Productive, yes. Appropriately productive, no. by Mollie B. '06
You would think that my activities the weekend before finals might include studying.
It’s been a somewhat busy two not-school days.
Yesterday I sold several old textbooks back to the Coop, sold a few more on Amazon Marketplace, and got stopped next to the Stata Center to take a survey about perceptions of Goldman Sachs and Microsoft (they gave me $20! how exciting). Adam and I went out to dinner, shopped on Newbury Street (we’re going to the Bahamas this summer, and I needed a new bathing suit), ate dessert at Coldstone, and saw Over the Hedge. We also saw a bunch of people protesting The Da Vinci Code, which I thought was funny. I mean, staging a protest outside the movie theater seems like too little, too late, yeah?
Today I have given a tour of MacGregor to Zi Wen (a member of the class of 2010), packed (with Adam) somewhere between 40 and 60 percent of our stuff (the move date is next Saturday!), and made arrangements to donate our unsellable textbooks to schoolchildren in Africa. (I have to admit that this makes me feel warm and fuzzy and at least sort of socially responsible.) Adam and I watched the latest epidode of Lost, ordered dinner, watched some episodes of Law and Order: SVU (yes, on a Saturday night. Shut up, we’re old and practically married and boring), and researched air conditioners for the new apartment.
A few entries ago, I said
For what it’s worth, I heartily recommend a debit card over a credit card. Many of my friends from home are graduating college with about a zillion dollars in credit card debt, because they were like ‘Oh man, look how cool that new HDTV is! I may not have the money to buy it, but, hey, I do have this shiny credit card!’ Not good.
So here’s my take on that :-) Having a credit history is a really important thing once you graduate and are living on your own. Banks, cell phone carriers, cable TV companies, utilities — they want to make sure you are creditworthy and responsible, and having an established credit history goes a long way for that. I guess the trick is to not go nuts with a credit card — if used wisely and as a financial tool, it can really help to have that 4-year-old account reporting in good standing come … 2010.
That said, MITFCU offers a Visa with a $500 limit to any 18+ MIT freshman who asks. BofA has a far better ATM network (I hate ATM fees!), but when nobody will give you a prime card with a reasonable rate as a brand-new adult, FCU is a good place to start. If nothing else, use it to buy a couple things each year, pay in full, and stick it in the junk drawer for next month/year. Removes the temptation and builds credit history all at the same time! :-)
I totally agree with this, so I will revise my hearty recommendation as follows: Get a credit card, but treat it like a debit card — never buy things for which you can’t immediately pay (if you can help it, of course), and pay off the bills the second they come. My credit card is linked to my bank accounts, so as soon as a charge shows up, I transfer the payment to the credit card. And if you can’t trust yourself to keep a handle on your spending, you should stick to a debit card until you can.
1. Christina ’10 asked
Hmm, what do you have against test reviews?
Well, like I said a few weeks ago, MIT biology tests are usually open-book/open-note and totally based on concepts and experimental techniques. As you can imagine, test reviews tend to be more focused on facts than on the larger questions. They might help some people, but I find it a lot more useful to go through old problem sets and tests and solve problems to study rather than formulating questions to ask the TAs.
Test reviews are useful for some classes. I just don’t find them useful for biology tests.
2. Anonymous asked,
When we register for classes do we only have to talk to the advisor to confirm our choices and that’s all? What happens if a certain subject doesn’t have an expected number of students? Does that classroom closes?
I ask you this because I have some friends who study in my country’s universities and it seems a common practice to close subject classes if there are not enough students, leaving them with the problem to look for free places in other classes and posibly rearrenging their class schedules. I just hope that MIT is serious in this issue and organized.
It has happened before that a certain class won’t have enough students registered and will be cancelled (particularly among advanced humanities classes), but it’s very rare. I mean, I was in a HASS last semester that only had seven students in it, and I was in a seminar the semester before that with only four students. Certainly freshman classes won’t be cancelled for lack of enrollment, since most people select from a small subset of classes for freshman year.
And if a class is cancelled, you will know about it long before you officially register for courses — upperclassmen preregistration from the end of the previous term is used to estimate the number of students who will be in each class. Preregistration happens at the end of the previous term, but official registration doesn’t happen until just before the start of term.
If you go to a class for a week or two and decide it’s not the class for you, you’re able to switch into another class pretty easily — the last date to add a course to your registration is five weeks into the term.
So really, no worries. :) Scheduling at MIT is pretty flexible, and I’ve never had the types of problems that my friends at other schools have had.
3. Anonymous also asked,
Does our advisor complete our registration by computer or do we have to go to different places to register for each subjects according to the department subjects?
As a first-term freshman, you’ll go to your advisor, who will sign a paper which lists all your intended courses and will submit it for you. Second term freshman year and every term thereafter, you’ll go to your advisor, have him or her sign the paper, and you will take it to a designated spot on campus (usually Du Pont Gym or Johnson Athletic Center) and turn it in there. (I’ve turned my registration forms in to Jessie — who works the tables because of APO — two terms in a row!)
4. Faye asked,
Quick question – is it better to have a laptop or a desktop? Any advantages/disadvantages to either, aside from the obvious mobility of the laptop?
Well, generally speaking, desktops are more powerful than laptops. I have a desktop, and Adam has a laptop; I value the blazingly fast processor in the desktop, while Adam likes having the laptop so he can carry it to class and so he can do homework on the couch. We’re both happy with our choices. :)
For some advice from people who actually know stuff about computers, check out the buying advice from MIT IS&T.