Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Everyone knows that the people at MIT are not a random representation of the general population. I'm not talking about brainpower, but rather the cultural nerdiness that characterizes the entire campus. You can see it with your eyes just by walking through campus for 10 minutes, in the frequency of gangly gaits and high-waisted khaki shorts, the dishevelled hairdo with the pillow imprintation still apparent or the slightly-antisocial lack of eye contact with strangers. Sometimes I get tired of this culture, where the norm is to stay up all hours of the night writing some amazing code or building a crazy robot or running experiments in the lab. Sometimes I wish people would take care of their appearance, not look down their nose at new social interactions, and not make me feel inadequate by their sheer brilliance. I find myself feeling jealous of that world where people wear makeup or a tie to work, go home at 5pm, and go to happy hour at fancy bars on Thursday nights. But at the same time, sometimes I see the truly unique opportunity I have here to really meet some characters here. People who are not afraid to care about unusual things and don't feel ashamed to declare their nerd passions in public. They don't see a reason to hide their love of engineering and look like everyone else, go with the flow. They bang their hand on the table to emphasize their correctness on some science point, and it's so awesome. Maybe the person being proved wrong does not feel so happy about it, but sometimes it's really refreshing to see conventional uniformity go out the window. And it's certainly entertaining.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


I am pretty proud of myself. I woke up at 7:15am today and went straight to the gym for an erging session of 2 x 30 minutes. Yes, this may sound like a torturous endeavor, and in some ways it was, but I feel triumphant for using my willpower to do something painful that I don't enjoy for the greater good of my health. Really the point is to make me a better rower, by becoming stronger, with the end goal of having better rows in the 8 on Tue/Thu/Fri mornings with the rowing club. I think the weeks of rowing regularly has made me strong enough that erging this morning was not as painful as it usually has been. My killer playlist also helped. :)

I'm planning to play basketball later today with officemates, and row tomorrow morning on the water. This might be going overboard on the frequency of workouts I really need, but I really do enjoy the physical exertion, which feels especially good when you have built up at least some stamina. I remember last spring I used to do like 8 workouts per week, just because it was fun. Plus it really helps me forget about the monotony of sitting in a desk chair for hours every day. Darn you, computer modeling.

I've been super frustrated with research for the past week - sometimes I feel like I have no resources to go to with questions, since our lab group is so tiny and my advisor is usually MIA or at least too busy to give my research much serious thought. Or that's how it feels to me. I know this means I have to look out for myself, and I think I do a pretty good job of it, but sometimes it's beyond discouraging to have to sit down with fat textbook when there's probably a real person out there who could just tell you the DL in half the time and a quarter of the frustration. Makes me want to throw the book out the window and go erg it out. Which, if you've ever erged before, should tell you something.