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MIT student blogger Laura N. '09

Yay for cheap stuff by Laura N. '09

Inexpensive books make me happy.

Saturday/Sunday was the famous MIT Press Bookstore loading dock sale. Basically, they try to get rid of all of the overstock and damaged books, so they’re sold for drastically reduced prices. And the “damaged” books are usually in such good condition that you can’t even really tell what’s wrong with them.

I decided to take advantage of this, so after sending my parents and sister back home (this weekend was Family Weekend, but I unfortunately have absolutely nothing interesting to report about it. The most notable thing that happened to me this weekend was standing outside for 2 and a half hours in the pouring rain to lose a field hockey game. Bleh), I headed across campus to the bookstore.

All of these are highly reccomended reading:


And it was all so cheap!

I am now the proud owner of Nightwork, and that makes me happy. (It also makes April happy, because she says that now she doesn’t have to buy it. See? April gives me food, I let her read my books. We have a symbiotic relationship.)

In other news, I haven’t been keeping up with blogging at all, and I’m really sorry about that. =( This week has involved some late night pset sessions. And by late night I really mean early morning. I did have help on one occasioin though- April’s dad is an MIT alum, so after discussing with us some of the finer points of life at MIT, we sat him down and had him help us with our 18.01 pset. He definitely sat in the suite lounge with us until at least 3:30 in the morning doing calculus. Thank you, April’s dad!

Anyway, just to wrap up a few loose ends from my last couple of entries:

A lot of people had questions my entry on tests and reference sheets. There were also some specific questions about tests past the freshman level, which I of course knew nothing about. So I turned to my fellow bloggers for help. I collected the following information:

Sam gave the following list:
closed-notes: everything in course 5 except 5.60, course 18 classes,
8.022, humanities classes
limited number of self-made review sheets: 5.60, 8.01
open-notes: everything in course 10, 7.06

Mitra said: “I can say that for my econ, math, and organic chemistry exams, I’ve never been allowed to use a cheat sheet.”

Mollie even wrote a whole entry on tests! Isn’t this neat? Ask one question, get 4 answers. MITbloggers, working together.

So basically, it varies completely by course number. The one thing that everyone agrees on is that the actual creation of the review sheet is usually more helpful than the review sheet itself, although it’s always nice to not actually have to remember all those trig identities for 18.01. I can personally vouch for both parts of this statement, because a) I hate trig identities and b) while writing my 3.091 aid sheet, I wasn’t exactly sure what PES graphs were, so I just drew a rough sketch of what I thought might be a PES diagram and moved on. It necessarily follows that there was a 12-point question on this topic, for which I proceeded to receive no credit because I had only copied the rough sketch of what may or may not actually be a PES diagram onto the test. Writing the review sheet will help you study. Unless you do dumb things, like me.

In response to my “Don’t Panic” index cards, Psylochwa asked, “So if you don’t know an answer to one of your test questions do you just write “42”?” I have not yet actually had to resort to this, but that’s the spirit! My own personal rule is that “the answer is always conservation of energy.” I believe I wrote that on the top of my 3.091 aid sheet. Seriously.

Emi and Shannon also asked about cooking and the related facilities. Emi said specifically, “According to my investigation, most colleges dont have cooking facilities for freshmen,” so I’d like to take this opportunity to point out an important fact about life at MIT: there are no freshmen dorms. At most other schools, all/most of the freshmen live together in several designated dorms. And in most cases those designated dorms are probably not the nicest on campus. There is no such thing as a freshman dorm here- there is complete class mixing in all dorms, so the facilities available to you are determined on where you want to live.

I live in Burton-Conner, which is set up in a suite arrangement- so there’s a kitchen to every 6-10 people or so. Simmons, New House, McCormick, MacGregor, Random and East Campus all have kitchens that are either shared by each floor or each suite. Baker and Next both have 1 large kitchen shared by the entire dorm, and I’m too lazy to look up about Bexley and Senior. Kitchens (in B-C, anyway) have a couple of fridges, a sink, and a stove, as well as counter space. As for everything else- you’re on your own. People tend to be generous and share major appliances- there’s no real need for everyone to have their own microwave. As for other kitchen supplies, it varies based on the people you live with. My suite shares everything but the food itself- so that includes dishes, silverware, spatulas, pots and pans, mixing bowls, etc etc.

So that’s all for today. Tune in next time for.. I don’t even know what. I make this up as I go along. Last time I promised content in the next entry was a few weeks ago and it never happened. But it will! I swear!

4 responses to “Yay for cheap stuff”

  1. I LOVE Nightwork. That’s an awesome buy. Once I started reading, I couldn’t stop. Still can’t: http://hacks.mit.edu/

  2. Ruth says:

    Psylochwa: I’ve written 42 on an 18.01 test. I got no points, but the grader drew a happy face.

    On the final in 18.02, I did half of one problem, and then wrote “and I leave the rest as an exercise for the grader.” Sometimes professors will write out half a problem on the board, and if the educational half was first, they don’t solve it and say something like that. It’s pretty obnoxious, but not funny enough to merit points.

  3. Emi says:

    Hello! It’s me again. I just wanted to thank you for clearig up my doubts about cooking facilities.

    It’s one of my College Councellor’s points on college investigation…seriously. Well, meal plans are anyways…and thank you for the link to the MIT dining site. That helped a lot too!

  4. Stephanie says:

    on the same lines as “and I leave the rest as an exercise fot the grader”, I know quite a few people who like to imitate the professor and write “and by inspection” and just write and answer. . .like, skip all the steps.

    oh, and another catch-all answer: entropy. A few friends had a theory that that was the best answer in a pinch. Though apparently they answered that on a test. . .the one that just wrote entropy got a 100, the one that wrote entropy and explained it got a 99.

    go figure.

    -Stephanie