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MIT blogger Alex M. '21

New Decade, New Me? by Alex M. '21

some reflections, some resolutions, some hopes,

Some Reflections

It’s been a long decade. When the 2010s started, I was ten, and I was in fifth grade, and now I am twenty, and I am in roughly fifteenth grade. A lot has changed, but some things remain the same. In many ways, I am now, since coming to MIT, more like my fifth grade self than my high school self. It’s hard to tell if this is because of MIT, or because I left my high school, or because I am officially no longer an angsty teen.

It’s been a long year. I changed majors, I started and then left a UROP, I worked all summer, I won a medal at Head of the Charles, I became a blogger, and I started and completed Unified Engineering.

It’s been a long semester. I had to take four course 16 classes, and I did it. My grades aren’t in yet, but I think I did it. At the start of this semester, I set some goals/rules/guidelines for myself. I didn’t stick to them, exactly.

I slept enough, but I wish I had cooked more. I did laundry, but my room was a mess. I went to class, but I could have and should have attended more office hours. I took a night or two off almost every week, but I wish I had been able to be more spontaneous with my time and generous to my friends.

I think that’s my greatest mistake of the fall, and of 2019; I regret the dates I was too tired to go on, the team dinners I didn’t attend, the field hockey games and a cappella concerts where I missed cheering on my friends, the texts and FaceTimes I didn’t respond to. I wish I had been less busy, and less tired, and I think that would have made me a kinder person and a better friend.

I want more time to call my mom. I want to spend all day making pies. I want to learn something unrelated to my classes. I want to bike the Minuteman Trail, and hike Mt. Washington, and leave Boston for a weekend. I want to stay up late with my friends and watch bad horror movies and shriek with laughter.

Some Resolutions

I’m resolving to leave being hosed in 2019. I know this is what the kids call “unrealistic”, but my biggest regret from the past year is being so busy that I became selfish, and I want to change that. Through copious amounts of self-restraint, my planned class schedule for next semester is theoretically 11 fewer hours per week, and I have no class on Fridays.

I’m going to spend less time on psets, at least, and that’s something. I’m steadfastly refusing to take on any new extracurriculars, or pour any more time into the ones that I already do. I’m hoping this will give me at least a little breathing room.

I’m resolving to spend my free time in healthier ways. This sounds very dramatic, but basically I want to spend less time on Twitter, and less time playing shitty iPhone games. I would like to spend more time writing, whether it’s journaling or blogging or both. I would also like to spend more time outdoors, excluding crew practices.

In the past, when I’ve had more overall free time, I’ve had more motivation to write and hike and see friends. This is called “not suffering from burnout” and I’d like to return to it. This resolution kind of goes with the previous one, because theoretically, I will spend less time on classes, and theoretically, I will instead write and hike and bike and UROP.

I’m resolving to document my life offline a little better. I recently got a phone with a camera that is actually pretty decent, and I want to take more pictures and videos. I also want to journal, actually. I am intrigued by the possibility of taking 1 second of video every day and making a video a year from now showing everything I’ve done.

This is, sadly, partially driven by blogger’s block. I do things, and I want to write about them, but I don’t have any notes or photos, and I have a hard time writing from nothing. If I have even a slightly better record of my life, I think I’ll be able to write better and write more often.

Last but definitely not least, I’m resolving to figure out what I want to do after I graduate. I sure hope I know by December 31, 2020! Nisha wrote in her end-of-year post:

I think that I’ve commandeered a boat from…somewhere…and paddled it in the general direction of forwards. I’ve almost reached the mainland. I just need to decide which one of three rivers will carry me there, and I’m sort of stalled at the confluence of all three of these rivers trying to decide.

I think this is true for many juniors. It’s certainly true for me. My rivers may be different, but I’m definitely paddling in the same place.

Some Hopes

I hope I stick to my resolutions, and I hope I’ve learned from my mistakes. I hope I become a kinder person in 2020. I hope I take photos and videos every day, and I hope I make memories every day. I hope I write a blog post every two weeks. I hope I treat my friends and family as well as they deserve. I hope I UROP and intern and discover what I love and make a five-year plan and everything works out. I hope I get good grades, but transcend caring about grades. I hope I make mistakes and learn from them, but I hope they’re not awful, and I hope they’re not ones I’ve made before.

Today is January 1, 2020. The sun rose this morning, just like any other day. It still feels like a fresh start. Happy New Year, and here’s to hoping it all works out.