Lyrics to my MIT experience by Nisha D. '21
i definitely never, ever wrote songfics when i was in middle school
“This is the first day of my life
I’m glad I didn’t die before I met you
But now I don’t care, I could go anywhere with you
And I’d probably be happy”
High school was hard for me. I poured a lot of energy into things I didn’t really like, and didn’t end up pursuing in the long run. I worked hard to get into MIT, but really had no idea what it was like. I looked to a college acceptance as the light at the end of a dark tunnel, and clutched onto fictional worlds to motivate me to soldier on.
MIT surprised me by being totally worth it. All the shadows of high school were dispersed by the bright light that was East Campus and all the friends that I’ve made there over the years.
I beg to dream and differ from the hollow lies
This is the dawning of the rest of our lives
As soon as I got to college, I immediately shed all the things that I had done in high school that I had convinced myself that I had enjoyed. I didn’t really like competition math, and realized that being proficient at something is different from actually loving it enough to achieve mastery. Playing the violin in an orchestra paled in comparison to playing guitar with friends. It felt good to shed those lies I had been telling myself, and forge onwards to find things that I actually enjoyed doing.
But where was it when I first heard
That sweet sound of humility?
It came to my ears in the goddamn loveliest melody
How grateful I was then to be part of the mystery
To love and to be loved
Let’s just hope that is enough
MIT is hard. I’ve struggled to scrape by with passing grades, and have failed more tests than I care to remember. Being a student here has humbled me beyond belief. But through all those struggles, people in my life have always been there to support me. My friends, my family, and members of all the communities I’ve been a part of have been there to provide love and encouragement – more than I probably deserve.
Summer has come and passed
The innocent can never last
Wake me up when September ends
I was sort of numb to my reality after being kicked out of school in March due to COVID. Honestly, I’m still kind of numb because I’m still in shock. And hearing this song, I realized that the good times of my undergrad experience have, at this point, come and passed. I’m clinging onto the hope that maybe this isn’t true, and that maybe I’ll be able to have my last dance with the few friends left on campus this fall. But the reality is that it won’t be the same.
I know dark clouds will gather ’round me
I know my way is rough and steep
But beauteous fields lie just before me
Where gods redeemed their vigils keep
I’ve always been told that working hard now will pay off in the future. But sometimes I wonder where it ends. How long will I have to work hard? When will I finally receive the reward for my effort? Will I ever? Because at MIT, I often put a lot of effort into my work only to receive bad grades for them. And sure, grades aren’t an objective measure of success, but sometimes I didn’t even feel like I learned anything either.
I try to keep telling myself that karma will reward me for my work all throughout college. I will get that job offer, I will get that grad school acceptance. But I guess in the end, I can’t ever be sure.
And now my fur has turned to skin
And I’ve been quickly ushered in
To a world that I confess I do not know
But I still dream of running careless through the snow
My college experience is rapidly becoming a memory. In one semester, I’ll be thrown into the real world and my undergrad life will be behind me.
The person I am in my home at East Campus and the person I am when removed from it are two very different people. In East Campus, I’m loud and brash, outspoken and generally not afraid to call people on their bullshit, although I still suck calling myself on my bullshit. I can be commanding and confident. Outside of East Campus, I revert back into my quiet shell and don’t fight situations that I don’t like. I could probably go days without talking to people. I think back to living at East Campus and marvel how my hallmates and friends give me the confidence to be that way.
I fear that once I’m kicked out of college and into the real world, that East Campus version of myself will be what the wolf in this song is – domesticated, and a thing of the past. I’ll only be able to dream of who I was, and think back wistfully to those times in college.
And one day we will die
And our ashes will fly from the aeroplane over the sea
But for now we are young
Let us lay in the sun
And count every beautiful thing we can see
I’m in some random lounge in East Campus, laughing uncontrollably at the curated series of memes playing out on the screen. I’m tipsy and dancing with my friends at a party while the light up dance floor strobes away beneath my dirty, sticky feet. I’m running out to 7-11 with a departing group of hallmates at 3 AM, in the middle of the winter, in flip flops. I’m playing guitar and singing my heart out with a group of friends on the beach at night.
Deep down, I think I’ll never really be over losing a year of my college experience to COVID-19. I’d trade literally anything to lay in the sun with my friends and count every beautiful thing we can see again. Even just for a blissful minute.
I think the thing that’s interesting about lyrics is that they gain or lose meaning depending on whatever part of your life you’re experiencing. These lyrics are a very specific snapshot to my MIT experience, and my life in general at the current moment. I’m sure that when I was in high school, these lyrics would have meant nothing special to me. I cared about different songs, and wept quietly over different lyrics. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a Spotify before college, so my memory of what those songs actually were are lacking.
It’s fascinating that just living experiences can give and take away meaning to different arrangements of words. I wonder, when I come back in ten years and read this blog, if I’ll still feel the same about the lyrics mentioned here.
- First Day of My Life by Bright Eyes back to text ↑
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- Let's Not Shit Ourselves by Bright Eyes back to text ↑
- Wake Me Up When September Ends by Billie Joe Armstrong back to text ↑
- Wayfaring Stranger by Johnny Cash back to text ↑
- Furr by Blitzen Trapper back to text ↑
- In the Aeroplane Over the Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel back to text ↑