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MIT blogger CJ Q. '23

Back to back to back by CJ Q. '23

maybe i am doing too much

The last post I made was kind of a lot. Even beginning to write this post took way more effort than it normally would have. Anyway, I’ll continue my theme of talking about my problems in public, and I’ll walk you through my mess of overcommitment so far. February has just been a blur for me, and I feel that, until last weekend, I didn’t really have a day that was free.

During January, ESP was asked to clear out the room where we stored all of our class supplies. This took us an entire day and involved putting seven shelves’ worth of class supplies in boxes and moving them to another room. Then on the first weekend of February, the weekend before the semester started, we moved all of them back and organized them this time. It was tiring, but now all of our class supplies are neatly organized and labeled and it’s actually really nice.

Classes began in full swing on Monday, while I helped with recruiting teachers for Spark, which is like Splash but for middle schoolers.01 More specifically, imagine a thousand or so middle school students coming to MIT to take hour-long-ish classes taught by people in the MIT community for a weekend. My day-to-day for February was pretty full. Apart from classes, I’m a lab assistant for 6.036 Introduction to Machine Learning, and I’m going to waltz classes on Monday nights, Tech Squares on Tuesday nights, ESP worksessions on Wednesday nights, and an A1 square dancing class02 So it turns out square dancing has different <em>programs</em>, going from Basic 1, Basic 2, Mainstream, Plus, then A1 and A2 making up Advanced, and C1 through C4 being Challenge. No, I am <em>not</em> learning too much square dancing. on Thursday nights.

The second weekend of February was the ESP retreat, where we drove up to New Hampshire in the freezing cold, and it was really fun. That Sunday was the first Floor Pi meeting03 The floor I live in on East Campus. in the spring, where we elected committees. I was again serving on TeaComm, which runs teatime on hall every few days, where we have tea and talk about stuff.

Through the next week were preparations for HMMT February, a high school math competition run by Harvard and MIT students that I volunteer for. We stapled problem sheets together, organized team envelopes, cut labels, all that stuff. East Campus was also beginning its preparations for CPW and REX,04 Campus Preview Weekend and Residence Exploration, when dorms and student groups host lots of events. and I submitted several events that I wanted to run with Floor Pi.

HMMT February happened on the third weekend. That was also a lot. I served ice cream and ran an origami event on Friday night, graded all day on Saturday, went to a wrapup meeting on Saturday evening, hanged out with friends on Floor Pi later that night, and cotaught a class with Hahn on how RSA worked.

On Sunday began Spark scheduling weekend, where I helped schedule the hundreds of classes being taught for Spark. I had dinner on Sunday with some friends who came over for HMMT, and then had a meeting with the Filipino Students Association to decide what we were going to do this spring. Then we played a round of Only Connect05 A British game show. Floor Pi likes writing Only Connect-styled problems and playing them with the hall. on Floor Pi that Yannick wrote.

So yeah. Three back to back to back weekends of activities.

I gave two admissions tours on Monday. A friend told me later that week that someone they knew went on a tour I gave, and that person said I was a really good tour guide, which made me feel good. Spark scheduling weekend continued through Monday afternoon, where we wrapped up some loose ends, and then had dinner together. There was Fruit Bowl06 Another Floor Pi tradition, where we come together and eat fruit. on Wednesday, and my first midterm of the semester that Friday.

And that weekend—last weekend—was the first weekend in a while that I felt like I didn’t do anything. Friday night, I went to a LARP07 A live-action roleplaying game. See the Assassins’ Guild wiki: <a href="https://assassin.mit.edu/web/What_is_LARP%3F">What is LARP?</a> run through the Assassins’ Guild. My character was apparently a ghost, which I only found out two-thirds of the way into the game.

No alarm woke me up on Saturday. I spent some time working on psets, but I mostly did other stuff. I sang Ang Huling El Bimbo for an International Mother Language Day event. I went to Epsilon Theta08 Not a frat, but an independent living group. Culturally similar to Floor Pi. on Saturday evening, did some puzzles, and slept over. On Sunday afternoon, I learned how to play Stone Age, another board game, and ran another round of Only Connect on Floor Pi that I cowrote with Wayne.

And that brings us to this week. We had a meeting about Mystery Hunt 2021 on Monday. A game of Live-Action Mafia,09 A game that involves sneaking up on people and tapping their shoulders to make “kills”, a lot like the party game <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Werewolf_(social_deduction_game)">Werewolf</a>. which is another club I’m involved with, started on Tuesday. I replied to a lot of emails this week, because Spring HSSP,10 A multi-week program of a series of classes running for six Saturdays, for students in seventh through twelfth grades. another one of ESP’s programs, is beginning this weekend. The Filipino Students Association’s general board meeting will happen on Friday night. And I’m giving a lecture on calendar math for Spring HSSP.

I’m eight hundred words into this post and the only thing that’s happened is me talking about what I did this February. Note that I haven’t even given any interpretations! I haven’t even mentioned what I feel about all this, or discussed the other things going on through my mind, or mentioned a single class I’m taking. And I think this is pretty clearly a sign that I’m doing a lot.

I feel that even if I did drop some commitments, I would just replace them with other things, or personal projects. I feel that at this rate, I’m just going to keep doing things until I forcibly burn myself out. But I don’t feel like I’m going to burn out. I don’t feel like I’m going to break.

And I enjoy all the things that I’m doing, which is great! I find fulfillment in my classes, and my extracurriculars. I feel like I’m actually doing something, like I’m helping, and I like it because it makes me feel like I have control over things. Yet it also sucks, in a weird, perverted sense, because I don’t know which of my commitments I would drop if I needed to.

But do I want to drop things in the first place? Do I really want to spend more time being alone? Maybe the reason I’m doing so much is because I’m avoiding being alone, I’m avoiding having free time with just myself, that I want almost every waking moment doing something, or hanging out with someone. Maybe I’m doing it to avoid the thoughts that I’d get when I am alone, thoughts I’d rather not entertain.

That’s it I guess. Oops. I promise I’ll write something more substantial next time.

  1. More specifically, imagine a thousand or so middle school students coming to MIT to take hour-long-ish classes taught by people in the MIT community for a weekend. back to text
  2. So it turns out square dancing has different programs, going from Basic 1, Basic 2, Mainstream, Plus, then A1 and A2 making up Advanced, and C1 through C4 being Challenge. No, I am not learning too much square dancing. back to text
  3. The floor I live in on East Campus. back to text
  4. Campus Preview Weekend and Residence Exploration, when dorms and student groups host lots of events. back to text
  5. A British game show. Floor Pi likes writing Only Connect-styled problems and playing them with the hall. back to text
  6. Another Floor Pi tradition, where we come together and eat fruit. back to text
  7. A live-action roleplaying game. See the Assassins’ Guild wiki: What is LARP? back to text
  8. Not a frat, but an independent living group. Culturally similar to Floor Pi. back to text
  9. A game that involves sneaking up on people and tapping their shoulders to make “kills”, a lot like the party game Werewolf. back to text
  10. A multi-week program of a series of classes running for six Saturdays, for students in seventh through twelfth grades. back to text