For many students at MIT, winter break and winter semester blur into one long break from school. During this time, students aren’t required to be on campus or do anything productive. However, many use this time to extern (month long internship), learn some coding, catch up on sleep, or just go to other countries to teach or vacation.
For me, IAP means a lot more swimming. There are two more practices a week and the intensity of the workouts increase. On top of that, IAP brings weekly swim meets that take up an entire day every week. That adds up to *a lot* of time, but still leave me with time to pursue other activities. The only caveat: we can’t travel. It’s a tradeoff that I make, but hey, I’m a s t u d e n t – a t h l e t e.
During my freshman IAP, I was a bit ambitious and decided to also take a physics class (8.20) and another PE class (foil fencing). The physics class was to see if I’d want to be a physics major (I didn’t) and the PE class was to just try out MIT’s PE program (fun!). Luckily the PNR policy for freshman still applied for IAP classes, so it didn’t cause me *that* much stress. I also UROPed and got paid to design a website… but dropped that when I ran out of free time.
Varsity Athlete takes PE classes?
As a varsity athlete, I automatically get PE credit so I actually don’t need to take any PE classes. But MIT offers a lot of fun classes, as well as an opportunity to get a Pirate’s Certificate (Sailing, Pistol, Archery, Fencing). I was intrigued and knew I could quit anytime without any negative side-effects. I’m pretty happy I was curious. Although it was annoying that I’d show up to fencing after 4 hours of practice and still be expected to ‘warm up,’ I really enjoyed learning from the instructor and fencing my classmates. The PE classes are small which allows the instructor time to give individual feedback. I even got to fence my instructor!
After IAP, all my non-swimmer friends were telling me how relaxing their IAP was. Mine wasn’t. But it was super fun. I’d do it all over again. I think IAP gives you an opportunity to try new things or just stop thinking about college for a few weeks.
If I would do if I did it over again:
Take PE classes over the school year instead of IAP. Stay your freshman IAP and hang out on campus and take a class on PNR. BUT DON’T OVERLOAD YOUR SCHEDULE. You’ll probably see a snowstorm for the first time (I did). After the first year explore the world during IAP, or don’t. Especially if you’re an athlete that has to train over IAP. In that case, just UROP. :)