Monday, September 24, 2007

Walk the Line

It's been a busy week.

In the past seven days, I've finished three p-sets, taken my first test at MIT, gone through F/ASIP Orientation, met with Ben, Karen, and Chris, visited the Career Fair, chilled with Hawkins, made a little mischief, slept over at my fraternity, danced the night away at Phi Kappa Sigma's fall formal, participated in the xkcd flash mob, scrimmaged against Harvard in Quiz Bowl, been accepted as MedLink, and basically had the time of my life. I'm sure there's a few other things I'm blanking on right now, but those were the highlights.

From one angle, my past few weeks here could be summed up as a search for balance. Classes, friends, homework, extracurriculars, sleep - they're all vitally important in their own way, and it's hard to choose one over the other. But you can't do everything, and sometimes you have to focus on what matters most to you...even if it means giving up a few things.

As for me, well, I'm still in the process I'm figuring out what my priorities are. The last few weeks have truly been eye-openers in that regard, actually. Before I got here, I thought I pretty much knew what I wanted to be involved in here at MIT. Turns out I was wrong - or, at least, I wasn't completely right. As you can probably tell, I've been pretty busy since I got here...and, frankly, that's the way I like it. But I also know there's a huge difference between being comfortably busy and completely overworked, and I'm doing my best to walk that line.


Anonymous said...

That line is a wicked one. I'm still trying to figure out how everything fits as well, and it's proving to be a pain. Good luck finding the balance!

So, I read a couple of Hank's entries about life at MIT, and he doesn't sound very happy. Are YOU happy at the Institute? Do you enjoy being there and learning the things that you are? Have you ever been downright miserable (so far, at least)? This sounds really nosy, I know, but I am genuinely interested in the answers not only because I have a Midwestern fascination with knowing everything about everyone I meet, but also because I worry about whether MIT would be right for me. If people are miserable the majority of the time, it's not my dream school.

Star said...


And on a more related note, I'm having that same problem this year - I'm at a new school, and there are SO many new things to try here, I think I'm kind of a little overcommitted. And by that I mean on any given night I have to choose to attend one of the many club meetings or sport practices that I should be at, and then run around trying to figure out what I missed at the other ones... and forget about fitting in homework (although somehow I always find time to check the blogs before I go to bed). So I guess I haven’t really found that fine line yet... But for now, this is just so much more fun; who needs sleep anyways?

Paul said...

@ Kate: Thanks, and good luck to you as well.

Are people here miserable the majority of the time? To answer succinctly - NO.

This is probably something I'll have more to say about in the next few weeks, when I'm officially blogging for the site - but to continue the analogy from my entry, the line between "IHTFP" and "ILFTP" is also pretty thin, and which side you're on very often depends solely on your own attitudes and mentality.

Going from high school to college - any college - is a huge transition. Your parents are no longer around, you're doing everything on your own time and in your own way, you have much more freedom than you could have possibly imagined - and, oh yeah, the classwork is about a gazillion times harder.

What it boils down to, really, is that everyone's experience here is different. I had one really crappy night a few weeks ago, but apart from that I've been feeling pretty good. To adapt something another blogger much wiser than I once said, the lows are lower here - but the highs are higher.

MIT is real, and it matters. Sometimes we students screw stuff up, and it takes us a while to get over it. But ultimately, we're all here to learn, to work together, to find what makes happy - not to compete with one another. And even when life at the 'Tute sucks - for life, invariably, wherever you are, will suck at some point - everyone else feels it too.

We don't get through it alone, you see. We get through it together.

Isshak Ferdjani said...

yeah Hank sure hates MIT by the look of his blog (it's even scarry sometimes)
hey that line is a nasty one ! i'm trying to figure it out myself (but I'm sure it's not as hard as yours).

Hawkins said...

Well said. And happy birthday! Good luck sorting everything out and finding the right balance. That's what the first semester is all about, really.

Anonymous said...

Happy (belated) birthday, Paul! (How did Star know it was your birthday?) Anyway, thanks for your input. I've heard before that MIT is a true team environment, and that's awesome! The sucky times (and I KNOW there will be sucky times wherever I go; I just don't want them to occur all the time) are better when you are surrounded by friends. :)

Star said...

Kate, I know all :)

Isshak Ferdjani said...

well, as you have maybe learned, star and I have facebook stalking skills... (my mom said happy birthday to you Paul by the way ^^)

Anonymous said...

Star and Isshak:'re friends with Paul on facebook?

Chris said...

Did you submit your thingies yet? =p

Paul said...

@ Kate: Clearly, all the really cool people are Facebook friends with me. ;)

@ Chris: If you mean my new blogger stuff, not quite - I have my banner and my bio ready, but the entry's not quite done. Hopefully I'll finish it this weekend. ^_^ How are you coming?

Star said...

Ooo, did someone just call me cool?!? Yeah, Kate, we are both just a little facebook-obsessed :) Do you have facebook?

@ Chris and Paul - Get going on the blogger stuff!

By the way, Paul, what was the final decision for your picture ;)

Isshak Ferdjani said...

no odn't say anything! it should be a surprise.
yay i'm cool! star, a "little too obssessed"? more like "completely addcited!" (for me at least).

Hawkins said...

Yay Facebook! =) All the cool people are on it. =P Friend us, Kate!

Chris said...

Haha. Same here.

I'm just about done with my blog. (I got to crop the banner but it won't take too long).

Looking forward to your first entry! =D

Anonymous said...

If I friend you, you will be amazed by the positive nerdiness radiating from me. Seriously, guys.

(I read Paul's response and was all ready to pretend to be offended and be all, "What? Am I not a cool person?!") :)

Anonymous said...

Hey! I sent you a message on facebook!

Emerald said...

Good words.