Last Thursday night, I was walking back from Simmons after making dinner at Pika for the first time. It was kind of cold, and I was tired, and I’d had a really long day, but with every step I took, I felt my heart soaring.
I’ve suddenly found myself busier than ever. In the past two weeks:
- I got a UROP!
- I attended a mixer organized by the MIT Biotech Group and the UROP office and went in without many expectations, because to be honest, I’d been feeling weird about UROPing at all.
- I didn’t do anything along those lines last year—I didn’t send out a single cold email or fill out a single application. Hell, I didn’t even have a resume until a month ago. Whenever I thought about career stuff, I would freeze up entirely—so I ignored it as much as I could. Which was hard, because it felt like all my friends and everyone and their mom had gotten a UROP or some other career related activity. Everyone was always talking about their resume or their postgrad plans and meanwhile I was just sitting there, wishing I could disappear.
- I think it was probably deep-seated anxiety and a general feeling of not knowing what to do. All the buzzwords people threw around went right over my head. I felt too inadequate for everything, so I simply didn’t apply.
- This semester, though, I finally overcame some of my fears. I’d been meaning to start the UROP search earlier on, but when the direct funding deadline passed and I had nothing in my hands, I was like, “Okay, well, maybe I’ll just UROP next semester.” Which was why it was a blessing when I saw the by the way the bio undergrad mailing list is so nice, you get a lot of cool opportunities like that in your email. honestly as a 6-7 (cs & bio) i don't really see a lot of emails on the eecs side, especially after i muted piazza notifications, but the bio list is always filling up my inbox about the bio UROP mixer—I looked at my schedule, saw that I was free, shrugged, and thought I’d give it a chance.
- I chatted with a few people. I got a free shirt, a sticker, and one of those card holders you can put on your phone. It was nice—and it honestly helped dispel a few worries I had about UROPs. Like, you don’t actually have to be the most qualified person on the planet, as long as you’re genuinely interested and willing to learn.
- One of the people I talked to, Matias, ended up reaching out to me, and I went over to Building 46 (Brain and Cognitive Sciences) for an interview. By the end of the week, I had a UROP at Choi Lab. It’s actually kind of funny—I was taking my cat to the pet groomer and on the way back, riding the Orange Line, I made a my relationship with 11:11 is an interesting one because the wishes i make usually end up coming true. in fact, way back when, i made a wish at 11:11 to become a blogger—and here i am. i wished at 11:11 to get into mit, and here i am. that I’d get the job. Then I checked my inbox and it turns out that at 10:45, Matias had sent me an email with an offer.
- I really like my lab! The short version of what I’m doing is to improve data collection and analysis systems to see how mouse behavior and neural activity changes in different sickness states, and everything I’ve seen so far has been super cool. Plus, I joined right around Halloween, and they’d put up all these cool mouse-themed decorations and there were excellent Halloween cupcakes in the break room. Everyone I’ve met has been so nice as well—I think I’m going to have a good time here. I’m really excited for the rest of the semester.
- I joined the Pika mealplan.
- I mentioned it briefly at the beginning of this post, but Pika is an ILG behind Simmons and they have a mealplan that people can join. The first quarter is free, and you just have to come in every so often to help out with cooking and cleaning. Dinners happen every night at 6:15.
- Honestly, I’ve been eating a little too much canned soup recently, so when I saw the email, I thought I might as well do it. I’m currently on a half meal plan so I don’t go every night—plus, the walk from EC is a little far—but I went on Thursday because Alex and I were cooking that day.
- It was really fun! I met some cool people and cooked properly for the first time in a while. We were making butternut squash soup and I was in charge of wrestling with the butternut squashes (why are they so hard to cut???) I think dinner turned out really well though, even though we were ten minutes late, and it was really tasty. When you’re done, you’re supposed to go to the bottom of the stairs and scream DINNER at the top of your lungs until everyone knows that it is, in fact, dinner time. Alex also made beans and corn and this pasta with tons of olive oil that apparently traumatized their friend on a camping trip…it was good though.
- I’m looking forward to the next time I can swing by Pika! With my schedule being the way it is, I can only really make it on Thursdays, which is a bit of a bummer, but it’s still a great experience.
- I became a Tech Caller.
- Basically, I call alums and ask them to donate to MIT Annual Giving. I saw their dormspam and their memes, and I was like, I might as well apply. It’s been really fun so far, though—I just finished my three trainings and did my first real calls last night (Monday).
- I always like talking to alums. For STS.S20, the East Campus history class, one of our assignments was to conduct an oral history of an EC alum, and I got to talk with someone who graduated in ’88 and lived on my floor (5E/Florey). There’s a lot I learned from that call, and that’s what I like—MIT is always changing, but the spirit of it, the core of it stays the same. I love it. It’s nice being able to connect with grads like that.
- The people I’ve met at the call center are super funny and helpful too. There are bouncy balls that you can sit on while you call, which is fun, except if you sit on them for too long your back will start hurting and then you’ll need to go back to your standard office chair. Still, the snacks are nice, there’s good incentives (we apparently can get free movie tickets at the end of every month) and I like the vibes.
Despite all the hours I’ve added onto my schedule, I feel…more on top of things than ever? I think it’s because with everything I need to do, with the blank spots on my Google calendar slowly shrinking, it forces me to get started on things earlier and maximize my time. I can’t just lie in bed and scroll through social media for hours. In fact, I straight up deleted Instagram and Twitter for the time being because it wasn’t making me happy. And I still manage to have fun on weekends and do the things I want to do.
I wanna get better. I think I’m on the right track. I think I’m finally getting the hang of things.
I didn’t know I was broken ’til i wanted to change
I wanna get better, better, better, better,
I wanna get better
I thought this blog would just be a positive one (for once), but then I discovered that voluntarily hosing myself comes with another issue—when I do find myself with free time, I start to overthink.
There’s a part of me that knows I’m essentially keeping my brain distracted from the topics that can and will make me spiral. Sometimes those distractions don’t work. Sometimes I get back from an event and I collapse onto my the nicest part of my room, in my opinion, right up there with my loft that has enough space for two mattresses and put on sad music and I relapse into mindsets and thought processes that I thought I outgrew.
I think that’s what stings the most, whenever that happens. It’s always the fact that I’m doing great, I’m starting to fall into healthier patterns, and then it’s like I accidentally pressed the big red reset button and I’m right back where I started.
Two especially relevant songs: If It Wasn’t For The Nights by ABBA and Working for the Knife by i’m seeing mitski live at radio city next year, actually, which is a story for another time—i managed to snag seven tickets for some friends and me, and they’ve absolutely ballooned in price since then, which is why it’s so insane that i managed to do that???? .
I got my business to help me through the day
People I must write to, bills I must pay
But everything’s so different when night’s on its way
It’s bad, oh, so bad
I always knew the world moves on
I just didn’t know it would go without me
I start the day high and it ends so low
‘Cause I’m working for the knife
Recovery isn’t linear. Growth is a turbulent thing. I know that. But there’s a difference between knowing something and internalizing it.
This semester, I have struggled the most with feeling like a terrible person.
I’m bright and colorful the way an oil spill is.
Which is to say, I feel like toxic sludge some days. I’ve made decisions that have hurt me and hurt others, and I have to deal with those consequences. I have mentalities that aren’t beneficial for anyone in the long run. Sometimes I feel so deeply insecure in myself and my friendships that I feel like the ground beneath me will open up and swallow me whole.
I want to be a good person. I try to be a good person. It’s hard to feel like a good person when I start beating myself up every time a selfish thought enters my mind, though.
But still, it’s weird, because like…my self confidence in other things is at an all time high. I love my body. I love my style. I love the things I’m part of. I love being social, and getting along with new people, and I’m told that I’m good at it.
Grappling with the self that exists to me versus the self that exists to others has always been difficult for me. Just the fact that I exist in the minds of others when I’m not around is…insane.
A few moments this month really made me realize that. I have an issue with object permanence in terms of my relationships in that I assume they don’t think about me when I’m not with them. This is obviously not true, because it’s not like I cease to exist when I’m not around, but my brain tells me to always assume the worst. (Oh, they don’t really care about you.)
But out of the blue, I received a very sweet email from a blog reader telling me that they appreciated my posts.
There’s a lot of humanity reflected in your blogs, some unwavering truths towards yourself that I also resonate with, in my own way.
That shattered some of the barriers I’d been unconsciously keeping up. And then, a conversation with Daniel, who’s dealt with so much of my shit this month:
And finally, something unlocked inside of me.
There are people who like me as a person. And it’s kind of easy to dismiss that, with like, “Oh, if they knew the real me, if they knew all my worst feelings and secrets and thoughts they wouldn’t feel the same, and I don’t deserve it,” but the thing is, people don’t need to know all of you for you to deserve being liked.
I used to not believe people when they complimented me—I accepted them, but their words would glide off me like water on duck feathers. Now I’m learning to actually internalize it.
Yeah, I’m not the smartest person out there. I’m not the most talented or capable or kindest person out there. But I’m trying, and there are people who think I’m doing enough, and I think that’s enough.
- by the way the bio undergrad mailing list is so nice, you get a lot of cool opportunities like that in your email. honestly as a 6-7 (cs & bio) i don't really see a lot of emails on the eecs side, especially after i muted piazza notifications, but the bio list is always filling up my inbox back to text ↑
- my relationship with 11:11 is an interesting one because the wishes i make usually end up coming true. in fact, way back when, i made a wish at 11:11 to become a blogger—and here i am. i wished at 11:11 to get into mit, and here i am. back to text ↑
- the nicest part of my room, in my opinion, right up there with my loft that has enough space for two mattresses back to text ↑
- i’m seeing mitski live at radio city next year, actually, which is a story for another time—i managed to snag seven tickets for some friends and me, and they’ve absolutely ballooned in price since then, which is why it’s so insane that i managed to do that???? back to text ↑