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MIT student blogger Laura N. '09

The rest of my life by Laura N. '09

is a black hole. But not the fascinating kind that's the topic of extensive astrophysical study.

The next few months of my life are pretty well planned out. I’m going to take a few classes, write a million blog entries for you guys about all the things I kept meaning to write and then never got around to, and visit Boston a bit once it stops being absolutely miserable weather out there. But mostly I’ll be taking classes.

Do a lot of work and write a paper. Details to come, so stay tuned.

21M.733: Design for the Theater: Scenery
The final component of my theater arts concentration. This is actually pretty cool, because we’re learning and practicing a bunch of art techniques, like different types of sketching and stuff. Also, I get to keep a blog. No joke. Part of the requirements are to write reflective essays about each of the projects we do. Instead of this, we can also keep a journal about our work. When I found out this journal could be in the form of a blog, I thought, “well how can I not?”

1.851: Water and Sanitation Infrastructure for Developing Countries
Lots of reading and discussion about water and sanitation interventions in the developing world on their effects on public health. Plus every week we learn about a different “watsan” (water/sanitation) technology, which keeps me plenty interested. I’ve even managed to get myself tangled up in potential plans involving possible redesign and experimentation with the most recently showcased technology, fog harvesting.

2.722: D-Lab
Hydropowered lantern. ‘Nuff said.

So then, after all that, hopefully (knock on wood), I’m going to graduate.

And then I have to be an adult.

I’m not sure you can fully appreciate how utterly terrifying this is.

June 5 is Commencement. June 6 is moving day. I was on the phone with my mom the other day and she asked me when I had to leave me dorm. I realized I didn’t even know, so I looked up that little fact and wrote it in my planner. June 6th, at noon. I’ll pack up my belongings and move away from Boston forever.

This is so unbelievably weird to think about, because I never really thought of Boston as my home exactly. I mean, it has just sort of become the place I’ve lived for several years- there was no conscious thought process that went along with it. Also, I’ve never moved away from anywhere before. I’ve lived on the same street in suburban New Jersey for my entire life. When I was four, my family moved from our house to the house next door. I’m not kidding. Two of my earliest memories are of carrying boxes of my toys across the backyard, and playing tic tac toe with my mom on the wall as we painted what would become my new room. Sure, technically I left home to come here, but NJ was still home in my mind. I knew I’d be going back there every few months to visit. That will still be true, no matter where I end up next year. But this is different.

In a few years I’ll be able to say things like, “Oh yeah, I used to live in Boston.” That’s SO WEIRD. You don’t get to say things like that unless you’re an adult who has led an interesting and fulfilling life and have LIVED long enough to spend a few years living in whatever random city before moving to the next one. Ok, so this is clearly biased by the fact that, as previously mentioned, I lived on the same street my whole life. Also, almost my entire extended family lives within a half hour drive of my house. But it’s still weird, okay?

So. On June 6, I move away from Boston.

June 7 is a black hole.

It’s kind of like hundreds of years ago, when people thought the world was flat and that you could get to the end and just drop off. June 6th is that edge of the flat, flat world. Or if you’re looking for a more contemporary example, it’s kind of like when you stretch your brain to try to figure out what’s at the edge of the universe. Is there a plexiglass wall? Is there another universe? Where does that one end? Try as you might, you just cannot see past a certain point. That point is June 6.

The only things I know about June 7 is that I will presumably be on this earth, that I will no longer be a student, that I will hopefully be employed somewhere, that I will need to find a place to live and pay rent that is not managed through a student loan system and of which no portion goes into a social budget, that I will have to start filing tax forms….tax forms! I mean, right now I technically pay taxes and all, but then I just go like, “Hey IRS, I’m a student and make like 4 grand a year” and then they’re like “alright you don’t really count yet” and give most of it back. But next year I will have to actually file tax forms. This boggles the mind.

I will also presumably have a job. But who knows.

The job search, FYI, is not going well. I feel like I’ve scoured the farthest reaches of the internet and have subsequently discovered every single development organization that exists.

The problem is that there is no obvious solution. If I were Course 6, I’d just be like, “Okay, I’ll just go apply to Microsoft, and then go to a career fair, where 90% of the companies will recruit me.” But instead, I’ve got to search pretty hard. Most places aren’t really hiring, at least not college grads, so I’ve got to whip out that whole “cover letter” routine and hope for the best while trying not to sound too desperate (which I am). Also, I hate cover letters with an intense, fiery passion.

It’s just slow going, in general. I spent something like 8 hours last weekend searching for a job. I eventually had to force myself to stop, just to get some homework done. It’s like wasting time on YouTube, but less entertaining, or on Wikipedia, but less informative.

Let’s just hope the Peace Corps takes me. Just keep your fingers crossed for me, okay?

EDIT: Here’s a piece of good news I’m bursting to share: Teach for America just invited me to the first round of interviews. Woo!

22 responses to “The rest of my life”

  1. Stacy says:

    Your graduation date is the same as mine (unless my senior class decides the 4th instead of the 6th).

    Good luck in your job search.

  2. awwwwwwwww!

    The most sad thought ever: “I am leaving Boston forever, and MIT too”.

  3. ^^^^I am rhyming, WOW!!!

  4. David says:

    Peace Corps and Teach for America looks to be the most interesting.

    Just wanted to remind people that today is a special holiday called Mardi Gras!

  5. deng says:

    ::cross cross cross::


  6. Laura says:

    @David: that’s probably just because you’ve never heard of the others. =)

    @Jimmy: of course we have a graduation ceremony. I’m sure someone else has already blogged about it. Probably Mollie? Search the archives.

  7. Sheila'13 says:

    Good luck with your job search!!! Hope your MIT degree as well ur passion and whatever you have snag you one. ;D

  8. Moose says:

    The craziest thing just happened! I followed your link to YouTube to waste time on it when I found this:

    According to this looks like someone beat you to your D-lab project!

  9. Moose says:

    Oh and good luck job hunting!

  10. 6-1 '11 says:

    good luck with your job search!

  11. DanN says:

    Laura, Good luck with your job search. Have you looked at

  12. Anon says:

    Either Peace Corps or TFA should be delighted to have you. There’s a dearth of people who have the combined talents that you have.

    Have you considered City Year programs or MATCH Corps? Fulbrights? (Maybe too late to apply this year).

  13. Brandon says:

    My brother is in the rounds for TeachForAmerica too.
    Best of luck!!

  14. Anonymous says:

    hey congrats! Good luck with the interview!

  15. jimmy '13 says:

    Do you guys have a graduation ceremony?

    will you please blog it?

  16. pastfirst says:

    Hope you get the job! I’ve got my fingers crossed!
    Stepping out into the real world is pretty scary. Especially in these days of recession! You sound like you’ve got a head on your shoulders, so take it easy.
    You’ll be okay. Good luck.

  17. Anonymous says:

    TFA should not be that hard to get into. back where I live, they beg people to join.