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MIT student blogger Phoebe C. '18

hello, again by Phoebe C. '18

it me

It’s been almost three months since my last blog post, so I thought I’d check in again–I keep meaning to blog, but each time I think about it I feel increasingly like I need a really good post about all the cool things I’ve done to explain why I’ve been away from this platform. To be honest I have been attending to other things but they have not been cool. Despite my best intentions, a lot of things went off-course this semester, though I think things are stabilizing. I think I’m now less inclined to talk at length about my personal life online because a lot of the greater joys in my life have been derived from small, private moments–a lot of my thoughts nowadays are about my relationships rather than The Interesting Work I Do As An MIT Student, and also a lot of the work I’ve been up to has involved me working on abstract problems with my head in a book. I’m sort of just living my life; I was pretty hosed with coursework and my UROP and not super engaged on campus this entire semester, which didn’t make it a bad semester, just less bloggable.

To touch on some of the anxieties I mentioned in my last few posts, I think I’ve made (some) peace with femininity, or at least I understand better why expressions of femininity and having more “female” interests (particularly fashion/beauty) were so embarrassing to me at times. This was mostly thanks to CMS.307, which turned out to be a wild educational experience. I learned vastly about storytelling and what sorts of stories I might want to tell; I consumed and analyzed fiction I would never have picked out for myself. Outside of that class, though, I didn’t do–and still haven’t been doing–very much reading and writing, which I would like to change eventually, but I suppose I’m currently prioritizing my academic pursuits over my artistic ones. (this feels weird to type explicitly, since i’ve never thought of it that way before. but i guess it’s what i’m doing.)

I observed that in past years I would take on lots of scheduled tasks even over IAP and over the summer, and by the end of each semester I would be extremely burned out, so I’m trying to take things a little easier this IAP so that I don’t burn out next semester. Not sure if it will work, but I’m definitely feeling less stressed at the moment than I have in a long time.

Overall, things are so-so right now. I’m well-rested, mildly sick as of this morning, and eagerly awaiting the return of my best friend, who flies home from across the world tomorrow. I just made some slow code run even slower (for good reason), and I have been spending a lot of time with people I like and care about. I celebrated my 19th birthday, first with my family and then with my lovely friends who took me out to karaoke. I went climbing for the first time in ages. I’m refreshing my 18.701 knowledge because I will probably retake 18.702 this coming semester. My friend Alicia and I are going to teach a class on behavioral economics for HSSP, and we ate cute pastries at a cafe while we wrote a syllabus that we’re excited about. I finally got around to reading a sizable portion of Why Nations Fail and have been exercising regularly. These are positive developments. But despite all these happy and productive things I’ve been trying to spend my time on, I think my mood and motivation are in a bit of a slump right now. I guess I don’t like to talk in clinical terms about my mental health, but I think I’ve come to terms with the fact that without fail, during a certain time of year, things just sort of feel flat to me, and it’s something I have to deal with. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (wish i could end this post on a more positive note, but i’m not sure what to say after this! i think everything i’ve ever written in any january has had blue undertones, ha. i guess i think it is good to normalize discussion of mental health, even when it’s not that great, and i want to be honest about how things feel right now and also emphasize the fact that i understand now, better than ever, that this fog will lift in due time. in any case, i hope that if you are a high school senior you are enjoying your senior spring, and if not, i hope you are well, wherever you are!)