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MIT student blogger Yuliya K. '18

My Monday by Yuliya K. '18

a detailed documentation

10:30 → Wake up. Panic. No time for real breakfast. It’s too early to have class. But mandatory attendance…

11:00 → I’m at Harvard. The light percolates through the autumn leaves in the Yard. I’m listening to Stevie Wonder’s “Visions” for the third time. It’s the perfect soundtrack.

11:30 → In discussion section, we discuss an inflammatory article in defense of racial screening. Students get frustrated, angry, averse. I understand the logic but not the reaction. The author is trying to be offensive on purpose. Why take a class on race if you can’t read racist articles? The TF tells us that it’s sometimes useful to read articles we disagree with. But if it’s too hard, we don’t have to read this piece again. She concedes that maybe it’s too hard for the class and not the best assignment. I recall the article on the “The Coddling of the American Mind,” one of many about the political correctness culture on college campuses. I have to double check myself every time I speak in this class. It’s a new experience.

12:00 → New observation: Harvard Yard reminds me of the East Campus courtyard, only with more grass and buildings of a different color. This makes the other school’s campus seem more homey. I pick baby red leaves from the ground to mail to my sister.

12:30 → The T ride back is accompanied by a carefully selected playlist. I look forward to the commute for this reason. I listen to Stevie Wonder’s “Visions” and “All in Love is Fair.” Then switch genres to Green Day, play “Homecoming” and “Whatsername.” One artist to daydream. The other to rock.

1:00 → UROP meeting! I’m working in the MIT Teaching Systems Lab, which is incubating a new graduate teacher education school. The Woodrow Wilson Academy is going to be the first competency-based teacher education program. Instead of regimented classes, aspiring teachers will need to complete competency challenges (e.g. create a performance assessment under given conditions). During the meeting, we discuss the pilot challenge for assessment competencies. It’s a fascinating project.

2:00 → Lunch at Clover. Food is good. Clover French fries with rosemary are wonderful.

2:30 → A hall member and I discuss whether there is a non-physical world. It’s an extension of a 24.00 Problems in Philosophy debate. Philosophy is my new (almost) favorite subject.

3:00 → Second UROP meeting! Same place, different project. For this one, I get to reserach existing competency-based theories and programs, as well as policies surrounding current educational institutions (e.g. the Carnegie unit requirement). I finally get to use the 47 million Harvard/MIT/Boston Public library resources. The first search gives me 90,000 articles. I go down the labyrinth of educational theories.

4:00 → I visit the Admissions Office with a question about the Shadow a Student program. I say, “I’m a student” to avoid confusion. I shudder at this phrase. It’s odd to say it, odd to be here.

4:30 → In the Infinite, a new hack hangs overhead. It’s the MIT Zoo. There’s a Course 16 Quetzal soaring high. A Common Spherical Cow. Bees on a t-shirt, because “ESP is not a hivemind” (that’s Educational Studies Program). I want to grab my camera to catalog the apparitions, but find that Chris Peterson already photo-blogged about the hack very well here.

5:00 → Computer time! Emails emails emails. So many emails. Then some procrastination (or, as I call it, important life research). I watch the vlogbrothers video on Benghazi. I read Selam’s wonderful blog post, “Breathless.” Here’s a quote from it I love the most: “What most people don’t seem to understand — both about themselves and about others — is that even if you love what you do, that doesn’t mean it’s not hard, and that it can’t hurt you. You still need to separately take care of yourself, your social life, and your physical health apart from your passions — which is what I’m now realizing.” So true of sophomore year.

6:00 → Time to make rounds on hall to check in with friends. How was your day? Good luck on psets and exams! The frosh are hosed this week. GIRs have entered exam season. The half-semester classes are over. Wow, we are halfway to winter break! Instructors have started sending final assignment emails.

9:30 → I wake up from a too long (but absolutely satisfying) nap. In my dreams, I had special powers and heroic adventures. Now it’s a new day. If I don’t sleep again tonight, is it still an all-nighter? I have two essays, three readings, and this blog on my required Monday list. Hopefully, I can also get to UROP work.

10:00 → Surprise! A friend from upstairs visits. We talk about the latest scretious news.

12:00 → It’s Tuesday. I have the whole night ahead of me. I have coffee and a soft couch. I have great music (Red Hot Chili Peppers, then Pink Floyd) flowing from my speakers. I have yellow walls that make me happy. When I need a break, I can walk down hall to knock on my friend’s door. She has purple walls and a blue hammock that also make me happy.

Monday ends.