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MIT student blogger Maggie L. '12

Veni, Vidi, Jamba by Maggie L. '12

I came, I saw, I conquered a lot of smoothies

Every summer, I tend to get a lot of the same questions about life at MIT. What’s it like? Is it hard? How much sleep do I get? These tend to be mainstream curiosities. Recently, someone from my high school threw me a curveball: what do I do for fun. MIT may be known for its academic rigor, but it doesn’t have to be a grind all the time. So, even though I had my first 9-5 job this summer in a California cancer research lab, I definitely saved time for fun. Case in point: daycations.

I consider myself an avid daycationer. When you live within an hour and a half of Lake Tahoe, the bay area, wine country, and Monterey, you tend to be a daycationer.

I started this summer with some easy trips. A day on Folsom lake in June…

was followed by a walk around Sonoma, and through an amusing grocery store, in July.

As for running, I don’t have many pictures of that because this is what happens when my mom tries to take a picture of me.

Mom, what are you-click-doing?!
But I can say these shoes were once black…

and these containers were once full.

Of course, there was plenty of Jamba Juice (a popular smoothie chain) and frozen yogurt along the way. The toppings are the best!

By the time August came, my family and I were ready for a real adventure. It all started with my mom’s DVD set on National Parks. Or did it all begin when I read an article on the epic Dipsea Race this summer? Either way, somehow Muir Woods, a beautiful national monument of Coastal Redwoods near the bay area, came into family discussion and we decided it’d be worth a daytrip.

One thing I noticed is that my hair is definitely not used to the bay area climate. We left dry, mid-90s Sacramento only to arrive at the extremely foggy (extremely, I tell you!) mid-60s Muir Woods.

(Left) At first, my hair behaved in the humidity. (Right) Then, it didn’t.
When we got there, we had a variety of paths to choose from, although some of the trail names were misnomers:

We passed the “not-really-an-ocean-view Ocean View Trail,” crossed a bridge, and journeyed into the forest. Of course, there were tons of Kodak moments along the way.



A note on the last picture: seriously, someone used a band-aid to leave behind a message? I wonder if Todd ever met at the car.


But eventually I got bored of “posing by trees” pictures, so I started looking for new angles. I thought, “hey! I’ll take a picture of my brass rat so I can say my MIT ring was at a national monument.” Success! Although you can’t really tell it’s in a California forest.

I upped my game and suspended my ring on a branch, right next to a spider web reflecting sunlight, and just as I’m snapping the photo, someone on the trail behind my family says, “Is that a brass rat?” We all slowly turn around, basically thinking the same thing: what did you say?

Turns out, an MIT alum happened to be walking by at the exact moment I had my ring off, on the same trail in the middle of the same forest 3,000 miles away from Cambridge. Wow. Better yet, he was wearing his ring, too. Photo opp!

The true brass rat aficionado will notice the alum’s bezel is turned outwards, with the beaver facing the world, while the current undergrad’s bezel is inward.

Brief intermission: remember when I was telling you about how people ask a lot of MIT questions? This unexpected meeting reminded me of the importance of the “elevator speech.” I learned about this in my Foundations of Engineering Leadership (FEL) session over IAP.

It’s no secret that people will want to know what you do at MIT, so it’s helpful to have a 30-second spiel about yourself ready. Of course, you might need to tweak it a little depending on who’s asking the question (future employers won’t be that interested in what dorm I live in; alums probably will be), but it makes things a little smoother when you know what to say when faced with the typical MIT questions. I’m sure it’ll come in handy in my classes for the GEL Program!

[Intermission is over; please return to your seats.]

By the way, the alum at Muir Woods also mentioned that his daughter would be attending MIT this year. Hey, Sarah ’14, how’s it going?

But our adventures were far from over. A few miles away was Stinson Beach. When most people think of California beaches, they might think of, oh, I don’t know, sun. And maybe Katy Perry. Neither were present at the beach this day. It was freezing and windy and we were just about to pack up and leave when we saw—get ready for this—Bubble Man.

I don’t know if he really goes by the name Bubble Man, but he does now. He’s a Steve Martin look-alike who has this bubble system that makes GIGANTIC bubbles. The kids were going crazy. Okay, I was too.

Not to be outdone, the Lloyds decided to pursue our own mega bubble capabilities back in Sacramento. If there were ever a family that personified the saying, “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” my family would be it. We love science; we love engineering; we love weird things. Apparently, you only need a few ingredients to make mega bubbles. Unfortunately, these aren’t your everyday ingredients. Things like restaurant-quality Dawn soap and, to put it nicely, veterinary supplies for horses.

Once we got the ingredients, we mixed them in a pot that we definitely cooked dinner in the night before. I really hope we don’t use this pot again. Equine pasta sounds just wrong.

My dad, sister, and I made quite the bubble-making team!

The learning curve for this process is fantastic. You make a lot of little bubbles, you change your technique, you make a freakishly large bubble that goes into traffic and pops on some innocent driver’s windshield. I’ll let the pictures below tell the rest of this story.

12 responses to “Veni, Vidi, Jamba”

  1. Ther you go again Maggie!!! Wonderful post again!!!
    I cant wait to have an “MIT ring”. Do all students at MIT get that?

  2. Zak says:

    “Ocean View Trail
    Due to fire prevention, there is no longer a view of the ocean”

    Just awesome.

    And you can get the brass rats the end of sophomore year. They cost money but most students buy them.

  3. Brian '13 says:

    Now next time, instead of air in those bubbles, fill them with methane and light them after they float away :D

  4. Justin says:


    Yup, students get them during their sophomore year, I think.

    Sweet post again, mag. =)

  5. genius ('18) says:

    Wow! Those bubbles are awesome! As for filling the bubble with methane and lighting them- I haven’t taken high school chem yet, but I think that might be slightly dangerous wink. Especially around People. And cars. And houses. Everything really. As for the bubbles, what did you make the GIANT frame to blow them out of? Wire? EPIC!

  6. question says:

    What type of calculator do most undergrads use? and what calculators are allowed on tests? THANKS

  7. o'mal '14 says:

    hey, how do people get on the brass rat committee? were you on it??

  8. Rhythm Vas says:

    Hiii… r u studying at MIT????

  9. Anonymous says:

    @o’mal: Its called the ring committee. Shannon was on it.

  10. TENTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. mag says:

    @ genius(’18): So Bubble Man used fishing rods to hold his rope (maybe it was twine) up, but we used bamboo sticks or some other sticks like that with twine. At first, our bubbles were really fragile, so we got thicker twine and that made them more durable. My dad (hehe, hi Dad) just googled “mega bubble recipe” or something like that.

    @question: I can’t keep track of TI calculator names anymore, but I have a TI84 whereas it seems a lot of people have a TI89 (?). Classes allow graphing calculators on exams but not any sort of “super computer” ones, but I’ve never seen someone give up a calculator on test day because it wasn’t legal.

    @o’mal’14: like anonymous said, the committee you’re referring to is the ring committee, and there will be applications for your class’ committee available in your freshman year

  12. Rishabh says: