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MIT student blogger Jenny X. '13

Potpourri Blog Post by Jenny X. '13

food... etc.

Coming off of a state-of-mind-altering weekend in Maine with people from the dorm, I knew a full Pre-Thanksgiving week of MIT won’t be pretty.

It was pretty ugly. Checkout the iCal for this past week.

[Calculus pset x4, Chemistry Pset, Final Paper Proposal, Seminars x2, Taekwondo x2, Physics Quiz, CLASSES!!!]

For the moment, I have no profound thesis for a profound blog post, so I’ll go ahead and zoom in on some the crazy things that happened amidst the massive blue busyness up there.


You know what’s the best part about going to 3.091 [Chem.] at 11 in the morning?
Going to Steam Cafe© at noon. OK – Maybe that’s not exactly the right attitude towards a very expensive education, but truth is, sometimes real food is a serious priority (you will see why soon).


I understand this is not by any means high quality, but right there in one plate I’ve covered 3 groups on the food pyramid.


If food were traditional art, this would be my surrealistic modern masterpiece:


Compared with the example above, this is hardly real food; but obviously, I was desperately trying to pack in as many food groups as I can. Despite my honest efforts, this is still a very pathetic attempt at making a meal. I will have to try harder.


Mastering Physics; Bane of my existence, and I know I’m not alone.

For 8.01 – the intro physics course that a large portion of the freshman class enrolls in – we have to complete Mastering Physics assignments twice a week. You are essentially given five or so multiple-part problems and you earn points by typing in the right answers. This is honestly the most tediously formatted, arbitrarily graded online tutorial program. You get points for getting the question right, obviously. You also get bonus points for not opening hints. But then you can gain points for opening hints and answering hint questions right; it’s crazy. And if you get a true/false question wrong; sorry – that’s a heartless 50 percent deducted. Moreover, the problems are not at all similar to questions on quizzes and exams –because Mastering Physics is probably the only “high-school-like” assignment here. The problems test one or two concepts at a time, whereas exams pretty much combine a bunch of concepts, put twists on the classical examples, and churn out brain-frying exam questions. Mastering Physics does function as a potential grade booster and an illusion that you are indeed “mastering physics” – until the real exams come that is.

WEDNESDAY – Nothing happened on Wednesday, because all I did was calculus; I guess that p-set happened ….at 5:00 AM the next day.


A pset completed @ 5:00 AM leads to waking up at 1:00 PM, realizing p-set had been due at 12:45 PM, frantically trying to get p-set in, and overall, starting off the day really late, and really grumpy.

But I had a movie screening to take care of. I write for the Arts section of the Tech, the MIT student newspaper. @ 7PM Thursday, there was a special screening for Red Cliff, an epic ancient Chinese war film that lasted 2.5 hours – and I had a physics quiz the next day. The film was average, but it was surely a good study break! Or investment of a study break, because I haven’t actually studied yet.

Charliecard is my best friend. Have it on hold, you’re ready to go!

Swipe, swipe – feels like Boston is resting in my palm. Although, it was my first time traveling alone at night; all I could do was pray that Google Maps proves accurate once I come out of the T station (our endearing term for subway). But I’m still alive, so yes, Boston is safe @ night! :P

FRIDAY is now – and it’s all about Taekwondo and the Sunday tournament at Princeton.

The whole campus is sprinting towards “end-of-semester”, and it’s getting hard to hold on.

But I will let you know.

Here’s a video of me trying out my makeshift Halloween costume; it was entertaining.

Happy Weekend!

16 responses to “Potpourri Blog Post”

  1. '12 says:

    I loved Mastering Physics. I felt like reading the hints and feedback really helped me learn the basic concepts, so I didn’t even have to read the book. Also, you should consider yourself lucky since you don’t have graded psets (we had graded psets last year).

  2. VAL ('14?) says:

    I like your costume. smile

  3. Amethyst says:

    Your ‘Mastering Physics’ problems seem to me a bit like a much-amped-up version of the UT Austin online physics questions we did in my high school AP Physics class from last year. I remember spending three hours on one assignment…but I got the questions all right. Brain fry! I don’t know if MP problems let you have multiple attempts; the UT problems had between 1 (for true/false) and as many as 6 (for fill-in-the-number answers). Yikes, ouch! On that note, must go study. *Gets out calculus book and turns on Open Courseware…*

  4. Alex '14? says:

    Yeah, the Mastering Physics seems like WebAssign. Online graders can be unkind :(

  5. Haha, nice stuff and an intense week. I remember Snively blogging about Mastering Physics ages ago and complaining about it. I guess it’s a pretty common complaint.

    PS I think you need to Master taking screenshots on your Mac too. The photos were a little washed out.

  6. Oasis '11 says:

    I see you have realized that the ploy of getting people to read the blogs is to put up food pictures. wink

    And DID YOU PUT KIMCHI IN THE SANDWICH?! Cuz I do the same too!!! wow raspberry

  7. Jenny '13 says:

    @ ^ you up there :p

    yeah MP… I kinda feel bad for it; it’s hardly appreciated around here. :(

    and yeap; good point about the screenshot; I also realized it after posting…but oh well; I think there’s a nice “organic” feeling to just a plain camera shot, eh?

  8. Kes says:

    You went to Steam Cafe and didn’t get the brown rice??

  9. Piper '12 says:

    Sport TKD or TKD Club?

  10. D says:

    Hi MIT! Busy week, huh! I think i like a busy schedule. Hopefully, al get acceptd.

  11. Jenny '13 says:

    @Kes – tried brown rice; too sticky.

    @’12 – agreed about the graded psets part. although, it would probably help me do better on exams. :/

    @oasis- yeah kimchi adds so much flavor to an otherwise bland …’sandwich’.

    @piper – sport tkd.

  12. Kiwi says:

    I go to Tulane and we have Mastering Physics also. It is the bane of my existence. So frustrating. Glad to see I’m not alone.

  13. Juhee says:

    You took the video without me?! :(

  14. 14? says:

    hey do people only work on psets in groups? like are they almost impossible, or is it an extremely bad idea, to work on them alone? how do freshmen form these study/pset groups the first few days/weeks if no one really knows each other in the beginning?

  15. jenny '13 says:


    many people choose to work on psets in groups; it may be more fun/aka distracting/ that way; but people who do so obviously continue to do it because they get the work done in the end.

    i almost never work in groups, because i just can’t understand problems if i’m working with other people (i tend to go with whatever others reason and just write it down); so i work alone to make sure that i myself actually sit down and think about the problems. but i think it’s always wise to check answers with other people after you’ve figured stuff out yourself.

    study/pset groups form in so many different ways; might be people you bonded with from pre-orientation programs, people you just click with in recitation, freshmen taking the same classes who live in your dorm – if you like to work in groups, your group will form somehow. although, in the first few days, you can always reach out on a facebook status, “who wants to work on ___ pset with me?!” given you have some MIT friends already. Other frosh are just as desperate. raspberry

  16. 14? says:

    Thanks jenny’13!! that was really helpful.