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Ushering in a New Era by Krystal L. '17

An open letter to Pass/No Record (with footnotes!)

Dear Pass/No Record*,

I’m breaking up with you. But don’t worry, it’s not you, it’s me. I’ve moved on. Don’t get me wrong though. We had our fun in the fall and I’m grateful for the stress relief you provided. The transition from high school to college can be a tricky one, but you were always there for me**. Like a rock. Or that piece of paper I accidentally superglued to my finger once***.

I just wanted to let you know that I’ve met someone new. Having taken sophomore standing****, I’m technically not a freshman anymore, so while most of my fellow freshmen will be on the ABC/no record grading system, I get the pleasure of being acquainted with sophomore exploratory*****.

Sometimes even the greatest relationships must come to an end. But let’s not dwell on the past. I’m with spring semester now****** and next fall, you’ll meet the wonderful class of 2018******* and welcome them to MIT with open arms. It was nice knowing you.


*: Welcome to the footnotes, the land of comments apparently not important enough to put into the main text. Sometimes though, authors are sneaky and put all the good stuff down here. It’s like their way of rewarding thorough readers. I wanted to put tiny, microscopic numbers in the superscript like they do in those fancy publications, but I can’t seem to do that here. I had to settle for these floating stars. Anyway, this footnote doesn’t actually have any information in it. But the next ones do, so read on my friends. Read on.

**: True story. Pass/no record was a great opportunity for me to experiment with my studying habits and general life skills without the stress of worrying about grades. For example, I learned that trying to do an entire pset the night before its due is not the greatest idea, especially if I plan on getting any sleep. Additionally, doing the assigned reading before class helps immensely and eating five cookies in one sitting will most likely lead to a tummy ache.

***: I would not recommend supergluing objects to your fingers.

****: Sophomore standing means, for all intents and purposes, that I’m a sophomore starting spring of my first year. What’s the point? 1) I get to declare a major so I am officially course 20 (biological engineering) now and have a new faculty advisor! 2) No more credit limit. Huzzah! For the first semester of freshman year, students are restricted to 54 units (most classes are 12 units, although there are some that are 6 or 9 or 18 units. 1 unit corresponds to approximately 14 hours of work per term) while the spring semester limits students to 57 units. I wanted to take five classes (60 units) so taking sophomore standing allowed me to do that. 3) Sophomore exploratory (see footnote *****)

*****: Sophomore exploratory: the magical academic policy that allows students to see their final grade for one designated class before deciding to either keep that grade, or switch to Listener status, which essentially expunges the class from their transcript and forfeits any credits that could have been earned. The deadline for this switch isn’t until registration day of the next semester, so there’s a fair amount of time to deliberate. It’s a policy I hope I will never have to use, but nonetheless, its presence is comforting.

******: Spring semester, I have high hopes for you. I’ll be taking 5.12 (organic chemistry), 8.02 (physics II: electricity and magnetism), 18.02 (multivariable calculus), 18.03 (differential equations), and 21f.703 (Spanish 3). Is it weird that I will have less class time during the spring semester than I had over IAP? Taking the EMT training class was an amazing experience and I’ve learned so much, but the 9am-6pm hours definitely won’t be missed.

*******: If you ultimately decide to commit to MIT (hint hint, nudge nudge), know that we are all excited to meet you and that you’ll have an amazing time here expanding your knowledge, experiencing new things, and meeting some of the coolest people from all around the world.