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MIT student blogger Laura N. '09

The swing of things by Laura N. '09

MIT happenings.

It’s mid-October, which means that life at MIT is crazy right now. The semester is really underway now, so that means tests and psets and projects are all happening at once, and lots of people are pretty hosed. (Hosed= MIT slang for “really busy.”) Some other things are going on too.

On Friday, I went to a MISTI-Spain information session. The MIT International Science and Technology Initiative helps students find ways to study abroad or take internships in a foreign country. I might be getting an internship in Spain this summer, and I am super psyched. (I still have to send in my resume, and I haven’t thought as far ahead as next week, let alone the summer. So it’s not a definite, but it’s something that I’m seriously considering.)

Like Jessie wrote about, the Task Force on the Undergraduate Educational Commons released its final report, recommending changes to the GIRs (General Institute Requirements) to President Hockfield. As Jessie so eloquently explains, MIT students really care about the direction of the Institute. So even if none of us will ever have to deal with the “First Year HASS Experience” (common humanities classes required for freshmen) recommended by the committee, plenty of us are pretty mad about it anyway and trying to keep it from happening. (You’re welcome. =P) This is causing some exciting discussion and controversy, which always spices up life a bit.

This Thursday, the 2009 RingComm (Ring Committee) is holding a study break for members of the class of 2009 to provide feedback about what we want to see on our Brass Rat. The Brass Rat is a big chunk of metal MIT students and alums wear on their fingers as a way of screaming to the world, “HEY, I WENT TO MIT!” Each class has a distinctive design (see some previous designs here) crafted by a small committee of students. The unveiling of the Brass Rat (at an event called Ring Premiere) and the delivery of the actual rings are pretty big milestones of your four years at MIT, so I’m excited already.

This Friday the FIRST mentors are taking a trip to the high school we work with to recruit new students for the FIRST team. Anything about FIRST also makes me really excited. =P

In more personal news, my acting class is finally starting to make sense! (The beginning of the semester was a little too…abstract for me, shall we say.) We haven’t done much acting per se, but we do all these activities breaking down our motions to expand our physical imagination. In other words, we’re constantly experimenting with different ways to use our bodies in relation with other actors, props, the setting (chairs, the floor, the walls), different ways to sit or stand or walk, and so on. The idea is to explore plenty of different ways to use your body itself to express fear, happiness, anxiety, whatever.

One of the humanities requirements (which may only change in the details due to the aforementioned possible GIR changes) is that you choose something to concentrate in, so you develop a deeper understanding of one subject. I’m thinking I might concentrate in theater, because that would be really fun. Plus, you can use 9 units of theater practicum (working with one of the student drama groups in a production) as one of your classes, which I think is super cool.

Not only that, but I have to make another appointment with my advisor to go over my curriculum plan. Since I’m 2A (the “flexible” mechanical engineering track), I need to submit a plan for the requirements and electives I plan to take. It needs to be approved by a specific faculty member in Course 2 in charge of the 2A department so they can verify that I’m actually doing something productive and cohesive with my extra electives. Yikes!

I’m sure you guys are equally busy with school, activities and especially…..dun dun dun….college apps. I feel you, it can be a stressful time. Which is why, for the next couple of weeks I’ll be giving you my unsolicited unofficial college application advice. So stay tuned!

Responses to comments:
Amy asked: Is it acceptable to use abbreviations for fairly standard academic achievements/activities? Eg AIME for American Invational Mathematics Examination, NMS for National Merit Scholarship, etc.
Those sound okay as abbreviations. You should generally avoid anything even remotely obscure. Use your judgment, but when in doubt, spell it out. (Ha, that rhymes!) There’s never any harm in that.

Chris said:: “Are you differentiable? Because I want to be tangent to all your curves.”

That’s gotta be the greatest pick up line i have ever heard in my life… AHHH too bad no high school girls will understand it… (darn bad calculus teachers)
OK, I totally knew what that meant in high school, and might I add, that when I gave my campaign speech when I ran for student body president, my campaign manager (also female) introduced me with a speech that consisted entirely of nerdy pick-up lines, beginning with that one. (“Vote for Laura Nicholson, because she’s so hot I want to take her derivative just so I could lay tangent to all her curves.”) True story. (OK, I went to a nerd high school. And lost the election. But still.)

Kevin said: Hey I’m a senior in high school this year, and I’m considering applying to MIT. I was just wondering, 1) how difficult is the application process? 2) what does the admissions office look for in applications? and 3) how difficult is it once you’re there? any general advice would also be appreciated. if someone could reply, that would be awesome, thank you!
Yikes, vague questions! The admissions process isn’t any harder or easier than any other admissions process. In other words, it’s about as stressful as you make it. You have to take all the standard tests, fill out your name and birthdate about 300 times, list your activities, and write a few essays. Once you’re here, the work is hard. How hard is it? I don’t know, hard. =P You’re encouraged to work in groups, and problem sets are usually doable as long as you allot enough time and work with partners. But you will be challenged. As for your second question, stay tuned for my next entry, where I’ll discuss that in a lot more depth. (Also, Sandimelb: I did get your comment, but again, it will be addressed in my next entry!)

7 responses to “The swing of things”

  1. Mollie says:

    From my second-favorite Tech article of all time (this one); seventeen years old but still relevant:

    Question 4: Is MIT hard?

    Proper Answer: No, not at all. In fact, the entire place is made out of soft, pliable materials which make it easy to mold and redesign year after year.

  2. Deb says:

    oh wow. just responding to chris’ comment within your entry – sexist much?

    just coming from an indignant high school girl who knows calculus. has known for three years. so ha.

  3. Amy says:

    Hey, I’m a high school junior and I totally understand that pick-up line. (I took calc sophomore year and loved it.) I also understand the comment, since 99.9% of the people I know wouldn’t get it. However, none of them are applying to MIT. raspberry

  4. Nur says:

    Just out curiosity, how does one join RingComm?

  5. Reg says:

    i would have understood it in my sophomore year!! DD:

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