As is my style, I didn’t arrive back to MIT until the last possible moment, Registration Day (last Tuesday, September 7). I know some people feel the week or two before term are the best weeks all year, due to the abundance of free food and the suspicious absence of work, but I felt I owed it to my family to spend at least one week at home with them before disappearing again.
But the first week was still of note due, in part to Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Okay, I”m not Jewish, but Hillel and the Muslim Students” Association joined forces for a dinner celebrating the Jewish New Year and Eid ul-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan. Pictures were not permitted at the dinner, but just imagine an endless feast in a dining hall fit for Hogwarts. It was nothing like that.
That was Thursday night. The following day, as you no doubt inferred, was Eid ul-Fitr. As in previous years, several folks from the MSA met at a pre-determined location on campus at the ungodly early hour of 6:30am, then headed off to the Roxbury area of Boston, home to the largest mosque in New England. But, with an estimated 8,000 people expected to attend, the mosque could not accommodate everyone, and so the main event (the holiday prayer) was held on a football field behind a Roxbury high school. Toward an American flag. With the Boston skyline as a backdrop. Somewhere, there”s a calendar with this precise image.
And afterwards, crepes near campus…
I”d normally take the rest of the day off, even though it”s not particularly necessary, but it was the third day of term; I had to go to class, and, to be honest, it’s not like I would have been doing much else back in my dorm. And, no, I was not changing out of my salwar kameez. That same evening, I secured my UROP for the semester – I”ll be working with the Intelligent Transport Systems Lab (as I did in the spring of 2009, before going away for the year) on a traffic simulation project in Singapore.
I wasn”t certain I”d pursue a UROP this term with my already very busy schedule, but my new year’s resolution for this year is to manage my lifestyle better. This means managing time well (okay, I”m already failing as I was writing this post the night before my GREs). This is especially important because I”m taking 60 credits this term –
- 1.00: Introduction to Engineering and Problem Solving (12 credits)
- 1.571: Structural Analysis and Control (12 credits)
- 1.572: Structural Systems (6 credits)
- 4.614: Religious Architecture and Islamic Cultures (12 credits)
- 4S.10: Delhi and Jaisalmer: An Architectural Journey through Two Indian Cities (6 credits)
- 21F.701: Spanish I (12 credits)
While less than some students take during an average semester, this is more than I”ve ever taken at MIT. On top of that, I”m a news editor for The Tech, which requires me to be holed up in The Tech office for eight hours one night every two weeks. Then, there”s working at the front desk at Baker, serving as a tour guide, blogging, eating, sleeping… So far, things have been going well, but it is, of course, just the first week.
But this also means keeping my room clean, or at least in navigable condition. To this end, I have a much larger room this year (168 sq. ft.) compared to during sophomore year (120 sq. ft.). But I also have about a third as much stuff. When I was packing up my stuff at the end of sophomore year, before heading abroad, I came to the sad realization that I had far too much stuff. There were strange doohickeys my parents bought me that I never used, clothes I wouldn”t get caught dead wearing – not sure what they were doing in my closet. I took maybe three large boxes home with me (two of which I planned to never bring back to MIT), and stored at least six crates at a relative”s house in Boston.
Opening those six crates on Saturday was like Christmas morning, a very sad, sad Christmas morning where you wish Santa had just gotten you coal instead. By the end of the day, those six boxes were one garbage bag for goodwill, two bags of things I wasn”t cruel enough to pass on, and one single crate to come back to MIT.
I”m even confident enough to even take a picture of my room now.