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MIT student blogger Yan Z. '12

What I Did on Registration Day by Yan Z. '12

I registered.

10:51 PM, on the farewell eve of Infinite Activities Period: School resumes in twelve hours, a carton of eggs waiting to crack and hatch their embryonic guts over the creamy, supple blankness of winter vacation. This morning, I peddled a small piece of my soul in exchange for my academic advisor’s signature on a pastel triumvirate of white-pink-yellow forms identifying me as a certified member of MIT’s Academic Indecision Society. I walked into her office with eight classes slapped onto my registration form like those profuse GOOD JOB! stickers on a first-grader’s unbrilliant grammar homework, quarterheartedly (like halfheartedly, but squared) chatted about classes with my advisor for 10 minutes, and walked out with seven classes and her pen (oops- if any of her other advisees are reading this, I sincerely apologize if she wasn’t able to sign your forms after I skipped out), with which I almost completed an entire Statistical Mechanics problem set earlier tonight while waiting for iTunes to load*.

*Not that this is supposedly impressive. Probably half the problems were just to take logs (the math kind, not the kind that President Lincoln lived in, which are much harder to take). Speaking of which, you should check out my friend Phil’s blog, blogarithm, not necessarily because of the content but because I thought of the title.

After my advising meeting, I loitered for a few hours, had a meeting with the Department Head of Physics not worth blogging about (yet), caught an elevator* to the 6th floor of the Kavli Institute, and nearly fell asleep four times on a sun-dappled sofa while waiting for my UROP supervisor to finish his phone call. In the meantime (between sleep cycles), I started to debate the redundancy of phrases such as “stick of chapstick,” which has bothered me so deeply in the past that I’ve refused to use chapstick of any flavor, texture, or bee-produced ingredient in fear of getting belittled by my peers for repetitive word choice. Unbeknownst to me, there was an unopened stick of chap in my coat pocket, a complimentary gift from Cedar’s Hummus Company that annoyingly happened to be peach-flavored instead of hummus-flavored. I later gave it to a British exchange student by the unlikely name of Nimrod, who remarked, “Wow! It’s chapstick flavored like hummus flavored like peaches!”

*The elevators in the indubitably tall Building 37 are visible from Earth only slightly more often than Halley’s Comet.

Tomorrow, I will (1) wake up, (2) attempt to get a career at the uncareerlike hour of 9 AM, and (3) sit through six hours of classes, in body if not in spirit.

Lastly, I’d be remiss not to publicly observe that my bed is a right triangle. I sleep on the hypotenuse: conveniently, (Wall length)^2 + (Wall length)^2 = (My height)^2.

37 responses to “What I Did on Registration Day”

  1. Kim '12 says:

    Wow Anonymous,

    Your son is a nerd! (Just kidding) Actually, I am taking a couple of the same classes… 24.900 (Introduction to Linguistics) and 21F.502 (Anime Speaking 2…. errrr, I mean, Japanese 2).

    Yan, what does your schedule for the Spring semester look like? 10 classes?! I assume you plan on jettisoning some of those classes. Me, I am only signed up for 66 units and a 20 hour/week job.

    -Kim ’12

  2. Juan says:

    Hello, I am Juan, Mexican, alive student in Mexico and would want to know if they would to me to orient, about like being able to enter to the MIT, want to learn and here in Mexico we see the MIT like great, great Institution, that I need, that steps, I do since it? Thanks, postscript; sorry by my English evil I must improve it much, bye.

  3. Anomimi says:

    I don’t like your posts very much. They are terribly written and I think you should take some writing class at MIT. I’m so sorry I don’t want to be rude in any sense.

  4. neongreen says:

    ^@ anomimi: that was some pretty good sarcasm!

    I love Yan’s posts! smile

  5. Armin says:

    I feel that too;
    I like Yan’s photography much, though.

  6. anon e moose says:


    yep, turgid, pedantic prose. does help explain why so many journal articles are unreadable, though. MIT, teach more english NOW.

  7. Anonymous says:

    8 classes? why?

  8. Brad says:

    Her posts are unusual that’s certain. She has her own style and i suppose it’s either you like it or you don’t.

  9. Armin says:

    I suggest a topic for future blog entries!

    Write about cheating in MIT, how frequently does students cheat? How they were punished, and did you ever cheat YAN?

    Please write as humanly as possible smile

  10. Steph says:

    The ending math reference was a nice touch.

  11. Anonymous says:


    How could a MIT student know how frequently students cheat if it does not happen in her/his class? Maybe you want to share your school’s cheating statistics or your own experience if any?

  12. Anonymous says:


    If you are taking 7 classes this term, try the following 7 classes my son took in the fall of his Sophomore year:
    8.06(A+)/8.14(A)/8.323(A+)/24.900(A)/14.05(A)/ 21F.502(A)/18.443(A+)

  13. Anon says:

    I absolutely love your bed, but I think you’re lying there. With 8 classes at MIT I don’t think you’re sleeping on the hypotenuse– in fact, I doubt you’re sleeping at all. Just saying. Honesty is the best policy after all.

  14. Resonator says:

    Cloudy with a chance of sarcasm.

    I wonder how I would <a>line up</a> such a bed along the Earth’s magnetic dipole for optimizing REM sleep.

  15. tree says:

    I have to say that bed IS unique, but simultaneously imagining sleeping on it,
    bruises must occur to sleepers like me.
    And sorry, somehow the vanilla-colored tent-top thingy reminded me of underwears…

  16. the urbanest says:

    Eggs to be consumed are not fertilized and therefore will never contain anything of an embryonic nature.

  17. ??? says:

    Yan, there are some insecure crazies posting to your blog tonight! Is it a full moon or something?

    For those unfamiliar with Yan, she registers for a large number of classes, and then settles on a smaller number once she gets a better idea of how each class is run. A number of people, let’s call them “college students,” do this at the beginning of the semester.

  18. niki says:

    @ the urbanest: don’t be too sure…

  19. Yan says:

    @ ???:

    Can I send you a thank-you e-card? You’re right-on. I intend to keep my record as the biggest slacker currently enrolled at MIT. (Read: drop from 8 to 4 classes within 3 days).

  20. Yan says:

    Alright, y’all. I’m down to 5 classes.

    Problem: I only have four folders. I can’t decide whether I should buy another folder or drop another class.

  21. Anonymous says:


    May I know which 5 classes you are taking? Maybe I can share my advice.

  22. Yan says:


    8.04/8.044 (these are non-negotiable)
    21M.340 (Jazz Arranging and Composition, previously known by the hilarious, let’s-belittle-every-other-music-class name of Practical Harmony)
    8.962 (General Relativity)
    18.04 (Fxns of a Complex Variable)

  23. sunshine says:

    I love your writing style, Yan.

    It’s like you’re here speaking to me, and all of the *’s to random facts make me laugh smile

    Just thought you should know.

  24. Rutu '12 says:

    Haha, awesome as always….and I don’t care what random people are saying about your writing style; if you stop writing like this, I’ll stop reading ^__^.

    Hmmm, don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say “stick of chapstick” actually…usually just “chapstick?” But meh…

    Also, are you continuing the UROP? (if yes, YAY!)

    Anyways, you’re taking GR???? OMG AWESOME!!!!!!! How is it?? And how on earth are you managing a grad class in soph. year?

  25. Anonymous says:


    Why limit yourself to currently enrolled at MIT? The real MIT slackers wouldn’t.

  26. Yan says:

    @ Vaibhav:

    I was thinking along the same lines for 18.04. It looks like a good class, but I’m not sure if I have the motivation to put in X hours per week for it.

    I sleep 6-7 hours per night usually (including weekends and vacations, etc.), although it was down to 4-5 sometime in the middle of IAP. I’m guessing that’s around average, so my slackerness is more accurately put in the take-less-classes-and-do-less-activities-while-awake department.

    Yep, Jazz is HASS.

    I listen to a lot of 20th century orchestral stuff, but I’m currently enamored with Nirvana’s last album, MTV Unplugged in New York. It’s 100% live and acoustic. Really excellent.

  27. '18? says:

    9x-7i > 3(3x-7u)

  28. Vaibhav says:

    @ Yan
    I’d drop 18.04 because 8.962 seems quite interesting! Though you really didn’t seem the slacker type (well, besides the love for sleeping more than the avg. MIT student!) The Jazz course is HASS right?
    Last Q. (slightly irrelevant)- your iTune favs?

  29. Jess '12 says:

    Your chair looks pretty tall. A footrest may improve your pedal comfort!

  30. Ryan says:

    i i <3 u

    That’s pretty slick, ’18. Also a little scary.

  31. Ryan says:

    And, I should have guessed that a tag looking thing would be filtered from the post. Now trying the escaped approach, after which I will give up and straight up say the word ‘heart.’

    i <3 u

  32. anon says:

    where did you manage to get a triangular bed? O_O
    and it that a laptop on the radiator?

  33. Anonymous says:

    Yan, your posts are great and so is your photography but they are a little difficult to read. They are sort of like the essays I’ve read in SAT booklets. No offence.

  34. Jason Chee says:

    You have a peculiar writing style,comprehensible,but do you really write like that?

  35. Ka-Wiz says:

    Yan – When you make that bed, do you recite the proper trig function for the orientation of the blanket-folding? ie, tan(blanket) = opposite over hypotenuse [I’m assuming your head for theta here, but still]

  36. Ka-Wiz says:

    Oh dearg, I meant sin(blanket). Sorry, it’s midnight and I’ve been up for two days doing calc and biology and I have no clue what got into me… I question my entire education now raspberry