Seth Bisen-Hersh, MIT

Seth Bisen-Hersh, MIT

A weeklong electronic journal.
Oct. 10 1997 12:30 AM

Seth Bisen-Hersh, MIT

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       Wednesdays are my easiest days. After a chemistry lecture at 11, I had a calculus recitation and then an hour break, which I spent doing the usual catching up on e-mail. Then I had a physics recitation, my piano lab, and that's it. Since I am a pretty good player (I've played for 10 years), my instructor always comes up with ways to make the assignment extremely difficult. Today I had to play the exercise in every key, both major and minor, transposing on sight.
       Afterward I had a meeting with Adam, the guy who runs the social activities at the Hillel (the Jewish group). I am on the freshman social committee. We are planning a freshman dinner to take place under the Sukkot a few Sundays from now. We're going to make these cute little balls called something or other that I can't remember right now, and then have activities with them. It promises to be fun. Also at the Hillel, there has been talk about doing a musical and they asked me if I'd be interested in directing. I said, "Of course!" The show will probably take place during Independent Activities Period, which takes place during January. We get four weeks to just relax, have fun, and do a lot of activities without having to worry about courses.
       After that meeting, I rode my bike back home and, after checking my mail again, went to the music room. There are so many pianos here; I'm in heaven. We have two grand pianos in my dorm. Every week I make sure to find at least two hours to devote to playing, usually on Wednesday because that's my lightest day.
       So after an hour or two of playing, I ran to Walker for supper (pasta) and then rode my bike to rehearsal. There are five theater groups on campus. I am currently in the fall show of the MIT Musical Theatre Guild. The name of the show is Robots--it was written by two alumni, and this production will be its world premiere. It's a really cute family show that takes place in the future. My role is the Chancellor of the Galaxy (or Chance for short--I was cast purely by chance), and I have a song. We blocked a few scenes, reviewed a few songs, and had tons of fun tonight. Actually tonight my hall's picture for the yearbook was taken at 8. I had rehearsal from 7 until 10, but at 8:05 (I figured it would take a few minutes for the camera to get ready), I left rehearsal, arrived just in time to get in the picture, and then just as quickly went back to rehearsal. It was quite a workout.
       Another great thing that happened today was getting the answer to that calculus problem from someone in my recitation. And yet another was running into my friend from high school, Umaima. I rarely get to see her because we are both so busy, but it was nice to bump into her and talk to her for a few minutes. My busiest friend has to be Pam, who is our class president. She is always stressed and organizing a myriad of activities.
       Tonight after rehearsal, Jen came over and we studied for our chem quiz tomorrow. Jen comes over before every chem test and quiz. She always used to forget her calculator, but nowadays she tends to remember it. While we study we always munch on the Vienna Fingers that my mother gave me. After reviewing, we always play a quick game of spit. This tradition began during orientation week, when we were tempted to spit in the same place. We also toured most of the dorms together.
       Anyway, Sara was upset at me for forgetting to mention our games of Boggle. The other night I was over at Sara's and we had finished everything for the week, so we (Sara, her roommate, Melanie, and I) decided to play Boggle. It's very addictive, but it's such a fun game.

Seth Bisen-Hersh is a freshman at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

(Note: Earlier this semester, the "Yale Five" announced that, in defiance of school policy, they were refusing to live in the campus dormitories because living in co-ed quarters violated their Orthodox Jewish beliefs. Last week, an MIT freshman died of alcohol poisoning at a fraternity party after having consumed about 16 drinks. Have our nation's elite colleges become hotbeds of binge drinking and sexual abandon? SLATE's diarists this week tell us what life at these top schools is really like.)