Ask Nutty B!
By Bruce Wu
Nutty B is currently a graduate student at MIT who tries to give his two cents worth to his readers’ questions regarding anything and everything. Please e-mail him with whatever question you would like someone to listen to, and help give him an excuse to procrastinate at 3:00 a.m. Please send all questions to askNuttyB@yahoo.com
Dear Nutty B,
I am a sophomore this year, and classes began two weeks ago. I just realized the major I declared last year is not what I want to do at all. I don’t like any of the classes I am taking from this department, but quite a few professors in this department are doing research that fascinates me. What should I do? Should I change my field?
I think you have confused interest in a field of study with taking its classes. Wait, don’t argue with me yet, child. Yes, the classes you are taking give you a snapshot of what the department is about, but the keyword is “snapshot”. Those classes you are taking are only a subset of the department!
Have you looked into what other classes will be available to you later in your college career? Just because the classes this semester suck doesn’t mean every class you will take in this department will suck. Also, if there are professors doing research that fascinates you, why don’t you approach them to see if you can do a UROP with them to get yourself exposed to the fields that interest you? I am sure the classes you are required to take are meant to give you a broad exposure to the field and help you build a solid foundation for what you might see later on. They are by no means meant to restrict you or to tell you what’s the only thing you could do. Hey, for what it’s worth, the only class I liked when I was your age was “wine tasting,” and it didn’t end up ruining my academic career, did it?
Also, it’s only the second week of the semester, and therefore probably too early to conclude whether you will like a class. Perhaps in another week or two you will find there is a certain topic in the class you really like, or a charming and sexy TA who might pique your interest in further advancing in this particular field!
Keeping an open mind is important. Also, talking to different people to get more exposure to a broad spectrum of your department is helpful. Good luck!
Dear Nutty B,
The TA of this class I am taking is so hot, and I mean HOT. It’s just the second week of the class, and the only thing I could do during the lecture was to keep staring at him. I found myself constantly thinking about going to his office hours, even when I have no questions to ask. What should I do?
— Heart Taken
Dear Heart Taken,
You aren’t in the class I am TAing, are you? Also, do you have anything to do with the box of chocolates that’s left in front of my office everyday? If so, I really prefer milk chocolate with nuts to dark chocolate. Oh, and Godiva makes good milk chocolate, so you might want to consider changing the brand! And if you aren’t, it’s never too late to start!
Either way, I have to suggest that you calm yourself down. Continually staring at someone is never a good idea nor is it polite. Also, going to someone’s office hours to talk about nothing might just waste his time and irritate him. Asking what brand of shampoo he uses and what cologne he wears every week will not get you too far, my dear!
How about you focus on the class and the lecture material rather than the TA? How about you pay attention to what problems you have to answer on your homework rather than the TA? How about finding other extracurricular activities to do to keep your mind off obsessing over your TA? If you really like him, you should get to know him in a normal way during the semester (bend-and-snap in every recitation doesn’t count). Who knows, perhaps after this semester you will find the attraction is mutual, but if you freak him out before the third week, it won’t get you anywhere, will it?