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MIT student blogger Mollie B. '06

My mom is here! by Mollie B. '06

...and she's critiquing my cheerleading skills.

Well, Parents Weekend was last weekend, but my mom is unconventional (read: cheap; there were no cheap tickets from Columbus to Boston last weekend) and decided to create her own Parents Weekend this weekend. She left my brother (age 16) and my father (still not old enough to cook for himself) back in Ohio to fend for themselves. Perhaps they will have to hunt wild game or poach a cow from a nearby farm. (Actually, I think the only farms we have near our house are sheep farms. But whatever. Cow poaching just sounds cool.)

My mom arrived in Boston at 5 PM, just in time to eat an oh-so-healthy college student meal of pizza ordered on the internet. (Seriously, Adam and I cook for ourselves all the time. But we’re both busy and we haven’t had time to go grocery shopping in a while, and fresh vegetables don’t just grow on trees, people. Ahem.) After dinner, she came to cheerleading practice with me — she was a cheerleader in high school, so coming to practice with me makes her happy.

(Aside: My mom was a cheerleader in high school. My dad was a football/basketball/baseball star. In stark contrast, I was in marching band and on the quiz team in high school — when my sports-crazy parents used to take me to sporting events in elementary/middle school, I would take a book, sit in an unoccupied section, and read. I really think my mom was quite relieved when I came to MIT and joined the cheerleading squad; it assured her that I hadn’t been switched at birth.)

Tomorrow, Mom is going to come to 5.60 (chemical thermodynamics) with me. Adam offered to take her to 16.07 (dynamics; basically rocket science physics and math), but she declined, as she only passed high school geometry by cheating off my dad. She came to 18.02 (multivariable calc) with me one time my freshman year. The only thing she got out of it was that the variable used to represent the third dimension is z. Basically, I think we’re going to have to sit in the back in 5.60 tomorrow so she can goof off.

But after 5.60, Mom and I are taking full advantage of the magnificent shopping opportunities in Boston — the Pru, Newbury Street, Copley Place… brand new winter wardrobe, here I come!

And after Mom leaves on Saturday, I need to tackle some grad school and fellowship applications so I don’t have to survive on ramen alone in my first year of grad school next year. (I hear that if you only eat ramen, you get scurvy.) Oh, and I have to write a paper for 21A.260 and a pset for 5.60. And lead a dorm review session for Macgregor kids in intro biology. Mmmm MIT life.

Questions, answered:
1. thekeri asked how much course 9 relates to psychology. Keeping in mind that I’m doing entirely molecular/cellular neuroscience, my understanding is that cognitive science = psychology. The MIT cog sci department is, to the best of my knowledge, particularly strong in psycholinguistics. The cognitive neuroscience/systems neuroscience people are focused on using tools like fMRI to find out information about the way people think and learn. I hope this helps… and if it doesn’t, I can try to fumble my way through a better explanation!
2. Jessie, in a moment of pedantry (:-P) correctly noted that course 9 students also have to take 2 restricted electives arranged with the advisor (although it’s fall of my senior year, and my advisor has yet to breathe a word about this requirement to me…!), and that other classes, including easy-A Harvard classes, can be taken in lieu of 9.07. Yup.
3. Robb and Eric both enthused about the OCW site, and how much fun it is to do MIT psets. Hey, I’ve got some real MIT psets you can do, if you’ve got the itch… :) (Actually, I’m completely putting words in Robb’s mouth. Hee.)
4. (Your question here.)

9 responses to “My mom is here!”

  1. Robb Carr says:

    Actually I have been skimming through some of the problem sets just for the fun of it…some of the Fresh man courses are doable with the help of the Wikipedia smile well…I dont have the texts so…a portion of the problems… I need to order the text for linear algebra (The whole years video lectures are on OCW!). Good luck with grad school applications! That reminds me of a story in the news about several college kids (in cambridge incidentally…not MIT students if I recall) who had created a software startup, and all ended up suffering from vitamin defeciency due to eating only ramen. Meh kind of random but still an interesting aside, and its 1:30 soooo….

  2. Robb Carr says:

    Oops…freshman* no space…

  3. Timur Sahin says:

    If you like Professor Strang’s lectures, I strongly recommend you check out 8.01, 8.02, and 8.03 by Professor Lewin. The textbook they use for 8.01 is out of print, though, so you can pick up K&K, the 8.012 course and do the psets there. That is, if you have $160 to spare (my friends bought it for me as a gift).

    Truth be told, I was quite sad to learn the psets change from year to year. Here I thought I had the homework for my two terms of physics done. :/. By the way, the Purcell book… argh… who uses those units?!?!

  4. Agree with you, Robb, just that I don’t do the math, I prefer to look at the Biology p-sets. They’re much easier to do than the other subjects. Haha… seems like I share Mollie’s interests (with the exception of totally loving ASTROPHYSICS!)

    I especially loved the video lectures, esp. for 7.012. Gosh, Lander rocks! You know how we usually sleep through some of our most boring lectures here in JC in Singapore, and then here comes Lander and his lectures, and I didn’t have to blink an eye throughout! What a teacher!Best thing is, I could follow straight through his lectures, and what he was talking about. It’s almost as if his (and the other two lecturers’) lectures for the first half were recaps of our A level biology. Or, maybe it’s just our school overloading us with info. raspberry (Cheers to MRS FOO, our Bio dept head)

    Well, off to go back to some wholesome work… A level exams are coming in just two weeks…

  5. Mollie—a friend of mine actually got scurvy his freshman year at MIT, eating only hamburgers. That little slice of tomato doesn’t have enough vitamin C to prevent it.

    But you wouldn’t get scurvy if you ate orange juice with your ramen…. although I think you might get a protein deficiency.

    How did your mom like 5.60? I remember it as being pretty informationally dense…


  6. Jessie says:

    Diana – it came up on a hall mailing list thread that sometime in the past (early or mid ’90s?) a kid on the hall (5th East) had contracted scurvy while at MIT. I don’t remember what particular diet deficiency he had. We’re not talking about the same person, by any chance?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Some of the kitchens over there ARE pretty disgusting, so if people end up just eating dry cheerios in their rooms or something, I can understand why they might not be very healthy. Here’s a question: for people who live somewhere with completely disgusting kitchens, what are they supposed to do?

  8. Timur Sahin says:

    Although if you happen to live with leftcoast mom’s son, you’re kitchen is very, very, clean. smile

  9. thekeri says:

    Your explanation – and Robb’s link – helped a lot, actually.

    I went and looked up some info on my own, too – this seems like it’s for me. (Before, I thought I’d have to settle for a Psychology major, but my hopes have been revived!)