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MIT student blogger Anastassia B. '16

My favorite room on MIT’s campus by Anastassia B. '16

a personal room of requirement

My favorite room is a well-kept secret. I won’t reveal the location, but you can easily deduce longitude, latitude, and altitude from the view:

 

 

It’s good to be back to campus, now as a senior. Something feels different for me—among the usual buzz of activity, reconnection to friends, and eagerness for a fresh academic term is a permeating feeling of competence and belonging. This place is my jam. I’m writing from my favorite room right now, in a one hour break between classes: 20.320 (Analysis of Biomolecular and Cellular Systems) and 7.18 (Topics in Experimental Biology). I glance at my watch, which of course is on my computer—it’s Thursday, September 24, 1:06 pm. This is my current desk:
 

 

 

Tomorrow is Career Fair, and out of the 26 emails I’ve received so far today, 20 have been directly about opportunities or specific career fair happenings. But I’m not going this year. Tomorrow I’m off for an annual weekend retreat for the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, where I’ve done undergraduate research since spring of sophomore year. During retreat, the scientific community gathers to present research and connect, through faculty talks, poster presentations (here are examples for those who are unfamiliar), and informal conversations. Poster… that reminds me of my to-do list, which is in my to-do notebook, which is currently sprawled open to reveal a typical sight.

18 hours remaining! must do:

  • REDESIGN AND PRINT POSTER (5 hours)
  • 20.320 MATLAB question 3 (3 hours)
  • design and order DNA primers for 15 complementation constructs (2 hours)
  • complete MISTI-Japan summer report summarizing experience (3 hours)
  • write this blog post (1 hour)
  • send the important emails (.5 hours)
  • Japanese 5 homework/quiz (1.5 hours)

Of course, I need 1 hour for walking/eating/showering/getting ready, so if I complete all my tasks tonight that will bring me right up to 8am, ready to take my Friday schedule which begins with an 8:30 am meeting and ends with me falling asleep on the bus to retreat at noon. But even though it’s an all nighter, I look forward to it, because all of my tasks are relatively straightforward and somewhat fun. I got a lot of sleep last night (12 hours (because the night before I got 2, averaging nicely)), so I’m refreshed and focused, and this room really helps me get away from the campus bustle, sit down, and zone in. Right below this room is a similar room, which I like better in a lot of ways, except it’s missing a desk, which makes it much less functional. It’s the only indoor garden, besides my laboratory greenhouse, that I know of on campus. When my mom visited for a few days last weekend, I took her here while I was furiously preparing a presentation. She watered and trimmed all of the inhabitants.

 

 

I only discovered this space last year, when Justin C. ’16 was taking the 6.115 Microcontrollers lab on a lower floor of this building. There are many niches and architectural finds when you walk through each floor of each building in the campus*, which make the campus feel very different from the ground tours, and thoroughly my own.

*Bonus challenge: What percent of MIT’s total floor space, as in basement to top floor of all bulidings, can you walk without doubling back and without going outside? Please model as an optimized directed graph.

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This post is the first in what I hope is a series of live one-hour slices from my MIT experience. My biggest weakness as a blogger is wanting to write about many large things but as I push them off they become less relevant or difficult to complete and que in infinite postponement. So to counter that I’ll start with direct where-I-am/what-I’m-doing-now posts. Feel free to give me feedback! Alright, time for class :)