Geoffrey Long
Tip of the Quill: Archives
Every setback is an opportunity disguised.

Illness is God's way of handing you a speeding ticket. Every time I've tried to do too much too fast, wham! Instant virus. Never fails. Thus, I shouldn't be surprised that I'm now sick for what I think is the third time this school year. I don't believe I got this sick before; I imagine it's the one-two punch of the MIT student pool cocktail of viruses and the demands of MIT that are doing it. Of course, I have no one to blame but myself. Check this out.

At MIT, most classes are worth 12 credits. On the big sign-up web page at the beginning of the term, such classes are listed as 12 credits: 3-0-9 or 12 credits: 3-3-6. The digits are a breakdown of class time, lab time and reading time – so 3-3-6 means three hours in class, three hours of lab, and six hours spent on your ass at home with your nose shoved in a book. In actuality, this is a farce; MIT students chuckle knowingly at how silly this little estimate can be (some classes go way way over, and others come in a little under), but it helps in a general estimate of how to budget your time.

In the fall semester, I took four classes plus the CMS Colloquium, which is technically an overload. Colloquium (a weekly gathering of CMS people to listen to some visiting lecturer; this week's is Cory Doctorow, for instance) is only three credits since it only runs about 3 hours on one night a week. However, the remaining four classes were each 12-unit classes – so that's 4x12=48+3=51 hours expected to spend on classes per week. Add onto that another 15-20 expected for my RAships with the literature department and C3, and you're looking at between 66 and 71 hours of dedicated school time every week. Divide that by 7 (because once you're in grad school you can kiss your weekends good-bye, boyo) and you get 10.14 hours a day. That's not great, but it's doable.


The trouble with a 2-year Master's degree is that it's only two years – and that actually translates into only three semesters' worth of available classes. Given that you're going to be spending your second semester your second year completely on your thesis, that means you only have one spring semester ever to take classes. So, what does a bright young idiot like me do? Yeeeees. You guys know me too well.

Let's just say that when you're looking at between eighty-seven and ninety-two dedicated school hours every week, it's no wonder I've been kneecapped by the plague. But I won't let that stop me. I've been spending most of my time recuperating in bed with my laptop doing schoolwork.

You hear that, God? I am an unrepetant speeder. :-)


first off, hope you feel better soon!
and, secondly, thank goodness i went to columbia!

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