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MIT student blogger Nisha D. '21

A blast from the past by Nisha D. '21

Looking back at things I wanted to do at MIT

I was browsing some of my old blog idea Google docs the other day when I came across a list titled “Things I would do if I had more time”.

I had written this list freshman spring, when I REALLY didn’t have time to do anything because I was taking 66 units01 this was a mistake, fyi . I had probably hoped that in a future semester, when I made more reasonable choices, I would have more time to do some of these things.

Since freshman spring, I only ever taken as many as 60 units a semester, but still haven’t really had much time. So when I looked over the list, it sort of struck me at how few of those things I’d actually managed to do.

I sort of wonder if there’ll ever be a time when I ever have free time to use as I please. Right now, there’s always a sneaking feeling whenever I take a break that I could be using this free time to do more work. That’s not the most healthy mindset, I know. But it’s one that I think a lot of MIT students share.

But the reality is that I still don’t physically have enough time to do all the interesting things that I wanted to explore while at MIT. So I thought that I’d go over them in this blog post and see which subset of them I’ve actually managed to check off this list.

 

READ MORE

I currently have four books sitting on my shelf – part one of Haruki Murakami’s new book, two Final Fantasy 7 novellas, and I Am A Cat by Natsume Souseki. The only problem is that they’re all in Japanese and take me eons to read…

  • Ready Player One 
  • Reread Song of Ice and Fire properly

Other than Ready Player One, I never got around to reading or rereading any of these books (although I did get around to reading some other books). And since I’ve been out of practice with my Japanese for a while, the Japanese books get progressively harder to read :(

Maybe after I graduate02 from undergrad or from grad school, who knows , I’ll have the time to sit down and actually catch up on my Japanese and plow through these books. But while the school year is going on, I guess they’ll still be collecting dust on my shelves.

WATCH SHOWS

  • Walking Dead
  • Parks and Rec

I wasn’t very creative in the shows that I wanted to watch…I did binge watch Parks and Rec this summer, but I still haven’t gotten around to watching the Walking Dead. I’m over it, though, because I’ve watched many amazing shows03 usually around finals season, in which I choose a show to binge watch my stress away since freshman spring. Some of the more significant ones are:

  • BoJack Horseman04 which is now my actual new favorite show
  • Sex Education05 the cliffhanger at the end of the second season REALLY KILLED ME
  • The Witcher06 this show was awful but everybody was so attractive. i cannot wait for the second season
  • Big Mouth07 this show really hits

…and that was just a subset of the shows within junior year. I should really do a blog post about my Netflix watch history…

LEARN THINGS

  • Unreal engine/Unity (by extension, more C++)
  • More guitar songs – finger plucking08 it's *fingerstyle*, me from the past stuff
  • MORE PIANO SONGS

So through my UROP, I’ve actually gotten pretty solid at Unity, but it was out of necessity and not necessarily because I had enough time to learn it on my own. I still haven’t gotten around to learning Unreal Engine – and probably never will, because the learning curve for it is too damn high.

I have gotten slightly better at guitar in the past two years, but I definitely haven’t made a significant amount of improvement. My repertoire09 probably not comprehensive of songs hasn’t grown significantly since I started playing, but I do think that I can pick up songs way more easily than I could two years ago. So that’s something, I guess. But I have definitely not learned any more piano songs – in fact, I think I’ve forgotten how to play some of the (very few) songs I used to know. RIP.

DO THINGS IN BOSTON

  • Escape rooms!
  • Walk around enough to get around without a map

I have been to *one* escape room in Boston since freshman spring – and won! I’ve also been to Boda Borg10 this really dope place in Malden that basically has a series of mini escape rooms instead of one big one twice. So I guess I actually achieved that oddly specific goal, lol. And I can walk to *some* places in Boston without a map…but probably as not as many as I should be able to walk to. I have an okay sense of direction, but very low confidence in it.

CLUBS AT MIT HOLY SHIT

This is a long list. I wanted to (and still want to) join a whole bunch of clubs that I literally could not have physically fit into my schedule.

  • Game dev – I really wanted to join GDDC11 game design and development club , but after I got a UROP in game design, I figured that I didn’t really *need* to join in order to make games. I did tell myself that I should go to their game jams, though, and I still have never gotten around to that…
  • Karate – I’ve wanted to learn martial arts for more than half of my life. However, I’ve wanted to learn fencing for literally my whole life, so joining the fencing team sort of superseded joining a martial arts group. RIP. 
  • Quiz bowl – Some of you may or may not know that I was REALLY into quiz bowl in high school. Honestly, the extent to which I was into quiz bowl in high school merits its own blog post, so I won’t talk about it too much here. But there are many videos of me very aggressively quizbowling on a show called Granite State Challenge out there on the Internet…anyways, I thought that I would definitely continue with quiz bowl when I got to college, but I realized that not participating in the national quiz bowl circuits in high school had really disadvantaged me for college quiz bowl, which is a million times more obscure than high school quiz bowl. So I did decide to discontinue quiz bowl, which broke my heart, because I REALLY love it. My ex-quiz bowl friends and I still go on Protobowl sometimes though…
  • Student government – I did actually manage to wiggle my way into student government – I’m currently in my second term as hall chair for my living group, and was CPW chair last year when CPW wasn’t cancelled :( 
  • Fire spinning – Out of all of these clubs, I think I regret not joining MIT Spinning Arts the most. A LOT of my friends firespin, and it looks so cool, and ahh I wish I had learned how to spin. I probably still could, but this is definitely a club that you sink a lot of time into freshman year to get good, and I unfortunately am old now. If you don’t know what firespinning is, let me just say that it makes you look like a firebender and also you should check out their website. 
  • SWE12 Society for Women Engineers and WICS13 Women in Computer Science – I think I wanted to join these clubs before I realized that I didn’t like computer science very much. No regrets here, lol. 
  • Figure skating – I used to be really into figure skating in high school, and was solidly intermediate at it at my peak. I really wanted to join the figure skating club to learn some more advanced techniques14 the jumps mostly , but joining fencing superseded joining this club as well.

I do sometimes think about how joining the fencing team really sucked up the time I have to do extracurriculars, but honestly, I have very minimal regrets. I love fencing and think I’ve gotten significantly better at it over the two seasons that I’ve been on the team. I do actually want to continue fencing after college, and if coronavirus doesn’t cancel my internship this summer, I plan to fence at a club over the summer as well!

 

Hope y’all enjoyed that blast from the past. It’s sort of sad that I never got around to doing/learning most of these things, and I’m sure freshman me would be pretty upset about that. But I guess in the end, I’m pretty happy with what I wound up doing at MIT, given that the amount of free time I have every day is extremely minimal.

Maybe after college, I’ll actually get around to exploring new hobbies and learning new skills. Maybe I’m just saying that now and will be as much of a workaholic as a working adult as I am as a college student, or maybe the working life will just be exhausting and I’ll never get around to doing anything. But I really hope that neither of those things happen. Fingers crossed, I guess.

  1. this was a mistake, fyi back to text
  2. from undergrad or from grad school, who knows back to text
  3. usually around finals season, in which I choose a show to binge watch my stress away back to text
  4. which is now my actual new favorite show back to text
  5. the cliffhanger at the end of the second season REALLY KILLED ME back to text
  6. this show was awful but everybody was so attractive. i cannot wait for the second season back to text
  7. this show really hits back to text
  8. it's *fingerstyle*, me from the past back to text
  9. probably not comprehensive back to text
  10. this really dope place in Malden that basically has a series of mini escape rooms instead of one big one back to text
  11. game design and development club back to text
  12. Society for Women Engineers back to text
  13. Women in Computer Science back to text
  14. the jumps mostly back to text