One down, seven more to go!

It’s been almost a month since the semester has ended, and I figured that now was a good enough time as any to write a reflection about my first semester at MIT.

I’m basically just looking through my diary for interesting things to write about, since college is a busy time and I certainly can’t list everything I’ve done off the top of my head. Also, keeping a diary and going through old entries is never a bad thing; it’s not a huge time commitment and it does wonders for your mental health.

A couple of things I noted, some of which may be helpful to incoming students:

  • Freshman orientation events are a complete waste of time; I personally couldn’t bring myself to skip any of them in fear of missing something important but this was never the case
  • Everything is overpriced up here so Amazon/Costco are your best bet for getting the most out of your money
  • Anime Club gets official club funding to buy DVDs and BDs – this fact blew my mind
  • There is so much more time available outside of class and schoolwork, but there are also so many more things to do during that time
  • Getting adequate sleep isn’t too difficult (most of the time), and the biggest challenge to that is having the self control to go to bed at a reasonable hour
  • When doing laundry, confirm that the machine you’re trying to use actually works before potentially wasting precious time and money
  • Having a credit card is convenient, as is having a Venmo account
  • Reviewing your monthly credit card statement is a responsible thing to do and helps you get a better understanding of your finances
  • Going to IHOP at 2 am sounds like a bad idea, but it really isn’t

TI6 Reflections

Just got back from a brief excursion to the west coast, and boy was it amazing. Seattle weather was a nice change of pace from the humidity and heat of northern Virginia. It didn’t rain at all during the week of TI, and the city itself was clean too. Apart from the homelessness problem in Seattle, I had no issues with the city. Right when I arrived at Key Arena during Monday, I saw Arteezy and Aui_2000 walking out of the stadium, and my mind went blank.  Meeting the personalities was an unreal experience; bumping into people like WinteR and GoDz in the hallways, or talking players like Dendi and PPD was incredible. There was a lot of standing in lines to meet the more popular personalities, but it was all worth it. The games were spectacular too – the Secret vs LGD match on the first day left my voice extremely hoarse after the very first day, and EHOME vs EG was another epic game that also resulted in my favored team letting me down. Despite relatively disappointing performances from the teams I supported, there was always a match up to be hyped about every day. In addition, the production value was seamless. Not a second of downtime, the weatherman Purge segments were great, the panelists were great, and the event was a very smooth experience.

My EX-rank luck came through this TI, granting me five treasures of the crimson witness as random drops throughout the week and a golden imbued trove carafe from my Mirana nendoroid. I managed to collect all the emoticharms excluding the monkey king one, with minor help from my friends. My Wings.shadow autograph gem skyrocketed in price after Wings won TI6. The only unfortunate event that happened during TI was that a bird pooped on me right as I walked out from lunch on Tuesday, but I don’t feel the need to go any further into that.

I’m quite sad that it’s all over now, but I’m excited to see how Valve brings it up another notch next year.

Being an adult

Turning 18 was a pretty good experience. I highly recommend it.

A Prefrosh’s thoughts on Campus Preview Weekend

It’s been two weeks since MIT’s Campus Preview Weekend ended, but I haven’t had a chance to sit down and collect my thoughts until now. It was a really great experience; it was my first taste of college and also my first time in Boston.

Thursday was actually quite underwhelming for me. It was raining pretty heavily for almost the entire day, and walking outside was a dreadful experience. Sure, I packed an umbrella and my jacket protected me from the elements, but my shoes didn’t keep my feet dry. Walking around with soggy socks was awful – I did pack a change of socks but it didn’t take too long for those to get wet too, even though I was extra careful not to step into any puddles. The best part of Thursday for me would be the Speed Friending event: it was a lot of fun meeting new people, even if I’ve probably forgotten the names of all the people I talked to there. Also had my first taste of liquid nitrogen ice cream, and it tasted pretty good.


LASACTF, and a problem writeup

Last week, I participated in LASACTF, a national high school CTF competition. Unfortunately, the competition ended half a week earlier than it should have because a hacker released the flags for all the problems. I was on team Second Semester Seniors, and we placed first.

Since I’ll inevitably be doing more CTFs in the future, I figured that I should put problem writeups on my blog. So, here goes. I chose to cover this problem because I thought it was a nice little web exploitation problem, and web exploitation is one of my few strong suits.

Coffee Maker
Category: Web Exploitation
Description: Make an Espresso.