Academics, social life, and sleep. Pick two.
I’ve heard this saying jokingly repeated around Mudd from time to time. It’s true, Mudd has the reputation of being very academically rigorous, but it’s completely possible to balance all three of the above categories however you want.
As I mentioned previously, I’m entering my sophomore year at Mudd, which means that I will finish up the Core curriculum in the next two semesters. The Core curriculum consists of several labs as well as classes in math, the physical sciences, computer science, engineering, and humanities. These courses are required for all Mudd students, unless you test out of one or more. Due to Core, Mudd freshmen usually end up taking most of the same classes. By the time sophomore year rolls around, more people have an idea of what their major will be and can make their schedules into a combination of the last few Core courses, major requirements, and choice electives. For example, this semester I’m taking Electricity and Magnetism (my last Core physics class), Data Structures and Program Design (an notably rigorous and interesting CS major requirement), Discrete Math (another CS major requirement), Introductory Japanese (on Pomona), Introductory Linguistics (again on Pomona), and Programming Practicum (a one-credit class based around solving programming problems).
Compared to some other people in my grade, I have a fairly light schedule this semester because I elected to stay at Mudd for three weeks at the end of last year and take a Core math course over the summer instead of waiting to take it this semester. Regardless of scheduling, everyone shares in the fun of the inevitable workload. Mudd is definitely a lot of work, but the good thing about going to such a small school is that you get to know the people in your classes fairly well. Especially throughout the Core curriculum, everyone usually has the same homework. As a result, a major way that Mudders socialize is through collaborating on assignments. I have participated in many a homework party that felt as much like hanging out with friends as it did like work. Just the other night, my friend and I determined that, in order to properly determine the number of ways to pick a certain amount of objects from one of two sets, we needed to use M&Ms to accurately represent the sets. One trip to the store later, we were surrounded by M&Ms and using candy as an example in the assignment write-up.
Obviously, everyone needs a study break once in a while. One popular activity for many Mudders is inner tube water polo. Dorms from throughout the five colleges go head to head in an ultimate battle for water polo glory. Mainly, the game consists of a lot of splashing around in an attempt to move through the water atop an inner tube. The games are fairly informal and entirely for fun. For example, here are some pictures from my dorm’s first game a few weeks ago (we won!):
At times, it might seem difficult to fit in homework, classes, social time, and sleep. However, it’s up to each person to find the balance that works best for them. This could include combining homework and social time, rediscovering the magic of naps, or knowing when to take a study break to play inner tube water polo. Time management is key at Mudd, and learning how to properly do that means that when presented with the question of academics, social life, or sleep, you can choose all three (though probably not all at the same time).