It’s been 13 days since the school year began, and already, many of us are gasping for a break. There’s a definite pick-up in the amount of work compared to freshman year; sadly, this heavier workload is coupled with a painful lack of time. My friend’s Facebook status currently reads as follows:
I agree. Completely.
This semester, I’m taking five classes:
(1) 5.13 – Organic Chemistry II: I’m one of those weirdos that actually likes organic chemistry – and not just because I like drawing little arrows and dots all over my notes. Honestly, orgo, while time-consuming, makes sense to me. I come up with little stories in my head about ammonia attacking carbonyls and bromine ions eloping away with stray hydrogens. There have been some pretty epic molecular wars that take place in my 70-page spiral notebook. My 5.13 TA apparently does this whole atomic role-playing thing too – which is good because it makes me seem a bit more normal :)
(2) 5.310 – Chem Lab: I made ferrocene last week! I actually felt really good about it. Until one of my Erlenmeyer flasks decided to jump out of its clasp and break, at which point I was sad and felt like a failed scientist. At least the flask was empty, though…
(3) 9.01 – Intro to Neuroscience: I took a look at the first problem set, noticed that it looked too much like an 8.02 (Electricity and Magnetism) PSET, and decided that I didn’t like this class. Once I actually did this PSET, I decided that it wasn’t so bad after all. 9.01 has been a humbling experience so far; apparently, I don’t know as much about the brain as I thought I did.
(4) 9.20 – Animal Behavior: Before this class, I’d never really thought about gulls or tigers or stickleback fish and heck, I didn’t even know what a drongo was. The readings in this class are incredibly interesting, and my favorite is by Konrad Lorenz on the behavior of jackdaws. I know that sounds dry, (if you’d told me a few weeks ago that I’d be thrilled by a jackdaw article, I probably would have laughed at you and walked away), but seriously, go read Chapter 11 of King Solomon’s Ring. Fascinating stuff.
(5) 9.85 – Infant and Childhood Cognition: This is easily my favorite class this semester. Every single powerpoint shown in class contains pictures of adorable young children, and the professor is so enthusiastic and lively that I can’t help but get excited about the subject material. This class focuses on developing the basic skills of a researcher: coming up with experiments, carrying out peer reviews, working in groups, and presenting posters to diverse audiences. Awesome prof + babies + research skizzles = love.
Aside from going to class, I’ve been trying to rack up some hours working on the MIT ambulance, getting some extra driving experience and brushing up on all the EMS stuff I’ve managed to forget over the summer. I’m also waiting on my UROP paperwork to go through, so I can start working in a lab at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. It should be a lot of fun :)
Luckily, sophomore year’s not all work and sleep loss. A couple of my friends and I hang out for a short time every evening, and Friday nights are spent playing soccer. Last Friday’s soccer rendezvous was kind of embarrassing: we were taking a break in between games, and the goal was entirely open. Being much too confident of my meager soccer prowess, I yelled, “Hey, guys! Watch this!” And then proceeded to miss the goal completely.
Good times, good times.