MIT lingo, is “accelerated” Calculus I, meaning we get a whirlwind tour of the second half of Calculus I in six insane weeks. Now it’s the third week or so, which would make that test the “midterm”. I don’t like how the syllabus disguised the test worth 22 percent of the final grade as a harmless sounding “Exam 1”. I also don’t like how I borderline-passed/borderline-failed my first exam @ MIT.

What I dislike the most right now is the fact that I’m feeling awfully normal about it. Perhaps about the fact that I didn’t straight up bomb it and get that painful “fail-mail” in my inbox telling me to schedule a makeup exam. But it’s more like this is not exactly how I imagined my first test here. I know I’m really slow at math, and this is college, and this is MIT at that, and there are tons of smart people in the class, and it’s pass-no-record the first semester, and I should try out lots of other activities during first semester, and what not…But I never thought it would be so easy to practically fail.

Almost everyone who’s here was probably one of the most academically successful people at their high schools. And I’m pretty sure I brought along whatever brain and work ethic I had from high school. But, the fact of the matter is, MIT work is a lot less BS-able than HS work. The myth is true: few questions are straight from a textbook or test only one concept; everything is about application and integrating (harharr-the bane of my existence!!!) multiple ideas to solve a key problem.

Yeahhhhhhhhhh— I don’t like the fact that I’m feeling this okay after doing awful on that test (not a good prognosis for life post pass-no-record) – but I’m liking the crazy things MIT has been doing to me: I finally buckled down and memorized the most irritating trig identities – a precious success after trying half-heartedly many times before, for class, for SAT II’s, for AP’s; I finally understood the Shell Method beyond just the automatic integral-of- 2-pi-r-y-dx. I solved a partial fractions problem…I don’t think I’ve ever agreed more with the time-honored: “It’s not the destination, but the process of getting there that counts.” I haven’t gotten far yet, but it’s already tasting like a worthwhile trip.

OK – this all sounds very nerdy right now, but when I figure out how to work pictures onto this blog, life will suddenly be more colorful. :P

26 responses to “LIFE!”

  1. Shuang Chen says:

    First! And Great First Blog Jenny!!!

  2. F-13 says:

    Have fun, and good luck!!!

  3. M says:

    Great first post, Jenny. I’m looking forward to reading your future posts, especially if they include awesome photographs of your Course 4 work.

    Welcome to the Admissions Blogosphere, and to the MIT way of problem solving!

  4. Reena '13 says:

    “As you set out on your journey to Ithaca, pray that the road is long…”

  5. makesense says:

    haha trig identities!!! good times… :D

  6. MDK says:

    mdk really likes your picture. But apart from that I agree w/ you on most of your content so there… >wmdk really likes your picture. But apart from that I agree w/ you on most of your content so there… >w<

  7. marcela says:

    OMG Jenny your pic is so cute!!!! =D

    And great post!!! I’m doing mine now… gah!

  8. Snively says:

    Fail mail is definitely real. In 18.02 I got fail mail twice.

  9. Steph says:

    Welcome to the MIT blogs! smile

    I like your honesty. General question: How many classes are you taking right now?

  10. shawn '11 says:

    Failing tests happens. Hardly passing tests also happen. Not freaking out about it is the best way to handle it smile.

  11. Keri says:

    I’m with Snively here, ’12. Intro math classes like 18.01, 18.01A, and 18.02 have fail mail. I got it three times in 18.02.

    (How did I pass that class again?)

  12. Melissa '11 says:

    Great thoughts…Shawn ’11

  13. Yo’ Jennaay. I’m so glad to read your first blog! Glad to hear you’re enjoying MIT! Keep writing, keep giving us advice and insight into college life! (and don’t get sick, as I’ve been hearing :c)

  14. Yun '12 says:

    HP representing, great first post! Look forward to seeing more smile

  15. '12 says:

    “Fail mail”? Even if you get a 0% on a test I don’t think you get an email asking you to schedule a make-up… you don’t get to make up tests like that…. unless 18.01A is special?

  16. sepideh says:

    I like people at MIT with the thought of architecture…nice!

  17. Jenny '13 says:

    Thanks for the words of encouragement y’all!!

    @ Steph – 4: 3 GIR’s and 1 HASS; 5 if you count sport taekwondo! raspberry

    @’12- Yea. For 18.01A, fail-mail only happens for the first “one-hour” exam. No such failmail for 2-hour finals :(
    I suspect it facilitates students who may benefit from switching from 18.01A to 18.01.

  18. Shreya says:

    Welcome to the blogs! :D

  19. Anon* says:

    Nice to see someone in MIT good at something other than science andmath!
    Schools like MIT is so great that people in all major are outstanding. smile
    Good luck with life at MIT Jenny!!

  20. ROAA says:


  21. Sheila '13 says:

    Hii jennyyy, it’ s sheila, the girl above your floor. :D :D i didn’t know you become a blogger until I just saw this post. Awesome post and i know how you feel (except I didn’t get a fail mail). lol :D

  22. fellow-hper says:

    you didn’t mention this when we caught up the other day!!!!

  23. Juhee says:

    Yeah Jenny! Burton 1 represent!

  24. Kes says:

    omg we have two bloggers‚ÄΩ