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MIT student blogger Jenny X. '13

Movin’ On by Jenny X. '13

Goodbye '09//Hellooo IAP

Wow; it’s already 2010.

Anyways, Monday 1/4/10 marks the beginning of IAP 2010. For those unfamiliar with IAP (Independent Activities Period), it’s basically the whole month of January during which …MIT students do whatever they find worthwhile – whether it’d be a mini-internship, starting/continuing an UROP, learning to snowboard, making pottery, or (gasp!) taking a class (many people do. ‚ò∫)

Browse around this year’s IAP site for a better idea ‚Üí Overview of IAP 2010

From what I’ve heard, some of the most popular offerings that fill up very quickly include the beverage-related activities (such as A Taste of Scotland: Single Malt Scotch Whisky Tasting Seminar, In Vino Veritas, and Thirsty Ear Beer Connoisseur Class (all with legal age and ID’s as prerequisites of course). Also with competitive enrollment is the IAP beginner glassblowing class, which uses a lottery system; students will learn the basics of making beautiful projects like this:

(Credit: The MIT Glass Lab-
Luckily, my suite-mate Evie got in this class -can’t wait to see what she makes!

& Finally, a search for “IAP” on the blogs homepage will pull up some more personal experiences worth reading.

Here’s a preview of my first IAP – which I’ll surely blog about in the coming weeks.

P.E. ice-skating @ 10 AM on MTWR – I’ve been ice skating before, but am no where near comfortable on ice. Here’s a chance to change that. You might wonder why I should subject myself to something @ 10 AM four days a week, why, it must be because I have a math class at 12 PM and would not like to rush in between; plus I just found out p-sets for that class are due at 11:45 AM…good call on my part. Pat pat. Without further ado, the aforementioned obligation that will try to monopolize my IAP…

18.02A– This is a continuation of 18.02A in the fall semester, during which we finish learning multivariable calculus. After completing half of the course in December, students choose to complete the second half during either the spring semester or IAP (which I believe is the choice of many since IAP grading is still pass-no record). But IAP 18.02A consists of daily lectures and recitations twice a week, four difficult p-sets, an one-hour exam, and a two-hour final. It will be a pain in the rear, but surmounting the math GIRs during IAP means room for other classes during the spring!

Java/Python/C++?? – So there’s a bunch of IAP offerings on programming. The options include Postscript, Python, C, C++, Haskell, and Java. I have not heard of half of the aforementioned languages, but gathering from Chris’s latest post, 630 MIT students are course 6! I have got to taste some of this, the computer science part that is. So if I find time, I will try to attend one of these programming series.

Paint my room bamboo – personal goal; wonder how this will go.

Random events – i.e. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook…Oh My! What does your online image tell employers? ,Charm School, and Chinese Dessert Night .

• The much talked about Mystery Hunt – See Matt’s 2007 post

Take/practice for the Swim Test! – shhh… <size=”1″>I still haven’t taken the swim test (100 yards consecutively any stroke you prefer) that we were supposed to have taken during orientation or by September 24th … or by Oct. 30th as the last email from MITPE commanded…Maybe it’ll get done during IAP?

Feel free to discuss your new goals for 2010 – now that apps are, for the most part, history!

Lastly, Happy New Year’s, of course!

32 responses to “Movin’ On”

  1. Sounds like WISE (:
    If only you could include “get license”…

  2. EVIE GOT IN?!

    I’m super jealous

  3. Camilla says:

    Wow! College sounds like so much fun. Do students get to do IAPs every year?

  4. Anonymous says:

    How about working on your “Pirate” degree???

  5. Vinay H. says:

    Thanks for the idea to paint my room bamboo! Sounds like something I need to do myself.

  6. Elias ('14) says:

    Having played with almost all of those languages, I strongly recommend either Java or Python [personally, I enjoy the former more].


    CS is a wonderful thing! GO GET WET! [In the feet dipping sense, getting soaked is a major time-drain. xD ]

  7. Elias ('14?) says:

    A) Correction to status: not ’14 yet! [maybe in March wink]

    B) By ‘play,’ I mean I’m fluent in Java, and have dabbled in the rest. Just so’s my bias is clear.


  8. Brad says:

    IAP sounds like fun!!! I can totally see myself enjoying MIT. Hey Jenny do you know kimberly aziz? She’s in your year. Hope to be there in fall 2010!

  9. shaft says:

    Good choice with ice skating PE. And don’t forget about Charm School:

  10. Piper '12 says:

    @Camilla – Yep, IAP happens every year. (This is particular to MIT – though some other colleges do similar things. Harvard is trying its first IAP-equivalent this year.) It’s up to you whether you want to take classes, just do fun stuff, or go home and sleep for 6 weeks instead of 2 weeks. Note, the last one’s lame smile

    Happy IAP, everyone ^.^

  11. Ammar'14? says:

    Since Elias prefers Java, I’ll even the balance and recommend Python ..

    * Python programs generally take less time to write. For example Python programmers waste no time declaring the types of arguments or variables.

    * Python’s logo looks much cooler! . That’s just my opinion of course.

    * Java on the other hand has more applications on mobile phones and other devices (see Google Android)

    Of course that’s a very biased opinion too, Java has a lot more going its way than that, but I’m supposed to try to convince you here, right ?

    btw, I have absolutely no Java experience, which makes this even more biased.

  12. Naim ('14?) says:

    how long does it take to finish the financial aid forms?

  13. Emilio '13 says:

    Don’t forget 8.01L… :/

  14. Anonymous says:

    What about people who aren’t comfortable swimming? ._.

  15. Elias ('14?) says:

    Well…I would tend to recommend that you overcome your discomfort!


    No really: a little programming is a wonderful thing, and it gives great perspective on everything. Of course, if you REALLY HATE GETTING WET, you could put on some metaphorical rain gear, and venture forth into the light mist which is TI-Basic: by this I mean that you ought to play around with the programming language of your graphing calculator [and if you don’t have one, I strongly recommend the TI-89: it’s a wonderful thing, really].

    If this is STILL enough to make you shudder with fear at the thought of being hit by lightning while wet [as opposed to the equally chilling possibility of being struck while dry], you could…go into HTML/Scripting. However, one way or the other, if you won’t get wet…you can’t go swimming.


    Treat the phobia! Learn to swim! [And the best way to do that is to join a swim team. So go and start coding [and if that metaphorical phase shift took you by surprise…you’re probably not alone. wink ]]

  16. Anonymous says:

    Oh– no– I love programming– if I got in I’d be course 6. I meant uncomfortable with literally swimming. raspberry

  17. Elias ('14?) says:

    *is confused*

    Did someone mention LITERAL swimming? I thought I remained restricted to the figurative.

    >_*is confused*

    Did someone mention LITERAL swimming? I thought I remained restricted to the figurative.


    Well, in any event, you’re forgiven then. Swimming is overrated [read: love hate relationship acquired from swimming on swim teams. xD].

    What’s your preferred language?

  18. Jenny '13 says:

    @ Vinay – Haha, let me know if you actually do it! smile

    @ Elias & Ammar – Haha, thanks!!! Your arguments are actually really helpful!!! :D

    @ Brad – I recognize the name from facebook…haha, but not in person; Good luck!

    @ Naim – To be honest, I got a lot of help on the finaid forms from my parents. I think the forms aren’t hard or anything. The tough part is gathering all the reference documents you need to fill out the forms and keeping an organized record of finaid apps for all your schools.

    @ Anonymous uncomfortable with literally swimming – Well, I am too, which is why I’ve been evading the test. The thing is, I technically know how to swim, but I just don’t have the confidence to swim all 100 yards without choking up and stopping. So: if you barely know/don’t know how to swim – you can choose to take one quarter of beginner swim PE and that’ll count as a pass. if you kinda know/don’t want to take a class (like me) – you…avoid, and theoretically practice, and take it before ASAP/before graduation.

    p.s. i’ve been doing recaptcha for the past minute; it won’t work!

  19. Elias ('14?) says:


    I have no problem talking about code. I’d do it more, except the average human gives you funny looks.


    And also: the Recaptcha black circles are priceless. I can’t read the words now [well, obviously hyperbole, since my posts go through. But the point remains].

  20. Anonymous says:

    @Jenny– oh, that makes me feel a little better, at least. The problem is that I’ve had a medical condition for the past few years that’s a little complicated, but the point is that I couldn’t go in chlorinated water, so… I haven’t swum since, oh, sixth grade? :/ haha and to compound that, I acquired the condition right after finally learning how to swim. Wooohoo.

    @Elias– Java, but that’s mostly because I don’t have thaaaat much experience in other languages. Honestly though, even if (when) I do get more experience in other languages, I have a feeling that Java will always have a special place in my heart. smile Oh, and TI-BASIC, of course. :D hahhaha.

  21. hey brad!…ur such a stalker!.lol..hopefully i’ll be seein ya soon!..enjoy trinidad while u can! is cold!..

  22. Alum says:

    ROFL figurative vs. literal swimming… Reminds me of the joke during 6.111 lab jamming session. We were talking about someone’s wireless chip not working, and then another person came back with a bag of BBQ chips and asked if she wants these chips instead.

  23. Jenny'13 says:

    @ Alum – OMG! That reminds me of when I attended an MIT info session back during applications… and some people were talking about cookies and I was like “where?!?!?!”; no one responded. My friend enlightened me that they were indeed talking about those darn internet cookies. Sigh.

    btw; ReCaptcha says “chemists unemployed” …Uh-oh…..jk, raspberry

  24. Ammar '14? says:

    Ok, time to go back to the Java vs Python argument

    The most used argument for the Python campaign is speed and productivity, and that’s not just about declaring variables; Python’s built-in high-level data types, not to mention polymorphic list and dictionary types, in combination with Python being a dynamically typed language, it all makes the typical Python program 2-3 times shorter than its Java counterpart.

    the standard Python library covers everything from asynchronous processing to zip files so you can create things as big as a web server with a few lines of code !

    Python programs are generally compact and much more terse, meaning you can apprehend them all in your mind at once much more easily than doing the same with a Java program. and that saves time in debugging and writing your program and saves you headaches.

    Example : classic Hello World Program written in Java and written in Python

    This article has many more examples and details.

    Python is open-source as well with a community developing it. it can also integrate well with many platforms and virtual machines, like COM, .Net, COBRA, and even the Java Virtual Machine !
    Ever heard of Jython ?

    So my point is, for someone who isn’t a programmer and doesn’t intend to delve too deep into the world of programming, productivity can be achieved with a small chunk of Python as opposed to a bigger chunk of Java.

  25. Hamsika '13 says:

    lol, i still need to take the swim test too…

  26. Mehmet '14? says:

    I’ve had some experience in Python and I’d say it was pretty good. Therefore I would have to support Ammar’14? on this one.

    BTW organizations like Nasa, google, yahoo, cern all use python. It also has a very uncluttered visual layout.

    @Elias (’14?): Recaptcha’s always crack me up with weird words!

  27. Elias says:

    Well Ammar, between the two of us we might make a balanced argument for both! I also have little experience [at least in production coding] with Python.

    Now then!

    In reference to your first point, I might argue that it’s a matter of familiarity: explicitly declaring the type of variables becomes second nature, and the time delay is just that: the amount of time it takes to write a single word. Furthermore, I’ve found that the static typing can be helpful in extremely convoluted invocations [which we obviously try to avoid, but sometimes it can’t be helped].

    Second: But Duke! I mean, the snake may be cool, but still…. xD

    Your third point obviously has my concurrence, especially since the FIRST controlling module is in Java now.

    I would extend my own argument, and I welcome you to argue back [I don’t have the knowledge for a two-sided debate]. Java is possessed of, if nothing else, an extremely potent edge over many other languages. It’s developed by a community! That is to say, it is largely open source. Furthermore, it has the best IDE I’ve encountered in 3 years of programming. In keeping with this general support, the overall [url=”” rel=”nofollow”]
    implementations[/url] are quite good, so you don’t find yourself implementing the wheel every time you want to make use of a simple map. That general theme of broad support that is already in place can be found throughout the language, but I shan’t go into it in depth just here, as it’s beyond the scope of my argument.

    Hmmmmmm, I think it’s fair to say that I enjoy the language, if nothing else.


    [Apologies to the moderator who may have to view duplicate attempted postings: apparently there are some quirks to hyperlinks. :( ]

  28. tree says:

    That gives me a ponder: Why are swim tests required in college(some other college requires such a test)? Afraid that we’re going to drown while watching the flying seagulls at beaches? Or is it that the swim pool is too cold?

  29. Brad says:

    @ Kimberly Aziz
    haha. Stalker? Psshhh. Nice to know you remember that i exist though!! Coulda give me a lil memo that u were in trinidad.

  30. Zeki('14?) says:

    IAP sounds amazing.And like everybody who is trying to enroll,I have another reason to come now…

  31. Jess says:

    I wouldn’t have taken the swim test until June of this year if I hadn’t been coerced into taking it with a buddy of mine last year. You have plenty of time smile

  32. Tim ('14?) says:

    I realllllllllly hope I get to do IAP next year smile