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MIT student blogger Michael C. '16

year 2 of the course 2 by Michael C. '16

how do you become a mechanical engineer, anyway?

I know what youre thinking.  You’re thinking, “hey, you missed an apostrophe!”  You’re also thinking, “what does a second-year know about being a mechanical engineer anyway?”*

*you’re probably not thinking this, but hey it’s my blog and I get to put words in your mouth if I want.

That’s a good question, which is why I went trekking to Professor Warren Seering (my new advisor)’s office on Tuesday in search for the answers to life, the universe, and also how to navigate the Course 2 roadmap, littered with numbers like 2.671, 2.ThU, 2.009, and 2.087 (which can be replaced by 18.03, if you were wondering).

And after chatting with Professor Seering for 15 minutes or so, I was convinced that he not only is the Best Advisor In the Universe but also might possibly be a magician, because:

  1. In 10 minutes he untangled the unruly tangle of shoelaces that is my life schedule and turned it into a perfect bow tie (where am I going with this metaphor let’s just skip to the next point),
  2. Even with his whole morning booked up, with 11 meetings back to back, he went the extra mile in helping me network for a summer internship and scheduled a second meeting in a few days to discuss that in more detail,
  3. He can pull off wearing suspenders.

Incidentally, he also kinda looks like Ben Affleck in Argo:

Which obviously means that Professor Seering is the Batman.


You see, the reason my schedule was a bit tricky is that I’m applying to the Course 2 Cambridge-MIT Exchange (CME) one semester program, which would take place junior spring.  This means that I must take 2.005 and 2.006 and also some other stuff by junior fall, so the standard Course 2 roadmap doesn’t work out at all for me.  But in the end, with help and advice from Kirsten L ’15 and Professor Seering and Brandy Baker (the MechE course administrator), I got things worked out.

Anyway, without further ado (who am I kidding here, my blog is basically 30% ado anyway), the classes I’m taking this year!

Sophomore Fall

2.001 – Mechanics and Materials I 12 units
2.003 – Dynamics and Control I 12 units
2.086 – Numerical Computation 12 units
2.678 – Electronics for Mechanical Systems 6 units
CMS.350 – Topics and Methods in 21st Century Journalism 12 units

I’m pretty psyched about all my classes – no more GIRs this year!  2.001 and 2.003 are standard Course 2 requirements.  2.086 is now a strict prerequisite for 2.005 (remember I have to take that next semester if I’m aiming to do CME), which is why that’s in my schedule.

I’m particularly excited about 2.678 and CMS.350 – the former because it’s basically a lab class dedicated to teaching and helping you build whatever electronics projects you want, and the latter because it’s taught by Seth Mnookin, who I am totally a secret fanboy of (Hard News and The Panic Virus are fantastic reads).  He also moderated last year’s Nate Silver event and has a gazillion followers on Twitter, so I’m hoping to pick up some of his secrets.

According to the course description, CMS.350 will evaluate modern day journalism ranging from the New York Times to Twitter feeds, and assignments will be submitted through an online portal which mimics an online news source.  As you may know, I was reaaaaaally active in journalism in high school but haven’t really had time at MIT to join the Tech.  So this class seems like a perfect fit, and I look forward to analyzing Snow Fall or whatever other gorgeous media extravaganzas the Times has come up with by the end of 2013.

Here’s my projected schedule for next semester:

Sophomore Spring (Tentative)

2.004 – Dynamics and Control II 12 units
2.005 – Thermal-Fluids Engineering I 12 units
2.007 – Design and Manufacturing I, aka design a robot in an awesome competition class 12 units
some HASS – maybe Chris Peterson’s Credit for Reddit if that gets approved in time??? ? units

And for the sake of completeness, here’s my fairly standard freshman year classes:

Freshman Fall

7.012 – Introductory Biology 12 units
18.02 – Multivariable Calculus 12 units
8.01 – Physics (Mechanics) 12 units
21W.035 – Science Writing for the Public 12 units

Freshman Spring

8.02-  Physics (E&M) 12 units
18.03 – Differential Equations 12 units
5.111 – Principles of Chemical Science 12 units
17.01 – (Theories of) Justice 12 units
2.00b – Toy Product Design 9 units