Skip to content ↓
MIT student blogger Laura N. '09

My Relaxing Weekend by Laura N. '09

Did you ever hear about that whole firehose analogy?

After two weeks of pure torture (that’s what MIT is in the end, don’t kid yourself), I was really looking forward to relaxing this weekend. Of course, I did nothing of the sort. (That’s in the true MIT spirit as well.)

Friday seems so long ago that I barely remember it at all. I know for a fact that I was up most of Thursday night struggling through my 18.03 pset. I unfortunately feel like this is going to be a theme for the semester. On the flip side, most of the Conner 2 freshmen are in that class, and they’re awesomely helpful. (Yes, awesomely is a word. At least, it is now.) Anyway, I know I got some quality naptime in on Friday, which was good because I was up bright and early on Saturday.

I showed up at the Hyatt Hotel (right down the street past the dorms) at 7:45 AM. This year, Tufts and MIT hosted the NCEMSF (National Collegiate EMS Foundation) Conference. Since MIT is hosting the conference, MIT-EMS needed to provide judges for the presentations. So I basically just showed up, listened to a random presentation about EMT Training, filled out a little slip of paper just like in high school presentations (rate the speaker on a scale of 1 to 5 on her level of eye contact), and then left. I was invited to stay, but at that point I fully intended to go back to sleep.

Did I go back to sleep? No. Instead, I headed over to the FSAE shop. We’re basically now at the point in the year where we need to put in lots and lots of time to get stuff done. I’m just glad I’m a freshman- I feel no pressure. =) Since I don’t have any design experience, it’s not like I’m responsible for anything- so I just show up and help out whoever needs an extra hand. On Saturday I got some basic instruction on how to use a lathe, which was pretty cool. Of course, I’ll be learning all of the intricate details on Monday anyway…I’m currently taking advantage of one of MIT’s more awesome resources: the Edgerton Center Student Shop and Machine Tools Class. The Edgerton Center is really at the heart of the “manus” part of that whole “Mens et Manus” thing. They sponsor a lot of hands-on student activities and maintain a machine shop for general student use. There’s also a 12-hour introductory class you can take that teaches you to use the bandsaw, milling machine, and lathe. The only downside is that there’s a huge waiting list- I added myself pretty much as soon as I got here* and just got into the class now. Not only that, I wasn’t expecting to get in for another few months. I guess I just got lucky.
(*How did I know about this as soon as I got here? I’d be inclined to tell you that I just know everything like that, but the truth is that an upperclassman told me about it and warned me about the long wait time. That’s right- an upperclassman gave me good advice. It can happen.)

I left the shop after only an hour or so to go to a meeting with my writing tutor. Lots of CI classes have writing tutors assigned to them. For my HASS class (American Classics), I was in the unfortunate first group who had to write an essay on Ben Franklin’s autobiography- no further instructions. It turns out we all picked pretty hard subjects, and I was assigned to rewrite the paper. This is really no big deal, because they kind of want you to go through one rewrite anyway. So I went to my writing tutor a little worried that it would be some big bureaucratic waste of time. It turns out I have a seriously awesome writing tutor. She basically just started talking to me about my paper and then, like magic, I suddenly had a revised topic idea. I came up with it all on my own, and then she went on asking me open-ended questions until I’d basically outlined my entire rewrite. This whole thing took under 20 minutes. I was seriously amazed. Clearly, I love to write- I write for The Tech, I write for the admissions office- and I’m generally pretty good at it, but I’ve never been a big fan of literature essays or research papers. But my writing tutor just worked her magic and suddenly I had it completely under control. She seriously rocks at life, so props to her. =)

After this, I grabbed some lunch at Anna’s and contemplated walking back to the shop in the snow for about half a second. I decided to stop by Edgerton instead. (FSAE has its own shop way…way out in the middle of nowhere. Well, it’s not really the middle of nowhere, but it’s a good 20 minute walk from my dorm and at least 10 minutes off main campus. The student shop I mentioned above is right across from that infamously ugly building, the Stata Center. FSAE members often use the Edgerton shop so more people can be machining at once.) I helped bore holes on the hub (the team is making their own wheels this year), which was pretty cool.

I was wondering what in the world I was going to have for dinner when Sam came by and asked if I wanted to go to PourHouse for burgers. Adelaide and I discussed famous FIRST figures on the Saferide, and at the restaurant Sam demonstrated his extensive knowledge of the burger menu. (Each different type of burger is named after a state, and Sam can name the toppings associated with each one.)

Then, I actually got some sleep Saturday night. I woke up late this morning and basically did a whole lot of nothing until going to mass at 1. After that I stopped by the MIT Museum (FSAE was giving a presentation, so I dropped in to watch) on my way to the grocery store. After that, the Burton-Conner housemasters (faculty members who live in the dorms) hosted Conner 2 for dinner. It was quite the delicious bonding experience. The leftovers got stored in our fridge, so I sent an email to the floor letting them know. At the end of the email I mentioned that April and I misplaced a baking sheet we used during study break this week, so if anyone had somehow acquired an extra one and was wondering where it came from, well, we’d like it back. I headed back out over to the shop again (where I got some more minor lathe experience- fun stuff) and when I got back, there was a baking sheet sitting on the kitchen counter. Seriously, Conner 2 is awesome. =D

Challenge question: at what point during this weekend did I do all of the studying for 18.03 that I planned for on Friday?

This is weeked was a great example of how you can accomplish so much and still feel like you got nothing done.

Life just keeps getting crazier. Coming this week: the rest of the Machine Tools Class, my first 18.03 exam, an MIT blood drive, lots of reading and writing for my HASS, maybe…going to the FIRST Manchester Regional this Saturday?!? (*excitement*) Who knows, I might even sleep, too!

And that, my friends, is what it’s like to be an MIT student.

6 responses to “My Relaxing Weekend”

  1. Sam Z. says:

    Your weekend sounds a lot like my vacation- not so relaxing (but that’s not to say it wasn’t fun….. I went to HMMT after all wink ). Needless to say, during our first school day back today, I felt like I needed a vacation.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Why is it that after seemingly getting time to relax it just seems like you need even more just to recover?

  3. Edward says:

    Cool weekend.

  4. Jack Florey says:

    This hack remains the most meaningful MIT problem set ever seen…..this blog epitomizes its symbolism…..

  5. chris says:

    heyyy, new jersey huh? where in jersey do you live? there is absolutely nothing to do in NJ…im from Linwood, basically right next to Ocean City.

  6. mike says:

    As a freshman, how did you decide on laptop versus desktop, and what influenced that decision one way or the other?