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am i doing this all wrong? by Kanokwan T. '25

thinking thoughts and feeling feelings

Some days are wonderful. Others are tough. And then… there are those days.

the blah

The ones that don’t feel quite right, but you can’t put a finger on why. Everything is ever so slightly more tiresome: each task harder, interaction tougher, and footstep heavier. The day feels oddly still, like time has slowed and all that’s left in the world is you and the void.

The world feels like what can be best described as…blah. I don’t even feel a right to feel bad about those days because nothing particularly negative elicited them, rather, some malaise had washed over me. Then, I remember that feeling bad about feeling bad is circular01 whoooooops and probably not a good way to move through life, so I try to welcome the feeling. It’s very human to have these bouts out of the blah.

On one of my days of the blah, I sent an email out to my friends:

Laying down on the ground aimlessly looking at the ceiling playing with sunlight thinking thoughts and feeling feelings

fyi: I maintain an email list for my friends. It’s a nice way to still connect with those close to me outside the world of social media, but not quite reduced to only direct text messaging. I like being able to tell longer-form stories and play around with the media of emails. This email list also, by extension, makes emails as a whole less intimidating. I digress.02 i thought people were saying “die grass“ for years and i was really confused. i understood the meaning people were going for, so i just thought i missed an idiom or something. tis always good to clarify...

This was on one of the days where there was nothing more I wanted to do but be horizontal, alone, and idle.

the junior year existential crisis

These days became more frequent during my junior year, which I think is at least partly attributed to the Junior Year Existential Crisis, where one realizes they’re more than halfway through the institute, questions if they’ve spent their time wisely at all, and panics over what may be after graduation. I feel like I’ve been lucky to have been given a golden ticket and, consequently, that I need to make the most of my time here. MIT gives a great deal of resources to its students. There is a pressure to live up to its promise of trying to make the world a better place. I mean, it’s a good promise. I’m very grateful that this is the stress that I have in my life, as opposed to other things. But, it’s still a weight to carry nonetheless.

These thoughts can and will, of course, happen before and after junior year, but I think it’s especially concentrated in this first year of being an upperclassman. You’re seen as someone who’s supposed to have it together. Truth is, most people, including real adults out in the real world, don’t really know what they’re doing. Most people act like they do but deep, deep down, they don’t. Every now and then, we all wonder if what we’re doing really matters. I think it’s a healthy and good question. It’s part of the essence of being human.

I don’t entirely know what I’m doing myself. I have some semblance of what I want my life to be, but I have more questions than I do answers.

thoughts thoughts thoughts

sooooomany thoughts

perhaps even too many

My friends have also been going through this crisis. No matter how bad things may be, experiencing it together with your loved ones somehow always makes it better. I think that’s one of the best things about life. Here are some excepts:

One of my favorite concepts in philosophy is “existence precedes essence,” coined by Sartre, meaning that humans exist before the reason why they exist, well, exists. Take for instance, a knife: their essence is that they are sharp and capable of cutting things. A knife does not exist before it is sharp and capable of cutting things. Its essence precedes its existence. Humans, on the other hand, are put on this Earth and have to forge an essence of their own. We’re tasked with continually answering: what makes you, you?

I really liked the songs from the Barbie movie. The first 3 seconds of Dance the Night are such a bop. I’m Just Ken had its moment. And, wow, What Was I Made For? took me away. Here are some of the lyrics:

I used to float, now I just fall downI used to know but I’m not sure nowWhat I was made forWhat was I made for?

‘Cause I, II don’t know how to feelBut I wanna tryI don’t know how to feelBut someday, I mightSomeday, I might

Think I forgot how to be happySomething I’m not, but something I can beSomething I wait forSomething I’m made forSomething I’m made for

if these things are also on your mind

i’m sending virtual hugs your way

this too shall pass03 a classic. one of my favorite quotes ever

or whatever

i don’t have many solutions to these problems to share

you will probably feel blah at some point

you will probably feel existential at some point

i will probably do the same again

but i think sharing is one of the best ways to get through something

accordingly, i just wanted you to know that

the blah is so real

so valid

and that

existential thoughts are so ever-present

so human


there’s nothing more for us to do

than the two most human things of all


think our thoughts


feel our feelings

  1. whoooooops back to text
  2. i thought people were saying “die grass“ for years and i was really confused. i understood the meaning people were going for, so i just thought i missed an idiom or something. tis always good to clarify... back to text
  3. a classic. one of my favorite quotes ever back to text