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MIT student blogger Phoebe C. '18

summer scraps by Phoebe C. '18

life updates

where i am

The downstairs door is open; I can feel it because crosswalk conversations (“…host a wine party…” “No way!”) waft up to where I am sitting, alone on the second floor of a brand-new cafe, with smooth grey walls and crisp, square wooden tables. The smell of fresh paint and french fries from the street, succulents dotting the windowsills, throwaway books on the shelf that spans the far wall. My table trembles when trucks pass. It’s 9 PM on Friday, and a heat wave broke this morning. Everyone–couples, mostly–fresh and glossy and prepared to go out, or just to the liquor store across the street. I’m in Greenwich Village.

I like it here. There’s this quote in this book–possibly my favorite book–called Let The Great World Spin–by Colum McCann, whom Yuliya mentioned in this post–that goes, “All respects to Heaven, I like it here.” I think it’s the title of the first chapter. That’s how I feel right now.


where i’ve been

around the world, on the phone, at the beach, with a boy.

in my room, at work, in stores, in tears, in love, online, listening, grappling, succeeding.

beach, east coast park, singapore (x)


what i’ve heard

Some career advice I’ve collected in my work notebook–a lot of it is less meaningful and interesting out of context (the context being the stories that senior speakers shared to frame the advice), but I omit the context because we’re told to keep mum about the details of our internships. (I am at a bulge bracket bank again.)

  • “Put the big rocks in first”: see http://www.appleseeds.org/PDF%20Files/08-09/Big%20Rocks_Covey.pdf
  • “Consider yourself an investor of time rather than of money.”
  • “Be a closer, not an opener.”
  • “Good producers end up becoming managers, but they’re not necessarily good managers.”
  • “Build a technical foundation early–become very good at something.”
  • “Mentorship is always the responsibility of the mentee.”
  • “Find a job where you continue to learn and grow each day.” and “The onus is on you to keep learning.”
  • “Get a PhD” in your field–even if you’re not literally getting a PhD, a few years into the job you should feel like you’ve achieved expertise in something.

“Listen, are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?”


My personal life enters the work notebook at a few points: there’s a page headed with the phone number from MIT Medical, though the rest of the page is occupied by work stuff (three bullet points of career advice and a few back-of-the-envelope calculations related to a linear transformation). Another page is split evenly between the notes I took during a frantic lunchtime call with the IRS about my tax returns–and the notes I took about mutual fund boards during a work function.

That is, I suppose, representative of this summer–all parts of my life overflowing into one another. I keep this all very vague in the interest of privacy, but this has got to be both the most blissful and the most stressful summer I’ve ever experienced.