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MIT student blogger Chris M. '12

Odds and Ends by Chris M. '12

It's what's left

Some friends and I were chatting the other day, marveling at how ludicrously fast the semester was flying by when one of them pointed out exactly why that is. Turns out, the combination of September starting on a Wednesday, and Christmas happening on a Saturday have culminated in a perfect storm, leaving us with the shortest semester possible. Consequently that means we also have the fewest number of holidays this semester, clocking in at a pathetic and embarrassing two (not counting the two days we get off for thanksgiving). And one of those is just a rando-Thursday. Seriously. School Wednesday and Friday, none on Thursday. By comparison, my freshman year we had 4 (again, not counting the days we got off for Thanksgiving.)

Maybe that’s why I’ve been feeling run so ragged lately. And if not, well that’s what I’m going to blame it on. At any rate, the past few weeks I’ve felt pretty beat up. My brain feels like goo. I’m hungry either constantly or frighteningly never. I’ve been up in long enough streaks to feel my immune system start throwing it’s hands up and shut down. My biological clock is underdamped with a stupidly high Q.

Looks like it will converge to midnight in approximately June 2012…..hey! That’s when I graduate!
I’ve been, in a word, miserable. This sort of misery is prevalent enough on campus to have it’s own name though. It’s called being “hosed”, I assume because it makes you feel like someone has shredded you into fibers, woven you into a long tube and rolled you up around a cylinder, not unlike a garden hose. It really is a mental stress test. It feels insurmountable, it feels devastating; it’s a panic-inducing, sickening, almost surreal disbelief at the quantity of quality you have to produce in a given time. In fact, I’ve summarized the quality of being hosed into a concise mathematical formula:

“The quality of being Hosed, “H” is the summation of “k” assignments, where each assignment has associated with it a quantity of problems “q”, quality of work “b”, divided by unit time and multiplied over the care-tensor, where how much you care (gamma) is given principally as academically(aa), career-wise(cc), and personally(pp). Being hosed has units of Mills.”

Needless to say, with lots of assignments in important classes with lots of hard questions (seriously, who puts “m” parts in a problem? I’m looking at you 2.005….) and not much time to do it I’m pretty hosed (I leave exactly how hosed as an exercise to the reader). I’m struggling to keep my brain from blowing a fuse and my roommates waking up to find me on the roof trying to eat cheerios out of a spoon using a bowl. It’s an unpleasant way to feel right now, but I know in the end it’s worth it.

We’re entering the time of year where you really have resolve pull your laces tight, power through, and remember that your tuition is already paid and nonrefundable.

7 responses to “Odds and Ends”

  1. jami0052 says:

    Thanks for this article. I feel EXACTLY how you feel, and its really frustrating..

  2. K '14 says:

    …if September started on a Wednesday, doesn’t Christmas HAVE to be on a Saturday? o.o

  3. Chris M says:


    Actually, yes. That’s not quite what I meant to say. The actual constraint is that labor day happens so late in September, which occurs when maximally when it starts on a Tuesday and decreases through it starting on a Monday, since labor day is defined as the first Monday of the month. Since MIT starts school after labor day, the number of days in sept before labor day cuts out holidays by us starting so late. Christmas on a Saturday means finals week can’t be that week since that Friday is Christmas eve, forcing it a week earlier.

  4. K '14 says:

    Aha, gotcha. At any rate, I’m glad to hear that this is a particularly short semester… I’m definitely having a rough time of it.

  5. Tammy says:

    Hey Chris, I like your mathematical formula for being hosed.Did you seriously make that up? smile

  6. Chris M. says:

    I’m glad you like it! I did in fact make it up (while writing this entry no less!). My research into it’s effects are ongoing and pending publication smile

  7. Tammy says:

    I fully support your efforts.
    Who knows,you may even get a nobel prize for it. wink