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starting by Masha G. '24

over and over again

Starting anything is hard. In fact, starting is often the hardest part, which is a lesson I feel like I am always learning.

I haven’t been blogging very much recently, and, if we’re being honest, I’ve felt pretty guilty about it. I think I wrote a grand total of two blogs this past semester, maybe three, which for me is probably an all-time low. Of course, there were other factors, namely February and March unexpectedly turning into a pretty turbulent time, then April and May bringing the usual ramp-up of the firehose. But still.

Back when I first started01 almost two years ago! where has the time gone?? blogging, I wrote that I like making lists. I thought that lists make a great format for blogs, and that I would resort to them often.  The reason I like lists so much is that they are perfect for dumping all of your thoughts onto a page, externalizing them, and thus making them seem somehow less. I rely a lot on my myriad of notebooks and papers: my planner, that used to be a bullet journal but over time has been reduced to the bare minimum, my research notebook, which I love because it has weather maps on the cover, the pad of post-it’s I carry with me at all times in case I need to dump my brain out.

All of that is to say that I want to blog more. And because I was finding it difficult to start up again, here’s a list of everything else I’ve recently started doing (or, really, started again).

  • running: 
    • I got super into running over quarantine, but have been struggling to find time for it. At the beginning of every semester I tell myself that this will be the semester I get back into it for real, and for a long time. And then every semester I inevitably find that there are only so many hours in a day, and physical exercise just isn’t a priority for me right now. This is true, but it is also hard to accept. I wish I did make time for exercise, but there also isn’t anything I’m willing to sacrifice. Something has to change, fundamentally, and I’m still trying to decide what it is and if I want it to change at all. At the very least, though, I have time this summer, so I will run. With any luck, I’ll stick to it for long enough to run a half-marathon in late summer/early fall.
  • cooking:
    • Although I lived in a cook-for-yourself dorm this past year, I barely did any actual cooking. The reasons were numerous, some of them stupid, but most of it boiled down to laziness and not having enough time. Cooking, grocery shopping, all of that takes so much effort and management, which I just couldn’t manage on top of my already packed schedule. There are other ways to subsist: Trader Joe’s frozen meals, ramen, takeout, and leeching off of my friends’ meal plans got me through sophomore year.
    • Still, cooking is something else I got into over quarantine, and I do enjoy it. So, now that I’m living in my own apartment this summer, with my own kitchen, I intend to make full use of it. The other night, I cooked some salmon with a mushroom cream sauce on the side. I even boiled some spaghetti to add to the leftovers, creating a nice lunch to take to work the following day. I think the key, for me, is to not be too ambitious with my dishes – the goal is to just cook.
  • reading
    • Although my reading agenda always comes to a halt during the semester, I actually did a relatively good job with it this past spring. I found time to finish The Secret History by Donna Tartt, which I really enjoyed, and to start The City We Became02 I'm enjoying the plot, but not so much Jemisin's writing style. idk if this is a hot take by N. K. Jemisin. Given enough free time, though, I like to read many books at once, and to dive into more difficult books that take slower reading to understand. So, this summer, I finally finished Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, and am planning on picking up a bunch of new books,03 I'll write about them in a separate blog post :) both fiction and non-fiction.
  • writing my godforsaken tornado paper
    • I have this one research paper I’ve been trying to write for literal years. It’s essentially a write-up of the research I did in high school about tornado forecasting, with some new additions here and there and a change in focus. I’m hoping to at least submit it for publication, if not necessarily to publish it, but the writing process has been going… exceedingly slowly. I’ll work for it a couple of weeks at a time, usually in between semesters or at their beginnings, and then it’ll get cast aside as my immediate obligations and deadlines ramp up.
    • So what ends up happening is that I’m constantly starting working on it, again and again, which is always hard. Since the end of the semester, though, I’ve started working on it again,04 inspired by the prospect of some contest deadline, but that's not important and have been making slow but steady progress. I’m hopeful that this time is the one where I finally finish a complete draft, ready for submission.
  • journaling
    • I’m actually including this one more as a goal, seeing as I haven’t actually started journaling again in earnest – yet. I used to journal a lot, writing down any mildly deep thoughts that came across my mind. Somewhere along the line, I think I got lazy, and these days, I only journal if there’s something bothering me and I need to work through my feelings. I want to write more though, at the very least for the sake of having who I am now recorded for future me to revisit. Even if it’s a little bit each day, about what I did or what I thought about, my goal is to be more consistent with it.
  • writing blogs :)
    • It’s weird to think about the fact that I’m halfway through my time at MIT already. It’s not even that I have nothing to show for the past two years. If anything, it’s the opposite. I keep a list of potential blog topics in my notes app, and a couple of them are marked as to be written “much later,” when I’m older and wiser and have more insight. I feel like I’m getting closer to that moment, and it feels… weird. Terrifying, yes, in the way that growth is always scary, but also calming, in many ways. Lately, I’ve been feeling like I’ve found the answers to some of the questions I used to worry about constantly, or at least found the approaches that’ll lead me to an answer. I want to blog about that, to put it into words.
    • This summer, I’m doing MISTI in Berlin, Germany. I’m working on a research project applying machine learning to some weather data, continuing my spring UROP, and trying my best to live a healthy life. I want to blog about that, too.

I think the trend of this post is that I’m pretty bad at following through on habits in the long term. I like to blame this on MIT, the hectic nature of structuring my life around 12-week semesters and 10-week summer internships. The truth is, some of it is just me. Maybe I’m just not best at following through on things, and that’s fine, as long as I remain aware of that tendency. All I can do is set goals and try my best.

  1. almost two years ago! where has the time gone?? back to text
  2. I'm enjoying the plot, but not so much Jemisin's writing style. idk if this is a hot take back to text
  3. I'll write about them in a separate blog post :) back to text
  4. inspired by the prospect of some contest deadline, but that's not important back to text