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conversations with friends by Masha G. '24

so many different ways to feel lost

m: i’ve been having a lot of trouble blogging lately

so i’m thinking of doing a blog that’s just like,

conversations i’ve been having with friends

that would just be selected excerpts from my text messages

without too much extra context

thoughts?

p: that sounds like a good idea!

clearly gotta start off the blog with this message

_____

r: so how does it feel to be back in the city

m: kinda weird

it’s nice because i love nyc

but it’s weird cuz like, it doesn’t fully feel like home anymore

it’s weird that i’m here almost as a vacation

r: i’m curious

do you on campus people ever refer to your dorm as home

m: i personally do

though some other people think that’s weird

r: interesting

m: boston/cambridge/mit really does feel like home right now

because in my mind that’s where i’m going back to

i’m just here in nyc for a bit

_____

m: since i’ve gotten back from russia

and since getting to college

and meeting so many new people

and moving around and everything

i feel lost on a much deeper level than ever before

and it’s not entirely negative it’s just

i feel so directionless

like i’m in the middle of a field

and there used to be a road i was following

and now there isnt

r: i think it’s the best time to be lost though right

m: yeah!

i don’t think ill actually ever have direction again

i think most people don’t

maybe direction is kinda fake

r: there’s a difference though

between having too many options and running out of them

m: definitely

r: and at some point we gotta admit we’re making it up as we go

m: yup

guess that’s liberating

_____

m: okay so my take is that mit selects for people that like to

or have a tendency to overwork themselves

and then gives them all the tools to do so

p: i agree

but there’s also something comforting in that

i’d over work myself at any school

with or without the tools

at least here i’m not alone

m: ooh that’s actually a really good point

i hadn’t thought of it that way

on the other hand i think there is a portion of mit

that does know how to take it easy

or not easy but like, do just enough

_____

m: i read a story in class

comparing german and american attitudes towards work

it was like, the american comes up to the german fisherman,

and he’s suggesting all these schemes

for how he can turn the fishing into a profitable business,

build a factory, etc

and the fisherman is just like, but why would i?

i’m happy as it is

r: so what do you think of that

m: idk

it’s easy to make a story like that,

but in practice it’s never so simple

but I do stand by the sentiment

that I would like to enjoy my job and find meaning in it

and not overwork myself

because those are precious years of my life

that i would feel like i wasted if i work in, say, finance

but who knows! maybe i’ll end up at [company name redacted] after all

r: i agree

there were a bunch of times in high school

when i didn’t stop to think

“am i enjoying what i’m doing right now”

and instead thought about how much

i would enjoy what the results were

m: i think high school is like that though

just because there is a specific goal,

or at least more specific than right now

and i think that just encouraged me to fuck myself up?

r: yup

m: i’m kinda worried that mit is gonna turn out the same way

maybe it’s better becasue i don’t have clear a goal

_____

m: i’m so bored

i finished my internship

and now i have a chunk of work to do for my urop

but it’s the weekend i dont wannaaa

p: just ride the A train for a full loop

m: it’s too hot for that

i’ve really become an extrovert

the second i have a weekend with no plans i’m so lost

p: same, college really changed me

_____

m: i’m struggling a little because i could just keep going

with this research, for a long time

but i also feel like i should explore

but also i like it

r: that’s interesting

do u have any compelling other options?

m: it’s also a question of what do i want to do next summer

i think i want to try to go to europe

and do research there

but i could also try to go back to nasa and try smth new

or smth new in europe

idfk

r: well it’s still early

i would look at the other options

and if any are really exciting

idt you have a ton to gain

from sticking to one place intrinsically right

m: that’s very true

it’s not even about this lab specifically

i’m equally concerned about, like, fields of research

r: honestly my recommendation is to explore

too early to get stuck on smth

m: logically yes

i’m def feeling some sort of sunk cost thing

r: but like how much cost have you sunk

relative to like, 40 years of career

or even 4 years of grad school

also sunk cost assumes you lose your sunk cost

upon changing your decision

which isn’t the case

m: all excellent points

but i will try to explore you’re right

r: now go “try out” consulting :)

m: lmao

_____

m: really obsessed with industry baby01 the new lil nas x song right now

p: lmao this implies the existence of academia baby

m: oh my GOD you’re the second person to say that to me today

all mit students share the same two braincells

_____

m: i always complain about how i don’t know what i want to do

but i feel like i don’t do enough to actually explore

beyond literal urops and employment

like i’ll tell myself i’ll skim the climate reports, as an example

but i’m never going to spend a free evening on pursuit of knowledge

at least these days i don’t

p: i think it’s mostly a “we hardly have time now” rip

m: maybe

i can’t help but feel like others do more than me

but that’s dumb

p:  I think us going to college right now

is more than enough pursuit of knowledge,

and anything extra we can do on top of that

is simply that: extra

m: yeah that’s a good point

seems like a healthy perspective

p: what classes are you looking at this fall?

m: 18.600, 6.006, 8.033,02 intro to probability, intro to algorithms, relativity

hopefully a ci-h03 communication-intensive class about globalization

there’s also this contemporary french queer literature class

taught in french

which i really hope they let me take, prefereably on listener

cuz my french is so rusty but god the class sounds so cool

p: one thing I try to keep in mind is that like

normal 12 unit classes are meant to be 12 hours of work a week,

so taking 5 is 60 hours, on top of clubs, extracurriculars,

good mental health practices, etc

idk how much more pursuit we can ask for beyond that

_____

m: i’m procrastinating on finishing my research write up

by trying on all the clothes in my closet

p: a vibe

later this week gonna mix and match clothes

and make a running list of possible nice outfits for fall

m: love that

im also thinking that i should think of outfits ahead of time

because i’ll get too hosed during the semester

i did not enjoy spending last semester mostly in sweatpants

so i’m determined not to let myself slip

_____

m: i feel like, with in person classes

and weird gaps in our schedules

we’ll end up doing a lot of work just around the academic buildings

as opposed to in our rooms

p: it’ll be interesting to see how the culture evolves

because either academic or social events

will become more popular than the other

and i can see it going either way

m: i mostly think it’ll bounce back to smth very close

to what it was before

and idk if that’s being too optimistic

p: but I also wonder how many people

Actually Know what it was Before

like I have no clue

m: i wonder if like

it’s a natural equilibrium

p: something something

System of differential equations with a stable solution

m: lmao yeah

_____

m: this right now is really nice

and then i’m gonna go to school

and i’m gonna be anxious about everything

a: are you though?

m: idk, maybe not

yeah maybe i’ll just get sucked into the whirl of it all

a: i think you’ll be fine, just cuz you’ll be more social

m: i was actually just thinking about that

like yesterday, i was like damn, i’ve really outdone myself

like i’ve been so much more social than i expected since coming to college

but today i thought, fuck, i really haven’t done enough

a: i think it’s gonna alleviate some of your stresses

because you’ll have something to focus on that’s not school

m: no but i’m stressed *about* my social life

like i have no idea what it’s gonna look like

a: sk?

m: yeah that’s true, that’ll be good

but I feel like i want more friends outside of sk04 sigma kappa, my sorority

i think i just need to let go of the expectation

that i’ll end up with some set “friend group”

a: friend groups are wild

are they even real

m: yeahhh i think it’s really rare

i think i’ll be fine, somehow

i just can’t picture what the fall is going to look like at all

and i hate the uncertainty

_____

m: youtube link

a: tf why is it still good

  1. the new lil nas x song back to text
  2. intro to probability, intro to algorithms, relativity back to text
  3. communication-intensive class back to text
  4. sigma kappa, my sorority back to text