Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Work

So every blog in the universe prefaces an entry after a long period of time with something like "oh man, sorry about the lack of entries, I've been SooOoOooOo0Ooo-0-00-0 busy!"

That's pretty cliche, so I'll make something up instead.

Oh man, sorry about the lack of entries, my laptop was confiscated by the CIA for containing unusual levels of awesome and I was only recently able to prove to them that I'm qualified to be that cool.

Better?

Anyway, much to the disappointment of my physics fans, this post is not about the integral of Force dx (sorry guys), by work I mean actual work, like the process of expending yourself doing things you don't like because they're good for you. One of the things I've learned lately here at MIT is really what it means to work hard. I mean, I thought I knew what hard work was from high school, and to an extent that may have been true. But in all humility, I was a pretty smart kid, I didn't have to study as much as some of my friends and I never really read the books and I still did just fine. But it never really dawned on me that I didn't know how to work, I'd never really had to before.

A few weeks ago the thorough arse-whupping that was Freshmen Hell Week gave me that epiphany. At first I was disappointed with my grades because the first thing I thought was "I'm working so hard and this is what I have to show for it?" Then I thought about it and realized, I really hadn't worked hard. I hadn't read the book. I did the psets the night before. I didn't take notes. I goofed around with my friends all night. Where was the hard work?

So these last few weeks I've been doing something strange and applying myself, focusing on doing things when they need to be done and not just glancing through material, I've been making sleep and work schedules and going to libraries and studying and all the things I should've been doing and guess what?

I've never been happier.

There is nothing like making a 95 on a test where the class average is 55 and standard deviation is 10. There is nothing like getting a solid 5 hours of sleep every night (that may not seem like much, but this is MIT after all). Actually knowing whats going on during lecture and gleening some deep understanding that previously wasn't there is such a great feeling, and it's wonderful to be able to answer my friends questions. And the best part is that I didn't really need to give up anything to do it, I only stopped wasting so much time. I never realized that I wasted more time than an all day "Meet the Spartans" marathon.

So I guess the point amongst all this is that amidst all the great things MIT is teaching me right now, the most influential has been managing my time and improving my work habits. Who'd have thought? I love this place.

1 comment:

Ashley said...

Welcome to the wonderful world of dedicated students! I've been living here for some time now. Yeah, it can be a little lonely, but it is absolutely worth it to gain true understanding. Besides, what do you want out of college? Binge drinking, forgetable girls, and all-night parties? Or a solid education, confidence in your future, and a little fun too? =3

At least you have learned this lesson now. Many, many, MANY people make it through college--even through grad school--without realizing you can't coast by and actually gain anything.