15 September 2009

school's in session

It's the start of the first full week of classes, and although it's been busy, it hasn't been overwhelming. Phew! This semester is (supposedly) our last one of core, which means the end of our prescriptive classes. I have three of those - design studio, building technology, and history of architecture from 1750 - and, very excitingly enough, now have room in my schedule for an official elective. Last Spring I did take some supplementary classes, but this time around we have the room and freedom to choose what we want.

It's like being a kid in a candy store! It might not seem to be such a big deal to others - and hey, in undergrad I enjoyed taking good classes but didn't revel in it to this degree - but after a year of mandatory coursework, it's nice now to feel the reins slacking and have a choice. My friends and I have been class shopping since the semester officially began last Wednesday, and already I've checked out 4-5 classes. I've narrowed down my options to choosing between:
  • Future Craft : Media Lab class on product design and sustainability - very flexible, explores design issues outside of architecture, and can be tailored to what I want to do.
  • Ideal Forms of Contemporary Urbanism : joint architecture/urban planning class on the modernist trajectory in urbanism - seems extremely interesting and is a topic I want to learn more about. Plus, it matches well with my studio this semester, which is about urbanism.
  • Daylighting : course goes over the basics of daylighting principles, leading into a case study and installation at a house in Cambridge - this goes along with my building technology/performance interest, although I've heard it's somewhat basic.
One of the classes I really did want to take was a sustainability workshop in Cambodia that intersects design and building technology. The project is for a school for impoverished children and it looked really awesome, although there's limited enrollment and slim chances. I got on the wait list, which I suppose is a glimmer of hope, but given the odds, I've looked elsewhere.

In the end, I end up taking a total of 4 courses plus an independent study with John O. (further vault work and material studies) and work (assistantship for the Public Service Center). And extracurriculars. Am I busy?

That's obvious. The real question should be, how often will you actually get to see me?

That's the sad thing: I don't want to be so all over the place that I never get to be anywhere at all or spend time with friends. My mom also offered the caution that, if I'm too busy during the year, then I'll really never find a boyfriend. (Thanks...such advice.) I think that's the least of my issues, although I suppose my mentality is that if I want to spend time with someone, then I will make time.

But anyways, it's a real issue of life balance. One of my studio professors once commented that balance was overrated and that we would have the rest of our lives to be balanced. To me, this statement seems to tip the scale over to extremism. Of course I want to devote time to my classes and do well - that's why I'm at MIT after all - but then again, it doesn't make up the totality of my life, nor does it give me my purpose for working so hard. Lesson, then: discipline, delegation, and prayer. Not everything can be done at once, nor necessarily by me - essential thoughts.

I'm terribly behind with posting... Look out for something on my Seattle trip, vault pictures and why it went out with a BANG, and notes on my first project for this semester. Also, if I end up taking the Future Craft class, then there might also be some posts on those projects as well (mandatory for the class to have a blog).