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MIT student blogger Hamsika C. '13

Work and Energy by Hamsika C. '13

Can't do the former if you don't have the latter.

Having spent the majority of orientation meeting new people, staying up late, and climbing on roofs, I met the start of school with a dangerous sense of nonchalance. Consequently, I spent the first month of classes burning the midnight oil and wishing I’d worked harder over weekends. Last week was the worst: physics pre-lab assignment, chem p-set, dance (Natya – the Indian classical dance team) practices, calculus midterm, physics quiz, seminar readings and other things I’ve probably unconsciously blocked from memory. Any sleep I lost was never found; TGIF took on a whole new meaning.

So this week, I decided to shape up a little. By this, I mean: get more sleep, be more productive, win at life. Huzzah!

With this noble intention in mind, I woke up bright and early on Sunday morning, gathered my books, went to a study room, and didn’t move for about four hours, during which time I read avidly for 18.02 (Multivariable Calculus) and STS.005 (Disease and Society in America a.k.a. my humanities class for this semester).

Now I’m basically best friends with partial derivatives. I probably know more about smallpox and swine flu than I do about myself. The Lagrange multiplier no longer bamboozles my intellect. If I ever met Charles Rosenberg (author of several STS.005 readings), I could impress him with my summaries of his work.

Best of all, I’ve gotten seven hours of sleep every single day this week, my eating schedule again possesses (whoa, there are a lot of s’s in that word) a semblance of normalcy, and MIT appears much less intimidating.

That’s not to say it’s easy.

This semester, in accordance with the freshman credit limit, I’m taking four classes (STS.005, 18.02, 5.112 – Principles of Chemistry, 8.01 – Physics) and a seminar (The Art and Science of Medicine). They’re all great courses, but the homework is so, so time-consuming. Chem and Calc have problem sets due each week. Physics too has p-sets, but (thankfully!) they’re never due/graded. My seminar has weekly readings, but it’s so awesome that I don’t even mind staring at multiple pages of scientific jargon. My HASS is fascinating, not the least because I get to see Winnie-the-Pooh cartoons (in which Pooh makes fun of Piglet for having swine flu) and hear various Jay Leno quotes.

Because I’m taking three GIRs this semester, I have a lot of classes with friends and dorm-mates. When it comes time to do homework, we often work together, wake each other up from sporadic naps, make coffee runs, and watch “Whose line is it anyway?” during study breaks.

Just a few hours ago, I put all our study sessions to the test as I took my first 5.112 exam of the year. As I scrawled energy equations all over my test booklet and frantically tried to finish problem 5 in the allotted time, I realized just how legit the work-energy relation is in real life. I’ve seriously never accomplished anything worthwhile while worn-out or exhausted. Which is why I’m liking this whole seven hours of sleep + regular meals dealio.

Now, who thinks I can keep it up?

29 responses to “Work and Energy”

  1. Anonymous says:


  2. no one ever warns you that college is going to be so hard :( yay for your blog that tells the truth :D

  3. Aubrey '13 says:

    I’m in STS.005, too. It’s interesting to hear your take on the class. We really do read a lot of Rosenburg.

  4. Emily says:

    Wow, are partial derivatives that fun? Sounds cool.

    Is it possible to finish all of the GIRs in your freshman year? What is the maximum number of classes you can take before your schedule gets impossible?

  5. Snively says:

    Hey, don’t you be taking my “link in the preview” thing!

  6. Hamsika '13 says:

    hahaha – sorry, snively – i won’t do it next time smile

    emily – haha partial derivatives are by no means fun, but i know how to deal with them now! As for GIRS, you can pretty much finish all of them freshman year. First semester, you can take a max of 54 credits, which means you can have four classes plus either a seminar, MITSO (orch), a for-credit UROP, a.k.a. anything that’s 6-credits. I’m not sure about the limit for second semester; I should probably find out.

  7. Hamsika – great blog entry! And your classes sound like the ones I would take in MIT.
    Loved the link of the ‘link in the preview thing’ (trademarked by Snively) by the way.

  8. oasis '11 says:

    ^ Second semester you’re up to 57, unless you qualify for soph standing, then you can get away with taking 60.

    But it’s ok, you’ll have plenty of time later on to take mad credits…haha I just met someone who’s on 102 credits this term. I’m not sure whether he’s going to keep all 102…personally, I don’t think it’s good for your health, but we literally go to school with superhumans. =/

  9. Vinay says:


    Be quiet. I’ve seen you on College Confidential with all your AP self-studies. YOU are superhuman. wink

  10. Southpaw says:


    Don’t forget either that you got sophomore standing second semester. Sure it’s not a 102 credits, or superhuman, but it’s still a much larger than average workload.

  11. jenny '13 says:

    ha- STS.005, har, har.
    oh hamsika, how i wish i straightened out this week like you.

    please keep it up.

  12. Nedan Holly says:

    Hamsika, I wish I made much of the week

  13. sepideh says:

    thanks a lot you reminded me that i have to straight up my program either… i really do believe god led me to your blog so i got my guts back….OOOOHHH how i hate mastering physics for homework…

  14. Vaibhav says:

    @ Hamsika
    Are credits = no. of chapters you’ve studied in a semester?
    Wow! – that was a determined effort. If I’d have tried something like that, chances are that something would have gone wrong on day 1 itself!

  15. Piper '12 says:

    I refuse to get less than 7.5hrs of sleep on a school night. My functionality just dives the next day smile

  16. Dan L. '14 says:

    Haha, I love you blog entries (although you only have 2) and we just started talking about work and energy in my physics class…I can relate, well at least to the physics part…

  17. Roberto says:

    Please stop complaining….Get over it! That’s the life of MIT students. We all have to work hard so I don’t feel sorry for you at all. You will learn how to manage your time eventually.

  18. '13 says:

    @ Roberto
    I think that I you read the blog again, it’s doing the exact opposite of complaining- she’s letting us know that if we put the time in, the work is manageable, and even interesting and enjoyabe at some points.

    @hamsika Awesome entry ! Keep it up smile

  19. sepideh says:

    @roberto: I don’t think she’s complaining she’s simply putting her newly experiences which I agree with as a freshman.

  20. kpc '13 says:

    @ Roberto, I agree with Sepideh and ’13! This blog was defiantly NOT about complaining! This is, after all an ADMISSIONS blog- aka its for profrosh to get an idea of what MIT is like. She simply provided a quite accurate, and rather optimistic view of what work is like here. Your comment was quite mean and uncalled for. The bloggers are here to help prefrosh decide if MIT is the right place for them. They’re not here to act as your punching bag when you’ve had a bad week.

  21. anonymous says:

    great blog, Hamsika! you’ve inspired me to straighten out my week, too smile

  22. Anonymous says:

    Roberto you are completely wrong…why dont you become less of a loser and stop being rude?

  23. Pooja says:

    oh hey! indian? neat…

  24. jialing says:

    yay! glad to hear ur getting used to life at MIT =]
    keep the good work up smile

  25. Roberto says:

    @ Hamsika,
    Sorry if my response came out somewhat rude, I didn’t mean it ):
    Sorry guys and I agree, keep up the good work and don’t stress out too much. There will be times when she will get so frustrated but everything is doable. MIT has a lot of resources to help you out.

  26. Twin '13 says:

    You’re an inspiration. I hope some of your productivity rubs off on me. smile

  27. Sreyanth says:

    Hey! Indian?
    I am also an Indian aspiring to get into MIT…
    Great blog entry…
    What are you interested in?
    If you have any special unique ideas then please do share them with us at

  28. MayaP says:

    Wow. And i thought freshmen year of High School is hard. I think you can keep it up definitely but it will be alot of effort. I had to learn that when i switched from middle to High School. You are true inspiration!

  29. jared thomas says:

    This just made me even more scared of the upcoming college life…