Yes, I’m still alive.
A lot has happened since my last post. I have been sick and have had some sudden moves. I will write more about the moves later. Overall, it has been a pretty crazy start of summer after a year that’s been, overall, pretty crazy. Sometimes, this year felt like a series of unexpected turns. It was like a lot of life was happening all around me, and I was just kind of along for the ride. Of course, that is not entirely true. I did have control over my actions and reactions even if it felt like there were many things I did not have the power to control. Still, sometimes life was overwhelming and crazy in ways I never expected. Sometimes life is like that.
This combination of a crazy turn of events that I did not see coming and the one-year anniversary of my graduation made me think a lot about expectations. Maggie Rogers is one of my new favorite artists. The first song I was drawn to was “Light On.” Specifically, I thought it encapsulated a lot of my post-graduation feelings.
Before MIT, I was focused on school and my extracurriculars. I certainly was never expecting to be accepted to MIT and I was not planning it, but I was just working on getting into a “good school” with enough of a scholarship to make it affordable. MIT was definitely my dream school, and I felt like I had won the lottery when I got in. Honestly, I actually thought it was kind of a joke and I was going to receive an email a few days later saying “hey, so look, we made a mistake…” Either way, it was my absolute dream. I am still incredibly grateful for the opportunities MIT afforded me.
It was also really tough. I didn’t cry in bathrooms typically, but I did call my mom in tears a few times my freshman year and can totally understand how Maggie felt “crying in the bathroom had to figure it out with everyone around me saying ‘you should be so happy now.’” Going to MIT was my dream, so what right did I have to still be sad about pset stress, a messy bathroom mate, or being the seventh wheel when all my friends started dating each other? Eventually, I figured it out. I figured out how to have the small moments when I was walking down the Infinite and think to myself “I get to go here. I get to be an MIT student” even when I was on my way to the Bunker to go work on Aspen in a windowless basement for twelve hours.
Going to Princeton was a repeat of this experience. I had wanted to go to Princeton so badly. Now that I am here, I am able to do exciting research in a lab I had so hoped to join. I graduated from MIT into the life I had dreamed about. However, the rest of life is still happening. Dogs still get old and sick suddenly, and they won’t be running out to greet you anymore. Dating can be pretty disastrous the majority of the time even if the minority makes it totally worth it. Housing can literally fall apart. Illness happens. None of this existed in my daydreams about life after June 2018. So, even with all of this happening, it’s hard not to think “you should be so happy now” when you are living your dream post-graduation life.
I am happy here. There is no doubt about that, but how can anything compare to the way people romanticize whatever future they want for themselves after graduation? When I was only focused on going to grad school, I forgot that the rest of life would keep happening when I landed in Princeton. Things would happen and do happen that make me sad even if I did not imagine them when I graduated last June.
I don’t really have a point this week. I kind of just wanted to let you know that all of life is happening and the parts I had not anticipated were the ones that delayed this post. Also, even though all of this is happening, I’m okay. “I’m still dancing at the end of the day.”