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MIT blogger Ankita D. '23

finding direction by Ankita D. '23

reasonable goal-setting? who is she?

i’m the kind of person who is very motivated by the prospect of getting shit done. i love setting goals because they offer opportunities to be productive, but more often than not, i end up, uh, not committing to any of the goals i set.

i was HYPED about starting a bullet journal a few weeks ago, and dedicated a few hours to laying out everything and outlining my goals for this quarantine. i also made a habit tracker for some of these goals and meticulously drew out a chart listing each habit and day of the month. but my streak for filling said chart out lasted a grand total of five days.

naturally, i’m pretty discouraged and disappointed. how did i lose motivation so quickly?? the surge of excitement that motivated my desire to be productive faded within a matter of days. i thought i would finally seize these couple of months to explore new interests and do the things i never got a chance to do before or at MIT, but…nah.

while on campus, i’m grinding through pset after pset and using my remaining time to socialize, dance, and sometimes write. now that my social activity is limited to a few hours of talking to friends every now and then, i thought i’d have much more time for personal growth. turns out, however, that Zooming for n hours a day kills your will to do much aside from what’s necessary.

guys, virtual school is so emotionally taxing. the excitement i had for my classes is pretty much gone; my Chinese class, which used to motivate me to wake up at 9 am, now inspires only dejection at the thought of leaving my bed. each day, when i roll out of my bed at 10:03, i can’t believe that i used to get up, eat breakfast, and make the 15-minute walk to my classroom just a few weeks ago.

the sad part about this is that Chinese class hasn’t changed much at all. unlike my other live classes, which have been adjusted to fit the new virtual platform, Chinese proceeds exactly in the same way as it did when it was in-person. but the simple fact that i’m in my room and not in a classroom encourages a listlessness that i can’t banish, no matter how hard i try.01 good my dalgona coffee is

and that sucks!! Chinese used to be so much fun. my improvement was tangible and i felt so proud of myself whenever i realized how much my vocabulary was expanding. that feeling is gone…

so i guess this all has made me realize that after expending most of my mental energy on attending classes that aren’t super engaging anymore, i don’t have much to invest into the host of things i was planning on doing this quarantine.

damn.

here are my initial goals, each of which was written into my bullet journal with much excitement:

  • take at least five dance classes a week
  • read 15 books02 this seems like a lot, but i read 150 books in my junior year of high school, so...
  • get better at art
  • write short stories
  • exercise every day
  • get into your splits
  • learn guitar

considering what i’ve done since writing these, this list is pretty comical.

here are my (very vague) revised goals from last week:

  • take classes when the opportunity arises, otherwise dance an amount that makes you happy
  • read whenever you’re in the right mindset
  • practice drawing when you feel like
  • write because you feel inspired, not because you’re forcing yourself to…
  • exercise every day [this is nonnegotiable lol]
  • get into the habit of stretching after you work out
  • don’t try to jump into playing songs on guitar; practice chords a few times a week

well, i can assure you that i have not been exercising or stretching; i’ve been dancing way less than i was at the beginning of quarantine because damn, i have no energy anymore. i haven’t touched my guitar in ages or made an attempt to draw, either.

so…even straying from the realm of “concrete” goal-setting didn’t help me adhere to my goals.

i did, however, discover the things that make me happy unconditionally, the things i’m always motivated to do even when i haven’t been able to focus on anything for half a day and i’m beating myself up for not being able to get my shit together.

and all of these things, as i’ve realized, are hobbies that add structure to my life, and that became part of my routine without me even being cognizant of this. they are:

 

Reading 

specifically, reading groups. i’m reading Infinite Jest, a hefty novel of 981 pages, with some fellow bloggers and CMS students.03 Comparative Media Studies Petey’s leading it! i have to read around 60 pages a week to meet the reading schedule, but i’m having no problems with keeping up with it, despite the fact that this book is incredibly difficult to read.

i’m also reading Junkie, by William Burroughs, with some friends. discussing it via Zoom every couple of days is a lot of fun, and hey, the more things on my Google Calendar that make me feel productive, the better…

i’m grateful that i’m able to share the experiences of reading these books with others; in the past, whenever i read, i never reflected on anything, choosing instead to immediately continue on to another novel. with reading groups, i get to interact with others (!) and understand things on a deeper level, so, killing two birds with one stone?

 

Cooking

cooking is so much fun. it’s so satisfying, too, to think that i’m ~expanding my repertoire of recipes~ and ~cultivating important life skills~. i made spinach and goat cheese calzones and also have been doing a lot of egg things—namely, shakshuka, poached eggs,04 i randomly put them on toast with chipotle fabanaise and...let me tell you, that shit SLAPS and goat cheese omelettes. eggs are great. my high cholesterol is not, but that’s another story.

 

Playing Minecraft

y’all. i’m obsessed.

alright, so this isn’t very productive in a traditional sense. however, it’s absolutely helping my mental health, and that’s good enough for me.

Minecraft is such a great game. god. there’s so much to do and explore and i always have something to look forward to the next time i log on. plus, my boyfriend and i have a server, and it’s got to be one of the most effective ways to maintain a long-distance relationship.

this game makes me SO happy. i’m very thankful to MInecrafT for helping kindle my passion for, uh, blocks.

 

so, yeah, i’m not achieving everything i thought i would this quarantine, but i’ve found a few things that are the light in these dull, Zoom-y05 could this be read as a pun bc zoom-y rhymes w gloomy? lmk days. considering how obsessed with productivity i am, it took a while to be at peace with this, but…fellas, we made it.

 

 

  1. good my dalgona coffee is back to text
  2. this seems like a lot, but i read 150 books in my junior year of high school, so... back to text
  3. Comparative Media Studies back to text
  4. i randomly put them on toast with chipotle fabanaise and...let me tell you, that shit SLAPS back to text
  5. could this be read as a pun bc zoom-y rhymes w gloomy? lmk back to text