Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Harder, Better, Stronger, Faster

I've been hiding something from you guys.

My first weeks here were a little rough. Although I didn't blog about it, my first round of tests did not go nearly as well as I would have hoped. It wasn't that I didn't know the material, I simply wasn't prepared for the scope and rigor of the tests. MIT is hard, and although I never really imagined I would simply breeze through this school, I can say with certainty that I did not study nearly as well as I should have for most of my tests.

For 7.012 and 18.02, I basically let myself get flustered and made some really dumb mistakes - whereas 8.012...eh, let's not talk about physics now. (I just got the last 8.012 pset back though, and even though it was definitely the hardest one so far, I still ended up with a 97! o_0 I'm pretty sure there was a lot of partial credit involved. :D)

I did manage to ace 5.112 - the concepts were pretty simple and I studied all night for it. But, even so, the vast majority of the class also did amazingly well - the professor himself said that he didn't like how high the average was ;) - so that test cheered me up a little, but not too much.

Fast forward to this week. Yesterday, I finalized that I will have a UROP for this semester. It's in the Langer Lab, I'll be mainly working with tissues and gels, and I'm excited beyond words. This afternoon, I took my second 18.02 test...and, thanks to the wonder that is MIT's online grade system, I already know that I got a 96.

A 96 on an 18.02 exam. I could sing, but instead I'll just listen to Daft Punk and go work on my next 5.112 pset. :)

More than ever, hour after hour, our work is never over....


Star said...

Yay Paul! UROPing is awesome! So did you want a UROP in that lab specifically, or did you just email a bunch of proffs untill you got an offer?
Also, I'm glad your marks are looking up. Sounds like a lot of people were struggling the first month at MIT, so I guess that's normal... "Now that that don't kill me, can only make me stronger!"

Anonymous said...

Hehe, it seems so, Star =P But things do start looking up as long as you don't give up. YAY!

Paul said...

Thanks Star. :) And that's a complicated question, actually. I found my UROP through the official site, which has a list of labs who are actively seeking UROPs. I was lucky enough that, when I first looked, one of the most recent postings fit what I wanted exactly. Not only was the research topic itself interesting, but the Langer Lab is fairly well known - so even though I'm not working with Langer himself, I'm still part of a great group.

Anyway, almost exactly a month ago. I emailed the person who had posted the listing (a post-doc named Sandeep). I interviewed with Sandeep, and just a few days ago he offered me the position. Right now I'm working on completing training, filling out paperwork - bureaucratic stuff. Hopefully I'll start actually doing research in a week or two!