most MIT students i’ve spoken to, and probably most college students these days, feel as if they’ve lost a lot of time to the pandemic. the sophomores and freshmen have never experienced “normal” campus life, and the juniors experienced less than a year of it. that’s why being on campus this fall, even in spite of my tremendous workload, made me want to spend time as much time as possible with people. i’m most productive on my own, but i would try to study with others whenever i wasn’t too stressed. i’d go to events to meet new people whenever possible and seize every social opportunity within current living communities i was given, provided it didn’t interfere with my academics too much.
i spent very little time alone, which is why when all my friends left for the holidays, it was oddly disarming; spending a whole day alone wasn’t something i’d done in many months. i wasn’t sure what to do—i always prioritized spending time with people over my hobbies, so i’d almost forgotten what i do with my free time. i hadn’t done anything creative in ages, and i never watch Netflix during the semester, aside from the occasional episode of Squid Game i’d watch with a big group of friends. i settled on reading a book and painting a Christmas present for my sister as i watched anime, but i felt weird about it; indulging in painting, reading, and watching TV while at MIT was unheard of…
when i went home, everything changed. i started consuming all sorts of media: the movies Black Swan, Hustlers, and Sin Nombre, books like phenomenal, highly recommend copious amounts of fanfiction, and the shows Attack on Titan, Tokyo Revengers, and Berserk. i’d learn and choreograph dances for multiple hours a day, make art, and spend hours listening to new music. my schedule shifted from sleeping around 1 am and waking up at 9 to sleeping at 4 am and waking up after 12 pm. and i’m not usually one to wake up that late…
whenever i go home, i always suffer from some degree of “regression.” there’s something about going back to your childhood bedroom that makes you feel like a high schooler again, especially amidst a pandemic. but this year has been especially bad. hell, i broke out a kids chess CD from a decade ago just for kicks, and i redownloaded the Attack on Titan fan game that i’d play every day after school in 7th grade.
i think it’s because my semester was really difficult. it was my first full semester on campus with grades, and i was taking five classes while jugging quite a few extracurriculars. finals week was absolute hell as well—i locked myself in my room for a whole week to study. masha talks about how overwhelming MIT is in this post, and i very much agree. there’s so much going on that it’s exhausting and stifling. “being a MIT student” permeates every bit of your existence on campus and influences your decisions constantly.
after experiencing all of that, there’s something so satisfying about being able to turn my brain off and just absorb myself in fictional universes. i’ve always been someone who gets too invested in the media i consume, but being a MIT student somehow makes these tendencies stronger than ever.
this break has been so strange. i’ve seen very few friends, partly because of the exposure risk and partly because i don’t even feel the need to…i’m basically a weeb hermit at this point. the difference between my life at home and my life at MIT is truly astounding.
life is so blissful right now. having space to be creative and obsess over media i love is incredible. living this life of sloth feels wrong, but also so, so right.
i know IAP will be different since i’ll be back with my friends. i’m really excited for the chance to hang out with people without feeling guilty :’) maybe not having academics to worry about will provide me the space to be creative that i lack during the semester, but even if it doesn’t, i’m grateful knowing this winter break was a *spiritual cleanse.* shoutout to my difficult and tumultuous semester for making me appreciate it this much!
- phenomenal, highly recommend back to text ↑