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MIT student blogger Alexa J. '20

All the Feels by Alexa J. '20

introduction to me and my thoughts

I am currently a ball of feelings. Some people might call me an emotional wreck, but I think it’s just something that comes with being in a completely new place with new people, new challenges, new thrills, and the same old me.

There’s change in the air too, and with every breath I take inside the MIT bubble, I feel myself growing in so many ways. I want to share with you a sliver of some of the amazing people I’ve met and the internal thoughts that have been dashing lightspeed through my brain. Have you ever wanted to know what someone was thinking when they met you? Well, now you will.

First and foremost, there’s excitement. I’ve had the honor of listening to a professor who was involved in the discovery of gravitational waves, learned about opportunities to work abroad for free (MISTI!), and gotten to coexist in the same room as the legendary Chris Peterson and the bloggers of this site. It gives me chills just to be there in the moment listening and trying to absorb some of their greatness, not reading about them online or watching them on the news. I am excited for the future, both for the things that are being discovered and created here, but also my chance to discover and create.

On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve somehow managed to stress myself out from all the excitement. From trying to do everything because of a fear of missing out (FOMO –– it’s a real thing) to trying to get to find classes when buildings 26 and 36 are somehow next to each other, it’s been a good time. Comments like “You haven’t even started doing psets yet, just you wait.” and “Why are you worrying about things like if you’ve watered your succulents?” are really helpful because the stress of future stress worries me more. When really, really smart, accomplished people tell you that you’re about to be a bajillion times more stressed than you are right now because the fire hose that is MIT has barely been turned on, it tends to freak you out a bit. Whew. Ok, deep breaths. It feels good to talk about it though.

Some imposter syndrome symptoms are definitely present too. It’s hard not to compare yourself to people who’ve started 10 companies already and are curing stress because curing cancer was so last year. More often than that are the people who love what they do and, as a result, are leaps and bounds in front of others in their fields. They know how to slam together passion and hard work to produce so much energy and drive that they can’t help but succeed despite anything and everything. If you are one of these people, just know that I envy you. You also inspire me and motivate me to do bigger and better things, but mostly, I just want to be you. I’m hoping that intense passion will hit me on the head one day but for now, I’m slowly learning to find my own niches too.

Like nearly every other college student, though, I’m also feeling freedom rustle through my metaphorical wings of adulthood too. I can eat ice cream for breakfast, which is actually as amazing as you’d imagine (10/10 would recommend until freshman 15 hits). I entered a lottery for a Picasso painting to hang in my dorm room above our fireplace blackboard in Maseeh (see picture below). I am aiming to become a certified pirate by taking pistol, archery, sailing, and fencing. I get the month of January to do anything and everything, from glassblowing to truffle-making to CPR training to working in externships. The freedom applies to nearly everything I do, and it’s awesome, albeit slightly overwhelming, to think about all the different paths I can take from here.

Above all, I’m just so glad, happy, elated, delighted to be here with people I’m already in love with and in a place I’m so proud to call home.

Thanks for being my therapist and letting me talk through my feelings. MIT’s going to be a wild ride, and I can’t wait to stick you in the passenger seat next to me (seatbelt optional).