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MIT student blogger Taylor V. '19

All the Blogs I Didn’t Blog by Taylor V. '19

A memorial

Hello, my name is Taylor. I’m still alive, although my lack of communication may have indicated otherwise. It’s been a couple of months now since I moved to Michigan for an internship, but I swear it feels like it’s only been a week. Adjustments to The Adult Life were abrupt. Suddenly I had a commute and a “9-5” job and an apartment to myself, and had to make time to cook and workout and sleep. Through it all I had many a thought but nary a blog.

My solution has been to throw all of my random revelations and possible blog beginnings and half-baked stories into one mess of a post. What follows is a series of lists, sentences, and paragraphs that didn’t have enough substance to make it to a blog but I still don’t want to throw out. I consider it a sort of graveyard for my thoughts this summer, in no particular order.


I have one foot in the door of Jaded Senior and one foot still in the hallway of Dear God What Am I Doing With My Life Underclassman.

I don’t know how humans managed before, 1) AC, and 2) Facetime. I would be melted and lonely (respectively) without these modern conveniences.

Movies I’ve watched:

  • Black Panther (x2)
  • The Conjuring
  • Deadpool
  • Deadpool II
  • The Minority Report
  • Step Up II
  • Also been sort of keeping up with America’s Got Talent

Peeling back the hood of the code scares me, because underneath it all it’s just math. Math, a lot of cool sensors, and some clever algorithms all mashed together by some very human developers. I’d prefer to keep thinking that machines as large and dangerous as automobiles were powered by mysterious and magical beings. (Context: I’m working as a developer at an autonomous vehicle company)

I’m learning how to skateboard. 98% for the a e s t h t i c, if we’re being real.

Books I’ve read:

  • Turtles All the Way Down
  • The Hoops Whisperer
  • Probabilistic Robotics
  • Origin
  • Superfreakanomics
  • Superintelligence
  • Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
  • I live literally across the street from the public library. There’s definitely books I’m forgetting, but oh well. These are the ones that stood out.

I feel like I should appreciate Kanye’s newest album, but summer is not for feeling feels. Summer is for banging bangers. Ask me again in the fall.

Some days I think I have my act together. Other days I forget my debit card in Jimmy Johns because I’m just so darn excited about the Sandwich Artist handing me my Veggie Original w/ onions.
So it goes.

UM is so BIG. Obscenely large. I can’t even picture the amount of students that fill these all of these empty apartments and bars and sandwich shops during the semester. I always thought I wanted be on a BIG campus. Now I’m glad that MIT is much more reasonably sized. 40 min bus rides to class sound incredibly unappealing. As does getting swallowed alive in a sea of humanity every semester. (Context: My apartment was essentially on the campus of the University of Michigan.)

It’s so much more work maintaining friendships in the real world. I take for granted the convenience of having my friends in the same dorm, or at least the same campus. Meeting up with people in the real world requires planning and usually driving and short periods of time with the specific purpose of socializing. In contrast, on campus friends just sort of show up in your room and “hang out” without the express purpose of making it a social event. Idk it’s hard to explain. All I know is I’m going to miss it.

This has been the first time where I’ve really, truly cooked for myself and really, truly put some effort into it. Like meal-prepping-on-Sundays effort. Like my-apartment-doesn’t-have-a-microwave effort. Some key things I’ve learned about both cooking, and myself:

  • The best “investment” I made this summer was nice(-ish) olive oil. You can put that stuff on anything.
  • If I have to dirty a pan to reheat something, I’m actually just gonna eat it cold.
  • Basil, parsley, and red pepper flakes can all serve as little masks that hide how clueless you really are in the kitchen
  • The “I’ll just go grocery shopping tomorrow” phrase is a slippery slope that leads to three nights in a row of cereal for dinner. Don’t do it.
  • Food is so much cheaper when it isn’t in Boston
  • Walking into a Trader Joes is like coming home. I know where everything is, they have free samples, and their strategically few options reduces my need to make decisions. Wow I love that place.
  • Spinach can be hidden in literally any dish.
  • I read an article where Martha Stewart said to gently push your scrambled eggs towards the center of the pan while cooking them. Fluffiest eggs I’ve ever made, would recommend.
  • Martha also told me to stick hard-boiled eggs in ice water immediately after boiling. Also great results. I guess that’s why people call her an eggs-pert! :D

The Apollo 11 source code is on GitHub. Thought you should know.

Every summer I hit this turning point where I flip from “Wow I’m so glad classes are out, I feel so alive I feel so free”, to “I miss MIT/my friends/Boston/Baker Dining omelettes. I can’t wait to go back.”

Which makes me wonder- what happens next summer?

I was downloading some graph-optimization software (I say those words like I know what they mean) the other day. All program libraries generally have a README.txt file so you can understand a bit of what is going on in the code. This one also had a README_IF_IT_WAS_WORKING_AND_IT_DOES_NOT.txt file. Which yeah, same.

First Law of Coding: If the answer isn’t on StackOverflow, you didn’t need to know it anyway.

My brother is starting his first year of college soon, and it’s got me feeling all kinds of sentimental. Everyone tells you how fast it goes, but goodness. This whole education thing has escalated quickly.

One great aspect of software as opposed to hardware is even when stuff “breaks”, it’s fine. Code doesn’t compile? Change some lines, hit run again. Still broken? Keep smashing that run key. Hardware is a little different, to say the least. When your robot breaks it’s a lot more sad.

The amount of care that MIT students put into scheduling their classes is astounding. It’s sort of like a self-reflection in a way. There’s obviously classes you have to take to graduate, but a lot of your interests can be reflected in the classes you choose. There’s flexibility within majors to take different classes that meet the same requirements, and also some extra space to explore a bit outside of your major. I’m attempting the exploration part this year, but so far all of my planning has resulted in numerous potential schedules with too many units and not enough time. Rule of thumb: if the thought, “I can just catch up on sleep on weekends”, crosses your mind, abort.

Is it possible to have a 1/5th life crisis?


I spent most of the summer commuting ~1 hour to work each direction, in traffic. As a result, I spent a ton of time listening to hip-hop on the radio because that’s the best use of my time. It was a very good summer for it too, there were so many great albums. One of the best lines I’ve heard so far is off of Drake’s “Survival”- “My Mt. Rushmore is me with four different expressions”. I would cross-stitch that on a pillow if I knew how to sew.

I’ve spent the last two summers working in places where I didn’t speak the language- last summer was Italian, this summer it’s C++. Thank goodness for Google Translate and StackOverflow.

On my first day at office, my team leader told me that we are an “agile company”. I was thinking cool, like move-fast-and-break-things sort of scenario. Apparently I misheard him though, because we are actually an Agile company (those capital letters are hard to catch sometimes). Agile is a… system, I guess? For software development. And within that system you can choose a framework for how your teams work. Ours is called a Scrum. Scrums have Scrum Masters and team leads and developers. Every day you have a Stand Up where you talk about what you’ve done in the past day and what you plan to do next. Your work is divided into Epics and Stories and Sub Tasks. You have Sprints. You have Retrospectives. You have a lot of fun new words to learn. It was very confusing at first, but I’m a fan now.

I saw my first firefly this summer.