It is some obscure hour of the evening/night and I am at my desk, brain-dead after struggling to figure out some elementary problem whose solution will in all likelihood hit me in the morning, so where do I go?
It is, to be fair, an age-old question: what do you do when you are a freshman, tired of the grind, and you don’t want to study anymore?
Unsurprisingly, there is a lot to do at MIT, given there are a number of clubs you could join, or events to attend that are happening at any point in time. Also, many people prioritize breaking away from the MIT bubble for a while and doing stuff on their own, and that is certainly an important part of life at MIT for me.
In a typical, in-person semester, this would probably involve escaping from the physical campus and going to Boston or taking time out to chill with non-MIT people. Sadly, given that I am in an online semester, this puts me in a weird dynamic where I need to make time for both chilling at home as well as collaborating with folk from MIT as my schedule and sleep cycle doesn’t fully match with either of them. So while I am hopeful things become better when things are back to normal, I thought of writing a post describing some ways I take a break virtually.
This semester, I was accepted as a member of the sourcing team at Harvard Undergraduate Capital Partners (HUCP). HUCP is a cross-university VC club, and as a member of the sourcing team, I source startups typically from the MIT and Harvard startup ecosystems for our VC partners and angel investors. I am also involved with other initiatives and events within the club which give me an opportunity to read and learn more about the VC industry by talking to both investors and founders.
On Sunday nights in my timezone, I don the hat of a staff member at Rune, MIT’s Literary and Arts magazine, and I discuss the week’s art and literature submissions with other staff members over Zoom. We hear each other recite poetry, we take turns reading out sections from longer prose pieces, we contemplate some of the interesting artworks we have received—it is a fun time. I have typically always found myself on the other side, writing and submitting pieces to different places, so I found it interesting to be on this side of the equation for once, and it feels great to learn a bit more about how other students craft their narratives.
I am also involved with the International Students’ Association, who host numerous events throughout the semester for people to come and chill for a bit, ranging from weekly study breaks to Halloween parties, and it is always fun to attend events where others talk about their experiences being an international student at MIT and more than often share something about their lives or their culture that I would otherwise not have known.
I have also had a fun time attending events organized by the MIT Music Production Collaborative (MPC). MIT MPC hosts numerous sessions for students interested in learning about music production, mixing, DJ-ing, etc., where I got to learn a lot this semester. It is also fun attending some of the group jam sessions they organize where we messed around with samples and worked on tracks together.
While it may seem like a lot to keep up with everything happening at MIT, a lot of the time, events happen at odd hours of the night for me and I have difficulty staying up to attend them, sadly, so I need to find other stuff to do throughout the day.
A large part of chilling, for me, at least, involved the Cursed MIT Discord server1, a very wholesome server comprising mostly of MIT frosh and our friends where we chill, meme, and talk about stuff. As Waly N. ‘24 brings up in his blog post here, we’ve also been the source of memes that have leaked themselves into other MIT forums (hehe) leaving the rest of the community pretty confused at times.
I am also part of group chats with other living groups/MIT communities, such as my SCUFFY community (Burton One shoutout!!!) where I get to meet amazing people with whom I might have shared a floor in an alternate universe where I would have been on-campus.
Outside of the bubble, however, I am trying to honor my resolution of reading more books and listening to a wider range of music this year, now that I am in college, and have marginally more control over my time than I did in high school. Maybe I’ll do a post about the many wonderful books/songs/other media I have had the opportunity to enjoy this year, but until then, stay tuned!
cursed shoutout yay!!!↩