bucket lists, grocery lists, and a li(s)tany of other things by Teresa J. '26
this is actually just an excuse to make people list-en to me talk about minecraft
The other day I fell asleep watching Hermitcraft videos on Youtube, which is how you know I’m well and truly exhausted. Normally, playing and/or watching people play Minecraft is a hyperfixation that can consume my attention for hours on end.
That being said, my favorite Hermitcrafter is Zedaph, and the continuous theme of his Hermitcraft Season 9 adventures has been what he calls “Zedvancements.” On top of the standard advancements that are already a part of the game, he’s come up with his own challenges. They range from more standard Minecraft-esque achievements, like collecting every block in the game and getting killed by every possible mob, to slightly more niche advancements, like getting struck by lightning while dangling in the void and having the maximum amount of arrows in his pixelated body at one time.
While I won’t be dying to zombified piglins or getting struck by lightning (I hope), putting my goals for the year into a game-like format makes them seem more fun and doable.
CATEGORY ONE: GETTING MY LIFE TOGETHER
I’ve been taught the importance of setting goals with specific, quantifiable results since as early as elementary school. Unfortunately, it wasn’t drilled into our heads enough, because neither my two closest elementary school friends nor I can remember the silly acronym that was once plastered on every white brick wall – STAR? SHARE? START? Something That’s Actually Reasonable Sounding? – to subliminally imprint the importance of goals in our young, impressionable minds. Just for this, though, I’ll try to recall what I learned.
1. Caves & Cliffs: be able to do a pull-up
I have a somewhat irrational fear of the hypothetical scenario in which I’m hanging off the edge of a cliff, tall enough that I wouldn’t be able to sustain the fall damage, and I’m scrambling, clambering, struggling to pull myself to safety because my weak little biceps and back muscles can’t complete a chin-up.
Silly as that may sound, it’s the reason I’ve been doing some short workouts on days when I have an hour-long void in my schedule or when I don’t have club badminton practice. But every day, regardless of how busy or exhausted I am, I make at least one chin-up attempt. Whether that means sneaking one in at the Next House gym before eating dinner, or at 2am, when the Burton Conner has a frankly absurd amount of people using it (as Vincent H. ’23 can attest to), I’m on the path to successfully completing my first one.
2. A Balanced Diet: learn how to cook
For someone living in a residence halls without dining halls that don't require you to have meal plans, i.e. Burton Conner, East Campus, MacGregor, New House, and Random Hall. with no meal plan, I sure don’t do a whole lot of actually cooking for myself. But I really want to crack down on the ever-growing compilation of “easy simple at-home noodles” recipe reels in my Instagram saved folder, and actually learn some new staple recipes that aren’t just adding spam and eggs to my instant ramen. I’ve been taking the MIT shuttle to Trader Joe’s every Sunday or going on a Target/H-Mart run after my Design Studio: How To Design, a class that covers the fundamentals of, you guessed it, design. It takes place in MIT building N52, which is on Mass Ave and a short walk away from Central Square. class ends on Wednesday. My grocery list features ingredients for smoked salmon, prosciutto, sliced cucumbers, and scallion cream cheese on a toasted everything bagel, aka the only thing waking me up in the mornings. a party size bag of that my friends and I somehow manage to consume in a single sitting and whatever frozen food package or miscellaneous sandwich ingredient I deem necessary.
3. Take Inventory: be organized
Ironically, this is the least structured goal of mine. Every time I’m inevitably hit with the urge to organize my entire life top to bottom at some ungodly time of night, I never quite know what “being organized” means or entails. It could be described by smaller, more manageable tasks like folding my laundry as soon as I take it out of the dryer, or decluttering my Outlook inbox or the files on my laptop every so often. It might mean finally centralizing all of my to-do lists and ideas on one Notion page instead of haphazardly scribbling on post-its or setting random reminders on my phone. Who knows?
As it stands, though, I don’t have the best track record of tracking or recording things. I tend to keep important dates and notes in my head, which hypothetically could work if I didn’t have horribly short term memory. Before this, I’ve never actually formally written out my bucket list, despite how many times I’ve idly thought about how cool it would be to know how to play darts or be a proficient harpist. Whether it’s the mess on my desk or in my head, a bit of tidying up is in order.
CATEGORY TWO: ACADEMIA
Other than surviving Design Computation: Art, Objects and Space, aka a class about 3D modeling chairs, aka 60% of my workload every week and the bane of my existence T_T and passing (live laugh love freshman fall pass no record, aka a system during your first semester at MIT in which passing a class is recorded as a P on your transcript, and a fail is sent to the backrooms/doesn't show up at all. ) my classes without cutting it too close, I have a few things I’d love to accomplish academics-wise.
4. Acquire Hardware: use all the facilities in n52
As both a 4.021 student and DesignPlus, or Design+, is a relatively new advisory/learning community for frosh that aims to connect first-years with design opportunities and familiarize us with all of the available makerspaces around campus. Would recommend. :) advisee, I find myself making the trek past Flour and down Mass Ave to MIT building N52 quite frequently. It’s home to the D-Lab, the Morningside Academy of Design, the Design+ lounge, and several wood/metalworking shops, makerspaces, laser cutters, 3D printers, and a million other things I haven’t even gotten the chance to explore yet. I’ve used the laser cutter a few times already, but I hope to use the vinyl cutters to make laptop stickers, the 3D printers to make a sorting station for wires, the power tools to… feel cool, etc. I really want to get familiar with all of the crazy machines and materials available to me while I still have tap access.
5. Monster Hunter: pass the Introduction to Computer Science Programming in Python Advanced Standing Exam. A passing grade in an ASE lets you get credit for that class and counts as a prerequisite requirement for other classes.
… with no prior coding experience. The plan is to study and take the 6.100A ASE over Independent Activities Period, aka a month right after winter break where students are free to engage in silly and goofy classes, research opportunities, events, or alternatively just chill and do nothing at all. so I can take formerly 6.009. Fundamentals of Programming. with my friends during the spring semester. The thing is, I’m going in with almost nothing going for me, other than a baseline familiarity with Scratch and some basic Python fundamentals from a summer camp I did a while back. Depending on who I’ve asked, I’ve gotten responses that range from “that’s pretty reasonable, you can do it” to “why on Earth would you do that, I did that and I am suffering.” But honestly, I’m seeing it as a kind of passion project. It’s by no means necessary to my current intended major, but who knows if I’ll end up enjoying it or finding ways to apply it to my current interests. Update incoming at a future time. :)
CATEGORY THREE: SHENANIGANS
Part of why I was inspired to write this in the first place is Ellington H. ‘26’s ongoing list of aspirations. As far as I remember, he has mentioned whether or not he intends to complete them in this order, I don't know. Granted, my goals for this year aren’t as ambitious as his, but they fall a bit outside the realm of self care and studies.
6. Sky’s the Limit: earn how to skateboard/rollerblade/ride a bike
At least two or three times a day, either my fellow car enjoyer, Sri S. ‘26, or I will say something along the lines of “I miss driving.” Having primarily grown up in places with Walk Scores of 30 or less, I’ve definitely developed a dependency on cars for getting around. Now that I’m in a city that’s as walkable as Cambridge, my lifestyle is a lot different. I don’t have to pay for gas or idle in traffic or wait ten minutes for my windshield to defrost in the winter anymore, but now the radius of places that are accessible to me on a daily basis is much smaller.
Of course, that would be a different story if I had a scooter, or impulse bought a golf cart like I’ve been wanting to, or otherwise had some kind of portable mode of transportation. Unfortunately, I have absolutely no clue how to skateboard or rollerblade or ride a bike, even though I learned how to when I was ten years old and miraculously managed to unlearn it in the eight years I haven’t ridden one. I’m hoping I’ll be able to learn at least one of these, so the next time I need to get from a meeting in the Welcome Center to Simmons for dinner, I won’t be spending a precious 20 minutes on the commute.
7. Sweet Dreams: sleep overnight in a lounge in every single dorm
As much as I adore being a aka the first floor of Burton Conner resident, I find it hard to focus on studying when I’m in my room. I typically end up in Next or Simmons to pset with friends or work on projects. And sometimes, when I’m up late rewriting my biology notes or watching Youtube tutorials on “how do I 3D model this stupid chair” or folding modular origami in the wee hours of the night, I can’t muster the energy to make the trek back to Burton Conner. Thus, the habit of sleeping over at dorms I don’t live in began. It has literally gotten to the point where I make sure to keep my contact lenses case in my backpack at all times in case I need to take an impromptu nap or sleep over in a random lounge. So far I’ve checked off three out of the eleven, but I’ll take the opportunity to make friends at each of the residence halls so I can knock out the rest of them.
7a. Adventuring Time: sleep in every single department lounge
A fun idea I got from Andi Q. ‘25. I might as well take it a step further, and sleep in every single course lounge. Although maybe I shouldn’t subject these poor upperclassmen and professors to the sight of some random frosh sleeping in their lounge.
Obviously, this isn’t everything on my bucket list. I don’t even know if it can really be called a bucket list; it’s more a weird little selection of New-Year’s-resolution-y things I think would be fun to try and keep up with this year. I think it’ll take a lot more thinking and trying-things-out before I can come up with more substantive long-term goals. But for now, it’s a start.
- residence halls without dining halls that don't require you to have meal plans, i.e. Burton Conner, East Campus, MacGregor, New House, and Random Hall. back to text ↑
- Design Studio: How To Design, a class that covers the fundamentals of, you guessed it, design. It takes place in MIT building N52, which is on Mass Ave and a short walk away from Central Square. back to text ↑
- smoked salmon, prosciutto, sliced cucumbers, and scallion cream cheese on a toasted everything bagel, aka the only thing waking me up in the mornings. back to text ↑
- that my friends and I somehow manage to consume in a single sitting back to text ↑
- Design Computation: Art, Objects and Space, aka a class about 3D modeling chairs, aka 60% of my workload every week and the bane of my existence T_T back to text ↑
- pass no record, aka a system during your first semester at MIT in which passing a class is recorded as a P on your transcript, and a fail is sent to the backrooms/doesn't show up at all. back to text ↑
- DesignPlus, or Design+, is a relatively new advisory/learning community for frosh that aims to connect first-years with design opportunities and familiarize us with all of the available makerspaces around campus. Would recommend. :) back to text ↑
- Introduction to Computer Science Programming in Python back to text ↑
- Advanced Standing Exam. A passing grade in an ASE lets you get credit for that class and counts as a prerequisite requirement for other classes. back to text ↑
- Independent Activities Period, aka a month right after winter break where students are free to engage in silly and goofy classes, research opportunities, events, or alternatively just chill and do nothing at all. back to text ↑
- formerly 6.009. Fundamentals of Programming. back to text ↑
- whether or not he intends to complete them in this order, I don't know. back to text ↑
- aka the first floor of Burton Conner back to text ↑