Friday, January 27, 2006


I’m almost done with formatting my research paper! The other large step is preparing the computer program I wrote for my project. Luckily, one of the GRTs (Graduate Resident Tutor) in Simmons is helping me. I have been attending special lectures, too. The whole point of IAP is to explore, since there are so many classes and lectures of varying length, it is really easy to do this. I went to an hour long class about Athena, our computer system at MIT. I don’t know much about it, and I learned some basic commands at the session, which was good. Gus knows a lot more about this (he is Course 6 afterall), so perhaps he can teach me more about it. I also went to seminar on “Teaching Engineering to Kids,” where we played around with Lego Mindstorms kits (you can build robots and program them to do certain actions), it was extremely fun. We had to build a little car and then figure out how far to let it run so it didn’t run into a group of figurines. There was also “Taming the Borg: Design Principles for Transparent Use,” which was a very long, but interesting, seminar about how to analyze consumer products and make them better. (Like looking at a cell-phone case and finding all it’s annoying qualities and how to improve it). Then I also went to a seminar on teaching kids about science.

For the past week I have been attending 6.091 (Hands-On Introduction to EE Lab Skills--
Introduction to basic EE and components and lab techniques: resistors, capacitors, inductors, integrated circuits, power supplies and more. Hands-on experience constructing simple projects, using multi-meters, oscilloscopes, soldering, and other construction techniques.). Our final project is to build either a motion sensor or a digital lock. I chose the lock, thinking I might be able to find a good use for it somewhere (although after some more thought I realized the sensor would be better, since I can’t see the door from my desk, and sometimes if my music is too loud I can’t hear anyone either). I have learned so much in just a week! It would be better to have the class be longer and get more repetition and more detail on all of the components, but that’s okay. The class has an hour long lecture and then lab afterwards. The professor is very easy-going—all we need to do to pass the class is attend one lecture and attempt one of the labs! I’ve been to all of the lectures and I’ve done the labs too. So from 2:00 to about 6:00 in the evening I’ve been an electrical engineer! Gus helped me out one day, and instead of being impatient at how slow I was at stuff, he asked me questions so I would better understand what was going on. He even tried to trick me (that or he had a temporary lapse), into placing a piece into the electric board incorrectly, but I told him he was wrong :-)! My last class is today.

Next week is sorority recruitment. I would never even think about joining a sorority at another college, but this is MIT. Frat rush was tons of fun, so I hope sorority recruitment is on par.

I’ve been ordering lots of things online lately, so we have new things in our room! For Christmas, I got new speakers. They are Altec Lansing speakers, and sound very nice. The first set I ordered had something wrong with them, so I ordered a replacement, and they work fine. Gus and I were trying to figure out what was wrong with them, since the subwoofer had a very loud buzzing sound coming from it that was not the normal 60 hertz buzz from the electricity. If there wasn’t a warranty on it, we would have opened it up and taken a look inside. Since I was running out of room on my bookshelf, I ordered a cheap one off of Target that is working well. I also got a Sponge-Bob Squarepants shower curtain, which brightens up our bathroom considerably.

It’s been strange for the past week because Annelise is in Italy with the history professors I had last term. She will return on the 28th, just in time for a science fiction movie marathon! The room is sooo quiet, I miss her :-(.

I have really been enjoying IAP. All my friends and I have just been relaxing, watching movies, playing video games, going out to eat, cooking (which is fun with more people), sleeping a lot….you get the picture. Amanda M. introduced us to The OC (Orange County), and we’ve been watching the first season on DVD. We watched so many episodes in one day that Gus and I had the “California” theme song stuck in our head and could not take anymore! It’s a pretty good show, very soap-opera-like, but without the really cheesy acting. This weekend I hope to go out somewhere in Boston, maybe shopping, and then getting together with some Harvard friends. The weather is still very warm for January! It snowed again, but only for a day, and now it’s all melting. You can go out in a light coat and get warm…..very odd winter.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Finals, Christmas, New Years, and back at MIT again said that it was 45 degrees today. That’s warm for January in Boston, but I actually think it was even warmer! I started overheating in my (non-winter) jacket and took it off when I was outside! Annelise and I even opened the window to let in some air. It’s been beautiful. I’m sure we will be getting more snow soon, but for now, I’m enjoying the California-like weather.

There’s an important announcement that I have: My research is going to be published in the Journal of Chemical Education!!! I found out just a little before finals. I’m sooooo excited! I’ve been working on this research for the past two years, so this is a great way to end it. If you want to learn more about it you can go to the right hand side of this page and click on some of the links there, I submitted my project in a lot of science competitions.

Finals went pretty well. They were difficult, but I must not have done too badly because I didn’t get any C’s for my final grades! I got A’s and B’s at my first semester at MIT, so I’m very happy, especially since I wasn’t even studying to my full potential! Technically it doesn’t even matter though, as long as you get a C or above you pass, and you get a “P” on your transcript. The physics final was frustrating because it did not test what we learned throughout the semester, only the last few weeks. Almost the entire exam was on angular momentum!!!! We never had a test on it and we only had a few homework problems on it. But it did not affect my grade in the class, so that’s okay. This first semester has taught me how important it is to be organized and manage my time well. I did this in high school, but it is much harder in college. There are so many distractions! I’m used to having my own room and not having anyone around except for my parents. Next term I will do a much better job organizing myself and I will also work more on weekends (something I did not do enough this semester). This is something that any college student must learn, no matter where you go to school.

Before finals, it was Gus’ birthday so we bought a cake and decorated the Schrodinger Cats lounge. We all had a great time dancing to music and being hyper.

The weekend that it snowed, Kaitlyn, Amanda M., Gus and I made a snow gnome. (Kaitlyn and Amanda bought a gnome who they named Ralph, and so they decided to honor him with a snow sculpture). Then we had a snowball fight and buried Gus in the snow. We also saw Narnia at the theater with Andrew and a few other friends, which was cool. I read the books when I was little, but I didn’t remember them very well. Before we went I reread The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe.

After finals were over I was soooo happy! Annelise and I jumped up and down. Right after our Greek History final ended, we went Christmas shopping at the COOP (the MIT bookstore, associated with Harvard’s book store). Then we danced around to music in our room, relieved that we could finally relax. Our shower was clogged, and it was gross to have water wash up to our ankles and flood into the rest of the bathroom, so I went and got some Draino, which solved the problem quickly. The drain was very disgusting!

I was so excited to go home! My parents and I had a very nice Christmas. I got a new digital camera (A Nikon D50, 6 megapixels!), and I got money for computer speakers (now Annelise and I won’t have to listen to our tinny laptop speakers). Our Christmas tree was real, but it looked sort of like a pipe cleaner. We have a high ceiling in our family room, so my mom wanted something tall, I guess there were not many trees left. All my relatives got MIT related gifts, but they seemed to enjoy them well enough. A few days later we traveled down to Southern California to visit my Aunt Uncle, and two cousins. My grandparents were visiting them, too. My grandpa always makes all the girls jewelry for Christmas (he's a mechanical engineer, and can do pretty much everything he sets his mind to); we were oohing and ahhhing over them. Great job Grandpa! I got to test out my new camera, which was fun. It’s a very nice camera, easy to use. My dad’s Nikon D2X (12 megapixels!) is similar, but mine is smaller and less of a hassle to carry.

After going back home, I just relaxed. I’m finally caught up on Lost and Desperate Housewives. My mom got a Tivo for her birthday last August; I really like it. The entire setup is extremely easy to use, the only problem I had with it was recording things to DVD. Sometimes I thought the DVD was done burning, but it wasn’t really. Lost is getting extremely exciting! Desperate Housewives is also getting interesting. I’ll have to catch up again during the summer.

New Years Eve I hung out with Amanda B and her roommate Steph (she came out to visit). We wandered around Carmel and had lunch on the beach. It was soooo pretty! Luckily I have the skyline of Boston at MIT, so I don’t miss the ocean quite as much. That night my family went over to Amanda’s house and had this ginormous (a new word that people are starting to use quite often, it’s a combination of “gigantic” and “enormous”) crab! Very yummy. We played Pictionary which is always funny since people cannot draw. When New Years hit we pulled a bunch of party poppers and had confetti all over our hair.

I went to two Stanford Men’s basketball games while I was home. I’ve been going to games since before I was born :-). They won for both of them! The team isn’t very good this year, so we’ll see if they improve. I met up with an MIT alumni named Alissa. Even though she is an adult with a PhD and she runs her own company, we connect so well. I suppose it’s because she is the generation after my parents. It was a lot of fun chatting with her about my experience at MIT.

Now I’m finally back in Simmons! It was great seeing all my friends. I gave Annelise a hug when she came through the door. Gus was nice enough to pick me up at the airport (we’re going out, by-the-way). I’ve been working on my research paper, formatting the text and images. I love IAP!!! It has been so nice not having any stress. I hope you all had a great holiday!