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MIT student blogger Laura N. '09

My Courses and Stuff by Laura N. '09

Mason '10 made up the title, blame him.

I think it was Snively who called this the “freebie” entry: describing the classes you’re taking in a given semester. Well, now that I’m a first semester senior who just decided to change her major around, this should be a little interesting, maybe.

21M.705: The Actor and the Text
You’ve probably heard about the required Humanities concentration. If not…well, now you have. I chose to do my concentration in Theater Arts. This will actually be the third acting class I’ve taken, and we’re really getting into some good stuff. I’m super excited about this class, basically we work on scenes all of the time. A typical 2 hour class starts with a warmup, some yoga/stretching type exercise to get us loosened up physically, and maybe an improv activity to get us loosened up mentally. Then we get to acting. Every week we’re responsible for memorizing a monologue or a scene with a partner or two. Then we perform, and get critiqued. We haven’t really gotten too far into anything yet, but I’ve already memorized a super awesome anti-establishment monologue from a play called Another Antigone and I’m really looking forward to it. =)

21M.604: Introduction to Playwriting
Another Theater Arts class. This one might not make the final cut when (if?) my schedule ever finally calms down. But I’d hate to drop it, I’ve been wanting to take it ever since I was torn between concentrating in Theater Arts or Creative Writing. Intro to Playwriting was the obvious solution to this dilemma. As much as I love writing, creative writing is really, really hard to stick with. It’s incredibly difficult to make yourself sit down and write something from start to finish. My hard drive is littered with scraps of nonsense that will probably never blossom into full-fledged novels or even short stories, so I’d be thrilled to have a few one act plays to my name by the end of the semester. Also, the course instructor is supposed to be really, really good. Yay for HASS classes.

2.65J: Sustainable Energy
You might be wondering what the “J” at the end of that course number means. You’ve probably heard by now that all of the courses at MIT are numbered, but where do we get off throwing letters into the mix? I remember as a freshman being told that courses with more numbers were harder, while courses with letters were easier. This is a total lie. It all depends what the letter stands for. Well, I’m not actually sure what the J “stands for,” but it means that a course is offered under multiple course numbers. What’s the point of that? Well, it can count towards your degree in any of a number of majors. Courses designated with a “J” are interdisciplinary, so students from more than one major might be in the class- but they might all also be fulfilling a graduation requirement! Most of these courses represent only two different courses, but 2.65 J is officially called 10.391J/1.818J/2.65J/3.564J/11.371J/22.811J/ESD.166J- that’s seven different departments! The numbers are only for administrative purposes- everyone in the class shows up in the same lecture hall at the same time and turns in the same psets, they just have a different course number listed on their transcripts. The point of the course is to analyze different types of energy and figure out what might represent the right solution for a given application based on technological, economic, and political concerns. The first pset for this class doesn’t look so bad- there are some very practical problems about things like estimating how long you’d have to own a hybrid car for the extra initial cost to outweigh the money saved in gas mileage, and figuring out the impact of switching all the lighting in Boston to high efficiency lightbulbs.

11.366 Planning, Participation, and Consensus Building for Sustainable Development???
Hopefully I’ll be able to add this class as part of my newfound purpose in life. According to the course catalog, the course analyzes the competing interests that come into play in the field of sustainable development by looking at case studies in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. I’ll be sure to keep you updated if I manage to add the class!

2.009: Product Design and Development
This is it, the moment you’ve all been waiting for. Course 2 majors look forward to first semester senior year with equal parts excitement and dread. 2.009 is sort of the be-all and end-all of a Course 2 degree. Every fall, of the seniors hoping to graduate in the coming June eagerly await the announcement of the 2.009 “theme,” which is the area in which the different teams must design and fully develop a new product. This year’s theme is “the home,” so we’re already busy filling our design notebooks with brainstormed ideas about better mousetraps, energy saving and water recycling systems, and mattress alarm clocks. (Guess what that is.) Within a few weeks we’ll settle on a final product, do some detailed design, analysis, testing, marketing…the whole deal. Definitely check out the website, it’s insanely detailed, regularly updated, and full of tons of pictures. They take photos every day in class, and there are definitely a few of me in there. See if you can spot them. ;-)

So, those are my classes for this semester. They seem pretty awesome so far. Of course, I say that now

Also, at this point it’s necessary to wish both Matt and Mollie a happy anniversary- they married their respective spouses (not each other!) one year ago today. So go spam them with comments. =)

9 responses to “My Courses and Stuff”

  1. Mollie says:

    Ha! I’m unspammable because all of my entries are older than 30 days!

    Regardless, thanks for the anniversary wishes. As an anniversary present, my husband designed and made me a gorgeous 3D model of a mouse brain. :D

  2. hmm… the theater course sounds quite interesting. but, i’d be more interested in a creative writing concentration….or maybe social work or something(if there’s something like that)…all IF i get in. I can’t wait for March (lol)

    Interesting post and good luck with ur courses.

  3. Claire says:

    mattress alarm clock = clock that vibrates the mattress at a specified time, really useful for deaf and blind people.

    bam!

  4. karen fig says:

    the “j” is for joint smile

    yay course 11 classes!

  5. Ashwath says:

    @Mollie: You’re still my favourite student blogger ever!

  6. Piper says:

    I used a shake awake for a while, but then I just started to grab it, turn it off, and go back to sleep. It turns out I need to be vertical to really wake up wink

  7. Rohan says:

    Laura,
    I was just wondering if you have taken any philosophy classes at MIT. I am also interested in what you think about the humanities at MIT in general. Thanks.

  8. I’m pretty interested in doing a creative writing or a theater arts concentration as well. Of course that is if I get in …. Anyway, nice post1

  9. Sam says:

    WRONG. The J is for Jefferson W. Tester.