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MIT student blogger Alexa J. '20

Thanksgiving Nostalgia by Alexa J. '20

if MIT == home

10,968 hours. That’s 457 days, which is 1 year and 3 months since I’d last been home. This past Thanksgiving break, as I turned into my driveway as I had done thousands of times before (driving was weird in and of itself), it felt foreign, nothing like walking through the familiarity of the infinite. Maybe it seems silly, but even grabbing something out of the fridge felt like I was a guest in my own home.

Even more than that, I feel like a different person than I was in high school, which is a rare observation because I think it’s often hard to notice change in yourself since you hang out with yourself 24/7. Here are some thoughts about what else has changed.

D E S K  S P A C E
As a student, I spend an inordinate amount of time sitting at my desk. As a student studying computer science, I spend nearly all of my waking hours hunched over a desk coding. Therefore, my study locations hold a very special place in my heart, as they’re often the place of absolute highs and lows, where epiphanies have occurred and tears of confusion have fallen.

My desk was once loaded with worn, tabbed history and English books, about European countries and fantastical, faraway lands. Now, they hold books about a different world. Computer science books, marked with free career fair pens about technical interviews or unopened textbooks for GIR classes like biology or physics. I’ve also found that I like switching up where I work, sometimes a corner desk in Rotch Library, other times in a coffee shop in Central.

i literally moved my whole life to Boston

T H E  R O U T E  H O M E
Before moving to Boston, winter was synonymous with the air fogging at me. Now, I’m reminded that the rest of the world often endures (and enjoys) this thing called seasons. Instead of driving home, I now travel down dorm row to and from my cozy double in Burton-Conner. It’s the perfect time to update my mom on my day or finish up a HASS reading.

so foreign ah

Being off the meal plan has forced me to venture further into Kendall and Central squares to obtain food and given me a new appreciation for nearby restaurants like Saloniki’s and Dig Inn. Although nothing beats a bowl of noodles from my San Francisco hole-in-the-wall favorites like Yamo and Old Mandarin Islamic Restaurant, I’d say I’ve found some hearty replacements.

feast your eyes on this $7 bowl of Yamo House Noodles –– a rare price in the SF food world 

Instead of waking up at 4 a.m. to stumble into the boathouse for morning rowing practice, I now stay late in Lobby 13 or a random hallway of building 34, trying to get my body to move in ways I never knew it could. The whole concept of choreography is very different than the very repetitive movements of rowing, focused on conquering will rather than body control. It’s slow going but it’s coming along. I’m actually currently writing this on the way to a ballroom competition at Columbia University. Wish me luck!

please enjoy this picture of me doing what I sacrificed many hours of sleep for

Going home this past Thanksgiving was surreal, and brought me back to simpler times, where success for me was simply defined by good grades and acceptance into college. Now, I’m just confused. How much do I value time with friends over getting a few extra points on my problem sets? How much should I factor in money over passion in a career to increase my perceived happiness? What do I even want to do with my life? What do I want to eat for breakfast tomorrow? All questions I wish I knew the answer to but don’t.

What hasn’t changed throughout are the people that I look to for guidance and laughs and hugs, people who make me feel loved and who I love. I’ve expanded that circle of people, but the people who enter tend to stay. They are the people who keep me grounded when I question myself, and I’m so thankful for keeping them in my life. Here’s to some leftover Thanksgiving sentiment to go with all that turkey in the fridge!