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MIT student blogger Nisha D. '21

diversions by Nisha D. '21

from what is otherwise a never ending trello of things to do

i have no less than three different drafts for blog posts stewing sadly in my wordpress at this current moment, but have not had any time to put any thought into them, which should give you an idea of how hosed i am.

but this semester, it’s a different type of hosed. in other semesters, there would always be work to do, and during some weeks work piled up to a truly unbearable amount, but there would be gaps to breathe between all the work.

this semester, i think i’ve become a grown up kind of hosed, where i no longer have ‘hell weeks’ as often, but there are two kinds of weeks: hard weeks and slightly less hard weeks. during hard weeks, i spend the entire time grinding out psets (specifically, finishing up 18.404 and the 6.031 alpha) and during the less hard weeks, i try to catch up on other stuff, like applying to jobs01 i promised to make a blog post about this before the end of the semester...i'm doing my best and working on my UROP02 which is really what i want to be spending all my time doing . i started (and stopped) using Trello recently – i started because it was a convenient way to keep track of the bajillion things that i want to get done at any given moment, and i stopped using it because it was depressing that the list never emptied.

i’ve realized03 again, because i've definitely realized this before that filling my time with items from my to do list is not a very healthy mindset and that i should take more time to do fun things that aren’t necessarily productive. in honor of this re-realization, i decided to document all of the fun things i’ve done this semester, which is a thing that i do when i think my life is getting a little too hard and i want to remind myself of all the fun i’ve had among the hard times :,)

  • hackMIT: i actually made a project with a team for the first time ever at hackMIT instead of just going for the swag and then leaving04 they actually made us apply this year and we weren't guaranteed admissions so swag hunters were mostly filtered out ! two friends and i made a dumb game on LED strips that you can play with a Wii remote, and it’s actually surprisingly fun. you can check out our Github for it here. it was super fun to work on a project and actually *make* a game with my friends – i always aspire to work on more personal projects like this during the semester, but i never have enough time for them.
  • went to TWO concerts: fun fact, i had never been to a single concert in my life before freshman year of college, partly because i didn’t really listen to *bands*05 and david bowie died before i had enough money to go see him in a concert :( in high school and partly because tickets are expensive and concerts are far away from new hampshire. but within the past two months, i went to TWO concerts! one was a Jethro Tull concert, which was an interesting one to go to since i went with my parents and the demographic of the audience was distinctly middle-aged, but they have cool music and it had a very old-timey rock feel. the other was a Cigarettes After Sex concert, and i love them so much that i was happy to wait for half an hour in the rain to queue outside of the house of blues06 a really cool concert venue in boston to see them. in case you crave some diversity in your music tastes, here are the concert setlists!
  • went on ~retreat~ to new hampshire: this is kind of dumb because i’m from new hampshire, but it was fun to go with friends! we got a HUGE airbnb up in ossipee07 aka smack in the middle of middle-of-nowhere new hampshire and did a bunch of silly new england fall activities over columbus day. we drove down the kank08 the kancamagus highway, a phenomenally scenic highway through the white mountains in new hampshire while i yelled at a bunch of obnoxious leafers09 tourists who come to new england to see the fall foliage. as a lifelong new hampshirite, i only have one thing to say, and that is: fuck leafers , clambered over a lot of rocks, walked along some pretty trails, and saw a lot of roadkill10 among the like, twenty dead animals i saw, i saw two dead beavers while i was driving, which i took to be an unpleasant omen?? luckily none of us died . the new hampshire lifestyle.
pretty picture of new hampshire

new hampshire is the prettiest state!!

  • binge watched all of Bojack Horseman: i really fucking love this show. it’s probably my favorite show of all time, and this is beating out game of thrones when it was good and ALL the seasons of rick and morty. all 17 of us on the new hampshire retreat watched season 5 in one sitting, and then i watched seasons 1-4 again on my own, and then binged all of season 6 pt. 1 when it came out last week. bojack makes me feel a lot of things in a way that i can’t quite quantify, and in a semester filled with slogging through a lot of busywork, it was nice to *feel* things for the first time in a while.
bojack horseman gif

me after binging literally six seasons of this show

  • my UROP: i talk about this a lot, but i LOVE my UROP at the media lab. i do research on games and design UI and interactions for interactive experiences. the projects that i work on for it are amazing and worthwhile and are good for the world. i’m working on a whole bunch of projects this semester, and every week that i have to do a lot of classwork, i always feel really sad because i could be working on my UROP, but instead have to do dumb psets. i’m planning on applying back to the media lab11 which i realize is a hot take, given the recent happenings, but my group does really good work for the world and i want to be a part of that work! next year so i can maybe keep doing this type of work for a long time.
  • saw Bo Burnham and Jonny Sun speak: seeing Bo live was a really weird experience for me since i’ve been watching his youtube videos since middle school, and i used to sing New Math with my friend at every math meet we went to. listening to Bo and Jonny converse about media and mental health made me realize that the things i do as a comparative media studies major actually really matter to the world, and that was sort of overwhelming for me because i only pursued CMS out of my own interest and never really thought about it in a larger context. but they made me realize that the way we interact with media is really important in the current state of affairs, and will only become more important as more generations of people who don’t know life without it are born. Jonny is also a writer for bojack, which gives him mad street cred in my mind.
  • went to a gaming cafe for the first time: despite being extremely into games, i have never in my life stepped into a gaming cafe. a few weeks ago, i finally went to Balance Patch, boston’s first? and perhaps only? gaming cafe. i actually probably wouldn’t have ever gone to a gaming cafe if i didn’t have to for an assignment12 for CMS.616, Games and Culture with T.L. Taylor! , but it was an interesting experience to be in a space completely focused on gaming. it was very male-dominated though and i felt out of my element. i wrote about this a lot in my midterm paper :P
  • lost my rocky horror picture show virginity: MIT does a screening of rocky horror every year and i think for the past two years, i had chosen to go to parties instead of going to the showing. now that i am a jaded junior and have grown out of parties, i decided to choose more wisely this year and went to rocky horror instead. it was wild and i still have no idea what the plot or the point of the movie was.

if i’m lucky, perhaps i will be able to fit about the same magnitude of fun things in before the end of the semester. preferably i can fit more in. having fun is important and life shouldn’t be a grind.

  1. i promised to make a blog post about this before the end of the semester...i'm doing my best back to text
  2. which is really what i want to be spending all my time doing back to text
  3. again, because i've definitely realized this before back to text
  4. they actually made us apply this year and we weren't guaranteed admissions so swag hunters were mostly filtered out back to text
  5. and david bowie died before i had enough money to go see him in a concert :( back to text
  6. a really cool concert venue in boston back to text
  7. aka smack in the middle of middle-of-nowhere new hampshire back to text
  8. the kancamagus highway, a phenomenally scenic highway through the white mountains in new hampshire back to text
  9. tourists who come to new england to see the fall foliage. as a lifelong new hampshirite, i only have one thing to say, and that is: fuck leafers back to text
  10. among the like, twenty dead animals i saw, i saw two dead beavers while i was driving, which i took to be an unpleasant omen?? luckily none of us died back to text
  11. which i realize is a hot take, given the recent happenings, but my group does really good work for the world and i want to be a part of that work! back to text
  12. for CMS.616, Games and Culture with T.L. Taylor! back to text