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MIT student blogger Jack-William B. '21

Managing a Full Plate by Jack-William B. '21

Both Food and Life

Transitioning from first to second semester has actually been pretty refreshing in these last few weeks. In my last post, I uploaded a picture of my schedule. Compared to first semester, I now have more classes, more homework, and more responsibilities. Although the amount of time I spend on school has definitely increased, I could not be happier with how life is going in these first few weeks.

Today was my first midterm of second semester in differential equations. I walked out of the exam room confident and ready for my chemistry midterm this Wednesday. Other than classes being in full swing with psets and midterms starting up, I also started my job at TSR^2 (Talented Scholars Resource Room.) I mentioned this at the end of my last post that I had gotten the job, but I am now through the training and have completed two one-on-one tutoring appointments now. I am a teaching assistant/resource for students in 8.02 (Electricity & Magnetism), that I just took last semester, so it is all fresh in my mind. I don’t think I’ll ever escape drawing at least one Gaussian surface a week! Academically, it was the best part of my week. It felt great to be back helping people in a subject that I love and am passionate about, and it reminded me of the times in high school when I would stay after school ranting to two or three students about why physics is great.

With this new job and new schedule, time has become a more limited resource. I should say I don’t think it is a bad thing. Last semester, I spent a decent amount of time not efficiently. This semester has made me formulate a more effective approach to psetting and managing time outside of lectures and recitations. Last semester, I ended up spending way too much time trying to finish problem sets before we even learned the material for the course. I ended up taking twice as much time solving problems because I would spend half the time teaching myself the material and the other half solving the problem. Then, later that week, I’d find myself in the classroom hearing the same stuff I had already went over prior. This semester, I have eliminated that. Although sometimes I feel like, “AHH there is still half the pset to do and only two days until it is due!” (Literally me with Real Analysis as we speak) I end up learning the material in lecture in that timespan and then can knock out the problems in no time. I now spend about half the time psettting that I did last semester, but I feel that I am learning the material a lot more in depth and in a more effective method that allows for my limited time to be used elsewhere or reaffirming my understanding for other concepts that were a;ready taught. I’ve also started headed to office hours for both Physics and Real Analysis as the psets for these two classes in particular tend to be shorter but with more mentally challenging problems to complete. It really has helped me a lot for Real Analysis since I have never written proofs formally before this class, so it is a whole new methodology to try and master this semester. Who knew that proving such trivial things would be such a hassle!

Other than the fact that my plates full of three jobs and five classes, my plate is also full with food, hence the title of this blog post! With my weeks jam packed, I tend to really enjoy the weekends. Luckily, I have a girlfriend who loves eating food as much as I do, and we have made it a tradition at this point to try new places for dinner every friday night and breakfast/brunch (normally it ends up being brunch cause sleep is not for the weak, it is for those who just made it through five days of academic hell) on Saturday morning. It is extremely rewarding and like a destressing process after the week to just have that time to relax and indulge in delivered chinese food and Black Mirror at Next House, or mixing it up and eating out at a nice Italian restaurant in the North End. It makes me appreciate these moments more knowing all the work that was done throughout the week. In the last month, I have gotten some amazing pancakes from The Paramount, an egg sandwich from Mike and Patty’s, and some egg burrito thing this week from a place a few subway stops north. I mean look at some of this food! Credits to Chloe for these pictures because my phone’s camera is the epitome of android quality, and she takes much artsy-er photos.

This semester has really brought a good balance to my life when I think about it. Although I am almost in a constant state of doing something, everything I am doing is something I am passionate about and actually want to be doing. I feel like I am wasting barely any time. Working my butt off through the weekdays makes the weekends of lounging around on Friday and Saturday, exploring new places for food, and picking out fruit at Haymarket just that much more enjoyable. I am really enjoying not only what I am learning but life in general this semester, and I can fully say I am satisfied where I am here both mentally and physically.