Weekend Off by Maggie L. '12
What happens to an MIT student when the firehose gets turned off temporarily?
With the title of this entry, you might think I’m about to tell you my plans for the three-day weekend. Sorry, Chris Columbus. I’m actually talking about the weekend BEFORE that, which happened to be a rare breed of weekend. “Being hosed” is an MIT phrase meaning “having too much to do and not enough time to do it,” since getting an MIT education is like drinking from a firehose; rest assured, there are times when life at MIT gets a little more manageable.
A “weekend off” happens once or twice every Cross Country or Track season, during which we don’t have a meet. Doesn’t sound like a big deal? Oh, it is. Many distance runners around the nation long for just one Saturday morning without a race on their mind and a meet that will last several hours on their schedule. Halloween the night before a meet? Save your candy ‘til later. Homecoming on Saturday night? Prepare to dance on sore legs. SAT test that morning? You can make it just in time to start warming up.
The funny thing is that a “weekend off” isn’t really “off.” We’re definitely still running, but the fact that I can actually get homework done on a Saturday, or go grocery shopping, or do both AND watch an episode of “Glee” just blows my mind.
Did I mention that, after my awesome weekend, my Wednesday problem set deadline got moved to Friday? So essentially all I had to do was study for my Genetics test. In my book, that’s a win. This was turning out to be the perfect storm of weekends off.
And so this is what I did.
GEL Mentoring Social!
You were probably wondering how I was going to tie this in with the GEL program. Well, since you asked, I attended the GEL Mentoring Social during our Friday afternoon Engineering Leadership Lab.
The purpose of this social was to introduce the GEL students to their mentors, who have worked in industry professions and thus have some experience in engineering leadership. Each mentor has 3-4 mentees, so this was a good opportunity to get to know fellow GEL students as well!
My mentor happens to be a member of the LGO (Leaders for Global Operations) Program at MIT, in which students receive a Masters degree in some area of engineering combined with an MBA from the Sloan School of Management. My group discussed everything from career aspirations to our weekend plans.
Friday night dinners usually include pasta because that’s what a lot of runners like to eat the night before a race. This Friday night dinner was no different, except I made the pasta. Yes, I made it, wondering Why haven’t I made pasta before?! It’s so fun! A group of us in the Tech Catholic Community made plates and plates of tortellini and it was delicious!
After getting to know our mentors the day before, the GEL students gathered on Kresge Lawn for a typical, fun picnic. And by “typical” I mean “featuring a competition between table groups that had us darting all around campus and answering the most random engineering-related trivia questions ever.”
Basically, the GEL staff posted signs around campus, each of which had a corresponding number and trivia question. Our goal was to find these signs, record the number and question, and report back to the picnic spot in less than an hour.
Points were awarded based on how many signs we visited and how many questions we answered correctly. We were given three campus maps, one of which told us where each station was; my team simply copied the information onto the two blank maps and set off in different groups. These are just a few of the questions we faced. How many of these can you answer?
What is 78% N2, 21% O2, 0.9% Ar, 0.033% CO2, 18ppm Ne, and 5ppm He?
What is Y=stress/strain?
What is CH3CH2CH2CH2CH2CH2CH2CH3?
Well, our team didn’t win, but we did enjoy the picnic! Some groups brought in really fabulous food to go along with the barbecue fare!
(right) Leo McGonagle, Executive Director of the GEL Program, asks Danielle ’11 about her team’s performance in the competition.</font size=1>
Oh, wait, Genetics test! I mean, clean my room!
Just as I was about to sit down to continue the studying I had started earlier in the week, I realized that cleaning my room was a higher priority. But this wasn’t my typical “fold my clothes, clear my desk” kind of cleaning. This was “I am going to make shelf labels so I can finally know where all my stuff is, and then I will clean the floor, and then I will finally unpack the one box that had been sitting in the corner of my room since Orientation” kind of cleaning. And it felt awesome. I have a clear desk again.
Clearly, my cleaning escapade had completely sidetracked me, so I needed to get out of my room if I was going to have any chance of focusing on Genetics. I gathered all my materials and set up camp in Baker House’s quiet study room. I love this room! It’s a little hidden, so there are zero distractions, and lots of desk space to spread out!
Two things I do significantly less of when I’m at MIT is drive and watch movies. I emailed out to my sorority, Pi Beta Phi, and asked if anyone wanted to see the cheesy, “Mean Girls-esque” high-school comedy film, “Easy A.” We filled an entire row at the theater, and got some frozen yogurt at Berryline afterwards.
As a Californian, I’ve tried my fair share of yogurt chains, but this one had evaded me until this weekend. I full-heartedly enjoyed my kiwi, mango, strawberry topping combination.
I love morning runs. They make me feel so productive and it’s rather nice to get out before the campus turns into its usual bustling self.
Here’s a fact: not many college students are awake at 7:00 on a Sunday morning. I’m pretty sure most of the ones still awake just hadn’t gone to bed yet.
This is, in my opinion, the best job for students. Working at the front desk of a dorm means you meet a lot of residents, help them check out movies and room keys, and maintain dorm security. Plus, you’re essentially being paid to do homework or watch movies on your laptop.
Last Genetics study period!
I find myself studying Genetics yet again. I take a practice test in testing conditions (at a clear desk, without notes, timing it with a stopwatch) and it doesn’t go too well. That’s okay. I definitely prefer identifying my weak points in the course material a day before the test rather than during the test itself. After a few more hours of reviewing, I’m ready to go.
So there you have it. When I went to bed on Sunday, I reveled in my clean room, my Genetics preparedness, and my good memories from a well-spent “weekend off.”