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MIT student blogger Sam M. '07

Like a freshman by Sam M. '07

Getting a P+ isn't just for frosh anymore.

DID YOU KNOW? Prussian Monarch Frederick William used to kidnap giants–like, people over 6’6″–hit them over the head, and put them in his royal guard.

Like a freshman? Haha, no, you aren’t allowed to do that until November.

No no, today I felt I like a freshman, hosed for the very first time. Last night I woke up at 5:30 to put the finishing touches on my 10.490: Integrated Chemical Engineering problem set (which eventually turned out to need about two and a half hours of touching) when I encountered my suitemate and moral compass Dizzle ’09, just finishing up a 2.003 lab report herself.

“Dizzle [’09],” said I, “Should I put 6.003 on P/D/F?”
“What?” said Dizzle.
“Pass / fail! Should I put it on pass fail?” clarified I.
“Oh, OH! I was like, what, adobe acrobat? I’m really tired; I think I’m going to bed now.” said Dizzle as she stumbled off into the night.
“Okay, good night Dizzle.” said I.
Five seconds later: “But yes, yes, put it on PDF, you’re a senior, you should sshshngngngngnnnn.”

So all day, while I was sitting in my classes slowly passing out from sleep deprivation (did you pay tuition yet this term, Sam’s Mom?) I was also contemplating the prospect of having a class on Junior/Senior P/D/F. You get to do this with any two regular classes of your choice during your senior year–the professor doesn’t even have to know, so he or she will just give you a B or a C or whatever and it still comes out on your report card as that most beautiful grade of all: a P.

“Hmm.” thought I during one lecture. “I remember calculating last year that if I got an A in every one of my six classes this term, my GPA would increase by one tenth of one point (MIT only rounds to the tenths place)! But if I got a B in any one of them it would stay the same.”

But I reconsidered an hour later: that’s really the dumbest reason anyone’s ever had for not taking a class P/D/F, isn’t it? I had also been a little worried that taking something on P/D/F would discourage me from learning the material completely, but I actually decided that it would (theoretically) just let me skip the harder problem sets once in a while if I had something else really important to do.

So, in between noncatalytic reformations of turkey carcasses in subcritical water today, I MIT shuffled my way over to the student services center, picked up an add/drop form, threw it at my advisor and seriously creeped his secretary out, and dashed gallantly back to the student services center with signed form in hand.

And so, this term is now officially 27% more freshman for me!

What more do you want?



Now I’ve got your attention.

8 responses to “Like a freshman”

  1. Mollie says:

    I never found that taking classes on junior/senior P/D/F made me work less hard on them. It just gave me a lot more equanimity when final grades came out.

    …of course, I am also the person who took two course 7 classes first term junior year, intending to take one of them pass/fail and rock the other one — and got an A in the one I took pass/fail and a B in the one I took on grades.

    So yeah, don’t listen to me.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Just in case people are confused — the lab was actually 2.002. So don’t you 2.003 people start freaking out that there are labs in this class now!

    Sam, I hope you’re sleeping right now.

    — Moral Compass ’09, trying hard to avoid magnetic monopoles.

  3. Colin says:

    I can’t believe you didn’t even talk about what was surely the best part of your day. I’M ONLY A LITTLE OFFENDED.

  4. Jess says:

    1. Cream soda. Cream soda float.

    2. When did you even take that picture? I don’t think I even looked up after.

  5. James says:

    “Like a freshman, hosed for the very first time.” I love it. You should finish the lyrics, and then find someone to sing it. It would make a great parody.

  6. Yikes, a cream soda float sounds really, really sweet. Even for me.

    Also, whenever I go to Jess’s blog from Sam’s blog I can’t get back to Sam’s blog.

    Please be careful.

  7. Mike says:

    Watching my Eagles fly on the road to victory today made me think…is there anyplace I can go that has like …NFL sunday ticket or something so I can watch the game?

  8. Sam says:

    Hey Mike, I’m not so sure about an NFL sunday ticket, but I know that people today left Marching Band and went home to watch a variety of football games, so I don’t think that’s going to be a problem. If MIT Cable doesn’t have the channels you want, hey, you could always pledge a frat or make some friends therein.