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whiplash by Vincent H. '23

feelings from yesterday

november 29th, 2022

10am: you attend nano lecture but are unable to focus on the class because you feel BURNOUT. you think about how you somehow always manage to feel burnt out at this point in the semester, regardless of how many classes or commitments you have

11am: you decide to try maseeh dining because people on mit confessions have been claiming it’s better than next dining now. you haven’t really visited maseeh dining since freshman year. you feel SURPRISE upon trying the food and realizing that it no longer makes you nauseous and has actually improved significantly

3pm: you go to a cafe with K, a friend of a friend who asked to hang out. you feel REGRET upon looking at the menu, because you don’t like coffee and there are no other drinks, so you buy a cookie even though you’re not hungry. you feel NERVOUS because K talks very quickly and asks sharp questions, but the conversation is good anyway. towards the end of the chat, K says he’s become a lot more enthusiastic about post-college life over the past year, because he’s met a lot of interesting and thoughtful people such as yourself. you feel FLATTERED upon hearing this

5pm: you go to an admissions blogger meeting, which primarily consists of a discussion about how to welcome and onboard the incoming class of 2027. you feel EMBARRASSMENT as you realize during the discussion that you actually care a lot more about this school than you did in any previous year, that after three years this place has finally gotten to you and broken down all your shields. you feel HAPPINESS when you look around the room and notice that you no longer feel unwelcome or judged at blogger meetings, and although it took a year you’ve now reached a point where you like (or at least have a positive impression of) everyone in the room

7pm: you get free food from an ai club event. while in line, one of your friends asks you for advice on how to make time for personal projects during the semester. you tell them about how, last spring, you banned yourself from doing schoolwork between 9am-5pm on tuesdays and thursdays, and how that’s the most effective strategy you’ve tried so far. you feel WISE upon saying this

10pm: ohms rehearsal begins. you feel STRESS because you are the music director, and a few months into your role you still don’t think you are doing a good job of leading rehearsals. the rehearsal mostly goes fine, although you feel ANNOYED because one of the arrangements is being changed mid-rehearsal, a week before your concert

12am: rehearsal ends, and you walk back to your room. you read through a text conversation where one of your math professor friends talks about how they’ve been working to improve diversity in math education and access in underprivileged communities. you feel INSPIRED, but soon afterwards you feel SHAME as you question what you are doing with your life – why are you spending so much time reading about ai research and learning about niche startups and recruiting for tech roles when you could be working on problems like education or climate that feel far more valuable?

12:30am: one of your friends tells you they’ve decided to take a software position at a trading firm after college. you feel DISAPPOINTED upon hearing this – you thought for a while that they were going to start their own startup, which would’ve been much more interesting. you feel LONELY because all your friends at mit are going to grad school or finance or big tech while you’re trying to find another path forward, and everyone tells you that you’re doing great but it’s so fucking hard to know what to do when nobody is doing it with you. you feel LONGING as you think about some of the people you met in your travels and wish you had their perspectives with you right now. you feel FRUSTRATION as you wonder what could have been, how much good could have come about but never will, if young people at this school weren’t just left to their own devices to be swept up by peer pressure and marketing and insecurity, if they actually had the support they needed to make bold and principled and life-affirming decisions. you feel LOST. you feel DEFEATED. you want to cry.

2am: you think about everything that happened today. you don’t usually feel this many emotions this strongly in a single day. the whiplash from all the starts and stops and changes in direction is both thrilling and crushing. you feel EXHAUSTED. you go to sleep