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MIT student blogger Yan Z. '12

What’s new and exciting? by Yan Z. '12

You get to pick a blog topic! Yes, you! Definitely not me!

This afternoon, as I was walking past the Center for Ultracold Atoms on my way to biology recitation, I was stabbed by a deep, instinctive urge to blog about my shoes. Understand, reader, that I had journeyed by foot through many a congested intersection to the Cambridgeside Galleria in order to obtain a pair of shoes on a tax holiday (Columbus would have approved), and so this was somewhat significant. It turned out that someone in our wide, mysterious world was once compelled to design a pair of shoes exhibiting the minimum amount of traction possible, and so it happened that these were the shoes I bought. As I enjoyed the feeling of near-zero friction against the floor tiles, it became pretty clear that the bottom of my shoes at room temperature had properties usually associated with superconductors near absolute zero, thus qualifying them as a matter of interest to the Center for Ultracold Atoms. Here at MIT, everything is interrelated.

Biology recitation began, and I kept thinking about blogging and shoes and how much energy I wasted today by walking on non-carpeted surfaces. Next thing that happened, someone was handing out a surprise quiz while my logical faculties were still on coffee break, and after plowing through a gigantic mental lapse, I barely managed to finish in time. It occurred to me that this was probably a more exciting thing to write about, since nearly every great story in the history of humankind is basically about people almost failing. By “every great story,” it’s entirely possible that I mean just Star Wars.

So essentially, the fact that I was thinking about the subject of a blog caused an event that could have become the subject of a blog. And the fact that I was thinking about how thinking about the subject of a blog could cause an event that becomes the subject of a blog itself sort of became the subject of this blog.

Pre-freshmen, here’s where you come in: to ensure that this type of gnarly recursive situation never again inspires sentences like the one above, comment and suggest some blog topics that are less likely to generate self-reference loops and create a singularity. Since I’m an extra-helpful person today, here’s some suggestions for what you should suggest:

1.Living with a roommate
2.Roommate living with you
3.Why the Physical Education Lottery despises me
4.How to assert your domination over the Physical Education Lottery, which hates you. By “you,” I mean “me.”
5.The Random Hall Phone Experiment
6.Collecting junk @ MIT (it’s classier than it sounds, I swear)
7.Intro to Solid-state Chemistry (it’s a chem class with a minor identity confusion disorder!)
8.Going to office hours
9.Massachusetts Avenue
10.Course websites, they’re actually functional in college (unlike in high school)
11.Why I’m actually a senior in high school right now, at least according to every college that keeps sending me mail.
12.How to get into MIT . . . literally. As in which doors to use and how to open them.

Go forth! Suggest my suggestions! Or any other things!

54 responses to “What’s new and exciting?”

  1. anon says:

    How bout: “Where’s Snively?”

  2. deng says:

    why are you a senior in hs right now? I read that you got into MIT your junior year, had a nice dinner and dropped out.. but how??
    and Massachusetts ave. talk about that too

  3. Anonymous says:

    the underground tunnels!

  4. Anonymous says:

    the underground tunnels!

  5. Ruth '13? says:

    How about an entry clarifying what the difference would be between an entry about “Living with a roommate” and “Roommate living with you”?

  6. Ooh… collecting junk sounds fun.

    @deng – I think she means that she still gets a ton of mail from colleges telling her to apply there, so they clearly think that she’s a hs senior instead of a college freshman.

  7. Tree says:

    Number 12. Duh.

  8. Yan Z. says:

    @ Deng/Katie:

    Katie pretty much summarized it. I mean, it’s nice to know that my application to _____ is waiting for me, or that _____ is offering to send me a brochure about why they’re my perfect school, but the emails just look ridiculous when they’re mixed in with messages from the MIT libraries about when my books are due. Thanks for the suggestion. I’ll try to talk more about it.

    @ Anonymous:
    I sincerely hope one of the other bloggers reads this and decides to post about the tunnels. I haven’t really used them much.

  9. Anonymous says:

    How about two completely different students at MIT that you encountered?

  10. deng says:

    yea, I got that they thought you were a senior, I was just wondering how you can get accepted as a junior..

    they didn’t even show the tunnels on the tour I took >.>

  11. Sharon says:

    Thank you for information!

  12. Yan Z. says:

    @ Visitors in general:

    I highly suggest doing an overnight visit. My host ended up showing me the tunnel system in the wee hours of the morning because I acted semi-enthusiastic about the idea of never going outside in my entire 4 years at MIT.

  13. Reena says:

    7!!!! Because it’s half an EAPS class :D !

  14. Anonymous says:

    More on your magical shoes capable of Dorthy-esq travel.

  15. anon says:

    Definitely the Physical Education lottery.

  16. fail@bio says:

    what, you had a pop quiz in 7.012 recitation today? we didn’t get a pop quiz :( but we did talk about how the quizzes are indeed pop quizzes and to expect them…at some point. hmm, this pop quiz business is tricky, esp since the last one was announced. yikes :(

  17. Cam says:

    Although there’s a $20 fine (or is it $25?) if you’re caught, rollerblading in the tunnels is fun. And you can get from the Kendall T station to a good half of campus without getting wet if it’s raining, through them. Saved me many times.

    Re: the CUA, that’s a coolish place. Lots of lasers in lots of colors that make your fingers tickle and maybe burn when the grad students let you poke through the beam.

    Oh, and the Galeria is quite nice. Maybe a photo entry about that would be rather delicious? Only a 5-10 minute walk from the eastern end of campus… The sears there does not sell welding equipment, though, a bit of a letdown.

  18. 13 hopeful says:

    Me and many applicants right now (I think) would like to read a blog about 12… Please!!! =D

  19. Patrick says:

    What about all of the above? ^-^ I bet all the pre-frosh are with me on this one! You might want to help her on this task though, bloggers? anyone?

  20. Abby says:

    I’m feeling awkward about the roommate one. Oh no, what if Yan doesn’t like me? What if Yan really doesn’t like sleeping on the top bunk? What if Yan finds out about the chinchilla colony I have living in my bottom desk drawer?
    … wait…

  21. Monorina says:

    OOHH!! I am doing solid state chem as well right now. I just took a coffee break to come over and check this site( yeah, we are having a holiday and yeah, I’m studying smile) I’d say the Collecting junk@ MIT would be a ‘mazing topic.

  22. Monorina says:

    The recursive thing kinda sounds great. I was revising recursion for a computer sc. test on Mon.

    AAARGHH!! Everything leads to my books these days.

  23. An entry about Intro to Solid State Chemistry?


  24. Anonymous says:

    Whatever topic you choose to blog about put some pics…. Pleasezzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  25. Yan Z. says:

    Right, so Solid State Chem. seems to be a hit. Number 12 is also fairly popular amongst people who most likely misread it, unless you all happen to be aspiring locksmiths.

    I secretly have a great desire to write about collecting junk and the PE lottery, which is also a piece of junk as of yesterday.

    Abby, when I get back, I’m going to make sure those fractal broccoli seeds are actually the kind that turn into fractal broccoli.

  26. Paul says:

    @Anonymous: The tunnel system was one of the things I meant to blog about way back in the day. Your wish will be granted soon. smile

  27. umm, i chose the roommate one smile, like all the stuff about roommates, can you switch? what happens if you dont like him/her? what bout the scary 2 story beds? … etc

    btw, i met Matt Mcgann yesterday, it was SO weird. i didn’t expect him at all, he just walked into my class to give a presentation (in China!).

  28. knocks says:

    A blog about your taste in music, with an appropriate mix of artsy pictures of your music collection, be it a digital collection or a physical one.

  29. Anonymous says:

    The Random Hall Phone Experiment.
    ‘Nuf said.

  30. donaldGuy says:

    Elevator Parties!

  31. anonymous says:

    Ya,, Random Hall phone Experiment sounds fun!!

  32. Vaibhav says:

    @Yan Z.
    You could be possibly the only person who could make a blog out of her shoes’ lack of traction!!

    No.6,7 and 9 seem excellent blog topics!!!

  33. Vaibhav says:

    @Yan Z.
    You could be possibly the only person who could make a blog out of her shoes’ lack of traction!!

    No.6,7 and 9 seem excellent blog topics!!!

  34. Katie says:

    Whoa… Yan actually read my comment and replied to it. That just gave me a little rush there smile
    By the way, Yan, I voted for collecting junk, but I’ll seriously just be excited to read another of your blogs. I love your blog. You make life sound like so much fun. By the way, can you tell me how to pronounce your name? Does it rhyme with “man” or with “fawn”? Or neither?

  35. Katie says:

    By the way, I think I just won the prize for awkwardly using “by the way” 2 times in the same paragraph.
    (oops, I just did it again)

  36. Lin² says:

    I, for one, would love to know more about the Random Hall phone experiment because it sounds semi-mischievous.

    But, if you don’t feel like elaborating on the previous experiment, feel free to finish this sentence:

    “Little did I know…”

  37. Yan Z. says:

    Good job to everyone who picked Random Hall Phone Experiment. I’ve been intending to write about it for a while.

    @ Katie:
    Thanks! My name rhymes with “fawn”, except that it really doesn’t. The fact is, Matt McGann once pronounced it the other way and I corrected him, so now I have to be consistent.

    @ Vaibhav:
    I wore the shoes today, walked onto a floor that had recently been mopped, tried to move a chair, and couldn’t. The end.

  38. Banerjee says:

    #7, #9, or #1!! They all sound really cool.

  39. Reena says:

    Can I vote twice for solid-state chem? raspberry

  40. Vaibhav says:

    I feel the same way when a blogger reads my comment and replies…feels nice!

  41. Nick '12 says:

    And maybe something about DME.

  42. Edward says:

    I tend to like all the really random(and possibly pointless?) ones. So basically, the Physical Education lottery, the Random Hall phone experiment, and collecting junk. Then again, everything you write about somehow magically seems to become insanely engaging, so I’m content with whatever. :]
    You have to admit though, those would have to be pretty fun to write about.

  43. Edward says:

    Oh, but then again, details on #11 would be most interesting as well

  44. Yan Z. says:

    DME has invaded my blog!

    @ Edward,
    Pointless posts are the best. I wish I could write them all the time, but I sort of feel obligated to put up some useful information once in a while.

    Then again, a good percentage of Sam Maurer’s posts were not exactly the most point-ful things ever written, and Sam is one of my blogger idols . . . hey, I think I just convinced myself to lower my content standards.

  45. Anonymous says:

    I dunno, how to use doors might just one-up my interest in the Random Hall Phone experiment. Hmmm…I don’t know what to vote for. Can I have a lifeline please?

  46. Anne Onimous says:

    I think we all know that #12 is the most wanted topic, even if we don’t admit it.
    So please, Yan, number 12.

  47. Vaibhav says:

    @Yan Z.
    Just what is this Random Hall exp. which so many people have voted for??

  48. Yan Z. says:

    I think you guys are misreading no. 12. At least, I hope so.

  49. Anonymous says:

    how about an entry on the walk from Random to campus?

  50. Rachel says:

    I’m with Abby, I want to hear what it’s like to live with Yan. At least your roommate doesn’t have a dog, right?

    I’m also curious to hear more about your classes, or maybe a blog about some of your friends.

    A bat just flew into my window. I think that means it’s time to start the day!

  51. Rachel says:

    Changed my mind! I want a blog about a run. I don’t care if you can’t take pictures, I just think it would be really interesting to hear about running around Boston and your thoughts while you’re running. Especially now that it’s autumn. Miss you!

  52. *roommate living with you* = #2
    i love your blogs…you’re so great at questioning things…would be fantastic to be in your head and read your thoughts about your “self-questioning”…

  53. but then again…nothing can be truer…whatever you write about is just fantastic