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MIT blogger Rona W. '21

2020 vision by Rona W. '21

new year's resolutions

Happy New Year! Even though I’m nearsighted, this is the year for looking towards the future and making moves while not bumping into furniture or people who resembled blobs because I forgot to wear my glasses. Foresight can be 20/20, too!

All myopia jokes aside, here’s what I’d like to accomplish this year:

Cherish my close friendships. I entered MIT in September 2016 as part of the Class of 2020, which means most of my friends are graduating this year. I can’t wait to see them do amazing things out in the real world, but I’m also sad to see them go. I really want to make the most of the remaining time I have with these people, because they’re so incredibly kind, brilliant, hilarious, and inspiring, and they made me into who I am today.

. . . while cultivating new friendships! Many of my friends are quite similar, as I tend to gravitate towards introspective self-proclaimed nerds who value the arts/humanities and don’t pursue “traditional” industry careers. But I want to meet more people who are very different from myself and my circle. Relatedly, I want to get better at talking to those I seemingly have less in common with. You know that awkward moment when you run out of things to talk about and have to cast about for a forced small-talk topic? I want fewer of those.

Get more involved on campus. I’ve tried lots of different clubs since my freshman year, but the only one I’ve been consistently involved in is The Tech, which I joined as an arts writer the first week of freshman fall and never left. (I think they even kept me on the masthead during my gap year abroad; thanks, guys!) I dislike club meetings, which are often weekly, inefficient, and mandatory, which has dissuaded me from joining student groups. But as a junior, I only have three semesters left at the institution, and I’ve been thinking more about how to enact change—not in some grandiose, ego-fueled “I want to leave a legacy” sense, but how to do my best to leave the school having made it better than when I arrived. Something I’d like to do is to advocate for more funding and build more community for humanities students. I also want to seek out more opportunities in teaching and community service.

Exercise more. In 2018, I went to the gym three times a week. I did Pilates, y’all. In the fall, I even joined the cheer team (yes, it exists!). But in 2019, I totally did not keep it up and have now regressed into a potato. Yum. I know I really should be making this goal more concrete, like, “exercise twice a week,” or “exercise once a week,” or “exercise once a semester” but that’s just setting myself up for disappointment.

Read more. I love literature. So much. So why don’t I read more, hmmm? I’m pretty sure the last book I read was a real analysis textbook, and while the plot was pretty twisty and chapter 7 was especially wild (metric spaces!), the writing style was somewhat dry, so I’d only give it a 3/5 on Goodreads. I’d like to set more time each week dedicated to reading for pleasure. If you have any reading suggestions, please comment below! I’ll read anything: novels, novellas, short stories, poems, cursed shopping receipts, non-cursed shopping receipts, Wikipedia articles, promotional materials for your multi-level marketing scheme.

Seek out research opportunities. I decided to go to grad school, so this upcoming semester, I want to find a UROP (Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program) where I get to apply my quantitative skills to a project related to social justice or education. We love writing cover letters and cold-emailing important people!

Procrastinate less. My time management skills vastly improved in 2018 and 2019, but there are still days when I’ll look at the clock and get confused about how I spent the last two hours of my life on cat YouTube. Or when I have a midterm to study for, but then somehow my laptop screen turns into Facebook?? Using iCal and scheduling things in the morning (so I’m forced to get out of bed early) has helped, but I still have plenty of room for improvement.

Become a better critical thinker. Hopefully, most of the other goals I’ve listed on here will feed into this. I’d like to interrogate my own beliefs more, and also resolve or at least engage more deeply with some confusing questions I currently can’t answer. One example: I enjoy wearing makeup, and when I was younger, I felt like it was empowering to do so as a woman in STEM, but nowadays I also feel guilty about contributing to patriarchal, oft Western beauty standards, and is it really that empowering to give my money to huge business conglomerates that thrive on said standards? Also, why does it take me an hour to do winged eyeliner?

Worry less about GPA. I only have three semesters left, and I want to intellectually challenge myself in awesome classes without worrying about getting As. I feel like the last few semesters, I took easier classes because I was worried about not performing as well, and now I want to push myself out of my comfort zone and maybe even take math grad-level classes?? Unfortunately, this goal conflicts with my desire to get into graduate school, which requires a high GPA. Sad.

Be bold. I want to learn how to be unafraid. I want to get better at speaking up, asking for favors, and being vulnerable. I want to worry less about facing rejection. I mean, I already write this blog, and when I was twelve I wrote a sixty-thousand-word anime fanfic that’s still online somewhere, so really, I should not have any qualms about embarrassing myself in public.

Here’s to good vibes and living our best lives in 2020!