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MIT student blogger Lulu L. '09

My schedule by Lulu L. '09


lol, it’s good to be a senior.


In all seriousness, maybe this post is giving people the wrong impression.

The first thing you learn at MIT is how to manage a heavy courseload. The last thing you learn at MIT is how to manage without. I believe this. If you’re a second semester senior taking 8 classes, you’re doing something wrong.

I hope this important point isn’t lost on you guys. Classes aren’t everything: here’s my actual week

68 responses to “My schedule”

  1. Chris M. says:

    One day that will be me.

    I hope.

    Well you know, minus the cheerleading and stuff.

  2. Oasis '11 says:

    Kind of off topic, but I never understood people who think doing anything less than 5 science classes is underachieving at MIT. Personally, I’m content with taking it easier and not beating myself over courseload.

    It’s really true when people say that all pain at MIT is self-inflicted.

    Thus, I think your schedule’s great. It’s great to be able to supplement school with a healthy dose of other activities that are fun to do.

  3. mm says:

    What’s wrong with second semester seniors taking 8 classes? I think they want to get from MIT as much as they can before they leave MIT. Is it not good?

  4. Keri says:

    mm –

    You’re joking, right?

  5. wlue says:

    What an amazingly empty schedule. Nice. raspberry

  6. Richard '13 says:

    Wow.. extremely nice!!
    Pretty chill course load =]

  7. Kevin says:

    It’s pretty awesome to be a senior in high school too :D

  8. lulu says:

    I think prefrosh tend to have a very shallow understanding of what it means to get the most out of MIT. Then, as you spend more time here, you start to redefine that notion. I’ve had semesters where I took 6 classes, 5 of them math/physics. Working at your limit means constantly doing psets and nothing else, pretty much. So I learned 5 subjects, got A’s in all but 1 I think, and it felt like a great accomplishment at the time, until I realized I had a pretty shallow understanding of each and by the next semester that I’d forgotten almost all of what I’d “learned”. I’m taking 1 physics class now. It’s fast paced but I don’t feel at all like I’m struggling to keep up. I’ve been reading extra material on the side, I work w/ 1 grad student and 1 undergrad, we meet 2-3 times a week to work on the problem set/discuss the material. I’ve been looking forward to taking this class for 2 years now, working on the prereqs as recommended by the professor (when I spoke to him 1.5 years ago), and here’s finally the opportunity, I’ll be damned if I don’t try to get the most out of this class. There’s some added benefits, too, I think you learn better when you don’t dread going to class. All of this probably doesn’t mean anything til you get here and push yourself to the limit (and I think everyone should do this, find out where it is) and then start falling asleep in class and missing things. The way I see it is this: you have a certain amount of water in a pitcher. This is your mental capacity or capacity to absorb new information. You get to choose how many glasses to try to fill w/ that pitcher. The amount in the pitcher is same semester after semester, one semester you put 6 glasses on the table and realize you’ve only filled them each 1/3 of the way. One semester you put 2 glasses on the table and fill them completely up. In short, I don’t think the number of classes you take have any bearing on how much you get out of MIT.

  9. Brian says:

    Wow, easy but… you pay $50k for that?

  10. Steph says:

    That use to be my schedule before I started taking more classes. :(

  11. mm says:

    Thanks for your comments, lulu. But what if they take some graduate level classes? Do you think that would increase their chances of getting into grad schools?

  12. lulu says:

    oh and as for why I don’t expect second semester seniors to be taking 8 classes, it’s because I expect them to be doing something w/ all the knowledge that they’ve amassed. I hope that they’ve found something that they’re excited enough about to consider as a career, and they’re trying it out and seeing how they like it. In the very least, they should be looking, even if they haven’t found it yet. There’s no way around it, 8th semester is your last (well, if you graduate on time), and there’s no more classes after that (unless you go to grad school, then you have about 1 more year of classes). You better figure out something else to occupy your time. Second semester seniors are generally very busy with research, thesis work, internships, interviews for jobs and grad school, campus visits, so on and so forth, as a result they tend to lay off the classes a bit. I think you’ll find, that a couple of extra classes is really negligible in the long run.

  13. lulu says:


    by second semester you’ve already applied to grad school, this is when you start heading out for interviews and getting your acceptances.

    Oh, and if grad school is on your mind (as a prefrosh?), you better read this: (from the society of physics students here, tips on getting into grad school),

    I quote:

    Things that Obsess Students which Nobody Really Cares About

    Although people are impressed by broad interests, no one cares about the exact working
    of your diploma (e.g. your ”minor”, ”second major”, ”certificate”, etc). Although people
    are impressed by academic achievement, no one really cares if you’ve taken any graduate

  14. Mohit says:

    I’m not

  15. Mohit says:

    I’m not

  16. Dhvanit says:

    You’ve been aided $44k..!? If that’s true, that is Super-Cool!

  17. mm says:

    Thanks Lulu. It helps, really. smile
    Btw, I am one of MIT’10s. Since I like your posts, I keep on reading them, pretending to be a prefrosh. raspberry I know I am old.

  18. lulu says:

    haha no-

    $6000 is per semester. Also, how much you pay for tuition != $50,000. I used to get full tuition (31k at the time). I don’t know how much I get nowadays => less though, I’d guess around 25.

    Oh, and I have scholarship $$ from Yale to cover the difference.

  19. lulu says:

    what is your major mm? are you in the physics dept too?

  20. lulu says:

    actually, i pay about $6,000 for that

  21. Matt A. says:

    Thanks for the insight Lulu! I just hope I can remember this 4 years from now…

  22. Ashwath says:

    I can see that Senioritis isn’t endemic to pre-frosh smile. If you study in India, and you have nothing to do but study for exams, senioritis can be really really hard to fight off. I’m a chronic example …

  23. Anonymous says:

    Lulu – can’t believe you are CHEERLEADING and studying philosophy! What are your plans for after college? Has MIT been difficult coursewise? We pre-frosh need to know.

    Good Luck…

  24. lulu says:

    Personally? it’s hard to say. MIT has definitely kept me extremely busy for 4 years, I’m going away feeling like I’ve gained something pretty important. But I wouldn’t be in the major I am in now if I thought it was too hard for me. I think I found a good balance though. I came in here prepared to work really hard and take advantage of every opportunity. I went to tutoring, office hours when I wasn’t keeping up with the material, I wasn’t embarrassed to utilize the (extensive) support network MIT has for all its students, and as a result, I’ve never failed a test, or had to drop a class out of necessity, I think if you can tap into that part of your character that is tough and stubborn and refuse to fail, you will make it through here alright. You might even discover you’re good at things you never thought you would be.

  25. lulu says:

    plans for after college-

    haha, no clue. I’m applying to work at some telescopes for the next year or two, maybe go back to grad school. I applied to be a TA for SSP in Socorro, NM. Maybe I’ll see some of you there raspberry

  26. Bitter says:

    God d*** seniors…

    The light at the tunnel’s probably looking pretty bright now isn’t it? Congratulations on making it thus far, I think you can make it the rest of the way…

    Of course, if your thesis work involves running experiments that take significant amounts of time to run while you sit there doing nothing, that kind of opens up things a bit. If not, well, you should’ve picked a better thesis smile

  27. lulu says:

    why are you bitter?

    are you not doing what you want to be doing?

  28. Anonymous says:

    Lulu, what’s your thesis on?

  29. lulu says:

    in flight photometric precision of CCDs & electronics as it relates to detection of transiting exoplanets? lol haven’t come up w/ a title yet obviously

  30. Narce says:

    Thanks for the link for prefrosh considering grad school already XD I actually do want to go straight from my Bachelor’s to a Master’s at MIT.

    Though I don’t like it how you seemed to group all the prefrosh with naive ones like mm ~.~” I want to learn as much as possible at MIT (currently) because that sounds the most fun to me ^.^ I plan to enjoy each and every semester at MIT, and if a senior year of all humanities after the remaining courses required for my major is how I feel like doing that, of course that would be fine with me.

    Especially just because I want to take as many maths and sciences at MIT as possible shouldn’t mean that I have a shallow understanding of getting as much as possible out of MIT! And my goal is always to “learn the material” not to “get good grades”. Though the latter should, in theory, follow the former >.>

  31. lulu says:

    yeah yeah everyone’s the exception raspberry

    and of course, “learning as much material as possible” can be a part of getting the most out of MIT, it doesn’t necessarily mean taking as many classes as you can, and it should not be the be all end all

  32. Steph says:

    I wish you the best of luck, Lulu.

  33. Matt A. says:

    Lucky you Narce, for some reason Course 10 doesn’t take its own undergrads for graduate programs except for the engineering practice school (which at this point, I don’t think is what I want, though that could change), so I only get one or the other at MIT.

  34. lulu says:

    UPDATE: yay! just got offer from SSP yesssss

    & thanks steph smile

  35. Oasis '11 says:


    (Ojai ’06).

    You’re going to have a blast this summer. Congrats lulu!!! smile

  36. Narce says:

    Mohit, every year you pick the number and types of classes you have (well, excluding underclassman reqs and stuff for your major)… I know some people fill up on maths and sciences even their last year at MIT and still love it plenty.

  37. Narce says:

    Wow, congrats on that. Interesting coincidence to get the result so soon after telling us about it XD

    Yeah, I didn’t say taking as many classes as possible was my goal. But I do want to take as many classes as I can handle (and understand at one time) as PART of absorbing as much material from MIT as I can ^.^

  38. Narce says:

    And I never said I thought I was the one exception! I said I dislike how you grouped everyone with mm! I think he’s the exception!

  39. vodka says:

    isn’t it a fairground plan?

    on the first one must-sees only xD

  40. Seungsoo says:

    How do you have scholarship $$ from Yale to cover the difference? Just wondering …

  41. comboy says:

    7 to 10 is not the best time to take photos of outside world. ok I eliminate the case you being all this 3 hours inside a building (impossible) tell me any other improbable truth.
    Gotcha, you have some good light sources in your lecture hall. If ! wear your warm clothes and go outside sometimes with your camera. tell them we should start earlier instead of killing our camera batteries for flash light. Using flash that late in the evening is just testing how strong it is, never help a photographer how to become an artist.
    Boston and snow, 3 hours can start from where sun didn’t set yet till a moon is available. clouds? reflection from snow or may be night photography is the complete course title.

  42. Cam says:

    Sigh… FAFSA estimated our EFC at a number surprisingly above MIT’s estimate of their cost.

    This is depressing. $6k a semester would be very nice.

  43. lulu says:

    Seungsoo- My parents are Yale employees, well, were. Now only my dad is, my mom’s gone to NIH. Every year I get a scholarship worth $12k or half of tuition which ever one is lower raspberry

  44. Anon says:

    @Lulu: Okay now I’m hoping even more to get into SSP. :D

  45. (thick British accent) Rather challenging schedule. I suppose you shant have any free time on your hands. I must make haste, for a ravenous koala has stripped me of my tea and crumpets.

    Quimbara Quimbara my friend.

  46. Cam says:

    Oh, hey, apparently EFC > cost isn’t all that unusual. Don’t mind me.

  47. Lola says:

    Hey btw, what program did you use to create this schedule?

  48. akhila says:

    The post and its comments, both are great Lulu. Well, all the best with your job and graduate school.

  49. Narce says:

    @Cam Yeah, MIT glomps people with financial aid, and compared to that, FAFSA’s estimates are ridiculous. My FAFSA said my EFC was WAAAAAAAAAY more than my family can pay, but I know MIT will let me off easier than that.

  50. Aaron says:

    Personally I agree with Lulu: why take an onslaught of classes and leave them with an A, yet with temporary knowledge you will soon forget, instead of just taking one or two classes that are essential to whatever career you are looking into and retaining all of the information from them for years to come?

  51. Jen says:

    Er. why does it look like you have to be at two classes/activities at the same time (ie Tuesday evening?)

  52. lulu says:

    actually, 3 this week. office hours overlaps w/ photo, I’ll have to go late, cheerleading just got canceled, but usually when class ends early I head over to catch the last half hour or so.

    tuesdays are kinda crazy sometimes.

  53. Mohit says:

    @ lulu

    Do all d seniors in MIT have this kinda schedule?….den its seriously gud 2b a

  54. Yan says:

    I’ll probably be paying you a visit in 8.022 office hours next week . . .

  55. Colton says:

    @lulu: Wow you have a full schedule. At least you are in the habit of using Google Calendar, I’m still trying to get myself in the habit.

    Also, did anyone notice the header in the recent issue of The Tech?

  56. Timothy says:

    That’s probably the opposite of my mandatory classes I hope to get next year as a senior…4 AP Classes, Adv. Drama, Choir, Band, and an engineering class! =) Plus Forensics is a huge time commitment and Marching Band…

  57. Matt A. says:

    your school has an engineering class?!!! And forensics??!! Where are you from and why can’t I have lived there?

  58. I love lulu! says:

    hey lulu, you ARE going to start your own blog after you graduate right?

  59. Anonymous says:

    @Timothy: And how many periods do you guys have? O_O

  60. abhi says:

    I read the transfer form for MIT.Do I just need to download it, get its printouts,give the evaluation letters to my teachers and fill in the rest(along with the letters)with pen(black ink)?
    Also,since many teachers are willing to give me recommendations,should I get many printouts of evaluation letters and give it to them or should I ask them to do so in separate sheets?
    Please reply soon!!!

  61. Jixin Shang says:

    hi,i am a chinese boy and i am 22 years old.i am a freshman in China Agricultueal University.
    i love MIT very much,and want to make more friends,i think you are so outstanding,and want to be make friends with you.
    i think we will communicate very happy.i am also want to improve my english.
    this is my email:[email protected] am waiting for your letter.
    best wishes!
    Jixin Shang

  62. MarkThienAn says:

    hmm. Maybe I’m a little late on this, but @lulu’s pitcher & cup analogy, and its message: you’re totally right. I’m a senior in high school taking 6 AP classes (one double block), 3 honors classes, and still afterschool stuff. If I could go back, I’d probably take a class or two off that list.

    Here are a few reasons: 1) less stress. 2) more time to be a senior – including doing college stuffs without having to worry about school stuffs. 3) have a life? part of one? =D. 4) get all 4s and 5s as opposed to the likely 3s, 4s, and 5s that I’ll probably get. 5) actually learn, and retain, the information.

    Basically, I realize now that I probably made a bad choice in pushing myself so much – I’m still young; I want to enjoy my life but rarely can =P (my videogames call to me…). Overloading yourself sets you up for failure, if not now, then later. There’s no way I’m ready for what would come after AP Physics B – I haven’t been learning it properly enough. Do you think buying a larger pitcher will help? >_>.