Brand New

(all the times that you beat me unconscious I forgive)

angst [████████  ] (8/10)

We’re overdue for one of these posts, I guess.

(all the crimes incomplete – listen, honestly I’ll live)

Last-ditch feeble attempts at cleaning and reorganizing my desk and shelf before I figuratively drowned in academics led to me finding

  • the Google physical linked puzzle, which I placed in the Kitchen Lounge to nerd-snipe people, successfully
  • a Burger King crown from the previous career fair
  • ID stickers from the Putnam, one of which is now on my keyboard cover cover (← not a typo), just because
  • assorted edibles, like candies and jellies, which I ate; as well as the half-finished Ziploc bag of candy from my FPOP, six months ago, which I just tossed in the trash
  • a box. It’s just, like, a box. I don’t know what goes or went into it

I feel more in control of my living quarters. Marginally. Guess I’ll be fine.

(mr. cool, mr. right, mr. know-it-all is through)

Pros and cons of having a departmental advisor in your area of interest:

  • Pro: the advisor knows something about the classes you want to take and can help you choose classes
  • Con: the advisor knows something about the classes you want to take and can help you choose classes

Fortunately, I could sketch the proof of NL = coNL on demand, but unfortunately, I could not adequately define IP. After a little waffling, I got to take 6.841 (advanced complexity theory, but for the purposes of this blog, quite possibly just “the grad class” (also, inb4 any snide comments about how it should “really” be 18.405)) anyway.

On the other hand, and to be fair, the fact that my advisor vetoed a six-course courseload probably does not depend on departmentality very much.

(now the future’s so bright and I owe it all to you / who showed me the light)

After deeper reflection, I think the thing that strikes me the most about my current general situation is just how amazed my high school self would be at this.

Along a few dimensions he’d find it severely underwhelming. (“What do you mean, you haven’t proven the Riemann Hypothesis yet?”) But along somewhat more than a few dimensions I think I’d probably have Brian_2014 or so slack-jawed on his knees. And then there are a few other things that are just neutrally surprising. I don’t know how to enumerate these. Just walking down the hall and letting my eyes wander gives me more than I can talk about in a sleep-deprived blog post at 1 AM. There’s a red dragon on the door in three paces and an Eevee on the wall in six and I probably shouldn’t even try going to the lounge to avoid getting nerd-sniped. (Okay, fine, I went there for science and saw Undertale and Touhou before deciding that it’s actually way too late for even science. Blah.)

(it’s a brand new me / I got no remorse)

Flaming yellowcake, I’m a dragon.

(now the water’s rising / but I know the course)

The day before yesterday was registration day, whose story I have already told, more or less. Other things that happened: I ate lots of free food to celebrate the math department returning to building 2, walked all the way to the western tip of campus with Van to acquire SIPB keys, and also reprised a post-career-fair looting trip with dzaefn. (I’m not being consistent here, I know. I am far from developing a solid policy for naming people on this blog.) I say “reprise” because that’s actually what it felt like. Feelsy music in the background and translucent grayscale flashbacks as I go up to people and blithely, shamelessly ask, “Can I have some water bottles?” It’s been a long way.

(I’m gonna shock the world / gonna show Bad Horse)

Yesterday was the first day of class, which was really anticlimactic. Neither the 6.01 (introduction to EE/CS — yeah, I have to graduate too) lab nor the 21M.011 (introduction to western music, also satisfies a Communication-Intensive requirement — ???) recitation occurred on the first day, so I was left with one-and-a-half hours of 6.841, which is really 80 minutes after accounting for MIT time. So, 80 minutes of attention and routine note-scribbling and faint but tangible feelings of unpreparedness.

It’s funny how this feels nothing like my first day of class in my first semester. Actually, I can’t remember what that previous first day of class felt like; not even my sketchy notes stuck in blog draft limbo extended to that day, alas. Maybe I was still reeling from the shock of “this is MIT” and am mostly (not entirely) over it. Maybe it’s because I took more-or-less introductory courses that semester, which I felt absolutely and justifiably prepared for, but jumped into a grad class this time round. Maybe it’s just because I know so many of the other people taking this class with me.

At night, with a bunch of other pizens, I went rock climbing. I was probably the least skilled person there, almost certainly second-least if not, but I was still pleasantly surprised at myself that I could do most of the V0+ and V1 routes that I had felt impossible on my first few trips.


(it’s a brand new day)

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