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MIT student blogger Rachel F. '12

My Stomach Overrides All Priorities by Rachel F. '12

culinary procrastination

If there’s one thing I am utterly terrible at, it is prioritizing. My top priorities of the moment keep getting supplanted as more and more pressing Ideas Of The Now pop into my head. Today, the pecking order ascended from the somewhat ambitious “Find a UROP to turn into a thesis!” to “Keep learning Haskell!” As I paged through windows at an excruciatingly slow pace in my browser to do just that, I was seized by the sudden necessity to “Write a browser quicksearch tool to make online utilities more efficient to use!” which rapidly degraded into “But I need to set up a server somewhere first for it to run on!” But since I didn’t want to run a server off my laptop, and MIT’s virtual machine service is down for maintenance, I regressed to “Organize rush logistics that probably should have been sorted out last week!” I actually managed to complete this. Which leaves me with at least four pressing tasks, and the burning question of what to do for a thesis.

This is the reason, if you were unlucky enough to see my room last year, that my walls were papered entirely in post-it notes. Moving away for the summer gave me a chance to start anew, with wide-eyed dreams of exclusively electronic planning, but I already have one big one pinned right in front of my workstation just in case I forget trivialities or forget to check Google Tasks, as I am wont to do: “Feed Kristina’s cat until Thursday, and don’t forget she lives in Jordan’s room.”

In a heroic effort to atone, I spent a whole morning powering through little tasks (“DON’T FORGET TO EAT BREAKFAST”, “archive old emails”, “organize closet”) and making an authoritative list of pre-Reg-Day priorities, which I promptly tacked above my monitor so that I probably couldn’t miss it.

Then, because Facebook fed me three solid meals a day five days a week for twelve weeks and I didn’t get to touch a kitchen this summer, I ran headlong into the warm, humid embrace of the Fifth West kitchen. I simmered a giant beef stew with potatoes and onions and grains and then shredded cilantro and cheddar on top and the cheese melted all over the starchiness of the potatoes and it was wonderful. I husked and roasted ears of corn with tons of pepper and chili. I made dough for two giant loaves of peasant bread and set it aside to rise for tomorrow. I smashed an avocado into guacamole with a lime and a pinch of salt and ate it all. I baked tiny, terrible pies filled with nutella and bananas and strawberries with my neighbor Ale. I brewed deliciously, punchily strong espresso syrup, rendering Kahlua obsolete in my pantry, and drank it cold on the rocks like a gentleman despite lacking milk or cream to test it on.

And then, because I am a terrible blogger who has been accustomed to carrying an iPhone for the last twelve weeks and is now extremely full, I forgot to take a single picture of my mouthwatering reunion with food.

Tomorrow morning, I’ll tackle numero uno on my conspicuously block-lettered list of priorities, for reals: “Find a UROP to turn into a thesis.”

Until then, home sweet MIT.

7 responses to “My Stomach Overrides All Priorities”

  1. Couldthisbetrue? says:

    Sorry for the irrelevance of topic, but MIT allows cats in dorms?!?!?!?!???? Like this place already.

  2. Food cravings definitely trump all other conscious thoughts. What would we do without Post-it notes? tongue laugh Best of luck finding a thesis-worthy UROP!

  3. Piper '13 says:

    @Couldthisbetrue? – It depends on the dorm. East Campus has 5 cat halls (out of 10). Certain floors in Random do. I think certain floors in Senior Haus do, as well. I’m less familiar with the cat policies on the rest of campus – but yes, some dorms allow cats smile

  4. Rachel F. '12 says:

    @anon: I took 6.046 freshman spring and did some CS in high school. programminginterview.com is pretty helpful for a quick refresher. a typical interview with a reasonably established software company is about an hour long and data structure oriented.

  5. anon says:

    @Rachel: 6.046 freshman spring? holy crap.

  6. anon says:

    How did you prepare for your interview at facebook? Did you just review stuff from 6.006 or something like that? (or more relevant to underclassmen like me, did you do an internship last summer and if so how did you prepare for that interview, presumably not having taken algorithm-y courses… I assume)

  7. Becca says:

    Hey Rachel, what sort of stuff do you do outside classes? And how much time does that usually leave for things like sleeping/cooking?