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MIT student blogger Jessie L. '07

This entry is kind of inspired by an entry that Anthony wrote. Yes, I realize that he wrote it a month ago. I’ve been kind of lame about reading everyone else’s blogs. I would be happy to get feedback from my readers on this, both the regular commenters and the lurkers.

I worry that the quality of my blogging has gone downhill as time has passed. When I first started blogging for Admissions, I wrote a number of what were basically essays on subjects that I had been thinking about for a long time, and had more entries that provided a snapshot of what I was actually doing, but that had a philosophical twist. The problem was that once these entries were written, I couldn’t keep writing about the same topics over and over. So I started floundering when looking for inspiration. Or at least, I feel like I did – it is quite possible that this blog is about the same now as it was at the beginning, and my perception is the result of insecurities on my part.

On the opposite side of the coin, when I write too many philisophical essays about MIT, I start wondering if maybe my readers would rather just see some pictures of events after all. Though I think that I would have trouble writing this blog if those sorts of entries were the only ones I posted.

Also, I got hosed. Junior year turned out to be ridiculously grueling for me.

It’s not even that I lack all sorts of stuff to ramble on about, but there are things that I can’t/won’t put into a public forum, even if they relate to topics that I could write well about, because of their sensitive nature. People’s day to day angst. My feelings about various MIT policies and policy changes – I put some of this in, but if I’m actually going to be effective at dealing with the issues involved, I cannot blurt out exactly what I think about everything and everyone relevant. My feelings about internal politics and struggles within the UA, and other groups – did you notice that I didn’t actually write any entries about the UA elections while I was running for president (though that wasn’t all for sensitivity reasons…frankly I was exhausted during that time)? And much more.

After three years of MIT life, I’ve decided that a lot of the most interesting and inspiring aspects of many students’ lives are lived “underground”.

So I search for a middle ground, try to keep this blog respectful of sensitivities without going too far into self-censorship, try to hint without spelling out. It’s kind of like the hacking books MIT puts out, like Nightwork, which I referenced in my last entry – they are interesting, inspiring, and provoke dreams among high school students about putting their own creations on top of the Great Dome someday. And they even go a little bit into the psychology, include some very insightful essays, drop some juicy details here and there. But it’s not like they’re really giving you the lowdown, the inside view on what it would be like to be a hacker at MIT, the actual accounts of people involved. They can’t. Similarly, I can’t give you the true lowdown on being an MIT student – and neither can any other blogger, for whatever “being an MIT student” is to them – just a modified version.

Anthony and I have much in common – we’ve discussed our blogging philosophies together several times – but we have different perspectives on the “vacuum” nature of MIT that he alluded to in his entry. Interestingly, I think one of my best entries, written nearly a year ago, illustrates my perspective pretty well. I would like to think that students embracing MIT culture, and identifying strongly with the school, is less about them changing themselves to fit an MIT “mold” (not like there’s really a “typical” MIT “mold” anyway), and more about the different characteristics of the subcultures that they choose helping them grow, and bringing out something from deep within them that they may not have known was there.

A few other essay-style entries that I really like are here, here, here, and here. There are a few good photo-based, event-based entries as well…I’m fond of this one.

So I don’t have any specific questions for you to answer, really, but responses to this entry would be helpful. I like to know what you think. “I like what you’re doing, keep it up” is a valid answer, as are more critical views. As long as you’re nice about it. :)

7 responses to “Meta”

  1. Colin says:

    I’m with those two. wink

  2. thekeri says:

    I agree with Star, and I always enjoy reading your perspective on everything.

  3. Star says:

    I like what you are doing. I enjoy your updates on the grounds that they *aren’t* the standard photo-of-events posts, but because they do have a philosophical slant.

  4. Nur says:

    In a similar vein of the commenter before me..were not reading for pictures and such but to get your perspective. Not a standard well today I did blah, blah blah.

  5. Timur Sahin says:

    I have to concur with Star. Keep doing what you’ve been doing. Pictures and such are nice, but that’s not what keeps me coming back. smile

  6. Aziz '10 says:

    Jess, take it easy ;p You’re doing great and I like your blog…Philosophical stuff is totally fine and is actually pretty interesting, unless it’s REALLY long…I think that’s what makes me less interested in reading ;p But overall your blog’s great and I’ve really learned a lot from it this past year ;p Keep it up!

  7. James says:

    Frankly, I’m not too interested in a photojournal of your day. As interesting as that can be, I have more important things to do. However, I do care about your insight into what goes on at MIT and what life there is like. Your entry from nearly a year ago, “Structure and Function, Dorms and Culture” is one of my favorite essays ever.

    I hope I didn’t sound rude. I really didn’t mean to be. I like your blog.