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MIT blogger CJ Q. '23

fun. by CJ Q. '23

the band, but also the form

This is a short appreciation post for fun., one of my favorite bands. I like their songs because they’re lyrically strong. Here’s the second chorus from Be Calm, the opening song on their first album:

Oh, be calm, be calm
I know you feel like you are breaking down
Oh, I know that it gets so hard sometimes
Be calm
Take it from me, I’ve been there a thousand times
You hate your pulse because it thinks you’re still alive
And everything’s wrong
It just gets so hard sometimes
Be calm

This is rather a mood right now. It feels as if my schedule this semester doesn’t have a lot of free time. Objectively, I know this isn’t true; my Mondays and Tuesdays are rather bad, but from Wednesday through Friday all my academic stuff happens between 11 AM and 3 PM.

I guess part of it is just because my classes haven’t gotten in the correct rhythm yet. I couldn’t find a classroom on Tuesday morning and had to run to get there. I went to an extra lab section on Thursday than I should have. My psets all came out at different days than they normally would, which messed up the times I allotted to work on them. And then I was out the whole weekend, from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon, for an ESP retreat.

It’s been a lot these past few days in contrast to how much free time I had over IAP. I feel like I can keep going, but I also feel like I am running on energy that’ll be spent. That after this streak of work, I’m going to crash. You hate your pulse because it thinks you’re still alive. That’s the kind of sentence I wish I could write.

Maybe this is just temporary, and it’ll feel like my schedule’s less packed as the semester goes on. The rhythm will settle in, the schedules will stabilize, I’ll have less weekends where I’m busy the whole time. I don’t know what’ll happen, but it’s too early in the semester to say.

Here’s At Least I’m Not as Sad (As I Used to Be) from the same album:

So I left, that is it
That’s my life, nothing is sacred
I don’t keep friends, I keep acquainted
I’m not a prophet, but I’m here to profit

It’s not that I avoid making friends, but I don’t really talk with a lot of them any more. Maybe this is my fault, but I feel that part of it is just because of distance, and maybe distance doesn’t really make the heart grow fonder. Or maybe this is part of the natural cycle of losing and gaining friends when I move between stage of life.

I don’t keep friends, I keep acquainted. It’s not that I try to lose friends, but it’s hard to put in the effort to keep them. And sometimes, I think about what it would be like if I didn’t go to MIT, if I went to college back in the Philippines, and if I did put in the effort to keep the friends I made in high school.

But I left. And that is it. Nothing is sacred. If keeping long-lasting friendships really is important to me, why can’t I make the time for it?

This part of the song comes near the end, acting as the climax to the song. The setup is that Nate runs into old friends. The chorus is a single line, at least I’m not as sad as I used to be, sung in such an upbeat tune. Sometimes, it feels like that’s the only thing I have to report to old friends: I’m doing better now, I still get sad, but at least I’m not as sad as I used to be.

Lastly, here’s Take Your Time (Coming Home):

One more thing, I keep having this dream
Where I’m standing on a mountain looking out
On the street, and I can hear kids in low-income houses singing
“We’re through with causing a scene”
But, I don’t, I don’t, I don’t, I don’t, I don’t know what it means
But I too, I’m through with causing a scene

I used to dream of being a positive force of good to the world, of doing something good that’ll change the lives of millions of people for the better. I used to feel uncomfortable with the fact that I’m not doing the best I can to achieve this goal. I used to think about the many, many things I could have done, the things I could be doing, if only I wasn’t constantly unable to concentrate, or if I had the energy to put into bettering myself, or if I actually sat down and thought about what to do to achieve this goal.

I’m not sure that I want to do that any more. I don’t know what changed. But now, when I think about what I actually want to do in my life, this doesn’t feel right.

These are emotions I don’t think I want to get all out right now, and probably deserve a post on its own. I guess the overall sentiment is I’m through with causing a scene. It’s okay if I only save one person, and it’s okay if that person is me.

Here’s a playlist of these songs, along with some of my other favorite fun. songs:

And finally, here’s a reminder to fill out your FUN form! The deadline is on February 15, but it’s probably a good idea to not do it on the last possible minute.