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MIT student blogger Lulu L. '09

What I’m Watching by Lulu L. '09

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I was walking down Mass Ave yesterday under an umbrella with a friend, the streets after a day of rain reflecting colors in the sky, and I said

“If I could start my life over, I would.”

and he said, “What would you do differently?”

———-

I guess I must have been thinking about that a while when we were walking and later eating at a quiet thai restaurant and even after when we were just getting some ice cream, because when walking home, feeling happy and full with a sunset hot at our backs, I felt like it wasn’t about that. I said, if I just came into this world today, or I was blind and now suddenly I can see, and everything was new and strange and wonderful and I was never told what beauty was or should be, what would I think was the most striking thing? Would it be the motion of things? Cars and people and hands and raindrops. Would it be learning to trust shapes and colors to be the real thing? Like a faraway window in a high rise or a friend or a tree. Would it be the things I can’t see? Things sitting on top of things, things inside of things, heat and voice and music and beats? Would it be the sky in its blueness and greyness and blackness and vastness?

I thought it might be the sky. If someone gave me the opportunity to find out, would I? I’m thinking if I could I would.

———

Being at such a crossroads in my life, approaching my last year as a wandering undergrad, I’m spending way more time than ever before just stressing out. Trying with all the delay tactics in the world to ease the pressure of having to choose a direction for “my life”. Looking around me at all these people: how can they be so sure and how do you make it feel like you matter. Well, that’s my problem. Yet you might get something out of this lecture I stumbled onto, also. This is a lecture about achieving childhood dreams. I don’t know you may have heard it in the news the guy who gave this speech died 3 days ago.

I never had many specific childhood dreams, at least none that were well documented, and only a couple of baby pictures altogether. So achieving them has never really been a concern of mine. But I assume living life is something everyone can relate to, and listening to one man look back on the life he has lived I think has a natural fascination for all of us.

17 responses to “What I’m Watching”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Interesting thoughts. I’ve done a lot in my childhood.

  2. Omar says:

    I knew the moment you mentioned “lecture” that this would be about Randy Pausch. I remember watching this 6 monthsish ago when he first gave it. I encourage everyone to take the time and watch that video. It is inspirational and was a joy to watch.

  3. donaldGuy says:

    Wow. I’d heard very much about the last lecture .. I hadn’t actually watched it. I am doing so now.

    I am very impressed and touched by your outlook on wonder in the world above, its really very insightful.

    You are entering the end of your MIT career, as we, the soon-no-longer-to-be-prefrosh prepare to enter it. Our fears and concerns are not entirely different … the best advice I can offer is remember that we are all very capable (this is empirically verifiable), so in all likelihood we will “all float on” (~ Modest Mouse) .. Life is an adventure! ( http://xkcd.com/167/ )

    hope one of these things (the song or comic) kind of helps you work around the stress, they often work for me (though I am not really a nihilist).

    ~Donald

  4. Ashwath says:

    I was an ardent admirer of Randy Pausch and am very upset at his death. He was a great man and the world will remember him for years to come.

  5. LeChaim says:

    I can’t say I have any dreams at the moment. When I was just 4 or 5, moving to California to become a Power Ranger seemed like a perfect future career. Of course I grew out of that imagination by middle school. Now I’m just trying to ease through college and have a six figure salary before I’m 28. Meh.

  6. Aditi says:

    I love the images that you conjure with your words.

    The video was truly inspirational.

  7. This post has given me a new perspective on a recent conversation with my daughter, who just finished her freshman year at MIT. If you’d asked her at eight years old what she wanted to do when she grew up, she would have answered, “Amazing stuff! I want to do science, play with magnets and plasma, build lasers, and stuff like that!” She spent this summer at MIT, working on an interesting UROP, sailing, and exploring Boston, New York, and Cape Cod. A few weeks ago we spoke on the phone, and after listening to all the things she was doing, I said, “You know, I’ve met a lot of people who live in a waiting room. They feel that life will begin after they graduate college, or that life will begin after they get that first job. But it’s a mistake to feel that life will begin some time in the future. You’re doing amazing, wonderful things right now. Enjoy the present.” After watching this video, I think on some level what I was feeling is that my daughter has begun to realize some of her childhood dreams at MIT, even in this first year. I hope that all of you there, and those of you about to go, can also live in the present. Enjoy everything.

  8. Piper says:

    I first watched The Last Lecture before leaving MIT, and it was amazing. It’s well worth the time to watch it.

    Rest in peace, Dr. Pausch.

  9. wisdom says:

    Well with experience you gain wisdom, now that you have gained wisdom, you see the light.

  10. You write so beautifully, Lulu. You have been blessed with an artist’s eye and a poet’s soul.

  11. JU says:

    Hey Lulu,
    You said in an earlier entry that you considered an EAPS major… what would you reccommend for high school students interested in Course 12 to do? I’ve really been wanting to get more involved in geology, it’s possibly my favorite science, and I’m having a hard time finding research opportunities or summer programs or competitions that are challenging enough and don’t require a lot of money or travel. I’d be thrilled for any advice you have.
    I just wish I could somehow get across on my college applications in general exactly what I’m capable of in geology… and aside from applications just do something with my interest besides sit in loneliness reading my books on igneous processes. >Hey Lulu,
    You said in an earlier entry that you considered an EAPS major… what would you reccommend for high school students interested in Course 12 to do? I’ve really been wanting to get more involved in geology, it’s possibly my favorite science, and I’m having a hard time finding research opportunities or summer programs or competitions that are challenging enough and don’t require a lot of money or travel. I’d be thrilled for any advice you have.
    I just wish I could somehow get across on my college applications in general exactly what I’m capable of in geology… and aside from applications just do something with my interest besides sit in loneliness reading my books on igneous processes. ><

  12. Anonymous says:

    Hi Lulu,

    I just read your blog about the DEAPS trip. I am going on the trip this August, and I can’t help but be extremely scared of bears (and other dangerous animals). I know that it’s a stupid thing to worry about, but waht precautions did you guys take to avoid these situations?

    Thanks!

    PS. Great writing btw! I really felt like I was tehre.

  13. lulu says:

    ju-

    to be honest I didn’t really have any science-related extra-curriculars when I applied to MIT. I simply didn’t know of any. So, I hope you do not feel obligated to prove your interest in the discipline through the appropriate activities. That said, many colleges (MIT included) host summer programs for high school students interested in science- at MIT there is RSI, WTP (for women), and MITES (for minorities – asians included)- looking around on Google might give you some ideas.

    Anonymous-

    First of all, I don’t think you’re going to Yellowstone, I wouldn’t bet on there necessarily being bears where you are headed. There will be a briefing once you get to school where the DEAPS group will tell you everything you need to know safety-wise while on your trip. That’s where they will warn you about the items that will attract bears to your camp (perfumes, toothpastes, lotions, food-of course, even chapstick) and how to properly store them (ie, away from where you sleep, in sealed baggies, in the vans, etc). Cleanup at the campsite after meals will be also important, bear box usage, what not. I mean, as long as you are with a group, the bears will definitely stay away, and you’ll almost always be with a group.

  14. Me says:

    A tortured soul perusing the exisitential landscape for meaning only to uncover the truth of vainity “a chasing after the wind” so the preacher tells us. At the end of this journey futility…but to love and be loved in return the hope of humanity. Selah

  15. Anonymous says:

    Lulu, I’ve been wanting to ask you this question: How is life as an incoming fourth year? Is it hectic with all the job or grad school applications? Do you think MIT prepared you for a career?

  16. lulu says:

    It’s just like any other year for me, I’m not applying immediately to grad schools, because I’m not sure what it is I want to devote the next 6 years of my life to. but I really ought to start looking for somewhere to work in the mean time.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for responding lulu. I’m sure you will succeed in your plans. I hope you get any placement you desire.