This summer was a summer of many firsts. First time actually living by myself. First time regularly using public transportation by myself. First time booking all my doctor’s appointments. This summer was a summer of balance, at least the attempt of finding one. This summer was a summer of growth.
Most of my summer was spent working as a tech intern doing web development things. This was my third summer internship, so I’m starting to figure out what types of companies, working styles, cultures, etc. suit me best. I had the least amount of imposter syndrome this summer, and I can’t tell if it’s because of the team I worked with or if I grew as a person. Probably both. I loved my team and my project and this was by far my favorite internship.
I’ve tried regularly working out at many points in my life, and this summer was the closest I ever got to be consistent. I also made an effort to eat healthily. I was drinking smoothies most days of the week! I switched my pasta for shirataki noodles! I snuck in vegies in my dinners! And I actually saw results. I lost the weight I had gained during my stressful junior spring semester, but more importantly, I felt stronger. I realized I wasn’t struggling to hold my water pitcher when it was full. The thought of getting up and about was less daunting. I welcomed walking instead of unnecessary ubers. It’s been harder keeping the same consistency since school has started, but I’m trying.
I was a sheltered child. My parents, in all their fear and love, were always there for me in that they’d drive me to places I’d want to go. So, I didn’t feel a pressing desire to learn how to drive. The one time I used public transportation by myself was to get to a local university for my summer internship during high school. My dad and I rode the route once, I memorized and followed his instructions for the rest of the summer, not knowing exactly what I was doing. All this to say that until this summer I was a directionally challenged approaching-twenty-two-year-old who didn’t know how to drive or use public transportation. Now, I’m still directionally challenged but I can use the T and the bus. I even felt comfortable using the subway in…
Before this summer, I went to NYC once with a friend during our freshman spring break, and we didn’t adequately plan for it. I naively thought that I could see all of NYC in 3 days and was quickly corrected once we got there. So, this summer I abandoned any notions of that and prioritized seeing a few things relaxedly. In total, I went there for around two weeks across two trips. It was the highlight of my summer. Going to so many iconic spots made me feel like I was the main character. I went to a comedy show and golfed for the first time. I went to the Met and MoMA. I had a lot of good food. So many people I knew were in NYC for the summer, it made me sad that mine was spent in…
This was my second summer in Boston. The first was during Interphase and I don’t remember exploring much beyond Newbury. I was in Somerville for the summer and spent a lot of time around Porter Square. I went to Cape Cod for the first time! I went to Boston Commons way too many times. I went on boats and thrifting and kayaking and brunching. I went to Seaport and Quincy Market. I realized that MIT didn’t have lively nearby areas in comparison to Harvard which has Harvard Square, Tufts which has Davis Square, BU which has Newbury. All are super cute places to eat and hang out whereas Kendall square is mostly offices. Regardless, I started piecing all the different parts of Boston together and creating a mental map of it filled with my own memories.
Cooking was a reminder of the monotony of my life, so I tried to experiment with new food. I had never eaten as many salmon as I had this summer. I also made my own hummus this summer and started snacking on hummus and crackers regularly for the first time. I made pizza three-ways from scratch. These little endeavors were a poor distraction from the tragic realization that adulthood included thinking about what to eat AND making it every single day. Sigh.
Cooking for myself made me realize that ultimately I am alone in this world and I needed to start taking care of myself because no one else will. I booked my first physical check-up since I came to college. I went to specialists for my eye allergies and wrist pain. My internship offered free therapy sessions, so I signed up expeditiously. I’m not really going through a difficult time right now, so it was nice to go through the past and reflect on it from a better place.
The hardest part of the summer was figuring out how to balance working, socializing, and pursuing my personal goals. I did all three at some point in the summer but never two at the same time. A night I had planned to paint or read or write would become an impromptu outing with a friend given that I could always paint another time. But between work and more excursions, that time rarely came. I still made some progress on different goals. I read a few books, experimented with makeup, and had a couple of photoshoots. I realized that I got through so many of my 2020 goals because I was living at home with not many distractions and my parents were looking after me. Doing the same this summer was a lot harder.
I’m still struggling to find balance this semester. I have classes, extracurriculars, personal goals, and a social life to water and maintain. This year might be the last time I see many people so I’m trying to prioritize that. But I also love my classes and clubs and want to put in my all. I also find deep fulfillment in achieving my personal creative goals. For now, I’m trying to find the overlap of my interests–like using my writing class to write the short story I’ve wanted to write for two years and using my design class to work on a spread for infinite–and focus on it. I think about my freshman fall, so overwhelmed with classes that I didn’t even consider that I could make time to work on my own goals. And now I am becoming the person I would look up to:)