Skip to content ↓
MIT blogger Rona W. '21

23andme by Rona W. '23

happy new year

Sadly, I did not come up with the title pun myself, I saw it on Twitter.

Since my blogs do a decent job of encompassing how 2022 went for me, I won’t review the past year on here, but I made a Substack post about it.

Someone asked me today what my 2023 resolutions were, and I responded, “Hard to say because I have so many flaws.” That’s a self-deprecating way to put it, but I do think it’s difficult to pare down all the ways I want to improve into a few goals. Like, I haven’t been eating well and barely exercise, and also my time management is a mess, and maybe I should branch out more socially, and probably I could study harder for my job interviews, and . . .

Well, you get the point.

Sort of wish I had the misguided self-confidence of Greg Heffley from Diary of a Wimpy Kid:

greg can't think of any resolutions because he's already too perfect

oh to possess this amount of self-confidence

We should always strive to grow, right? Especially since I’m still in undergrad and so much of my life is ahead of me and like, if I had Greg’s attitude of “it’s hard for me to see how I could improve”, that would probably not bode well for my future.

I don’t really remember if I had any resolutions in 2022, but in retrospect, I grew a lot in the previous year, and I feel much more grounded and clear-eyed. If I had to pinpoint the biggest change, I’d say I’ve become more emotionally mature, meaning I’ve been able to avoid a lot of drama because it turns out that most of it doesn’t matter, I’ve taken a lot more responsibility over my own life (including paying for my entire college tuition for the first time), and I have a better grasp on the actual stakes of a situation.

Maybe for the first time ever, I feel like I have a solid vision of what my career will look like in the next several years and what I want out of life. In high school, I only really knew that I had some passions for math and writing, and that I wanted to get into a selective college. After I got to MIT, I floundered a lot and jumped from major to major; I considered being a consultant, a quant trader, a humanities PhD student, a full-time writer, etc. Now I’m pretty sure I want to pursue my computer science MEng here starting next fall, concentrating in systems, and eventually accept an engineering role in performance optimization and low-level systems. I still want to write professionally (and am contractually bound to publish two novels anyway), and one day I might want to get an MFA in fiction or screenwriting, but I’d like to get more life experience before doing that. I also wouldn’t be surprised if at some point in the next decade I start a company with my younger brother, who is on a gap year before starting at Stanford next year. We both always have a ton of entrepreneurial schemes . . .

Also, for the first time, I’m starting to think about my health. I’m getting older, my body is changing, and it turns out I no longer have the rapid metabolism of my teens that meant I could eat whatever I wanted and never gain any weight. I don’t want to perpetuate diet culture on here, and to be clear, skinniness != health, but the number on the scale was the first indicator that maybe I need to start caring about what I’m eating and how much I’m exercising.

Maybe instead of setting goals, I should think about what I want my life to look like on December 31st, 2023:

  • Hopefully, I’ll have graduated with my bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and computer science, and I will have finished my first semester of my master’s degree here. GPA isn’t that important for my career goals, but it’d be nice if I graduated with around a 4.7, which is what I currently have.
  • I’d like to have spent summer 2023 interning somewhere that would allow me to grow as a software engineer, and I’d like to have secured a full-time offer for 2024 in the specific type of role I want.
  • I’d like to be exercising consistently. In 2022, I finally started washing my face twice daily and stopped getting acne. Obviously, exercising is more strenuous and time-consuming than face washing, but I’m hoping that this means that it isn’t impossible for me to incorporate new things into my life routine, even during busy semesters.
  • I want to have a relationship with writing that makes me feel fulfilled and creatively engaged. I don’t know if setting a goal like “have completed the first draft of my second novel” is really the best way to foster this relationship. But I’ve also found that it is really easy to push writing to the back burner if I’m not intentional about making space for it. So, I don’t know exactly how this will manifest. I like posting blogs on here, but they aren’t necessarily a creative challenge; I see them more as time capsules that will exist for years to come, so that my life at this institute will always be preserved somewhere. I want to push my boundaries as an artist, but I’m not sure yet what that means.
  • I want to be a better computer scientist, too. I want to read more research papers and develop more domain knowledge about low-level languages and computer architecture. Right now I’m still taking required undergrad classes, but hopefully within the next year, I can build my expertise and become more than just a software engineer who did what was needed to get a bachelor’s in computer science.
  • I’m pretty happy with my interpersonal relationships. 2022 might be the first year where very little was rocky with the people I’m close to, and I didn’t really have any conflicts with friends. But I’d like to meet more people and also reach out to some people I haven’t spoken to in a while.

Here’s to 2023!