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MIT student blogger Afeefah K. '21

Today Was A Long Day by Afeefah K. '21

and it's not over yet.

Hi there. Today was an incredibly long day. Like running back and forth between lab, eating lunch in 5 mins, barely making it to the dining hall before it closed kind of a day.

My alarm was set for 7:30 am this morning. I went to bed at around 1 am last night (or I guess this morning). So basically I averaged about six and a half hours of sleep. And for someone like me, who sometimes finds ten hours of sleep to not be suffice, let’s just say that the day was spent in a weird state of being subconsciously conscious.

I managed to carry myself out of bed at around 8:30 am, giving me exactly half an hour to look somewhat decent, chomp down a breakfast sandwich and run across campus to the Koch Institute. I stepped outside and realized that it was unexpectedly cold. In retrospect, I should have checked the weather app when I first woke up. I didn’t have time to go back to my room to throw on something warmer.

I’m not entirely sure I processed everything that happened in lab today. And I definitely checked off only about half of my to-do list. At some point, I escaped to Barker Library to write some field notes for my Global Health & Development class. I ended up falling asleep instead. 5.12 (Organic Chemistry) and 20.110 (Thermodynamics for Bimolecular Systems) were big blurs. My assorted set of Muji pens inspired me to keep going and take notes anyways.

We had a microquiz in 6.0001 (Introduction to Python) that I didn’t really have time to study for. The website we were taking the quiz on crashed about two minutes in.

I didn’t get back to my dorm till 7:55pm, giving me about 5 minutes to grab dinner before the hall closed. I ended up green boxing dinner and treating myself to a spoon of food after every pset question I solved. I told myself I would go to bed early today and yet, here I am. My roommate is asleep. The lights are turned off.  I still have emails that need to be sent out and plasmids that need to be analyzed. My laptop is at 2%. My phone is at 1%. Pretty sure my internal battery is at 0%.


On my defeated march back to my dorm room, I run into a good friend of mine. I don’t really need to say anything for her to know that I have, in fact, had a long day. I haven’t answered any of her phone calls or replied to any of her texts in the past 12 hours or so. In terms of communication, I’ve practically fallen off of the face of the planet.

“You know what Afeefah, we’re going to go to my favorite place on campus. It always makes me feel better when I need a pick me up.” We end up here:

When I’m stressed out, I have a tendency to hold my breathe in. Until either my list of things to do is completely checked off. Or someone reminds me to slow down and take deep breathes.

So here I am, standing in the middle of Lobby 7. Looking around at the long pillars and intricate ceiling work I walk by everyday. A place that I worry I’m becoming desensitized too. Because I often forget just how beautiful it is. And yet a place that on long days like this one, offers a wisp of fresh air. A place that is uniquely mesmerizing at night. A place that remind me that I can either treat my day as a long list of things to do or just that, a day.  A place where I can momentarily escape into a comforting sense of serenity.

And now that my brain has oxygen flowing to it again I think I can keep pushing through for another hour or two. Here’s to picking the right primers for Sanger Sequencing.