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MIT student blogger Natasha B. '16

Better Late than Never by Natasha B. '16

I wrote this post a week and a half ago. Note that the "better late than never" policy doesn't really apply to psets.

I woke up Friday morning and felt like it could have been Monday all over again. I felt fresh and the week looked new. Considering that I’d been awake and p-setting until 4 a.m. that morning, I decided not to look for the reason behind my renewed vitality until I’d made it through classes for the day, but now it’s Saturday night, and I’m still feeling fresh.

Maybe I should be working or worrying over due dates, but my disposition’s a little too chill for that now. We’ll see how aforementioned chillness progresses through the semester (a harsh winter of studies and ice might change me), but for now, I’m going to sit here and appreciate the following:

These are the contents of a care package I got in the mail this week.

-Twelve jars of tuna canned at home by loving mom and sister. They needn’t have worried about my protein consumption on campus (I’ve been eating enough ice cream to fulfill all my dietary needs), but it’s the thought that counts, and the fish is delish.

-A glass bottle and a bundle of sage. What for? Why not?

-Also, a seashell, my cleats, and a mysterious, newly packaged pair of leather thumb and finger guards, whose purpose is entirely unknown to me. Neither of my parents had an explanation, so I’m guessing they’re related to woodcarving or archery and that they belong to my brother and were slipped into my box by mistake.

I never know what to expect.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from my classes, either. Now I’ve had eight days of them, and guys, what they say is true: college is better than high school. Not that high school is bad–and here I’ll slip in a shout-out to good old Mac High–but here, things move fast. Too fast, sometimes, especially in calculus, but I’d rather be a little confused at high speed than standing still for weeks on end. My 5.111 (Principles of Chemical Science) professor has so much fun just thinking about what he’ll teach us that he smiles to himself throughout the lecture, and I end up smiling, too. My Calculus lecturer makes problems look easy when they’re anything but, and my Tuesday/Thursday American Literature HASS is the one I look forward to all Monday, Wednesday, Friday. So I love my classes–but that doesn’t mean I’m not completely wiped out at the end of the day. I don’t know how one can can feel so long when a week passes so quickly, and the weekend is over in a flash. I don’t know whether it will go on this way, blurs of weekdays punctuated by fast, shining weekends. I do know, definitely, for sure, that in either case, I need to learn to manage my time.

Last week I left two p-sets until the last minute, finished neither to satisfaction, and stayed up way, WAY later than I ever wanted to. Today I flopped down on my bed, stated aloud my intention to study Calculus, and didn’t move until Robyn, my ever-helpful roommate, had cleared off my desk, set out my books, and physically dragged me into my chair. I studied for ten minutes, made some tea, looked out the window and fell asleep.

School years always start out this way for me. Even in high school, I’d go through the first two days of classes and come home exhausted. Then, it wasn’t the rigor or difficulty of my work that devoured my energy, just the monotonous going from place to place, socializing, trying to figure out a good routine. I’m working on figuring out my routine here. Can I start with the basics? Sleeping, eating, writing things down? That’s what I do, day-to-day. I’ve pretty much got the basics down.

1.  I love my bed. Robyn and I bunked our beds yesterday. Now we have a giant open space, suitable for small dance parties, big tea parties, and eventually (we hope) a futon. She gets the top bunk, a cozy high-up nest with a great look-out. I have the bottom bunk, and I’m turning it into an awesome jungle fort.

I bought a potted spider plant from a sale in front of the student center, hung it from the upper bunk, and distracted from a bald spot in the greenery by sticking on a picture-postcard of Marlon Brando, which is nicer to look at than the green plastic pot. Coexisting with the sage, rosemary and mint I bought for a dollar a plant, and the jade plant I already had, Marlon-Brando-plant is helping our room come alive. If I get creeped out by his steamy gaze, maybe I’ll have more motivation to get out of bed in the morning. Maybe then I’ll make it to the dining hall in time for breakfast.

2. I love to eat. Because I live in Burton Conner, my meal plan is optional, so I might go off it next semester. For now, however, I have 14 meals/week in the dining hall, where the food is abundant, the variety is outstanding, and the ice cream is way too tempting. Because I eat… a lot… lots of meals per day, I use the kitchen in my suite too, for making easy things like chai lattes, bowls of cereal with berries, and, for the next few weeks, most likely plenty of tuna melts. And then there’s the food off campus.

I haven’t eaten out much, but a few ice cream runs, farmer’s market trips, and one great meal in Boston have been sufficient to reaffirm my faith in food’s incredible restorative powers. The farmer’s market are a little disappointing (not only are the market’s I’ve explored pretty small, even the fruit is tinier than at home), but Toscanini’s, just a few blocks off campus, has actually, honestly, certainly and surely the best ice cream in the world. It’s going to take every ounce of my self control to go there less often than once a week. Especially because eating out is so fun. Especially when the food comes with friends, when friends come with you to get the food. College, it turns out, is a very social experience. I guess people expect that. In high school, you go home for the night, and once you’re in your pajamas, there’s no question of going out again. Here, you can be in your room, alone, at any hour, and there’s still a possibility that someone you know is looking for something to do. And there’s always somewhere to go.

Which reminds me: I now have a bike. I get a thrill every time I remember that. For the topic of my next blog post: bicycle adventures in Boston and Cambridge.