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Things I Know to Be True: Addendum One by Ella T. '25

A post I hate, and some truths from my first year at MIT

Back in September, I wrote my first blog. I called it Things I Know to Be TrueIt was meant to be a simple introductory post, and I suppose it was, but I also wanted it to act as an anchor. I told myself that if I ever encountered a stormy sea at MIT, which I often do, I could throw down the anchor. I could revisit what I knew to be true.

Looking back on the post, I think its ridiculous. I think it is needlessly sentimental. It reads poorly. It clambers around in naivety, sending any artifacts of reality crashing to the floor. If it was a creature, it would have obnoxiously oversized appendages, and it would leave a greasy trail behind it. I don’t like the blog at all.

I take some pride in saying this because it means I am a different person than I was in September. For many MIT students, that change is continuous, like paint gliding across a page. For most MIT bloggers, that change is documented, like dozens of timestamped posts immortalized on the internet. Oh wait. It is literally dozens of timestamped posts immortalized on the internet.

Because of this, I have to be accepting of who I once was as much as who I am. I signed up to   do this, and it comes with unique growing pains.

I think that’s why I haven’t been writing so much. I’m scared to document anything I won’t like in the future.

As a challenge to myself, I’m putting my feelings about Things I Know to Be True aside, and I’m letting it continue to grow alongside me. I’m rubbing it in further. Each year, I’ll add a few points. Here are some of the things I’ve learned to be true from my freshman year:

  1. You Will Be Surprised What You Can Do When You Are Forced to Do It. A few weeks ago, I was searching for 8.02 ASE materials for an MIT admit. I took the class in the Spring and fared decently, especially considering I hate physics. When I looked through some of the exams and assignments, I was baffled by the fact that I was ever able to learn the content. It looks like it is written in a different language, which is why it is written on shirts.  But I learned it. I went to class, only because it was attendance mandatory, and I sat through it. A semester later, I knew 8.02.
  2. Don’t Work for Free. When I got my first UROP in the winter, I didn’t care about funding. I was so excited to take part in one of MIT’s coveted traditions, and so I gladly accepted an offer to take the UROP for credit. I remember explaining my UROP to an upperclassman during IAP, and he scoffed when I told him about the credit. Working for free? Really? I clarified, No, it isn’t free, it’s for credit. He laughed and told me I take classes for free anyways. After that, I realized that I was working 12 hours a week for virtually nothing. Get funding.
  3. Nothing is Worth Getting Sick. The first time I got sick at MIT, I caught what I thought was a slight cold compounded with allergies. A week later, I found myself laying down in MIT Medical doing breathing treatments while the doctor listens to my lungs and winces. I went on antibiotics, twice. I missed two midterms. I lost significant weight. Had I given myself one day to rest, one day with adequate sleep, none of that would’ve happened. Take care of yourself first.

These are some things I now know to be true after a year at MIT. I’ll see you a year from now, with a fresh set of mistakes, worries, and experiences to write from.