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MIT blogger Alex M. '21

Waiting by Alex M. '21

always waiting

Applying to things doesn’t end after you come to MIT, and waiting doesn’t either. Right now, you might be waiting to find out if you got into MIT, and that might suck, because waiting sucks. Everybody is waiting for a million things all the time, whether it’s for undergraduate admissions decisions, grad school admissions decisions, job application decisions, to get an email back about a potential UROP, waiting for something as simple as the bus or the end of a rainstorm.

Right now, I’m waiting to take an exam tonight at 7:30 pm, but I’m also waiting to go home for Thanksgiving, and waiting for the weekend, and waiting for spring to come so that my team can get back on the water again, and waiting to see if my Unified team’s bottle rocket will achieve stable flight of a minimum height of 46 meters, and yes, waiting to see if the rain will stop so I can walk home and stay dry.

Sitting and waiting can be incredibly tedious, anxiety-inducing, and unproductive. If I sit for the next few hours worrying about my exam, I will certainly feel worse than if I do literally anything else. I could study, I could sleep, or I could do something else entirely. There are many things I can do, things I can make, and places I can go to pass the time this afternoon, and similarly, you can do these things while you pass the time between now and December, or between now and March, or between now and whatever you’re waiting for.

Things to Make While You Wait

Eggs, especially fried in (lots of) butter. Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of my breakfast this morning, but trust me, it was delicious.

A bottle rocket, or more accurately, a three-bottle rocket. You can even launch it, provided you have enough empty space to safely do so. 01 me? oh, I'm still w a i t i n g to launch mine

a long bottle rocket

A Spotify playlist to listen to while you wait. My music taste has been strongly influenced by my dad, so if you don’t like this playlist, take it up with him. 02 he probably will like <=50% of it, so maybe don't take it up with him.

Challah. If you’re an MIT student, you can come volunteer every other Thursday to make challah, sell it to other MIT students, and donate the proceeds. I usually come help make the dough and knead, but rest assured we actually bake the challah as well, even though I only have pictures of it pre-oven for some reason.

unbaked challah

Scones. They are excellent, and you can bake them from scratch if you really need a distraction or from store-bought mix pretty easily. My family usually keeps a couple of boxes of scone mix and I’ll probably make some (from mix as I am unskilled) when I go home for Thanksgiving. 03 hello mom. you can consider this a promise <3

Memes. Please put them in the comments section.

Things To Do While You Wait

Learn how to make anything listed above.

Attend a free concert or other outdoor festival. If you are in or around Seattle, I would recommend the Stranger events calendar. I would highly recommend Concerts at the Mural. I wish I had done this more in high school.

Watch a sporting event. For the class of 2025 04 oh god so young applying next fall, I would recommend Head of the Charles if you are in or around Boston. I watched and cheered for MIT and some high school friends this year, and it was really fun. You can also watch the livestream (or now, I guess, recorded stream) from this year here if you’re truly passionate. Here is a photo I took of a collision at Weeks. 05 as far as I know, everyone was fine, and none of my friends or teammates were involved

3 rowing boats

Wind tunnel test the bottle rocket you made earlier. If the drag coefficient is too high, consider changing your design. 06 the truly observant will be able to decipher the order in which the bottle rocket images were taken, and what the results of wind tunnel testing showed

a bottle rocket in a wind tunnel


Participate in a sporting event. When I was in high school waiting for decisions, I raced in three different regattas, and rowing provided a key distraction for me. This fall, I raced at (you guessed it) Head of the Charles. The best part of racing is winning, which happens only sometimes, but is very, very fun, and very, very worth the wait.a rowing shell with MIT oarsmy teammates and i wearing gold medals

Watch a movie. I watched Hearts Beat Loud last weekend and it was….fine? Alternatively, watch Finding Nemo, and just keep swimming. 07 all credit goes to Petey

Places to Go While You Wait

An expensive boutique. Definitely do not buy anything, but definitely do smell all the candles. One of my close friends from high school and I do this regularly when we hang out. I have yet to buy a single candle.

To the mountains. Wake up before sunrise, make coffee, pack snacks, pick up a couple of friends, and go for a drive. Walk uphill until you get tired, then stop and look around. This yields great results in the Pacific Northwest, if nowhere else.

an alpine lake

Outside in the rain. Splash around, get really wet, get really cold, and then go inside and shower and change and make tea. I did this (somewhat involuntarily) often in high school, primarily due to my participation in an outdoor sport while living in Seattle, Washington. I am probably going to do this again in about 15 minutes.

A bookstore or library. Can you guess which of these books I bought for my brother for his 14th birthday? 08 he is a nerd




Waiting doesn’t have to be horrible. If none of the above activities appeal to you, you can always, at the very least, simply play games on your phone from now until when whatever is going to happen finally happens. Remember, though, that in addition to any one big thing, you are waiting for many smaller things, good and bad alike, and in the meantime, revel in the minutiae of life. Go for a walk in the rain! Go to bed early! Read an entire shelf of books! Take up rowing so I can watch you race at Head of the Charles next year! Eat a scone! Build a rocket!

Over these next few weeks, I’ll be baking, and reading, and getting soaked, and hiking, and hopefully launching my rocket, and I’ll be waiting too. You’ll get through that, and I’ll get through this, and the whole time, we’ll be waiting together.

  1. me? oh, I'm still w a i t i n g to launch mine back to text
  2. he probably will like <=50% of it, so maybe don't take it up with him. back to text
  3. hello mom. you can consider this a promise <3 back to text
  4. oh god so young back to text
  5. as far as I know, everyone was fine, and none of my friends or teammates were involved back to text
  6. the truly observant will be able to decipher the order in which the bottle rocket images were taken, and what the results of wind tunnel testing showed back to text
  7. all credit goes to Petey back to text
  8. he is a nerd back to text