I'm writing this email from MIT's Pika house, where I crashed on Matt Ritter's floor last night (he's temporarily staying in "The Coffin," which is a tiny attic with a tunnel-like space under the eaves for sleeping that looks like a crypt. He slept there, I managed to fit halfway under the desk, there was no other floor space.
Pika's as opposite from Olin's dorms as you can get. Paint is everywhere. Shoes are stuck to the ceiling. Murals. Loads o' junk. Nail holes. A machine shop in the basement. Random junk, castoff furniture, plywood and bolted-together chaos. And you know what? I like it. I've always wanted to live in non-shiny spaces. I mean, I love clean drywall and tasteful lamps, but sometimes the bohemian aesthetic is pretty darn liberating. I'm sure my parents would disagree.
Anyhow, I'm here to work on the website for the Vehicle Design Summit (VDS), which begins on June 12 (so we'd better have it up by then). Sold my soul to the Organizational Necessities last night as Matt and I spent several hours with Gannt charts and to-do lists; painful, but it'll enable us to concentrate so much more on hacking later on. For my part, I'm happy to not see a to-do list for a while. I want to go sink my head into Plone modules and PHP. I'm always afraid that I've turned into too much of a planner/manager and not enough of an engineer, and I think the solution to that is to Hack More.
Thinkcycle is exploding. I'm awed at the amount of work Ben and Chandra have poured into this in the last 24 hours (from the volume of emails, I swear Ben is doing this full-time right now). We're still trying to find our compass, but we're running so fast I think we'll hit it before we hit a wall. Working with the two of them is like the energy high I got from working on VDS with Matt last night, or even cleaning the suite with Eric on move-out evening. Good people get you in the flow state. I'm slowly learning how to make that happen more.
My grades are in, and they're non-catastrophic enough that I think my parents won't kill me. I've gone through the progression I wanted to - from caring too much about getting good grades (middle and high school) to trying not to care but caring anyway (first 3 semesters at Olin) to caring but doing poorly (4th and 5th semesters at Olin) to truly not caring and still doing well in my own way (now). I'd like to say that semesters 4 and 5 were deliberately planned to desensitize me from grades, but a more accurate depiction would be that it happened, I realized at the start of the ride that it'd likely desensitize me, and went along - although I think part of what I needed to pull out of the grades thing was a feeling of lacking control over them, just for a year.
Olin has slowly changed how I think and become aware of learning and teaching. It's still in the vague transitional phase where I can' write down how, though. I need something to accelerate the process - I need to go to some other school for a while and get shocked into seeing Olin culture from the outside again. Still figuring out how to do this.