Friday, April 1, 2011

Update! :)

Hey all!

So it seems I haven't posted in a VERY long time! So sorry! Here's a majorly abridged version of the past three months, as it is now Aprile 1st:

IAP:
I took an introduction to Python (computer programming language) and I finished up a math class and took Pistol for a PE class. It ended up being a more stressful IAP than I wanted and I felt sad about that at times. However, I got credit and did end up getting a B+ in my math class! :)

Spring:

I'm currently taking Differential Equations (18.03), Introduction to Programming (6.00), Harmony and Counterpoint I (21M.301), and Physics, Mechanics etc. (8.011).

As of right now I have a 91% in my physics class!!! Apparently the class average is a 73%. I can't believe it! I was doing so poorly last semester and this semester I feel like I'm still struggling, it's definitely not easy to me, but some how I manage to maintain a very good standing in this class! I didn't do well on today's quiz and I'm quite frustrated about that, but I can't go back in time and change things, so I need to just accept it and move on. Furthermore, I feel like I put in a lot of time and effort, so it's easier knowing that I did closer the very best I could do and got the grade I did, as opposed to doing so-so in effort.

My math class I got a 60 on my first exam and that was no fun. I was stressing out (and still stress out) about how I would be able to pick up my grade. Right before break I had the second exam in that class and managed to get an 89!! The class average was a 78! I'm definitely not out of the way of trouble (we still have another exam and a final worth 40% of our grade!) but that last test score definitely helped and gave me a boost that I need desperately. Also, my TA is really nice. I don't go to his recitations, but we email and he's a great source of encouragement. He even wants to teach me Tibetan! I learned a phrase yesterday that sounds like "Jia Shi Dei Lei" which is a way of departing or something.

My programming class is the one class I got a flag in this semester. I'm not sure how I'm doing since we've only had one "quiz"  (a quiz is the general computer science term for Exam, it's confusing because, for instance in my physics class, a "quiz" is something small where an "exam" is MUCH larger). I got a 48 on the first exam. I've been doing alright on the homework grades, but the thing is, the quizzes really make or break your grade. I really really REALLY wanted to do well in all my classes this semester. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it here at MIT. I thought, okay, ALL A's. But I don't think that's going to happen, so now I'm just shooting for no C's. I think I might be able to get an A in physics, but the rest are probably going to be B's (if I can work hard to get one in programming). The thing is, I got an email about a flag in this class luckily the TA that sent it is really awesome. Mitch, heh, he's an Army Reserve grad student here and he reminds me a lot of my dad-figure back home, Al. I said that I was really worried and didn't want to 'just barely get by' and yet I didn't know what to do. He responded with four bullet points, each one starting with "do not panic" progressively getting bolder and underlined. He said that he knows how hard I'm working and difficult it must be, and suggested a couple things I could do to get more familiar with code (i.e. Project Euler... I've actually completed a couple of them!). The next day I talked to my TA and the head TA of the class and the head TA was like "Chacha, I know you. Everyone in the staff knows you. We know you're working really hard and probably doing so more than most other students in the class. When it comes time to deciding grades, we'll remember that." She even followed up with a personal email thread that explained her own struggles and how she took time off from MIT and how even though she had a slew of bad grades, she's got plenty of job offers now. It's comforting to her someone else's story. Like, I know I've said this before, but often students here are like "Oh no, I feel so stressed. I'm not doing well. I'm going to fail" but then they score in the 80's. Heh. No. You don't know failing until you're flagged in three classes and beat up brutally by MIT's intensity. Feeling scared of school is not something I'm new to. It is something I want to change though. And slowly, I think I am. I think I am finally coming out of it. My self-confidence took a horrible beating last semester and I've been dealing with it this whole year, trying to get that back on track is no easy task.

And finally, I am taking a crazy, music theory class that is not an "easy humanities" class by any means. Yesterday we had an exam (that I don't think I did well on) and the professor was like "yeah, so you guys will have an hour and a half to take the test, but it should only take you about an hour." --No one left early-- Over all though, I'm doing about class average, maybe a little lower and in the professor says that class average is about a B or B+. I'd like to be able to get an A in that class, but, heh, sadly, after yesterday's exam I'm not too sure if that's still a possibility. I have a couple more assignments and then final project, and I think if I do well on those I should be pretty ok.

Overall, in life, I've been trying my best to focus on what's best for me. Trying to not compare myself to others is not a quick fix, but it's something that I really want to master so that I might be more pleased and content with myself and relationships with others. Particularly I find that when I get caught up in comparing myself to things that Stephan can do or other friends can do, I instantly get down into a bad mood. They have their strengths and talents, and I too have mine. Not exactly sure what's going to put my name in the history books, but I have faith that it's there. I hope that I can be the chipper, pleasant friend that I want to be, once again. I don't know why things happen or why this has become such a struggle but I just have to focus on strengthening my character and solidifying my knowledge of who I am as a person.

As for the summer, I think I'll be working back home and learning website development and stuff. There's a possibility that I might find a UROP and stay here for the summer since some friends are doing that and my brother will be here (not sure how much longer he'll be in the area). Back to the drawing board with that respect. Anyway, take care everyone! Love you all! :)